LAPEER COUNTY – While the calendar says spring is here, the weather is taking its time with the transition. Ice fishing continues to the north, but caution needs to be used. Openwater fishing can be found to the south.
Lake Erie: Boats out trolling for walleye caught some nice fish with crank baits off Stony Point. The perch bite was good in 4 to 6 feet off the Metro Park.
Huron River: A few more trout were caught near the dam at Flat Rock and Labo Park. The fish were a little bigger. A couple crappie were also caught.
Detroit River: Walleye are starting to be caught in the lower river with a jig and minnow, stinger hooks and rubber tails. Perch fishing was good in the canals around Gibraltar and Gross Ile. Some limit catches were reported; however, anglers are also having to sort through the small ones.
Lake St. Clair: Most of the ice is gone, aside from a few canals that had thin ice that was no longer safe. The launches at Harley Ensign and Brandenburg are open water, but Crocker, Selfridge, and Fairhaven still had ice.
St. Clair River: Most of the launches are open. Anglers fishing the upper river are finding a few walleye.
Saginaw Bay: Was muddy and had water temperatures at 36 degrees. Fishing was very slow because of the cold temperatures. Those trolling crank baits off Nayanquing Point in 17 to 20 feet and Linwood in 17 feet caught a few walleye. No action at the Hot Ponds. Those fishing off Finn Road and Geiger Road reported no fish. Sebewaing had skim ice in the marina but no fish. Mud Creek is open, but no fish were caught. At Bay Port, boat anglers were out trying. A couple small bluegills were caught in the marina. Caseville had rumors of lake trout and burbot; however, the ice had blown back in.
Saginaw River: The water is muddy. A few anglers were trying at the Aggregate Cut and the Bay Harbor Yacht Club but did not have much success. Some were targeting suckers near the Boys and Girls Club but did not catch very many.
Quanicassee River: Had anglers but no fish being caught.
New Buffalo: Boat anglers are picking up coho in shallow waters.
St. Joseph: Pier anglers are catching steelhead and a few coho.
St. Joseph River: Is producing steelhead and suckers. Steelhead are moving quickly through the ladders, and good catches were reported below the Berrien Springs Dam. The camera at the fish ladder is up and running and can be viewed at paddleandpole.com/berrien-springs-fishcam.
South Haven: Boat anglers caught a few coho in shallow waters. Pier anglers are targeting trout and salmon.
Black River: Was producing coho and steelhead.
Kalamazoo River: Was producing a good number of steelhead. Try drifting beads, spawn or wobble glo’s.
Saugatuck: Boat anglers are heading out for salmon and steelhead.
Holland: Boats fishing in shallow waters found coho and steelhead.
Grand Haven: Pier anglers were starting to head out. There were still some areas with ice and snow.
Grand River at Grand Rapids: Is producing steelhead up near the 6th Street Dam. Suckers also have been caught. The ladders are open, and fish were on the move.
Rogue River: Is producing steelhead.
Grand River near Lansing: Bass, crappie and bluegills were caught during the warmest part of the day by boat and shore anglers. Near the Smithville Dam, they were using rubber worms for bass. A couple crappie were taken on a crawler. A small number of steelhead were caught in Ionia in Prairie Creek.
Muskegon Lake: Still had ice, but the channel is open. There is open water off the Henry Street Bridge and Spring Lake County Club Bridge. Anglers have caught a few perch and crappie.
Muskegon River: The number of steelhead continues to increase. Fish were found in the deeper holes. At the mouth, fish were caught near the Veterans Park.
White River: Is producing some steelhead and suckers. Steelhead were caught closer to Hesperia.
Ocqueoc River: Anglers caught a couple steelhead.
Thunder Bay River: Had steelhead and Atlantic salmon.
Otsego Lake: Still had ice fishing, and anglers were getting bluegills and rock bass on wax worms in 10 feet. Those targeting perch had little to no success.
Fletchers Floodwaters: Was producing perch, bluegill and pumpkinseed.
Au Sable River: Steelhead and Atlantic salmon fishing has picked up in the lower river for those wading or boat fishing.
Higgins Lake: Ice fishing continues. Some of the shoreline ice was starting to deteriorate, especially near the natural springs. The best place to get on the lake was at the North State Park. Smelt were caught in 30 to 40 feet from the west launch to the North State Park. Lake trout were still found in 80 to 100 feet. Rainbow trout were caught between the North State Park and Big Creek in shallow waters 3 feet or less. You will need waders in some areas. Perch were found in 40 to 60 feet.
