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Panfishing heats up; caution urged on Little Bay De Noc

February 20, 2010
The Daily News

IRON MOUNTAIN - For those who enjoy panfishing, action during the past week has been hot all over the area.

"We've had quite a few fishermen catching panfish," said John Grier at Whispering Pines Outpost. "Walleye is a little quiet and the northern fishing has slowed a bit. Wax worms have been the hot seller."

Dean Lindblom at Iron Mountain's Country Bait and Tackle also reported an active panfish bite, mentioning anglers brining in 10- to -12-inch crappie out of Lake Antoine.

"They're catching panfish for sure," he said. "Mainly perch and crappie but some bluegill too. Not as many guys going after pike now. We've been selling a lot of shiners, crappie minnows and wax worms."

Pattie Teske at Florence Sport and Bait reported an uptick in the walleye bite, saying some anglers have been getting keeper fish.

"The fishermen are catching a little bit of everything right now," she said. "It should be a productive weekend."

Tom Bean at Crystal Bait told of a 40-inch, 19-pound pike that was caught this week.

"There's been some walleye action," he added. "Gills and crappie are biting and a few perch here and there."

Further west, Don Ciochetto at The Sport Shop in Iron River said the walleye bite remains slow.

"They've been pretty much in short supply all season it seems," he said. "But guys are still doing well on northern, and panfishing is good."

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources reported the following fishing conditions across the Upper Peninsula:

Menominee River - Small bluegill and yellow perch were caught at the Menekaunee slip when jigging minnows. Sixth Street had good ice but not many anglers were out. A few northern pike were caught on tip-ups near the Mystery Ship. Trout anglers wading and casting off Boom Island caught brown trout on flies. Walleye were caught through the ice at the Hattie Street Dam. Try jigging with or without minnows or tip-ups. Most fish were caught in the late afternoon or evening.

Green Bay - Ice is improving however few anglers were out. Lots of small perch have been caught in the marina.

Little Bay De Noc - Ice conditions remain about the same with most anglers fishing between the Escanaba River and the head of the bay. Some are fishing as far south as Portage Point however the ice is dangerous in this area and should be avoided. Pressure cracks are still a problem so caution needs to used at all times when crossing or traveling around them. Lots of fish were marked throughout the bay however catch rates were slow. A few walleye were caught near the Escanaba River on tip-ups with minnows or jigging rapalas in 25 to 35 feet of water. Some large walleye and a few perch were caught at the head of the bay when using tip-ups with minnows in 10 to 23 feet of water near the Day's River. Perch anglers were marking good numbers of small fish in the Butler Island area in 6 to 12 feet of water. Some large perch were caught south of the Narrows when jigging minnows in 20 to 33 feet of water. Good numbers of whitefish remain in the flats out from the Terrace Bay Inn however few anglers were taking advantage of this fishery.

Keweenaw Bay - Limits of lake herring were caught in 40 to 70 feet of water. Most were fishing 8 to 10 feet down during the first hour of daylight then dropping down 20 to 25 feet. Try fishing Light House Point and south to the L'Anse Marina then west to the Baraga Marina. Whitefish were caught on the bottom in 80 to 105 feet of water. Some are going out from Sand Point, but it is not recommended. The ice broke up and there was open water a few days ago.

Cedarville and Hessel - Perch fishing has picked up and so has the size of fish caught even though there is still a lot of undersized perch and pike present.



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