Recent warmup should help area fishing

BIG RAPIDS -- The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) said the recent warm-up helped with the steelhead bite and more anglers were out. Boat anglers were also taking advantage of what could be some of the last open water fishing in certain areas of the Lower Peninsula.

Most were targeting walleye, pike, muskie and panfish, the DNR said adding calm winds allowed pier anglers to get out this week.

"It's not been too bad lately," Tanner Havens of Frank's Sporting Goods in Morley said. "They're still getting walleye in the river. They're getting perch by the Davis Bridge. They're fishing for steelhead blow Croton Dam."

In northwest Michigan, while the inland lakes were starting to freeze over, there is no safe ice to report, the DNR said. With light winds this week, pier anglers have been able to get out and target steelhead and whitefish, the DNR said, adding steelhead can still be found in the rivers.

Lakes Cadillac and Mitchell still had ice, but no safe ice, the DNR said. The lakes could very well open back up if the temperatures warm up.

"They're catching steelhead at Tippy Dam," Rob Eckerson of Pappys Bait Shop in Wellston said. "The lower river has been hit or miss. The river has been consistent. They had rain on Friday and we're hoping that will bring in new fish. Perch fishing and the inland lake thing has been slow."

Surface water temperatures were in the mid to high 40's, the DNR said, adding pier anglers should find some steelhead.

Steelhead in the Manistee River were in the deeper holes through the cold front, but the bite should pick up with the warmer temperatures this week and most were fishing below Tippy Dam, the DNR said.

"It's been a little slow," Bud Fitzgerald of Tangled Tackle Co., in Manistee said. The lower stretch of the big river is slow.

They're still fishing on the upper section. A lot of fishermen have switched to the Little Manistee River."

"There's hardly any ice," Dan Osborn of Osborn's Sport Shop in Bear Lake said. "They're catching some walleye on the Manistee River using minnows."

The Pere Marquette River continued to provide steelhead and the fish were bouncing back after the cold spell so the bite should be decent for the next week or so, the DNR said.

Fishing Tip: Where to find northern pike in Michigan

Courtesy of Michigan DNR

Most places in the state are seeing cold temperatures, but despite that fishing for northern pike will continue to pick up.

Pike are extremely popular during the ice fishing season but are readily available throughout much of the year.

There are many notable northern pike fisheries located throughout Michigan, including on Muskegon, Portage, Manistee, Michigan and Houghton lakes. But this species can be found in many other lakes and virtually all larger rivers in the state.

Please note there are many regulations for northern pike regarding minimum size and possession limit. Be sure to read up on this species in the current Michigan Fishing Guide.