Northeast Lower Peninsula

Burt Lake: Had a good deal of fishing activity for walleye and perch. Catch rates were moderate. 

Mullett Lake: Had a few anglers beginning to fish; however, caution needs to be used as there were several areas that were not safe. Catch rates were unknown. 

Presque Isle County: Grand and Long Lake were producing walleye and perch. 

Thunder Bay River: Had some shelf ice but no safe ice. 

Montmorency County: McCormick Lake had lots of activity, but low numbers of trout being caught. West Twin had few anglers, but East Twin had plenty of activity, with most catching perch and a few bass. 

Higgins Lake: Is iced over; however, there was still not much in the way of safe ice.  The ice had a layer of slush on top as well. Anglers would be wise to wait longer.   

Houghton Lake: Anglers should still use caution near the inlets, outlets and pressure cracks, which change daily. The ice was bad near Flint Road. Those fishing up on the north end were getting perch, crappie and pike with minnows or wigglers on a treble hook in 8 to 12 feet. The walleye bite was on and off for those using jigging raps with a minnow head or when dead sticking in 14 feet or less. Bluegills and perch were found in the weed beds.    

Lake St. Helen: Is producing crappie, bluegills and a few walleye.    

Tawas: There was very limited ice fishing just outside of Jerry’s Marina. A couple anglers were targeting pike, but no fish were caught. 

Tawas Lake: Did not have safe ice, and no one was fishing.    

Au Gres: Several ice anglers were seen at Northport Marina, which is just north of the boating access site. They were doing good on pike when using tip-ups. At Eagle Bay Marina, small perch, bluegill and crappie were caught when jigging minnows and wax worms. A few pike were taken on tip-ups. A few walleye were taken off Whites Beach. 

Au Gres River: Had several surf anglers targeting steelhead down near the Singing Bridge. Most were using spawn bags, but no fish were caught as the water was too muddy.

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Northwest Lower Peninsula

Emmet County: Fishing was slow on Crooked and Pickerel Lakes. Anglers were sorting through the small ones to get a few keepers.   

Thumb Lake: The ice was slowly getting better. There was a lot of slush and water on top that had since hardened up, creating a layer of crust. Anglers were catching a good number of perch when jigging a teardrop with minnows, wigglers, spikes and wax worms in 8 to 15 feet. Many were fishing off the beach access, but some were fishing off the boat launch and around the island. Smaller fish were caught, but most were able to harvest fish that were 7-9 inches. No word on splake, though anglers were fishing in 3 to 10 feet and jigging blues or perch minnows along the beach access or around the island. 

Lake Charlevoix: The main basin of the lake remains wide open with no ice. The South Arm was frozen over and had some anglers out fishing; however, ice thickness was unknown.   

Traverse City: Had very little to report. A couple steelhead were caught in the Boardman River.  

Crystal Lake: In Benzie County did not have much in the way of safe ice. 

Betsie River: Steelhead were caught on spawn and jigs. 

Lakes Cadillac and Mitchell: Crappie and a few perch were caught on Lake Cadillac.  Lake Mitchell was producing panfish near the coves. Walleye were found along the drop-offs.  

Manistee River: With the mild weather, steelhead fishing continues, with anglers reporting some decent catches. 

Osceola County: A few panfish were caught on both Center Lake and Sunrise Lake.  Ice conditions were questionable due to heavy slush on most lakes in the area. 

Mecosta County: Bluegills, crappie and small perch were caught on Lake Mecosta. Small bluegills and a few decent-size pike were taken on Jensen Lake. Those on Pretty Lake caught bluegill, crappie and even a few pike on tip-ups. Bluegill and perch were taken on Chippewa Lake. Ice on the Martiny Chain of lakes was spotty and not safe.



Fishing Tip: Targeting walleye? Wait until the sun goes down!

While many anglers pack up their gear and head off the ice after dusk settles in, some anglers will stick it out – especially if they’ve got a lighted shelter. This can be an ideal time to target walleye and to see some angling success.

Many anglers adopt a simple presentation when targeting walleye in the dark – they jig a spoon to catch the fishes’ attention and then offer them a setline with a minnow nearby. Focus on baits that glow to appeal to the walleye’s senses, and keep the minnows small to accommodate their slower appetites.

Provided by; Updates come from Fisheries staff and conservation officers.

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