March 28, 2019
Anglers are reminded that a 2019 Michigan fishing license is required by April 1. While the calendar says spring is here, the weather is taking its time with the transition. Ice fishing continues to the north, but caution needs to be used. Open-water fishing can be found to the south.
Those fishing off Hattie Street and up near the dam caught a few brown trout on rapalas. There was a lot of ice floating and starting to jam up below Hattie Street.
Little Bay de Noc
Ice conditions are holding, although some areas of slush are present in the middle of the bay. Travel was mainly by ORV and snowmobile. Most are getting on the ice from the boat launch at Kipling and targeting yellow perch around the Second and Third Reefs when jigging minnows or wax worms. Catch rates were fair.
Ice conditions are day to day, as melting and freezing is producing honeycomb ice. Extreme caution needs to be used. The lake trout action was poor to fair when jigging cut bait just off the bottom in 100 to 225 feet. Coho were spotty, and the whitefish bite was slow. The smelt action was good two hours before and after dark with lights in 40 to 65 feet. The active fish were sporadic, as anglers would catch a bunch in a short amount of time then wait for the next batch to show up. No steelhead to report in area rivers.
Fishing had started to pick up. Coho along with the occasional Chinook and brown trout were caught in the Upper Harbor near the “Bubbler.” A few lake herring were also caught. The city plowed a small path to the beach, so anglers are now able to launch boats in front of the Dead River. Most were jigging, but a few tried trolling with limited success. The Lower Harbor still had ice on it, but with each warm day, that is changing rapidly! No anglers had been out on the Lower Harbor ice, so no word on those conditions. Almost all the rivers in the area were ice-free as you reach the mouth; however, the water is high and dark due to runoff. Those fishing the Chocolay River picked up some nice brown trout.
Ice in the lower harbor was deteriorating. The conditions are starting to change rapidly, so it may be a good idea to stay off the ice. The mouth of the Au Train River has open water.
Ice conditions were holding as night temperatures have been in the teens. Those fishing Bay Furnace, Trout Bay, Sand Point and near the Anna River access reported slow catch rates with only a few splake or coho caught. Some started in the early morning and never marked a fish, but then a school of coho came through about noon and they managed to catch a couple. Most are using jigging spoons. A few were starting to use spawn off the dock at the mouth of the Anna River, where there is typically open water later in the afternoon. No smelt to report.
Bluegills and crappie were caught in the South Lake.
Cedarville and Hessel
Anglers caught perch when jigging wax worms or minnows in 12 to 17 feet in Musky Bay and Hessel Bay. The fish averaged 6-9 inches. Word has it splake were caught in Hessel Bay when jigging minnows in 16 feet. Anglers still need to use caution in the channels and around the islands, where there is a strong current.
Fishing Tip: Buy your 2019 Michigan fishing license
On Monday you may need a new Michigan fishing license (if you haven’t bought the 2019 version already)! April 1 is the start of the 2019 season – purchase your license online or at a retailer near you.
There are several license options available to residents and non-residents:
Resident annual license - $26
Resident senior annual license (for those age 65 and older) - $11
Non-resident annual license - $76
24-hour license - $10
72-hour license - $30
Resident hunt/fish combo - $76
Senior resident hunt/fish combo (for those age 65 and older) - $43
Non-resident hunt/fish combo - $266
For more information on Michigan fishing and hunting licenses, visit Michigan.gov/DNR.