The first weekend of ice fishing this season is in the books. A few guys started creeping out on Wednesday trying to catch some of that first ice magic. We’ve been getting good reports of Crappies and a few mixes of Sunfish and Bluegills along with them. Most are staying pretty close to the public access sites so most of the lake is unexplored. With that in mind make sure to still be checking the ice with every step, and don’t just walk blindly to where you see others fishing.
Most of Crappie have been coming on small minnows, but others are using small jigs with wax worms or soft plastics. Sunfish and Bluegills are being caught on small tungsten jigs tipped with spikes. We heard of plenty of Pike being caught this past weekend, no monsters but many in that 24-30″ range. A few guys were getting into Walleye behind the Mitchell State Park area right along the drop off. They were mainly concentrating on the drop off from 7-12′ of water. They got some jigging and others on tip-ups with shiner minnows.
If you still want to get some fishing in but not sure about stepping onto the ice, Steelhead fishing has been pretty good. Mainly on the Manistee but also the Betsie and Boardman rivers. This time of year Jigs and waxworms seem to be king, but Spawn, Beads and Minnows are also catching some.