Michigan s Backwater Perch

Ice fishing Lake Erie perch

For some locations in Michigan, especially the southern portion, the ice-fishing season never really got going because of the lack of safe-ice conditions.

For some, especially for those in southern Michigan, the ice-fishing season may very well be over.

Take Lake Erie, for example. That lake has open water.

The weather forecast for this weekend and next week should cause any remaining ice in Michigan's southern half to deteriorate and disappear. The temperatures are expected to be about 20 degrees warmer than normal for this time of year in many parts of Michigan.

However, even though the ice will be limited in Michigan, the fishing opportunities still exist. Open-water fishing will be possible in boats or from shores in certain areas of the state.

Lake Erie, again, is a prime example. According to the Department of Natural Resources fishing report, walleye anglers are getting out on the water in boats. Lake Erie is annually a popular destination for those fishing for walleye.

Here's a regional breakdown of fishing reports compiled by the DNR:

Southeast Lower Peninsula

Lake Erie: Is open water and walleye anglers have been out in boats. The Metro Park launch has a couple docks in.

Huron River: Anglers caught the occasional steelhead and even a couple walleye.

Detroit River: Had good perch fishing with many fish moving into shallow waters in the canals and inlets. Boat and shore anglers have done well with minnows and perch rigs. Boat anglers still need to be careful as ice is still coming down the river.

Lake St. Clair: The main lake is mostly open water. The canals and marina ice is very questionable.

Saginaw Bay: This may be the last week of fishable ice depending on what the weather does. Strong winds from the west did not help. Ice conditions will be day-to-day for the rest of the winter. Some nice catches of perch were taken off the end of Cody-Estey Road. There was still fishable ice from Palmer Road south to Pinconning and Newman Roads however the ice at the end of Linwood Road was honeycombed and did not look safe. The ice sheet is well offshore from Linwood down to the Bay City State Park. Even the shore ice is gone at the state park. They're still fishing off Vanderbilt Park near Quanicassee where the perch fishing was very good last week with perch up to 14 inches taken. The ice blew out at Thomas Road late last week but then it blew back in with the strong winds on Sunday. The connection between the shore ice and the sheet ice was not good and no one should try jumping the crack to get to the offshore ice or you may find yourself taking a long ride on a sheet of ice. There is visible open water offshore from most access points so anglers need to use extreme caution. Beware of the ice at Caseville. It may have broken up after the strong winds.

Saginaw River: Most boat ramps were still iced in, but a few guys were launching small boats from shore at Wickes Park and beneath the I-675 Bridge. Launches that were open were Rust Avenue, the Zilwaukee Ramp, and below the Independence Bridge. All the other ramps in Bay City were iced in but might open up by next week. The river was pretty fast and muddy and fishing was slow.

Tittabawassee River: Had a good number of boat and shore anglers at the launch at Gordonville Road but fishing was slow. The boats that went up to the Dow Dam got a few walleye, but the boats and shore anglers around Gordonville Road and Mapleton really didn't catch much. Further downstream, ice hinders shore fishing and the launch ramps were iced in.

Southwest Lower Peninsula

Overall: Some lakes still had enough soft ice to prevent boating, but were not safe to walk on. Lake Macatawa had shoreline ice only. Gull Lake is open with ice in the protected coves and along the shoreline.

St. Joseph: Boat anglers are getting out for some early brown trout, coho and steelhead action on Lake Michigan.

St. Joseph River: Had high water levels but the steelhead action was good.

Black River: Was producing the occasional steelhead.

Saugatuck: Boat anglers were out for coho, brown trout and steelhead.

Kalamazoo River: Was open and accessible by boat. Anglers have caught good numbers of steelhead and brown trout. Most fish are dark and appear to be winter holdovers.

Rabbit River: A couple steelhead were caught at the Hamilton Dam when drifting bright yarn flies or spawn.

Grand Haven: Boat anglers were heading out for steelhead, brown trout and coho.

Grand River at Grand Rapids: Has steelhead up near the dam and a couple walleye have been caught.

Grand River at Lansing: Had very few anglers and those out had no luck. Steelhead are moving around but no fish were spotted beyond the Webber Dam.

Muskegon River: Water levels were still on the high side but coming down. Steelhead fishing was slow but some walleye were caught below Croton Dam.

Source: www.mlive.com
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