Provided by Sport Fish Michigan
Benzie, Grand Traverse, Wexford County, Antrim, and Manistee Counties
Happy New Year! We are very excited for the 2017 ice season.
We were concerned about this past week’s warming trend and the impact it would have on the area’s inland lakes. But the lakes formed better conditions due to the thaw. Snow cover gradually disappeared and refroze creating really nice walking conditions and thicker ice. With high winds and limited amounts of snowfall, most of the lakes listed in this report have nearly no snow coverage at this time.
Long Lake in Benzie County
5-7” of ice. High winds this past week has caused the ice in some areas to be thicker than others. Pike found in 7-10ft of water on top of, and adjacent to, flats and weed beds. Spearing has been slow, but tip-up action has been fair using golden minnows and smaller suckers 1-2ft off bottom.
Bass and Otter Lakes in Benzie County
3-4” of ice. The safest and most consistent ice conditions are closer to the access sites on both lakes. Pike fishing in Bass Lake good on undersized fish: 18-22inch range. Blue gill and crappie have been found in 15-18ft of water at first light and last light.
Green Lake in Grand Traverse County
3-4” of ice. Anglers have been fishing off the south launch where ice conditions are best. Everyone should use extreme caution when venturing out on Green Lake. Cooler weather in the next week or so should continue to build ice on Green Lake. First ice for smelt, perch, and large pike.
Long Lake in Grand Traverse County
3-4” of ice depending on the region of the lake. Long Lake can have inconsistent ice thickness. Anglers should use extreme caution fishing Long until after this upcoming cold front, which should add a few inches of good ice. Active walleye both jigging and fishing tip-ups along steep breaks and adjacent to weed beds. The best depth seems to be 16-22ft, depending on the time of day.
Skegemog Lake in Antrim County
4-5” of ice coverage off of the south shore access. This is lake we are happy to see freeze so early. Skegemog is a great lake to target first ice perch in the shallow weed flats. Anglers using blues, tungsten jigs, and wax worms should have great success. 11-16ft of water seems to be consistently productive.
Portage Lake in Manistee County
3-3.5” of ice coverage. Anglers have been fishing primarily off of the north access sites for perch, pike and walleye. Perch are feeding on top of weed covered areas in 16-25ft. Anglers looking for large perch in smaller schools have been targeting the 35-40ft, which is also a great depth to jig and set tip-ups for walleye.
Bear Lake in Manistee County
3.5-4.5” of ice. Anglers have been targeting pike and walleye off of the south west and north access. Aggressive fish have been feeding along weed covered drop-offs and contour changes in 12-18ft of water. Pike and walleye seem to be moving together and feeding in the same areas.
Lake Mitchell and Lake Cadillac in Wexford County
7-8” of ice. Crappie and bluegill active in both lakes from 8-10ft on weed flats to 12-18ft in holes and drop offs.
We at Sport Fish Michigan look forward to many safe and successful days during this 2017 season. With that in mind, we encourage all anglers to take this report as reference and not as a guarantee. Ice conditions change with the weather patterns. It is always good to use your best judgment and always check the ice with a good spud and a friend! Tight lines… we look forward to fishing with you!