It appears ice fishing season has started, especially in the northern areas of the state. With that said, anglers are reminded that first ice and last ice are the most dangerous ice, and caution needs to be used. Be sure to tell someone where you are going and when you plan to return, check the ice thickness with a spud and wear a life jacket. It could save your life.
Saginaw Bay Ice is forming, but there is no safe ice to report. Warmer temperatures and some rain by the end of the week will not help. If they can get out, boat anglers were still getting a few walleye when trolling.
Saginaw River Ice is starting to form along the shore and boat ramps, but no safe ice to report. The river was still a bit muddy from the rain last week, which made walleye fishing a bit difficult for boat anglers.
Fishing Tip: How to target popular fish species in the winter
Are you getting anxious for enough ice to head out fishing? Consider using the following tips when targeting four species popular with anglers in the winter.
Early-ice walleyes are known to be active and aggressive. Use tip-ups at varying depths around the lake (anywhere from 15 to 35 feet deep) to appeal to this species. Regardless of the depth, always set the live minnow under the tip-up to swim 12 to 15 inches off the bottom.
Consider using plastic bait, rather than live bait, when fishing for crappie. Focus on weed lines to find them. A lot of times crappie will hang out in the middle of the water column, half-way between the ice and bottom.
You’ll find these aggressive fish near off-shore structures and weed lines, so try these types of spots on your favorite pike lakes first.
Attract bigger perch by using tip-ups with minnows, that’s what they’re primarily eating this time of year. Sticking a minnow on an ice fishing rod is also very productive.
For more information on fishing during Michigan’s winter, visit Michigan.gov/fishing.