Anglers need to be cautious of ice surfaces
BALDWIN — The DNR cautions that with temperatures well above normal by last weekend and into this week, anglers will need to be very careful and watch for changing and deteriorating ice conditions.
“It’s pretty unsafe to go on the ice,” active angler Tyler Clugston, of Baldwin, said. “Some might go on there if there’s a couple of inches of ice. But not me.”
Active fisherman Jeff Greene of Rodney agrees.
“It went out on Monday and I saw eight inches on Cranberry Lake,” Greene said. “There ere eight inches in the middle. You have to be careful to go on there. But with Tuesday and Wednesday, this may be the last of ice fishing. On Sunday, we had eight inches. But I just caught little fish.”
There were some reports last weekend of fishing by Davis Bridge in Mecosta County. But by now, it’s expected the ice will unsafe.
“February fishing usually slows down a bit,” Greg Clark, of Schafer’s Bait & Sporting Goods of Weidman, said.
Ice fishing especially in the southern half of the Lower Peninsula may be done for this year, the DNR said, but even if there is no fishable ice in certain parts of the state this weekend, anglers may find some open water fishing.
“Steelhead fishing is really picking up this week,” Chelsea Pete, of DLoop Outfitters in Wellston, said. “With the warm temps, we’ve had a better bite. Water might be rising because of the melting snow. We look forward to seeing fish for brown trout by the dam. Indicator fishing is still work.”
The DNR reports that Portage Lake still had lots of ice fishing going on, but the west end of the lake had open water and fishermen have caught a large number of large perch.
“There’s still fishing at Portage Lake and Onekama,” Bud Fitzgerald, of Tangle Tackle Co., said. “Both of those will probably be gone by Tuesday. They were getting some fish by Crystal Lake, too. (The ice) is disappearing quickly. The last time I talked with anyone at Portage, they still had 10 1/2 inches. It will take awhile for it to disappear. But it melts around the shore first, and it allows the ice to move around.
Ice fishing continues at Lake Cadillac and those targeting panfish were taking bluegills, crappie and some perch. The walleye bite was hit-or-miss but anglers have caught some nice fish.
“The Big Manistee is fishing well for steelhead,” Rob Eckerson, of Pappy’s Bait Shop in Wellston, said. “We’re still kind of in the winter mode as opposed to the spring, that everyone is anticipating. It’s fishing well. Spawn has been a good choice. People are fishing lures that are good choices. The ice has been relatively safe most places.
The DNR adds that at Lake Mitchell, pike fishing has been good and the fish are still feeding. Some are using tip-ups while others are spearing. It’s been fair to good panfish action.
Anglers are still ice fishing and taking pike and some panfish and a few walleye are Lake Missaukee.
“It’s been a good winter for steelheads and browns on the river,” Gordon Park, of Andy’s Tackle Box, said. “December and the first part of January was awesome. February is always a hit and miss thing. The warm weather could start them early.’
It’s free fishing weekend Saturday and Sunday. All fishing license fees will be waived.