Ice Fish Michigan Ice Report 02.20.16

Benzie, Grand Traverse, Manistee, and Wexford County

50 degrees and sunny is not good ice-making weather!

Ice Fish Michigan would like to take the time to caution all anglers viewing this report. The current warming trend has had a significant impact on most area lakes. Shorelines are deteriorating, and the majority of the lakes have large quantities of standing water. Most of the lakes still have a good amount of safe ice, but also have very slushy conditions. Next week’s forecast indicates that some colder temperatures are on their way. We are hoping this will lock the shorelines back up and create a good hard surface on which to fish. Anglers: Please take nothing for granted and use extreme caution when getting back out on the water this upcoming week.

Crystal Lake in Benzie County is finally 100% locked-up. Before the past two days of warmer weather, Crystal Lake had 3-4 inches on the west end. The warmer temperatures indicate that anglers to stick to the east end and fish the shallow flats in Beulah. The ice on the east end is 7-10” thick. Perch action has been very good. The best fishing has been found in 35 feet of water. Fluorocarbon perch rigs have been working very well.

Long Lake in Benzie County is fishing well. The Pike have been active, with the best bite from daylight to 10:00 a.m., and picking back up from 12:00-2:00 p.m. Golden Minnows on tip-ups with the occasional artificial decoy under the spear has been the best bet.

Upper Herring Lake has stayed fairly consistent with last week’s report. The Perch are starting to become more aggressive due to the pre-spawn bite gradually starting. Most of the Perch being caught in schools are small, but anglers are getting some big fish cruising alone on the 15-17 foot breaks. Walleye fishing has been slow, with most fish coming on tip-ups and jigging Rapalas in 18-22 feet.

Ellis Lake, Lake Dubonnet, Spider, and Arbutus Lake have safe ice – however, the recent warming weather has added a lot of slush to some areas. Use caution when venturing out. The pan fish bite has leveled off. Anglers are finding active pockets of Bluegills in the deeper areas of each lake. Small tungsten presentations with spikes are working well. Pike have been active in the shallow flats and weedy contour lines mostly keying in on Sucker Minnows.

Green Lake in Grand Traverse County has had some great smelt fishing. The smelt are active after dark, feeding on wax worms and Hali Jigs. Perch fishing has been good in 60 feet of water. Pike fishing on the shallow weed flats and drop-offs has been good, too. Most anglers are having success using bigger presentations.

Long Lake in Grand Traverse County is still producing good catches. Walleye being caught are averaging 13-18 inches in length. Catching keepers has been difficult. The Perch have been running big. Jumbos are being caught in the same depth as most of the Walleye – 20-35 feet. Small Jigging Rapalas have been working best for Walleye. Wigglers and Blue Minnows have been successful for Perch. Due to the recent weather, please use caution on Long Lake.

Skegemog Lake is still producing nice catches of Perch. The mature Perch are starting to show pre-spawn feeding patterns. Many anglers have reported bigger fish and good numbers of females. The best fishing is yet to come!

Portage Lake in Manistee County has been consistent all winter. There has been good action on the Walleye in the past week. Walleye have been most active in 25-35 feet, feeding at first and last light. Perch have been ranging in size depending on the school and lake location. Mature Perch have been actively feeding at 17-25 feet. These fish are picky and have been caught on both small and large presentations. Big Blues on tip-ups with size 12 treble hooks using light fluorocarbon leader has been effective. Anglers have also had success enticing bites with small tungsten jigs. Electronics have been key while jigging the mature fish; most attacks are taking place 2-4 feet suspended off of bottom.

Lake Mitchell and Lake Cadillac have slowed down. Before the recent warm spell, the slush had finally frozen solid on both lakes. Anglers have preferred Lake Mitchell in the past two weeks for the better Crappie bite. 10-11 feet of water has held the active, higher concentrations of fish.