DNR Report

February 21, 2019

Ice fishing continues around the state, but anglers should still exercise caution especially with much warmer weather moving in this weekend. Anglers should also pay close attention to strong winds which can shift the ice and cause pressure cracks.

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

Little Bay De Noc: Heavy snowfall made travel on the ice very difficult. Under the deep snow is a foot or more of slush in the low areas. Those venturing off the trail were getting stuck so be warned if you plan to fish the low traveled areas. Best walleye areas were on the south side of the Escanaba River using tip-ups or jigging rapalas in 28 to 40 feet. This was also a good area for big northern pike. The other walleye area was near Gladstone and pushing toward the east bank using the same in 25 to 35 feet. Perch catches were spotty with most anglers targeting the Butler Island area in five to 10 feet with minnows and wigglers. Many were fishing much shallower than the weeks before mainly because of access. Whitefish anglers reported fair catches off Sand Point with minnows or spawn in 70 to 80 feet.

Munising: Deep snow one to two feet or more in areas has made travel on the ice difficult. Shoreline areas seem to have the most slush. The ice in Trout Bay was very “iffy” and had areas with pack ice. Catch rates were slow with only a couple coho and splake taken. Whitefish were caught near Powell Point, but many were small. Perch anglers had some luck however the fish were small. Lake trout were caught near White Rocks and Wood Island Reef. No reports on smelt but anglers are getting two to three burbot per trip.

Cedarville and Hessel: Had good ice however deep snow and slush have been an issue for ORV’s if you get off the main snowmobile trail. Anglers caught some perch between five to eight inches using perch minnows and wigglers off Cedarville. Pike were spotted moving through the Snows Channel, but no reports of any fish harvested. From Hessel, perch between five to 10 inches were caught when jigging minnows and wigglers. Those targeting splake had no luck.

Fishing Tip: Techniques to target trout through the ice

Many anglers look forward to the opportunity to target trout – and not just on April 27 for the statewide opener! Trout fishing through the ice can be quite fun, if you use the proper techniques. Consider the following….

Certain species of trout, particularly brown trout, really gravitate to tip-ups as they linger in shallower water. Consider your depth if you use this type of angling.

Lake trout and brown trout can easily be attracted by jigging with a spoon. For lake trout use a piece of smelt or sucker as your bait. For brown trout use the head of a minnow.

Don’t want to sit on the ice looking for trout? Then gear up for the open water season! Check out lots of information about Michigan’s trout species online.