Weekly Fishing Report: February 4, 2016

Bookmark and Share
Having trouble viewing this email? View it as a Web page.
dnr logo

Weekly Fishing Report

February 4, 2016

buy your fishing license button
fishing map Southwest Lower Peninsula Weekly Fishing Report Southeast Lower Peninsula Weekly Fishing Report Northeast Lower Peninsula Weekly Fishing Report Northwest Lower Peninsula Weekly Fishing Report Upper Peninsula Weekly Fishing Report Upper Peninsula Weekly Fishing Report

With rain and warmer temperatures especially in the southern half of the Lower Peninsula, ice fishing on the inland lakes has become much more dangerous.  Anglers would be wise to stay off the deeper lakes and fish in shallow waters only.  Don’t venture out on lakes that you are not familiar with.  It pays to know depths, where drop-offs are and the location of any inlets or outlets.  River ice was no longer safe.   


Southeast Lower Peninsula

Huron River:  Steelhead success was marginal at Flat Rock.  Those able to access the river by small boat were taking a few fish out of the deeper holes.  Those fishing below the Belleville Dam caught a couple walleye.    

Detroit River:  Ice floes have pretty much put a halt to anglers going out in boats.

Oakland County:  Anglers on Cass Lake and Union Lake are advised to use extreme caution especially after the rain and warm temperatures.  Ice thickness will vary from one spot to the next and it may be best to stay in shallow waters.  Those that had been fishing caught a decent number of panfish on wax worms in six to 12 feet.  Those targeting walleye and pike had the best action right before dark when using glow lures and minnows.  

Lake St. Clair:  Multiple vehicles went through the ice at Fairhaven.  With the rain and warm temperatures, all the fishable lake ice is pretty much gone.  The canals and marinas will be questionable.  Proceed with extreme caution as ice conditions can change dramatically in a short distance.  The boat ramps at the Harley Ensign Launch are ice free so anglers could launch a boat.  

Saginaw Bay:  Most of the ice blew out last week, leaving only shore ice. The only fishable spots left were near Standish and Pinconning; the Pine River/Palmer Road area and off Pinconning Park and Newman Road.  EXTREME CAUTION must be used and travel by ATV is not advised!  Anglers did get some perch from those areas however warm temperatures continue to eat away at the ice.  There may still be some fishing opportunities for perch off Vanderbilt Park near Quanicassee but strictly in shallow water only. 

Saginaw River:  The ice was no longer safe but there was still too much in the marinas to launch a boat.  

Tittabawassee River:  It was possible to launch boats from the ramp at Gordonville Road south of Midland.  There is open water upstream to the Dow Dam and downstream as far as Freeland.  Boat and shore anglers have been catching walleye on jigs and twister tails or jigs with minnows.  A couple steelhead were also caught. 


Back to Top

Southwest Lower Peninsula

Even though temperatures are dropping at night, warm temperatures during the day coupled with rain are not helping ice conditions.  Constant thawing and refreezing are producing honeycomb ice which is not safe.  Anglers need to use extreme caution.     

St. Joseph River:  Anglers are doing well for steelhead downstream of the Berrien Springs Dam.  Walleye were caught further upstream.  

Kalamazoo River:  More anglers were out with the warmer weather.  Those fishing spawn, crank baits, or wax worms were taking steelhead below the Allegan Dam.       

Grand River at Grand Rapids:  Anglers will need to pay close attention to fluctuating water levels caused by rain, run-off and moving ice.  Steelhead are still being caught up near the 6th Street Dam.  Anglers are using spawn bags and crank baits.  Look for panfish in the backwaters.  Some limit catches were reported in the bayous.  

Grand River at Lansing:  Was quiet for the most part.  A few walleye were caught near the North Lansing Dam.  Try shiners under a bobber or tight lining.  

Muskegon River:  The fish are there and those targeting steelhead are finding fish throughout the river including near Croton.  With water levels up a bit, most fish were caught in areas where the water was slower.  


Back to Top


Northeast Lower Peninsula

Black Lake:  The 2016 lake sturgeon fishing and spearing season will begin at 8 a.m. on Saturday, February 6.  All anglers must register with the DNR to participate and must also possess a lake sturgeon tag which can be obtained for free at any license vendor. 

Grand Lake:  Was producing walleye and perch.  No large numbers but the fish were good size.    

Long Lake:  Anglers were catching walleye and perch. 

Hubbard Lake:  Walleye and perch were starting to bite in 50 to 55 feet.  Anglers using tip-ups with blues near the bottom had better success.  


Van Etten Lake:  Was producing a large number of small perch.    


Higgins Lake:  Still has ice fishing however anglers should still be careful and drill their way out as ice thickness varies in some areas.  Lake trout fishing has been very good in 85 to 110 feet when using greys on tip-ups or jigging.  Swedish pimples and big spoons also caught fish.  Good perch fishing in 40 to 60 feet.  Try the area near the church camp.  Trout and pike were caught off the south end.   

Houghton Lake:  Ice fishing continues.  Anglers should avoid the areas near inlets and outlets and use caution near the pressure cracks.  Bluegill, crappie and perch have been caught off Saunders Point near the Cut River.  Those using tip-ups caught some big pike measuring 30+ inches.  

Lake St. Helen:  Was producing pike and panfish.   

Tawas:  Most of the ice blew out leaving only shore ice. The only fishable spots left were the north end of Tawas Bay in the “armpit” and west of Jerry’s Marina but again, extreme caution needs to be used.   


