Fishing Report: Are you ready for the ice?

December 13, 2013

The following fishing report comes from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

Are you getting anxious for thick enough ice to head out fishing? Consider using the following tips when targeting four species popular with anglers in the winter.

Early-ice walleyes are known to be active and aggressive. Use tip-ups at varying depths around the lake (anywhere from 15 to 35 feet deep) to appeal to this species. Regardless of the depth, always set the live minnow under the tip-up to swim 12 to 15 inches off the bottom.

Consider using plastic bait, rather than live bait, when fishing for crappie. Focus on weed lines to find them. A lot of times crappie will hang out in the middle of the water column, half-way between the ice and bottom.

Northern Pike
You’ll find these aggressive fish near off-shore structures and weed lines, so try these types of spots on your favorite pike lakes first.

Yellow Perch
Attract bigger perch by using tip-ups with minnows, that’s what they’re primarily eating this time of year. Sticking a minnow on an ice fishing rod is also very productive.

For more information on fishing during Michigan’s winter, visit

Fishing Report:

Pere Marquette River: Still has a good number of steelhead including lots of fresh fish for the taking. Cold weather has slowed angler participation but good fishing should continue through the winter. Most anglers are swinging flies or floating spawn.

Charlevoix: A few people are fishing on smaller lakes in the area.

Manistee Lake: Near Kalkaska has ice and anglers are starting to fish. 

Lake Cadillac: Has ice but no reports on fishing.

Lake Mitchell: Has ice. A few walleye were caught off the State Park access site.

Lake Missaukee: Ice fishing has started but no word on ice thickness or catch rates.

Manistee River: Artic conditions have pretty much shut down the steelhead fishing. The fish are still there for those brave enough to try.


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