Saginaw Bay Ice Fishing Report 01/23/2014

Saginaw River fishing at Indy bridge

Saginaw River fishing at Indy bridge

Saginaw Bay strong winds last weekend have opened up an active pressure crack three to four miles offshore. The crack runs from Linwood south to an area off the Bay City State Park. It opened to a width of three to four feet and a lot of people ran into it causing damage to their ATV’s and snowmobiles. Anglers need to use caution. On the east side of the bay, those heading off Thomas Road were fishing near the shipping channel. Perch fishing was poor off Vanderbilt Park. Those pike spearing were still having trouble with turbid water at Sebewaing and Mud Creek.

Walleye anglers were heading out from Geiger Road. Perch are still being caught off Mud Creek and the marina basins at Caseville. Anglers fishing out near the end of the breakwall with a camera reported walleye, whitefish and lake trout but they would not bite.

Saginaw River the best perch fishing was in the lower river. Walleye were caught off Wickes Park in 14 feet. Fishing is slow through most of downtown Saginaw, but improves downstream of the Zilwaukee Bridge and north to the south end of Bay City. Anglers are catching a lot of sub-legal walleye for every keeper. They are using chartreuse, orange or clown-colored jigs with minnows or jigging rapalas with the head of a minnow on the center of the hook. Fishing was slow at Cass Avenue and the Middle Grounds. Those fishing downtown Bay City did catch a few keepers off Veteran’s Park during the first and last two hours of daylight. Walleye and perch were caught downstream from the old Navy destroyer. They are using jigs, perch rigs and jigging rapalas.

Tittabawassee River there’s no fishing at the present time. There is too much ice for boats but not enough to stand on yet.

Au Gres walleye anglers were going off the end of Santiago Road and Booth Road and fishing a mile or two out. At Palmer Road, anglers reported slow walleye and perch fishing. They can see fish but they will not bite.

Outer Saginaw Bay:
Oscoda: Au Sable River anglers fishing below Foote Dam need to be aware that water flows are fluctuating widely at this time because of ice damming issues above Alcona. Anglers should check the USGS river flow gauges for the most up-to-date conditions. Severe cold causes the river above the Alcona Impoundment to turn to slush, creates anchor ice, and forms ice dams that create large changes in downstream flows. Thus, conditions may be very difficult for fishing or floating below Foote Dam. Those fishing for steelhead had success all along the river with wax worms and spoons. Most points are accessible however the banks, parking lots and fishing platforms are icy. The best launch for small boats would be Whirlpool. The store launch was clear and Rea Road is open, but icy and parking is limited. High Banks and Foote Dam have limited parking and the stairs were icy. If using the snowmobile trails to access parts of the river, watch for traffic as most are not expecting to see people on the trail.

Tawas those heading out should stay on the well-traveled trails in order to avoid getting stuck in snow-drifts. There’s quite a bit of fishing activity off Jerry’s Marina where anglers have caught some nice perch and walleye in 15 feet. Those spearing pike have taken a few nice fish. Anglers heading out to 20 feet of water near the tip of Tawas Point caught walleye at dusk.

Weekly Fishing Tip using a bass technique to target steelhead
Are you a bass angler? A standard technique you use may be perfect for catching steelhead in the winter.

Doug Samsal, a professional guide, suggests casting lures in areas that would normally be more difficult to reach when using standard steelhead fishing techniques. Choose medium-diving crank baits (popular colors would include variations of gold or chrome) and be sure to use braided line, which will aid in navigating obstacles under the water. Cast across the current and retrieve just fast enough to get the lure under the water but not so fast that it will snag the bottom. During the retrieve, let the lure swing downstream.

Another successful approach to try is to position yourself directly upstream of a deep hole and cast straight downstream. Retrieve the lure directly through the hole. Again, make sure to retrieve the lure fast enough to get in under the water but slow enough to keep it from snagging up on the bottom. Many times an angler can perform an extra slow retrieve and let the current do most of the wok for them.

Steelhead are one of Michigan’s most popular sport fish, don’t miss your opportunity to target them this winter! For more information, visit the steelhead Michigan Fish and How to Catch Them website