Ice fishing gaining momentum

Anglers anxious to test their skills

BIG RAPIDS – Ice fishing is starting to pick up in the local area with anglers reporting good success rates.

In Osceola County, “we have a bunch of fishermen out and about,” Brad Cox, of Buck’s Country Bait & Tackle Store in LeRoy said. “They’re out on McCoy Lake, Rose Lake, Wells Lake, Diamond and Sunrise for panfish, crappies, bluegills and pike. It’s about six inches of ice on all the lakes around here. About last week it kicked off.”

In Mecosta County, “It’s phenomenal right now,” Tom Vernon of Frank’s Sporting Goods in Morley, said. “Pretty much all the lakes that I know of from Cedar Springs north are fishable. We still recommend people use a spud to get themselves out there. But the bluegills are on a bite along with walleye and pike. Croton and Hardy Ponds are producing good numbers of walleye and perch.”  

In Manistee, “we’ve got good ice,” Dewey Buchner of Don’s Sporting Goods, in Manistee said. “Penny Park is on fire for perch and pike. There’s a lot of lake out there. And it’s always been  And it’s offering good fishing. Penny Park is doing good. They were getting limits of perch and pike, but it’s slowed down a little bit because of the people.”

“Things are going good,” Bud Fitzgerald Tangled Tackle Co. in Manistee, said. “We’re still getting fish in the river. Pretty much everyone is going on with this new Lutke bead tackle for steelhead on the river. It’s a new bead they came out with. I’m trying to get more of them all the time. We do have ice on Manistee Lake. They have ice on Portage. All is fishable pretty much four to six inches. We should be an ice fishing machine this weekend.”

“There’s some people fishing out towards Butterville on Pere Marquette Lake,”  a spokesman at Captain Chucks of Ludington said. “We don’t know how many fish they’re catching but they are catching some fish.”

Anglers are also catching fish at Hamlin, he said.

“There’s a little bit of ice fishing at the inland lake, but that’s about it,” a spokeswoman at Backcast Fly Shop in Benzonia said.