Back to Top

Northwest Lower Peninsula

River fishing remains consistent, although water levels will be rising due to significant melt and rainfall.   

Betsie River:  Has steelhead fishing.   

Green Lake:  Smelt fishing has been poor.  Numbers are low and the fish are small.         

Lake Cadillac:  Has had a good number of anglers fishing mostly for crappies and northern pike.  Tip-ups with large minnows or spearing have done well for pike.   

Lake Mitchell:  Ice anglers continue to do well for crappie and the bluegill bite did pick up some.  Anglers are using minnows, spikes and wax worms.  No word on walleye.  Pike are still being caught.  

Portage Lake:  Some decent catches of perch and bluegill were reported.      

Manistee River:  Has steelhead fishing and those heading out have caught some nice fish throughout the river. 

Hamlin Lake:  Anglers are taking bluegills, perch and some walleyes.  Those seeking pike are spearing or using tip-ups with sucker minnows.     


Back to Top

Upper Peninsula

Lake Gogebic:  Had good walleye fishing with some limit catches reported.  Some jumbo perch were also caught.    

Menominee River:  The 6th Street Slip was the hot spot for walleye due in part to the lack of ice by the Hattie Street Dam.  Anglers are jigging with a variety of small spoons and jigs tipped with minnows.  Those fishing the open water near the dam have caught a few rainbow and brown trout when casting small spoons or rapalas.    

Little Bay De Noc:  Warmer temperatures were creating a few hazards throughout the Bay especially the southern waters were the ice was not that thick.  Anglers reported minor problems crossing Butler Island in a few areas.  Anglers were fishing north of Gladstone Bay.  Fair walleye catches reported south of the Escanaba River and out from the Power plant in 25 to 35 when jigging raps or sucker minnows on tip-ups.  Use caution in this area which is known for dangerous ice conditions. Fair catches reported from the Center Reef south to the Second Reef in 20 to 35 feet when using tip-ups with sucker minnows.  The number of perch caught has not been high but the fish are averaging eight to 16 inches.  The best areas were between the Second and Third Reefs with minnows or spikes in 17 feet and off the Second reef in 23 to 30 feet.  The head of the Bay reported catches in 10 to 20 feet.  The Escanaba Yacht Harbor had good catches but many were small.  Whitefish anglers started fishing off Sand Point but the ice conditions worsened so no one was fishing.  A few whitefish were caught on minnows in Gladstone in 27 to 35 feet.  The northern pike action was good off the mouth of the Day’s River and the Second and Third Reefs but many were undersize.  Most were using tip-ups with sucker minnows in 14 to 30 feet. 

Munising:  Ice conditions in the bay varied and caution needs to be used.  There may also be more open water after the strong winds.  Most anglers were targeting whitefish or splake.  The whitefish are running small.  The keepers were between 12 and 14 inches.  Catch rates for splake were slow and most of the fish were sublegal.  Most are using a single egg but a few were jigging fatheads in 50 to 60 feet.  The ice off Powell Point had areas of open water and was questionable.  The area near the city docks is limited due to tugboats that have been operating on a daily basis. Off the Anna River access, anglers were fishing in about 60 feet and reporting fish within one or two feet from the bottom.  Most were small whitefish and splake.  The area off Sand Point was not safe as there was open water within 100 to 200 feet offshore.    

Indian Lake:  In Schoolcraft County was slow for perch and walleye but a fair number of brown trout were caught.    

Big Manistique Lake:  Was producing good catches of walleye and large perch.  

Brevoort Lake:  Was producing some northern pike and a few walleye.  Water depths vary but most were in 12 to 15 feet.  Minnows worked best.  Anglers still need to use caution.    

Munuscong Bay: Was slow for walleye except for the area around Grassy Island.  Perch are pretty much scattered throughout.  The ice east of Roach Point was still “iffy” so use caution when traveling on the ice. 

Cedarville and Hessel:  Les Cheneaux and Hessel Bay were good for perch with some nice catches reported.  A few splake were also caught.  Muskie Bay was slow for perch.  Government Bay was very good for pike.  Anglers are still encouraged to use caution on the ice. 


Back to Top

Fishing Tip: Fishing for walleye, northern pike and panfish this time of year

Although many bodies of water aren’t producing the type of ice many winter anglers would like to see there are still numerous tactics they can implement to experience great walleye, northern pike and panfish fishing when they do get out there. 


When fishing for walleye, one thing to think about is to look for the right areas within a lake where you can find decent sized fish. Suggested locations include turns, big changes in depth, humps or other places walleyes like to sit tight. Also remember the critical periods of time when walleye are best fished: early and late in the day. 


When fishing for northern pike, something to remember is that most of these fish are hiding in weedy areas where they can take cover, yet still find ample food sources. Often times these spots will consist of bays with access to deep water. 


And lastly, when fishing for various panfish, it’s important to note that these species typically live just about anywhere so you should work the entire water column when you head out. For those in shallow water, they’ll typically feed for short periods of time in the very early morning and late in the day. 


Back to Top

The Weekly Fishing Report is intended to give anglers an idea of what is going on around the state. Updates come from DNR Fisheries seasonal and field staff, and DNR Conservation Officers. With more than 11,000 inland lakes, the Great Lakes and thousands of miles of rivers and streams, not all locations can be listed. However, it is safe to say if a species is being caught in some waters in the area, they are likely being caught in all waters in that section of the state that have that species.
DNR facebook page DNR on Twitter DNR on YouTube DNR on Pinterest DNR on Instagram DNR email updates