BIG RAPIDS -- Fishing in northern Michigan remains profitable for most ice anglers although an expected warm-up this weekend could make it more challenging in upcoming days.

Bill Eising said he and Dave Mondrella, both area residents, fished one morning during midweek and they got their limits of panfish.

Eising lives in the Evart-Hersey area.

"We're fishing lakes around here, and I also fish in Mitchell Cadillac and we were up at Portage on Monday and fished that," Eising said. "We had some nice fishing, small perch, but the numbers aren't there yet.

"The last three weeks, the oxygen level started getting worse. The more it warms up, the more water you start getting in the hole. Normally your best bite is your first ice and then as the ice is getting depleted is the best."

Weather conditions continue to have an impact.

"The lack of oxygen, the fishing don't stay as active," Eising said. "At Haymarsh when the big water beetles start hatching, the bluegills are done. Everything is going to feed on those. It's like it shuts down until all the ice is getting ready to go but it picks up again when the oxygen picks up and they get real active again.

"They're still catching fish and you're going to look for them more. The numbers have gone now. The better fishermen will be their limits. There's nice fish but they don't keep the better ones."

Anglers using plastic bait especially seem to enjoy success, Eising added.