March 20, 2014
Weekly Fishing Tip: Storing your ice fishing equipment for next season
It’s about that time when you’ll need to get ready to store your ice fishing equipment. The key is doing it properly so you’ll be ready to hit the ice next winter! Here is a checklist of things to do:
1. If you have an auger, check it for any damage and then dry all the blades before storing it. You may want to consult your power auger’s manual to know how to appropriately handle any leftover gas and how to protect the engine.
2. Remove the batteries from any of your electronics to prevent any potential damage from leaking batteries.
3. Make sure your portable shelter is completely clean and dry before storing. You may want to put some moth balls in it or hang it to keep pests at bay.
4. Take a full inventory of your rods, reels and tackle to see what you might need/want to purchase next year. Also remove all bait or line from your hooks and lures for storage and make sure everything is dry.
By the time everything is properly stored you’ll be itching to get out on your favorite stream, river or lake for some spring fishing!
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It may be hard to believe but anglers are actually getting tired of ice fishing! Many have put the ice fishing gear away and are now getting the spring and summer gear ready to go. The 2013-2014 ice fishing season may be one for the record books.
Lake Erie: Brest Bay is still giving up a few walleye. Perch and bluegills were caught in the Metro Park Marina. Those fishing the middle lagoon at Sterling State Park caught bluegill and crappie. Some bluegills were on the small side but some of the crappie were nine to 11 inches.
Detroit River: Had some flow ice coming down. Anglers were still ice fishing for perch in Airport Bay. The canals around Gibraltar were starting to open up.
Lake St. Clair: Still has ice however with rain in the forecast and warmer temperatures this week, the shoreline may start to get soft by the weekend. Perch fishing was on the slow side with mostly smaller fish caught.
Oakland County: Warm weather had the bluegills biting on the inland lakes.
Saginaw Bay: Walleye season is open year round. Fish were caught at several locations like White’s Beach, the Black Hole in 20 feet, Linwood in 17 feet, the first pressure crack off the Bay City State Park, five to six miles north of Callahan Road, or the Slot off Thomas Road and Sunset Bay Marina. Fish were also caught off the north end of Spoils Island however anglers need to use caution around the south end because snowmobiles have gone through the ice near the sand bar. Some perch were caught off Killarney Beach but Vanderbilt Park was slow. Bluegills and some nice crappie nine to 12 inches were caught in the marina at Sebewaing. At Mud Creek, anglers are seeing a lot of nice perch but they would not bite. The smaller ones were hitting on a regular basis. We look forward to reporting on the steelhead and sucker runs but with all the ice, it’s going to be awhile.
Saginaw River: Walleye season is closed and will re-open on Saturday, April 26.
The inland lakes still have ice. Most had mixed catch reports. Some limit catches of crappie were reported.
St. Joseph River: Rising water levels will slow the steelhead bite however fish were caught downstream of the Berrien Springs Dam.
Kalamazoo River: Steelhead have been caught below the Allegan Dam.
Grand River in Grand Rapids: Anglers are still getting some nice steelhead below the Sixth Street Dam.
Ingham County: Fishing has slowed on the area lakes and rivers.
Clinton County: The lakes still have ice but few anglers. Those heading out have caught a couple bluegills here and there.
Jackson County: Some anglers were out but few fish were caught.
Calhoun County: Area lakes have become fairly quiet and some had no anglers at all. Goguac Lake and Duck Lake were producing a few panfish.
Muskegon River: Anglers report good steelhead fishing below Croton Dam. Brown trout have also been caught. Most are fly fishing.
Burt Lake: Is producing a few perch.
Au Sable River: Steelhead fishing was good however the access sites including the ramps, steps and walkways were icy. Anglers need to use caution in these areas. Boats being retrieved are dripping water on the extremely cold surfaces which adds more ice each time.
Higgins Lake: Still has ice but fewer anglers heading out. Some are still targeting lake trout. Perch fishing was very slow and there has been no word on smelt.
