Anglers need to exercise caution

LEROY — The Michigan Department of Resources reports those looking to do some ice fishing will need to head north but will still need to use some caution as even some of these lakes reported ice that was not consistent.

“People are still fishing,” Craig Walters, of The Eyes Have It in Leroy, said. “Rose Lake is probably the best. They’re catching perch, pike too.”

But locally, anglers need to be careful.

Around the edges, the ice is looking pretty unsafe,” Dustin Hammer, of Frank’s Sporting Goods in Morley, said. “Once you get on you’re fine. It’s been pretty up and down. It’s definitely bad around the edge. There’s plenty of ice at Morley Pond. It’s just a matter of getting on.”

“It’s been very good this week,” Dave Barkman, of DLoop Outfitters in Wellston, said. “Nick Homan, one of our guides, has been out almost every single day. On the Big Manistee, it’s pretty much steelhead fishing with egg patterns and bobbers. There’s fresh fish showing up from the lake every day. It’s been the best week we’ve had in quite awhile.”

In northwest Michigan, with the January thaw, steelhead fishing should be good this week and it’s suggested by the DNR for anglers to try the Manistee, Betsie, and Pere Marquette rivers.

“We’ve had a January thaw which has helped the river steelhead anglers out,” Ron Eckerson, of Pappy’s in Wellston, said. “Hopefully, we’re going to get a new push of fish. The warmer weather has settled the snow on the ice. Most places have reasonably stable ice. Portage Lake has been productive.”

The Little Manistee River is closed to fishing until April 1.  

In Benzie County, the DNR reports ice was thicker but not consistent and anglers need to still use caution.  There’s been perch and panfish were caught on Platte and Upper Herring Lakes.

“The perch action at Crystal has been OK,” fishing observer Amanda Rommell of Frankfort said. “That’s pretty much all that’s going on at the moment.”

Anglers were producing perch and walleye at Portage Lake, the DNR said.

“On Portage Lake, they’re getting some walleyes,” Dewey Buchner, of Don’s Sporting Goods in Manistee, said. “Manistee Lake is still slow on pike. They’re getting a few big perch. Hamlin is getting some bluegills and perch. The river is putting out some big steelhead.”

Lake Cadillac is giving up catches of bluegill and crappie but some sorting is required and there are reports of good pike catches on tip-ups and even a few walleye. The DNR adds that there are crappies and bluegills at Lake Mitchell and anglers should check out the coves. Anglers are catching tip-ups on pike and walleye.

Lake Missaukee has been the scene for pike, perch and other panfish along with a few walleye were taken after dark.   

Anglers were getting catches of panfish and a few pike on tip-ups at Hamlin Lake, the DNR said.

Numerous perch are being caught at Pentwater Lake, the DNR said, but most were small.