Weekly Fishing Report: Feb. 24, 2021

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Weekly Fishing Report - Feb. 24, 2021

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

If you’re headed out fishing, please do your part to keep yourself and others safe by following COVID-19 public health and safety guidelines. Go fishing only if you're feeling well. Practice proper social distancing (at least 6 feet away from people who don’t live in your household) and keep a face covering handy for when social distancing cannot be maintained. Frequently wash your hands with soap and warm water, or use hand sanitizer.

2021 fishing licenses will go on sale starting Monday, March 1. This gives anglers one month to purchase their new license, which is required by April 1 of each year. Anglers in the southern half of the Lower Peninsula are reminded that ice shanties must be removed by midnight on March 1 or earlier if ice conditions become unsafe.

All anglers 17 years of age and older are required to have a fishing license.

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Southeast Lower Peninsula

Lake Erie: Walleye fishing was heating up in Brest Bay. Some anglers were reaching 18 feet of water; however, caution needs to be used as warm weather this week will make the ice unpredictable.   

Lake St. Clair: Ice conditions are rapidly changing as warm temperatures and strong winds are opening some areas up on the main lake and creating dangerous conditions.  Caution should be used at the Fairhaven launch as the ice was compromised from all the heavy vehicle traffic. Anglers should avoid the Clinton River due to current and warm water runoff. Catch rates on the lake were hit or miss. Some reported good catches of yellow perch at Selfridge and the north end of the lake. 

Saginaw Bay: Lots of anglers have been out, but catch rates were slow. There is a large pressure crack roughly a mile to a mile and a half offshore that runs from the state park up past Linwood toward Pinconning. The crack has been a trouble spot for those trying to cross it, especially for quads, because of the pockets of open water. Walleye were caught near Buoy #1 in 30 feet, at the Spark Plug in 20 to 30 feet and near the Black Hole in 26 feet. Perch were found off the end of Linwood Road in 4 feet, near the range light at the mouth of the Saginaw River and up to the Pine River area when using perch rigs with minnows. Reports vary day to day, but those fishing shallow and staying away from the crowds seem to do better. On the east side, perch fishing activity was limited at Vanderbilt Park and from Sebewaing to Bay Port. Fish were caught in Wildfowl Bay, but most were small. Walleye anglers were going out anywhere from 3 to 15 miles and fishing in 17 to 28 feet. Success was limited off Finn Road, where anglers were going out 12 miles. Fish were marked out by the shipping channel, but they did not want to bite.    

Saginaw River: With the warmup this week, ice conditions could change, so anglers should carry a spud to check the ice. Walleye anglers are getting lots of undersize fish but not a lot of keepers. Anglers are fishing the entire system from Saginaw to the mouth in Bay City. Some are fishing multiple access points in one day as they try to find fish that are more active. Most are using jigging raps, lead jigs, small spoons or a single hook with minnows just off the bottom.  

Edenville Dam: Due to work on the dam, officials will be bringing down water levels behind the structure. As the water level drops and its velocity increases, the ice will become unstable and could break apart, creating dangerous conditions. The receding water will also expose unstable bottomlands, steep channel slopes, previously unseen debris, tree stumps or other hazards. The area of unsafe ice conditions is between Dale Road and the remaining portion of the dam west of M-30. The public is warned to stay off the ice and the newly exposed bottomlands until further notice. 

Tittabawassee River: Had ice in most areas, but there has been no fishing effort.  Caution should be taken above the breached section of the dam due to a water drawdown behind the Edenville Dam, which could lead to shifting and unstable ice both here and on the Tobacco River. 

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Southwest Lower Peninsula

Lakes in the region have a lot of slush on top due to heavy snow. Some had 8 inches or more. Fishing for bluegills and crappie was slow by day but picked up at dusk and dawn. Wax worms and spikes are doing the trick.

Kalamazoo County: Anglers were catching smelt, pike and a small number of panfish on Gull Lake. Most success was coming in the shallow coves for panfish and deeper holes for pike. 

Lake Lansing: Anglers were getting crappie when bouncing jigs off the bottom in 10 feet or more with spikes and wax worms. 

Clinton County: Some bluegills were caught on Muskrat Lake. A few small pike were taken on tip-ups on Round Lake.

Kent County: The bite had slowed on the inland lakes. A few panfish were still being caught, but anglers were working harder to get them. Bluegills were caught on Murray Lake when using spikes and wax worms. 

Ottawa County: Anglers were catching perch on Lake Macatawa near the Boatworks Restaurant. Catch rates were hit or miss depending on the day. 

Muskegon Lake: A few pike and perch were caught in Snug Harbor. Access was at the park. 

Muskegon River: Some anglers had success landing walleye from Big Bend Park. 

White Lake: Perch, bluegill and pike have been caught. The ice thickness was not consistent in a few of the deep areas. Spearing seems to yield more pike than tip-ups.  Anglers are accessing on both the north and the south side. 

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Northeast Lower Peninsula

Cheboygan County: Burbot fishing was hot on Burt Lake, as the fish were starting to bite more aggressively in the evening hours. Anglers caught decent bluegills on Wildwood Lake, and some perch were taken on Long Lake. 

