SAGINAW — As the winter fishing season gets under way, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources reminds anglers that fisheries staff again will be interviewing them about their fishing trips. The DNR appreciates anglers’ cooperation in obtaining these critical data for fisheries management.
DNR creel clerks will, through brief interviews, ask anglers how long they fished, what species they targeted, what they caught and where they live. In a few instances, they will ask to measure or weigh fish and take scale samples to gather key biological information on anglers’ catches.
These efforts are part of the DNR’s Statewide Angler Survey Program, a long-term monitoring program designed to track recreational fisheries across Michigan waters of the Great Lakes and selected inland waters. These data are vital to the management of fisheries across the state and are used for determining management actions that include developing appropriate regulations, addressing habitat improvements and identifying fish stocking needs.
This winter, creel clerks will interview anglers fishing Saginaw Bay, the Les Cheneaux Islands, Munising, Au Train, Marquette, Keweenaw Bay, Lake Gogebic and Little Bay de Noc. Starting April 1 and continuing into the fall, creel clerks will talk with anglers at a number of Great Lakes boating access sites, fishing piers and shorelines across the entire coastline to obtain estimates on the spring, summer and fall fisheries.
To see past creel results, visit michigan. gov/fishing and click on Fishing in Michigan in the left toolbar.
Weekly Fishing Report
Now that ice fishing is pretty much statewide, angler safety is important. Always wear a flotation device, use the buddy system, let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return, take a cell phone and always check the ice thickness with a spud. Use extreme caution near pressure cracks, inlets and outlets.
Lake St. Clair: Has more ice on the
lake but there is still a lot of open
water offshore so anglers need
to be aware of wind conditions
and the possibility of ice shifting
and pressure cracks opening up.
Anglers are out fishing the usual
places off Fairhaven, Brandenburg,
Cotton Road, South River Road,
the Metro Park and the Spillway
Access Site. Ice thickness is variable at these locations so anglers
need to use extreme caution.
Port Austin and Grindstone City:
Each had a few ice shanties in the
harbor that were close to shore.
Saginaw Bay: Ice conditions did
improve around the Bay but it is
still “iffy” out there in spots. There
are fish to catch without crossing the pressure cracks which is
much safer. Palmer Road near
Standish was very busy with a lot
of anglers on the ice. They caught
eight to 10 inch perch in two to
three feet of water. Walleye were
caught in the evening in eight
to 10 feet. White’s Beach had a
few anglers targeting perch but
the fish were small. Perch were
caught at Pinconning and down
off Newman Road. Walleye were
found three-quarters of a mile off
Erickson Road but anglers need
to be aware of all the pressure
cracks out there and use caution.
There are active pressure cracks
off Linwood as well. The occasional walleye was caught in eight feet
off the Bay City State Recreation
Area and from the shipping channel near Spoils Island. A few perch
were caught near the range light
off the river mouth. Perch fishing
was spotty from Sebewaing to Bay
Port. Some managed limit catches
while others had none. Keep moving until you find an active school
of fish. Walleye anglers were in
the Slot and around North Island.
Caseville was slow.
Saginaw River: Still had patches of
open water here and there and
anglers are cautioned to stay well
away from those areas. Anglers
need to beware of thin and treacherous ice along the river especially
with temperatures well above
freezing by the weekend. Anglers
were marking lots of fish however
they did not want to bite. That
was the rule from Saginaw to the
mouth. Walleye were caught but
not in large numbers. Most were
jigging rapalas tipped with minnow
heads. Hot colors were blue and
silver, black and gold, purple or
perch colors. Fishing activity started near Wickes Park and Ojibway
Island. A number of anglers were
at the Frist Street turning basin
at the north end of Saginaw and
strung out north and south of the
Zilwaukee Bridge. Be very careful
of the ice near any of the bridges.
The ice was not good near the
Boys & Girls Club in the south end
of Bay City. Anglers were fishing
downstream of the Independence
Bridge near the U.S.S. Edson but
catch rates were spotty.
SOUTHWEST LOWER PENINSULA
Anglers are ice fishing on the inland
lakes however snow and slush
may make travel on the ice a little
more difficult. Be sure to use caution and watch for soft ice. Anglers
are catching panfish, pike and
Kalamazoo River: Steelhead anglers
are taking fish below the Allegan
Dam. Try spawn, plugs or a jig and
Grand River at Grand Rapids: Anglers
are still out there and catching steelhead including a fair to good number
of chrome colored fish.
Lake Lansing: Had fair to good bluegill action but anglers are sorting
out a lot of small ones. Crappie
were also caught.
Morrison Lake: Is producing fairly
well. Anglers are taking bluegills,
perch and some decent size crappie. Muskegon River: Continues to produce a good number of steelhead
especially in the lower sections.
Those floating spawn have done
well but those fly fishing have also
For the full report visit www.michigan. gov/fishing.