Houghton Lake: Still has a few anglers going out for bluegills however few fish were caught. There is no longer any snow on the lake which means those heading out will want to bring cleats for traction.
Tawas: Fishing in bay was slow. A few small perch were caught inside the harbor. Pike spearing is closed but hook and line fishing is still open on the Great Lakes. Walleye anglers were mainly fishing at dusk.
Au Gres: Had a lot of anglers walleye fishing off Palmer Road. Most were fishing in seven to 10 and some limit catches were reported. Some perch ranging six to eight inches were also caught but anglers were sorting through the small ones. We have reports of a truck going through the ice at Palmer Road so anglers need to use caution.
Ice fishing is still going on the inland lakes. At this rate, anglers could be ice fishing well into April. Warmer weather should help with the panfish bite.
Lake Charlevoix: Was producing fair catches of perch.
Torch Lake: Was producing decent catches of whitefish and trout.
Traverse City: The East Bay continues to produce some lake trout and large burbot. Most are fishing in 120 to 150 feet off Deep Water Point and Yuba. Try jigs that glow. Lake trout have been caught in West Bay as well. Try 135 to 180 feet with sand kickers and pimples with or without a minnow. Perch anglers could not get the fish to bite. Warmer temperatures are starting to produce some pressure cracks so anglers need to be careful.
Green Lake: Still had ice. Those fishing at night have caught smelt.
Lake Cadillac: Those still heading out are now targeting panfish. Crappie could be found just off the bottom or just under the ice. Try minnows, wigglers or wax worms.
Lake Mitchell: Still has a few anglers heading out for bluegill and crappie.
Manistee River: Has some steelhead but the spring run has not yet started. Ice still covers some large areas of the river.
Pere Marquette River: Also has steelhead and more anglers out targeting them. Large sections of the river still had ice.
Marquette: The Lower Harbor had no anglers but the ice remains solid. Strong winds in the Upper Harbor are shifting the ice while cold temperatures were making new ice. Only a few anglers were out but no fish were caught.
Carp River: Winds have shifted some of the ice and other areas froze over because of temperatures below zero. Some of the river is open slightly between the bridge and the discharge area below the Highway-41 Bridge. A few anglers have tried fishing here but had no success.
Au Train: Had only a handful of anglers fishing and they had no success. Some areas took the entire length of the auger to get through the ice and slush. The mouth of the Rock River and the Au Train River were still iced in.
Munising: Had more anglers out fishing but catch rates remain slow. Solid ice remains but fresh snow may make travel difficult. For whitefish, try bouncing eggs off the bottom in 60 to 70 feet. Some reported a fairly steady bite between 6 and 8 p.m. The fish ranged eight to 13 inches. Splake were caught however many were small. For bigger fish, try off the City Pier or Sand Point. Coho anglers could be found off Sand Point but catch rates slowed. Those fishing near the mouth of the rivers caught herring, menominee and steelhead. Fishing in Trout Bay has declined with only the occasional coho, lake trout or steelhead caught.
Menominee River: Warmer weather followed by extreme cold turned the parking lots, walkways and the river into ice rinks. Some were fishing the open water on the Michigan side for steelhead and brown trout. They are drifting spawn, yarn and flies near the rocks or casting lures off the Cat Walk. Catch rates were slow.
Little Bay De Noc: The last week of walleye season was one that anglers have not seen in years. Many were not able to reach the water without an extension on their auger because of the ice thickness. Anglers caught jumbo perch along the “Narrows” in 40 to 50 feet and off Vagabond Resort in 24 to 30 feet when using minnows or wigglers. Those fishing Butler Island reported a lot of small fish along with a few keepers. The next several weeks should bring some very good perch fishing opportunities if it warms up.
Munuscong: Anglers caught perch off Grassy Island. Catch rates should pick up soon off Dan’s Resort and near Grassy Island.
Cedarville and Hessel: Perch anglers are taking fish off the west end of Musky Bay and towards Duck Bay in seven to 10 feet. Fish were also caught from the east end of Hessel Bay and Government Bay.