Montmorency County: Both East and West Twin Lake had light fishing activity. Some perch were caught, but no walleye to report. McCormick Lake was producing some trout. Lake Fifteen had little activity. Clear Lake was producing perch, but the action slowed. Anglers were getting a few splake. 

Alcona County: Hubbard Lake had slow walleye and perch activity. Trask Lake had pike and crappie activity. 

Oscoda County: Pike are still the main catch on Mio Pond when jigging and using tip-ups. Bluegills were caught on Perry Lakes.    

Higgins Lake: Was producing catches of smelt and some nice perch. Smelt fishing was fair at night. Lake trout were found in 80 to 100 feet. Large pike were caught. 

Houghton Lake: The walleye bite was starting to pick up in 12 feet or so when using glow jigs. Small perch and other panfish were hitting late afternoon and again about 3 in the morning. 

Tawas: Small perch were caught near Access Road when using minnows and wax worms in 10 to 15 feet. Those spearing pike were in 14 to 15 feet. A few anglers caught lake trout and walleye out near the artificial reef in 15 to 20 feet with spoons and jigs tipped with minnows. 

Au Gres: Walleye, whitefish and lake trout were caught near Pt. Au Gres by those heading off Booth Road and Santiago Road and using spoons, tip-ups and jigs in 10 to 20 feet. Perch fishing was hit or miss, with the better catch rates during the week between Hale Road and Sagatoo Road when using jack hooks with minnows in 10 to 15 feet. Inside Eagle Bay Marina, a few pike were taken on tip-ups. Small bluegills, crappie and a few perch were taken on minnows and wax worms. Pike fishing was slow at Northport Marina. Perch and a couple walleye were caught on the south side of the breakwall when using a jig tipped with a minnow in 10 to 15 feet. A couple pike were speared as well.

Au Gres River: Anglers caught perch and a couple walleye.   

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Northwest Lower Peninsula

Emmet County: Evenings are producing fair numbers of walleye on Crooked and Pickerel lakes. Crooked Lake had good pike and perch fishing.

Charlevoix County: Cisco fishing was active on Lake Charlevoix but has since slowed.  The evening bite for walleye was good on Walloon Lake. Inland lakes in the area have slush on top of the ice, which is making travel more difficult for quads and other vehicles.    

Grand Traverse County: Anglers caught small panfish on Arbutus Lake. 

Leelanau County: Some limits of walleye were taken on South Lake Leelanau.

Benzie County: Ice anglers were out on Crystal Lake and other large lakes in the area. 

Manistee County: Portage Lake, Manistee Lake, Bear Lake and surrounding lakes had steady fishing.

Lakes Cadillac and Mitchell: Both lakes had a little more fishing pressure, but no reports have come in. Catch rates should improve this week. 

Pere Marquette River: A few more anglers were out targeting steelhead with the warmer weather. Reports came in that the lower river was froze over. 

Oceana County: A couple steelhead were taken in the Pentwater River. Walleye fishing was slow to nonexistent on Silver Lake. Perch were caught on Pentwater Lake, but most were small. Steelhead were caught on the east end of lake near Long Bridge.

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Upper Peninsula

Keweenaw Bay: Anglers caught lake trout, splake, coho, brown trout, whitefish and herring. Most of the whitefish were small. Those targeting smelt and burbot were fishing after dark, but no catches were reported. A couple burbot were caught during the day.  With warmer weather this week, be sure to use caution when heading out on the ice. 

Little Bay de Noc: Walleye were caught along the drop-off near Escanaba. Anglers are using tip-ups with sucker minnows, jigs and raps. No word on perch. 

Munising: Fishing pressure was down, as catch rates were very slow with few fish being caught. Most angler trips resulted in few bites and no fish. Ice conditions were stable, but caution still needs to be used. 

Luce County: Anglers on Frenchman’s Lake and Trout Lake were getting walleye, some perch and other panfish.

Munuscong Bay: Is producing some walleye out near the channel.

Cedarville and Hessel: Those fishing throughout the Les Cheneaux Islands were getting some perch. 

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Fishing Tip: Stay safe when ice fishing in early spring

Winter is winding down, but there’s still time to go ice fishing. Remember, there are a few important safety precautions to take if you plan to do so:

  1. Toward the end of the season, ice becomes rotten and soft. Although ice may still be more than a foot thick, it might not be strong enough to hold someone safely.
  2. Don’t forget to keep carrying the appropriate safety items, such as ice picks and a throw rope. And remember to wear a personal flotation device when heading out.
  3. Continue to use the buddy system and have someone with you to help if you fall through the ice.
  4. Carry a fully charged cell phone in a waterproof plastic bag. Make sure it is easily accessible in case of an emergency.
  5. Pay attention to the weather. If it hasn’t been consistently cold or if there has been a lot of wind, you can’t guarantee there will be solid ice to head out on.

For more safety tips, visit Michigan.gov/IceSafety.

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This report is intended to give you an idea of what is going on around the state. Updates come from Fisheries staff and 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.