Weekly Fishing Report: March 3, 2021

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Weekly Fishing Report - March 3, 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.

Ice fishing in the southern half of the Lower Peninsula is pretty much done for the season.  Ice can still be found in the Northern Lower Peninsula and the Upper Peninsula. However, anglers will still need to be cautious and pay close attention to deteriorating ice conditions. 

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

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Southeast Lower Peninsula

Detroit River:  Has some ice flow coming down.  No boats were out. 

Lake St. Clair: Ice on the main lake has been compromised by the run-off and warm conditions. There have been many instances of anglers falling through the ice this week. Even places with relatively thick ice have weak areas and pockets of open water. Anglers should no longer be on the ice.

St. Clair River: Ice flows are occurring periodically. These are difficult to predict and conditions can change rapidly. Some walleye and salmon are starting to be caught by shore anglers in the upper river.

Port Sanilac: Has open water in the marina.    

Saginaw Bay: Ice conditions are starting to vary. Anglers are reporting that the top portion of the ice is getting soft and at least two machines have gone through recently. With warmer weather and windy conditions this week, the ice will quickly become questionable. Open water can be seen in area ditches and cuts as well as a few spots on the Quanicassee River.  Big yellow perch were caught, but no walleye. Anglers were fishing just north of Pinconning near the Bay/Arenac County line in 6 to 9 feet. The average size was 10-12” and some limits were reported. On the east side, limits of perch were taken at Vanderbilt Park in 4 to 8 feet however ice conditions were rapidly deteriorating. Fishing was better between Sebewaing and Bay Port with some perch caught though anglers were sorting the small fish. Wildfowl Bay had lots of perch, but many were small.

Saginaw River: Catch rates have been poor.  Ice conditions are deteriorating rapidly and hardly anyone is fishing upstream of the mouth.  A few anglers were spotted at the mouth but ice conditions there are also deteriorating.

Tittabawassee River: The Caldwell launch has started to open-up. A few anglers were out but had no success. Areas downstream were still ice covered however the City of Midland has put up two small signs saying the launch is closed due to upstream work on the dam. 

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Southwest Lower Peninsula

Ice fishing on the inland lakes is pretty much done for the season in this region.  Warmer weather over the next several days may push steelhead upstream in the local rivers. 

St. Joseph River: The Fish Cam at the Berrien Springs ladder is up and running and can be viewed at:  https://paddleandpole.com/berrien-springs-fish-cam/. The fish ladders have been cleaned out and are ready for the spring run. A good number of steelhead were seen moving through the Berrien Springs fish ladder. The fish were a mix of all sizes with the majority darker fish that have been in the river over the winter. Water temperatures reached 40 degrees. 

Kalamazoo River: Look for more steelhead to be moving upstream. 

Grand Haven: Pier anglers were not able to get out due to ice flow in the area. 

Grand River near Grand Rapids: Steelhead were caught at the 6th Street Dam by those using spawn and wax worms. A couple walleye were also caught.  Steelhead were caught near the mouth of the Rogue River. 

Grand River near Lansing: The Grand Ledge, Portland and Webber Dam fish ladders have been cleaned out and are now back open for the spring steelhead run. A few pike and walleye were caught in Old Town near the Brenke Ladder. Pike were hitting golden shiners and the walleye were hitting swim baits and crank baits. 

Muskegon Lake: Ice fishing continues however anglers need to avoid the shipping lane in the center of the lake as it is not possible to go from one end to the other.  Anglers should also stay away from the mouth of the river where quite a few anglers have gone through the ice. Perch were caught off the Sand Docks though anglers were sorting through a lot of small ones. The better pike fishing was in the South Bay south of Fisherman’s Landing. 

Muskegon River: Steelhead fishing improved with the warmer weather. Anglers are drifting spawn or fly fishing. A couple walleye were also caught.     

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Northeast Lower Peninsula

Rogers City: The marina still had ice but no safe ice. 

Alpena: The big lake is open however the Thunder Bay River still had ice.    

