Ice fishing season comes to close

River fishing remains strong

Anglers are saying goodbye to the ice fishing season.

Anglers are saying goodbye to the ice fishing season.

File photo

BIG RAPIDS -- Ice fishing has ended but area fishermen are pursuing other challenges.

In Mecosta County, “there’s a bunch of perch by Davis Bridge,”  Vic Havens of Franks Sporting Goods in Morley said. “We’ve been selling a ton of wigglers and minnows to those guys. It depends on which inland lakes you’re at. Most of the lakes are locked up where you can’t get on the ice and you can’t get in a boat.

“Guys have been going steelhead fishing down in Lower Croton mostly and they’re using wax worms or beads,” Havens said. “By Davis Bridge, with the perch, guys were fishing off shore and out of their boats.”

There were reports of steelhead catches on the Muskegon, Pere Marquette, and Manistee rivers. This week’s weather should bring more steelhead in, the DNR said.

“We’ve got steelhead pushing up to Tippy Dam,” Rob Eckerson, of Pappy’s Bait Shop in Wellston said. “The dam has sucked fish out of Lake Michigan. It’s pretty much in full swing. The ice went out of Manistee Lake and they’re actually boat fishing it for perch. Minnows have been the solution for that.

“The other inland lakes have become unsafe. Our main thing has been perch out of Manistee Lake from your boat and either boat or bank fishing in the Big Manistee below Tippy Dam.

There were reports of some good catches of brown trout by trollers fishing off the port of Ludington, the DNR said.

“Right now, the river is pretty high and a little dirty,” Eric Budreau from Captain Chuck’s in Ludington said. “They’re getting a few steelhead in the Scottville area. The suckers started biting all over. We  just lost ice earlier this week. I haven’t heard anything about panfish. Everyone is pretty much fishing the rivers.”

At Saginaw Bay, the DNR reports a few anglers were catching some bluegill in 10 feet of water at the end of Pinconning Road. At Vanderbilt Park, a few limits of yellow perch were caught in 10 feet of water, the DNR said. Fishing was slow with light activity on the east side of Saginaw Bay. 

A few yellow perch were caught in the Sebewaing area with mostly small fish caught. There were numerous open pockets of water from Sebewaing and up into Wildfowl Bay.

The 2022 license year goes into effect on April 1. The DNR encourages anglers to check out this year's fishing guide for updates on regulations.

All anglers 17 years of age and older are required to have a fishing license. 

Fishing Tip: 

Courtesy of the Michigan DNR

After ice and snow cover melt on Michigan lakes early this spring, it may be more likely for people to discover dead fish or other aquatic animals. While such sights can be startling, the Department of Natural Resources reminds everyone that this is normal, since winter conditions can cause fish and other creatures such as turtles, frogs, toads and crayfish to die.

The public is welcome to report fish kills at; such reports are valuable to the DNR’s ability to manage the state’s aquatic resources. If you suspect a fish kill is due to non-natural causes, call the nearest DNR office or Michigan's Pollution Emergency Alert System at 800-292-4706.