It appears ice fishing season has started, especially in the northern areas of the state. With that said, anglers are reminded that first ice and last ice are the most dangerous ice, and caution needs to be used. Be sure to tell someone where you are going and when you plan to return, check the ice thickness with a spud and wear a life jacket. It could save your life.
Inland lakes in the western half of the Upper Peninsula are frozen. Extreme caution needs to be used on any and all ice. Lake Gogebic will offer perch and panfish on the north end. Lac Vieux Desert flowage offers good panfish opportunities in the winter. In the southern sections of the Upper Peninsula, ice thickness varies, and some lakes still had areas with open water. Pretty much all the lakes on the east end are ice-covered; however, some lakes have better ice than others. Extreme caution needs to be used. Snowfall from M-28 south was about 6-8 inches.
Teal Lake: In Marquette County, is offering some early perch fishing. The occasional walleye also has been caught.
Little Bay De Noc: Anglers are just starting to head out, although they are staying in close as most were only about a quarter mile from shore. Use extreme caution.
Muskallonge Lake: In Luce County, had perch anglers as well as those looking for walleye and pike. Some of the inland lakes south of Munising also had angler activity.
Manistique Lakes: Have seen quite a bit of activity, mainly for yellow perch and other panfish.
Two Hearted River: Has steelhead and normal water levels for this time of year. Expect heavier snowpack in this part of Luce County.
Fishing Tip: How to target popular fish species in the winter
Are you getting anxious for 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.
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.
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.