Anglers ready for transition in seasons
BALDWIN — The Michigan Department of Natural Resources reports ice fishing is pretty much limited, if it exists at all, to the northern Lower Peninsula and the Upper Peninsula.
The piers along Lake Michigan are ice covered and dangerous, the DNR added.
The DNR has issued a reminder as of Wednesday, April 1, all anglers 17 years of age and older were required to have a 2015 fishing license.
In northwest Michigan, the DNR reports steelhead fishing remains slow due to cold temperatures and a nice warm rain would really get the fish moving. The DNR notes there is no pier fishing or trolling on Lake Michigan yet because of abundant ice in the area.
“Fishing is getting better every day,” said Josh Mead, of the Pere Marquette River Lodge. “There’s fresh fish, not a whole bunch, but there’s a few moving in. The water levels are real good for fishing right now. Temps are down a little bit with the melt off and current rain. Things are a little cold. Fishing overall is pretty good. It’s going to get better from here and out. I tell everybody ‘it’s game on.’”
The number of anglers out also is increasing, especially on weekends, Mead indicated. At the Pere Marquette River, more anglers are heading out as the steelhead and brown trout bite continue to improve, the DNR said.
“The river has more fish,” Doug Loomis of Ed’s Spots Shop said. “(One morning last week), the water temperature was 39 degrees, normal water level. That reading was five degrees lower than it was three days ago.”
The Betsie River is producing the occasional steelhead, the DNR reported, adding that at lakes Cadillac and Mitchell, the ice is holding and anglers were still heading out. Most are catching crappie right under the ice in the early morning and evening. The DNR suggests anglers try minnows, wax worms and spikes.
“It’s pretty much steelhead fishing on the river,” said Jay Frank, of Baldwin Bait and Tackle. “It’s been going decent. It’s not fantastic yet. People are hooking fish pretty much every stretch of the river. If you’re good at what you do, you should have no trouble hooking fish. There are fish there to be caught.”
At the Manistee River, anglers are catching steelhead, but it needs to get warmer, the DNR said. Once the ice is gone from Tippy Dam Pond and there’s some warm rain, the fish will be more active, the DNR said, adding that a good number of brown trout were caught, but most were too small.
“It’s not good ice,” Greg Nichols Sr. of Baldwin said on Saturday. “There’s some places where it’s 15 inches deep. At others, it’s honeycombed. You don’t know what it’s going to do. I kind of quit.”
All shanties were required to be off the ice by March 15.
“Idlewild Lake is good for a few fish,” he said. “We’ve caught some pike and we’ve caught some gills. No perch.”