IRON MOUNTAIN - Another favorable weekend of ice fishing awaits local anglers, as the bite has remained steady in area waters.
Northern continue to be active biters along with panfish.
"They were getting some nice perch out of Gene's Pond," reported staff at Whispering Pines Outpost in Breitung Township. "Bluegill have been biting, and a lot of northern have been caught."
Anglers are reporting much better ice conditions, but vehicle traffic is still not recommended.
"Ice is pretty good now," said Don Ciochetto at The Sport Shop in Iron River. "The fishing is much the same as last week. Panfish guys are doing well. There's been a little walleye success here and there."
Pattie Teske at Florence Sport and Bait said fishermen in that area have seen the bite slow a bit just in the last day or so. Crappie, bluegill and northern were the most active. She also mentioned a couple of ice fishing derbies taking place today. One is on Fisher Lake and the other on the Pine River, sponsored by the Aurora-Homestead Sportsmen Club.
Dean Lindblom at Country Bait and Tackle said he's seen a few 25-inch plus pikes this week.
"Guys are pulling out the pike quite well right now," he said, mentioning shiners as the main bait of choice. "Bluegill are still hitting, but they're a little smaller than a few weeks ago. Dark colors and chartreuse seem to be popular choices among anglers."
Hunters are reminded that spring turkey hunting license application deadline is Feb. 1.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources reported the following fishing conditions across the Upper Peninsula:
Green Bay - The ice was poor on the Bay this week. Anglers were fishing inside the marina wall only for trout, pike and yellow perch. For trout and pike, anglers were using a rapala with or without minnows. Trout were seen on cameras however only small pike were caught. Yellow perch were caught on small jigs with minnows but many were small.
Menominee River - Anglers were ice fishing upstream from the mouth near the first bridge. This area has a mixed bag but most anglers were targeting panfish. Catch rates were slow with only a few small bluegills and the occasional crappie taken. Those fishing at the Sixth Street slip on the Marinette side need to use extreme caution as a truck went halfway in near the boat landing. Walleye and whitefish were caught late afternoon into the evening by those using jigs in a variety of colors and sizes. The river is open near Stephenson Island where anglers are wading or fishing from shore. Some are fly fishing while others are casting a variety of rapalas for brown trout, steelhead or walleye. Those fishing the Wisconsin side at the Hattie Street Dam were taking walleye, whitefish and pike through the ice. On the Michigan side, anglers were fishing the open waters from shore for steelhead and brown trout.
Little Bay De Noc - Ice in the shipping channel in Escanaba has reopened producing dangerous ice conditions. Anglers are discouraged from venturing out in this area. The majority of anglers are going out from the Terrace Bay Inn and north to the head of the Bay. Some were driving vehicles out north of the Narrows but it is not recommended. Several large ice breaks have opened in various areas across the Bay so anglers need to use extreme caution. Walleye catches have been fair at best with most of the large fish caught off the Center Reef with tip-ups and suckers in 25 to 31 feet of water. The best concentrations of fish have been south of Gladstone Beach in 25 to 35 feet of water. Try jigging rapalas with minnows. Those fishing the head of the Bay caught walleye and perch when jigging rapalas or using tip-ups with suckers in 8 to 19 feet of water. Catch rates for perch slowed however fish were still caught in both deep and shallow waters. Try jigging minnows in 27 to 35 feet of water or spikes and wigglers in 11 to 17 feet of water near Kipling. Jumbo perch were caught at the head of the Bay in 8 to 13 feet of water. Several large pike were taken off the Second Reef when using suckers in 27 to 33 feet of water.