Houghton Lake: Ice fishing continues and could last for a couple more weeks. Those heading out will want to check the access points, as not all may not be accessible due to crumbling shoreline ice or ice piles. The bluegill bite picked up, and while fish were caught during the day, the better action seems to be at night with a tear-drop and wax worm about a foot off the bottom in 10 to 12 feet. Chartreuse or purple were the hot colors. Perch were caught, but the fish were very small.
Tawas: Has open water in the marina. Those fishing off the mouth of the river caught a few walleye, steelhead and suckers. Watch for debris from the river.
Au Gres River: Those surf-casting near the Singing Bridge caught steelhead, including the occasional limit catches. Those drifting spawn in the lower river had little to no luck.
Lake Charlevoix: Ice anglers were still catching lake herring.
Thumb Lake: Splake fishing was hit or miss; however, small perch were caught.
Torch Lake: Ice anglers targeting burbot on the north end have done very well; however, getting onto the ice was becoming more difficult because of poor ice conditions from water running off the boat launch.
Traverse City: It sounds like the shore ice is not in the best shape on either the East or the West Bay. A few anglers caught whitefish and burbot. A couple steelhead were caught in the Boardman River.
Betsie River: Steelhead fishing was hit or miss, as anglers had multiple catches one day and very few the next.
Lakes Cadillac and Mitchell: Ice fishing continues to hang on. Though the bite was slow, some panfish were caught on Lake Mitchell.
Manistee River: Is producing fresh steelhead in the lower river.
Hamlin Lake: The ice along the shore has deteriorated significantly, thus limiting access. All the access points have open water. Ice fishing could be done.
Pere Marquette River: Is producing steelhead.
Pentwater River: Continues to produce steelhead. No big number yet; however, some of the fish that have been caught were good size.
Menominee River: Those fishing off Hattie Street and up near the dam caught a few brown trout on rapalas. There was a lot of ice floating and starting to jam up below Hattie Street.
Little Bay de Noc: Ice conditions are holding, although some areas of slush are present in the middle of the bay. Travel was mainly by ORV and snowmobile. Most are getting on the ice from the boat launch at Kipling and targeting yellow perch around the Second and Third Reefs when jigging minnows or wax worms. Catch rates were fair.
Keweenaw Bay: Ice conditions are day to day, as melting and freezing is producing honeycomb ice. Extreme caution needs to be used. The lake trout action was poor to fair when jigging cut bait just off the bottom in 100 to 225 feet. Coho were spotty, and the whitefish bite was slow. The smelt action was good two hours before and after dark with lights in 40 to 65 feet. The active fish were sporadic, as anglers would catch a bunch in a short amount of time then wait for the next batch to show up. No steelhead to report in area rivers.
Marquette: Fishing had started to pick up. Coho along with the occasional Chinook and brown trout were caught in the Upper Harbor near the “Bubbler.” A few lake herring were also caught. The city plowed a small path to the beach, so anglers are now able to launch boats in front of the Dead River. Most were jigging, but a few tried trolling with limited success. The Lower Harbor still had ice on it, but with each warm day, that is changing rapidly! No anglers had been out on the Lower Harbor ice, so no word on those conditions. Almost all the rivers in the area were ice-free as you reach the mouth; however, the water is high and dark due to runoff. Those fishing the Chocolay River picked up some nice brown trout.
Au Train: Ice in the lower harbor was deteriorating. The conditions are starting to change rapidly, so it may be a good idea to stay off the ice. The mouth of the Au Train River has open water.
Munising: Ice conditions were holding as night temperatures have been in the teens. Those fishing Bay Furnace, Trout Bay, Sand Point and near the Anna River access reported slow catch rates with only a few splake or coho caught. Some started in the early morning and never marked a fish, but then a school of coho came through about noon and they managed to catch a couple. Most are using jigging spoons. A few were starting to use spawn off the dock at the mouth of the Anna River, where there is typically open water later in the afternoon. No smelt to report.
Manistique Lake: Bluegills and crappie were caught in the South Lake.
Cedarville and Hessel: Anglers caught perch when jigging wax worms or minnows in 12 to 17 feet in Musky Bay and Hessel Bay. The fish averaged 6-9 inches. Word has it splake were caught in Hessel Bay when jigging minnows in 16 feet.