Ice Fish Michigan Ice Report 02.28.16

Benzie, Grand Traverse, Manistee, and Wexford County

This weekend’s two-day thaw has added 1-3 inches of water to the ice of most lakes listed in the report. This definitely makes conditions and safety very unpredictable. Use caution and good judgment when venturing out to fish!

March is nearly here, and bringing with it excellent pre-spawn ice fishing!.

Crystal Lake in Benzie County lost a lot of ice on the west end. The only safe fishing is on the east end of the lake near Beulah. Good Perch action in 25-35 feet of water. Steelhead are being caught on wigglers in shallow water near the small creek mouths.

Long Lake in Benzie County has been producing great Pike. Golden Minnows in 8-11 feet of water on tip-ups are producing good results. The Perch are few and far between, but those being caught are good.

Upper Herring Lake has continued to be slow. Small amounts of Perch and Walleye are being caught. Anglers are having action on Blue Minnows using tip-ups. Active depth – 18-20 feet. Small trebles and fluorocarbon leaders have been productive. The Perch being caught are generally big.

Green Lake in Grand Traverse County is still fishing very well. The Smelt bite has been consistent, and most anglers are having success near both access points. Perch and Pike have been active on the southeast end of the lake.

Long Lake in Grand Traverse County has been a bit slow streak this week. There has been heavy pressure from anglers in most areas of the lake. The Walleye that are being caught have been small. Anglers have had some luck finding big Perch in 18-30 feet of water at mid-morning. Blue Minnows with tip-ups have been successful.

Skegemog Lake is fishing very well. There have been great catches in the past few days. The bigger Perch have been found in the mud flats adjacent to weeds. Wigglers and Spikes tipped on tungsten jigs has been the most productive.

Portage Lake in Manistee County has offered some excellent Perch action in the last 7 days. Most big fish are being caught on the western side of the lake. Finding humps and slight depth changes ranging from 18-25 feet have held most fish. All traditional tactics for perch have been successful. Minnows, spikes, jigs, and tip-ups have been most common.

Lake Mitchell has heavy amounts of water settling on the ice surface in the past few days. The warming weather and wind have melted the recent snow, making fishing conditions wet and uncomfortable. The ice thickness is still good. Crappie bite in 10-11 feet of water around isolated depressions has been good. Black Tungsten tipped with Spikes is producing good results.

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.

Ice Fish Michigan Ice Report 02.12.16

Benzie, Grand Traverse, Manistee, and Wexford County

Long Lake in Benzie County has continued excellent conditions. Pike have been very active. From daylight until around 10:00 a.m, and picking back up from 12:00-2:00 p.m. have been the best hours for bites. Golden Minnows on tip-ups have been working well.

Upper Herring Lake Walleye have been less aggressive lately, biting in the morning at first light, and in the evening during the last hour of daylight. Tip-ups have not been working well, but jigging rods have been effective. Small blues on tip-ups have enticed nice jumbo Perch – but not in great numbers.

Ellis Lake, Lake Dubonnet, Spider, and Arbutus Lake are locked up tight due to the recent cold snap. Most of the snowfall on these lakes has frozen. Crappie and Bluegills are biting at the brighter times of the day due to the amount of snow cover. Pike have been active in the shallow flats and weedy contour lines, mostly biting on Sucker Minnows.

Long Lake in Grand Traverse County is being fished in most areas. We encourage all anglers use their best judgment when venturing out on this body of water due to inconsistent conditions. The anglers that have had recent success have been targeting Walleye and Perch. The Walleye have been found in 16-25 feet at low-light. Most of the Perch and Walleye being caught during the day have been found in 25-35 feet of water. Blue Minnows on Perch Rigs and Jigging Rapalas have been most successful. Tipped jigs with minnow heads entice the bite.

Skegemog Lake Perch bite has picked up in the last week. Mature fish are showing pre-spawn feeding patterns. Anglers have reported larger fish and consistent numbers of females. The best fishing is yet to come!

Portage Lake in Manistee County is still producing great fishing. Mature Perch have been feeding in 17-25 feet of water. These fish are picks and have been caught on both small and large presentations. Big Blues on tip-ups, size 12 treble hooks with light fluorocarbon leader have been effective. Some anglers have had success with small tungsten jigs.

