Anglers facing various challenges this week

BIG RAPIDS — The Department of Natural Resources points out that fishermen are seeing ice fishing action, but those in the southern half of the Lower Peninsula have to use extreme caution after recent rain and warm temperatures.

The DNR adds that water levels on the rivers are on the rise after the snowmelt and rain. Ice jams on the rivers could result in substantial fluctuations in water levels. Anglers will need to use extreme caution later this week as temperatures rise.

“You have to be careful on the ice now,” Craig Walters of The Eyes Have It in LeRoy, said. “About Rose and everywhere, including Center Lake, they’re getting something, bluegills and perch.”

The DNR reports that Lake Cadillac is producing pike for those using tip-ups with suckers while the bluegill and crappie bite improved with the warmer weather. Active ice fisherman Jerry Mondrella, of Big Rapids, has been facing some challenges while fishing at spots like Hillview Lake

“I’m not doing real good,” he said. “Every time I go out, I’ll get a dozen or so (bluegills) in maybe an hour and a half or two hours, nothing to brag about. I get enough for a meal for the two of us.”

Mondrella also has been out to Burgess Lake.

“I went out there one day last weekend and I never caught a fish,” he said.

At Lake Mitchell, ice fishermen continue to target the waters on the west end including Big Cove and Small Cove for bluegills and crappie. Those spearing pike have taken some fish at the south end, the DNR said, while adding anglers are taking pike and walleye on tip-ups at Lake Missaukee.

In northwest Michigan, “they’re getting perch at Portage Lake,” Bob Lancaster, of Tangled Tackle Co. of Manistee, said. “At Manistee Lake, they’re getting some steelhead accidentally looking for panfish and there’s pike at Penny Park or steelhead. The perch are in deeper water”

“We’re supposed to get weather in the 40s,” Cliff Buell, of Loop Outfitters in Wellston, said. “It should be pretty good. Steelhead are fishing good. Trout too. There’s a whole bunch of stuff going.”

“On Portage Lake, they’re doing good on jumbo perch and pike,” Dewey Buchner, of Don’s Sporting goods, said. “At night they’re getting a few walleye. At Manistee, they’re slow on pike. They’re getting a few perch around the buoys at Penny Park. At Hamlin, it’s slow down a little bit. They’re getting a few steelhead in the river.”

Dan Osborn, of Osborn’s Sports shop of Bear Lake, confirmed the heavy activity at Portage Lake. “They’re catching perch all over,” he said. “They’re getting smelt at Green Lake.”