Higgins Lake: The ice is piled up at the west shore launch and at the North State Park. Perch anglers are using blues instead of perch minnows to avoid the small ones.  Fish were caught as deep as 40 to 60 feet or as shallow as 10 to 15 feet when sight fishing.  The serious anglers are getting smelt.  The rainbow trout action was fair between Big Creek and the Conference Center.  The lake trout bite was starting to pick back up and a few more pike were caught. 

Houghton Lake: The ice is holding though anglers need to be aware of the large pressure crack off Long Point as well as on the north end off Flint Road where there is open water.  The bite has been hit-or-miss. A few nice perch were caught as well as a couple nice walleye that were found at all depths. 

Tawas: There is now open water from Tawas Point to the south.  A few boats trolling body baits down near Alabaster in 18 to 22 feet caught a couple walleye.  Ice fishing was slow with only a couple walleye and lake trout taken out near the artificial reef when using spoons or jigs tipped with minnows in 20 to 22 feet.  A few perch were caught in 14 to 16 feet, but most were small.   

Au Gres: Lake trout, walleye and whitefish were caught near Pt. Au Gres in 10 to 20 feet on spoons and jigs with minnows.  North of the breakwall, lake trout and whitefish were hitting in 8 to 15 feet. There were so many anglers down in the Pine River / Palmer Road area that it is even hard to find a place to park. The perch action was spotty, but a few limit catches were taken from Hale Road south to Sagatoo Road in 8 to 12 feet when using jack hooks and minnows.

Au Gres River: Small walleye and the occasional keeper were caught in 8 to 10 feet when using jigs tipped with minnows. 

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Northwest Lower Peninsula

Petoskey: Had pretty much open water in the harbor and on the big lake. 

Charlevoix: The channel leading out to the big lake was pretty much ice free though anglers may encounter occasional floating ice. 

Lake Charlevoix: The ice was still holding, and anglers were out targeting Cisco.  A warm-up next week will make conditions much more difficult.

Traverse City: Both the East and the West Bay have open water however no boats were out. 

Manistee River: Starting to hear of a few more steelhead being caught as the weather warms. A few anglers were seen up near Tippy Dam.

Lakes Cadillac and Mitchell: Still had some ice fishing though anglers will need to use caution.  Look for pike and panfish in the shallows. 

Pere Marquette River: Those targeting steelhead are starting to catch a few more fish. Those using spawn or fly fishing found a few fish near the Twin Bridges.   

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Upper Peninsula

Ice conditions remain solid in the region due to colder temperatures.  Ice anglers are catching fish though success varied from day to day. Ice can be found on the Great Lakes though there are areas that are compromised due to wind and current. Use extreme caution near the edge of any ice pack. 

Keweenaw Bay: Anglers caught some whitefish that were on the small side.  Lake trout were caught but anglers had to move often to find them. Coho, splake, the occasional Menominee or brown trout were also caught. Those targeting smelt at night saw fish but very few were caught.  Burbot were caught during the day and at night. 

Marquette: The ice has blown out of both the Upper and Lower Harbors. Both the Carp and the Chocolay Rivers had steelhead anglers on the Type 3 waters.   

Little Bay De Noc: Ice conditions were holding though anglers will need to still use caution and avoid any pressure cracks. Most anglers are traveling on snowmobiles and ORV’s when targeting walleye and perch. No word on catch rates. 

Munising: The ice in Trout Bay had blown out and the ice beyond Williams Island is breaking up.  More anglers were out with the nice weather, but catch rates were poor. The whitefish bite slowed considerably. Only a few coho and splake were caught, but most anglers never got a hit. 

Cedarville and Hessel: Anglers off Cedarville were catching 8-11” perch when jigging minnows and wax worms in Musky Bay and Duck Bay.  Hessel Bay still had ice with a good deal of slush on top.  Catch rates were hit-or-miss. On the good days, 8-10” perch were caught on minnows or wax worms in 15 to 17 feet though anglers were sorting through a lot of fish under 7”.

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Fishing Tip: Buy your 2021 fishing license

Buy your fishing license for 2021 before your 2020 license expires on March 31. Make getting your fishing license even easier each year by signing up for auto-renewal to automatically renew your license before it expires.

Visit Michigan.gov/DNRLicenses to purchase your 2021 fishing license and for more information. 

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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.