Lake Mitchell has been consistently out-fishing Lake Cadillac. Anglers utilizing subtle depth changes and depressions are finding pan fish. Small tungsten jigs with 1-2 lb. test tipped with spikes and wax worms have proven successful. The best depth for active fish on Mitchell has been 10-11 feet. Pike have been more scarce. Most Pike have been found between 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. in the shallow flats with weed cover. Larger sucker minnows on tip-ups have been effective.

Ice Fish Michigan Ice Report 01.22.16

Benzie and Grand Traverse County

It’s looking good for ice fishing in northern Michigan! Most inland lakes have safe, consistent ice. Smaller bodies of water have the best conditions. Pike, walleye, bluegill, and perch are good species for targeting at this time.

Long Lake in Benzie County has 5-6 inches of solid ice. Pike have been active. Days with high barometric pressure and sunlight have been good for fishing. There are perch, but they’re small and not very active.

Bass and Otter Lake have also formed 4-5 inches of good ice. Recent snows have made walking and towing jet sleds difficult. Anglers are having decent tip-up action on the shallow side of the breaks. At first and last light, the pan fish bite has been good.

The Big Platte shoreline has not yet formed good ice. Once the shoreline thickens the lake should be ready to fish.

Upper Herring Lake has formed a good base of ice. Most areas have 4-5 inches of good ice. Depending on the time of day and weather patterns, walleye fishing has been good with jigging and setting tip-ups. The best depth seems to be between 16-19 feet of water. The Perch have been active, but small.

Ellis Lake, Lake Dubonnet, Spyder, and Arbutus Lake have 4-5 inches of ice. Each of these lakes has a fair amount of snow on them, which creates slushy walking conditions. Also, there has been a few reports of spotty ice due to the snowy conditions. Caution should be taken on Spyder and Arbutus. Pike fishing is steady on Lake Dubonnet with most of the catches on the small side: 12-20 inches. Spyder Lake has had fair bluegill action

Long Lake in Grand Traverse County is 100% frozen, but the ice thickness is very inconsistent / unsafe. Crescent shores’ boat launch has 3-5” of ice with 6-7” of snow. This has added a lot of weight on the ice as well as created slushy conditions. The ice off of Long Lake Peninsula is very unsafe and inconsistent. We recommend that all anglers avoid fishing on Long Lake for the time being.

Skegemog Lake has safe ice conditions and some great Perch fishing. The perch have been very active in 15-17’ of water. Wigglers and minnows have been working well. The average size has been 6-8” with the occasional 10-11” fish.

Ice Fish Michigan Ice Report 01.13.16

Benzie and Grand Traverse County

Long Lake, Benzie County:
4-5 inches of solid ice. Snow has not yet settled on the surface due to high winds coming off Lake Michigan. Northern Pike are starting to travel the shallow breaks and flats.

Bass and Otter Lakes:
2-3 inches of good blue ice. There was roughly 4 inches by Tuesday afternoon, but 1 inch of the ice is frozen slush.

Big Platte Lake:
Ice on about 90% of the surface. It is not yet safe, and should not be fished until the ice has had more time to gain thickness.

Lower Herring Lake:
No ice yet. Because the lake is so close to Lake Michigan, the high winds have made Lower Herring Lake rough. The cold front should cause this lake to get ice coverage, maybe even as early as this weekend – with the potential for safe ice by next week.

Upper Herring Lake:
Ice coverage. An ice angler was seen by the launch Tuesday afternoon.

Arcadia Lake:
Frozen – in the town of Arcadia, just south of Frankfort. Look for northern pike, lake-run yellow perch, bluegills, and walleyes. Exact ice coverage is uncertain, so normal cautionary measures should be taken.

Ellis Lake, Lake Dubonnet, Spyder, and Arbutus Lakes:
Each have 3-4 inches of ice. There is also 3-5 inches of snow accumulation – navigate cautiously. Pike fishing is steady on Lake Dubonnet, and bluegill action has been fair on Spyder Lake.

Long Lake – Grand Traverse County:
Developing a considerable amount of ice over the past few days. This location still has areas of open water with thin and inconsistent ice.