04 Dec 2008 – Michigan Weekly Recreational Fishing Report
Cold weather started producing some ice however heavy snowfall and strong winds around the state will not help with the freezing process. Whitefish action should be good for about one more week. Now would be a good time to get the ice fishing gear ready to go because we could have fishable ice by the end of the month.
Southeast Lower Peninsula
Lake Erie – Boats are still going out but they are duck hunters instead of anglers. There is no ice to report. Look for perch off the Metro Park launch. Try perch rigs with minnows.
Huron River – Anglers are taking the occasional steelhead but catch rates have slowed. Boat anglers are trolling plugs.
Detroit River – Look for some perch off Belanger Park. Perch rigs with minnows work well.
Lake St. Clair – Has open water. Skim ice can be found in the canals but there is no safe ice to report. Shore anglers or those fishing from boats close to shore might be able to pick up a few perch.
Saginaw Bay – Skim ice may be forming but there is no safe ice. Windy conditions will prevent the bay from freezing. Those fishing off the docks are punching a hole and fishing for perch and crappie in shallow waters.
Southwest Lower Peninsula
St. Joe – Pier and shore anglers continue to take the occasional whitefish and steelhead when the weather permits.
St. Joe River – Shore and boat anglers continue to catch steelhead below the Berrien Springs Dam. With the low water levels, fish the deeper holes. Those fishing at night are still taking some walleye up near the dam.
Grand Haven – Anglers are still taking whitefish when they can get out on the pier.
Grand River at Grand Rapids – Water levels are low and clear so concentrate on the deeper holes. Those fishing the coffer dam at Bridge Street and the deeper holes behind the Post Office have caught steelhead on fluorocarbon line with a bunny jig and wax worm. Fish were also caught in the center run when using a jig and wax worm or spawn. Try all white or pink heads with white bodies. Steelhead were caught up near the Sixth Street Dam when fishing half a crawler under a bobber. Walleye were caught on bucktail jigs tipped with minnows off the east wall. Shore anglers up from Wealthy Street caught walleye on floating rapalas.
Grand River at Lansing – Has northing to report. No anglers have been out as we are in between fishing seasons. Those looking for that first ice experience will have to wait longer as there is no safe ice to report.
Muskegon – Pier anglers fishing the channel continue to catch whitefish. Look for this action to continue for about one more week as the fish tend to go on a feeding frenzy when they have finished spawning. Walleye were also caught.
Northern Lower Peninsula
Alpena – Those that still have their boats out continue to fish on the reefs for whitefish. Launch ramps in the marina are snow covered and the docks have been removed.
Thunder Bay River – The ramp near the DNR Office which is located near the mouth of the river on Fletcher Street is open and the dock is still in. Boats are heading out into Thunder Bay for whitefish or staying in the river for steelhead.
Van Etten Lake – Froze over with skim ice but has since opened back up.
Cedar Lake – Ice has started to form. Even though the lake is shallow compared to most lakes in the area, anglers need to use extreme caution during first ice.
Oscoda – Whitefish are still being caught off the pier however the action was starting to wind down.
Au Sable River – The mouth of the river is also an excellent location to fish this time of year and will usually yield a nice mixed bag of whitefish and steelhead. Most of the steelhead have been caught in the lower stretches however those fishing upstream have also found some fish.
Tawas – The breakwall has been lined with lanterns as whitefish anglers continue to catch fish after dark. This action should continue through the first week of December because when the fish have finished spawning, they tend to go on a feeding frenzy.
Higgins Lake – Has open water but the fishing is now in between seasons. This is a good time to make sure the ice fishing gear ready to go because with colder temperatures in the forecast, it won’t be long.
Houghton Lake – Ice is forming however anglers are not venturing far from shore. Most are fishing 5 feet of water or less for bluegills and crappie. A few walleye were caught up near shore.
Northwest Lower Peninsula
Though a good number of lakes have frozen over, the only ice out there is skim ice and there is no safe ice to report. Heavy snow this week will slow if not stop the freezing process.
Traverse City – Snow along with windy conditions have kept most boats off the bays. A couple were still catching perch in both the East Bay and the West Bay, but most are now waiting for the start of ice fishing season.
Boardman River – Those willing to put in the time have caught a couple leftover steelhead down near the mouth.
Long Lake – A few walleye and perch were caught before the storms hit.
Crystal Lake – A few whitefish are still being taken by spear anglers.
Lake Cadillac – Still too early for ice fishing, even on this lake. The west side has skim ice only and the east side has open water.
Lake Mitchell – Was covered with skim ice only. There is no safe ice to report.
Manistee – Surf casting and pier fishing should continue to be good when anglers can get out there.
Manistee River – Steelhead fishing is pretty much the only game right now. The action has been fair in the lower stretches however low water levels have made for a relatively light run this fall.
Ludington – Surf and pier anglers here should continue to catch fish. Floating spawn works best.
Pere Marquette River – Steelhead are still being caught near the Twin Bridges at US-31 and up near Scottville. Spawn under a bobber was the ticket. Low water levels here are the cause of a light run this year.
Ice is forming on the inland lakes however the large lakes still have open water. The small shallow lakes were showing signs of an inch or two of ice but anglers are reminded that first ice is dangerous and extreme caution needs to be used.
Chicagon Lake – Whitefish spearing activity is starting to pick up and should be in full swing by the weekend.
Peavy Pond – Several limits of walleye and a couple pike have been caught.
Little Bay De Noc – Few anglers have been out because fishing is now in between seasons. A few boats are still fishing late evening between Gladstone and the Black Bottom. Good numbers of walleye were reported in this area. Most are trolling crank baits in 10 to 28 feet of water off the breaks and reefs. Water clarity remained good which is why the better catch rates were at night. All of the docks have been removed except for one in Gladstone and one at the North Shore launch which should be coming out soon. Ice anglers have already started fishing in the shallows.