IRON MOUNTAIN - Ice fishing season is coming to an abrupt conclusion on area lakes and rivers, which is just as well since most bait shops are reporting poor fishing anyway.
Those attempting to access ice are being advised to only go out on foot.
"Fishing has started slowing down now," said Dean Lindblom at Country Bait and Tackle in Iron Mountain said. "There are some starting to head out on the river in boats for walleye. I think the hydraulics were open now, too.
"Those still going on the ice were looking for panfish, but it has slowed some," Lindblom added "Ice on Lake Antoine is still said to be thick out in the middle, but I'd be real leery about going out."
Walleye and pike season closes this weekend on inland lakes, but river fishermen can keep one legal fish per day.
"Ice is starting to go pretty good," said Don Ciochetto at the Sport Shop in Iron River. "Last reports I had were of guys catching some nice panfish, but activity has slowed this week."
John Grier at Whispering Pines Outpost reported a quiet week, aside from some anglers landing crappies.
"Not too many going out with this goofy weather," he said. "A lot of guys won't go out if they can't drive."
Panfishermen were still doing OK, according to Patti Teske at Florence Sport and Bait, but ice is thinning fast.
"I hear there is plenty of ice in the middle, but the shorelines are definitely getting wet now," she said.
The Michigan DNR reported the following fishing conditions across the Upper Peninsula:
Michigamme Reservoir - Has a large pressure crack. Anglers need to use caution.
Menominee River - Those jigging wax worms or minnows off Menekaunee did mange to catch a couple nice bluegills along with many small yellow perch. Ice fishing near the Sixth Street Slip is done because of thin ice and open water. Boom Landing and the Mystery Ship still had ice. Anglers were setting tip-ups for walleye but no fish were caught. Shore anglers and those wading near Stephenson Island and Boom Island were targeting trout but no fish to report. The ice near the Hattie Street Dam on the Wisconsin side is no longer safe. Anglers on the Cat Walk are targeting trout and walleye when casting different colored rapalas or drifting spawn.
Green Bay - Walleye anglers fishing from the mouth of the Menominee River northward are reminded that between March 2nd and the Friday before the 1st Saturday in May, the possession limit for walleye drops to 1 fish, but will return to 5 fish on the 1st Saturday in May. Warm weather is producing more slush on the ice. Anglers were mainly yellow perch fishing or targeting whitefish.
Little Bay De Noc - Warm temperatures have taken their toll on ice conditions. Mud and slush around the shoreline have made accessing the ice difficult in some areas. Pressure cracks have opened up even more. Most anglers are staying in the northern part of the bay as the ice in the southern regions is failing. Dangers still exist on the northern sections so anglers need to use extreme caution. Foot traffic is best and no vehicles should be driving out on the ice. Those fishing the head of bay have caught walleye when using large sucker minnows on tip-ups in 6 to 13 feet of water. Catch rates for perch were slow but fish were caught off the Center Reef when jigging minnows in 28 to 33 feet of water. Fair whitefish action off Sand Point however ice conditions in this area are dangerous and should be avoided.
Au Train - The ice was holding but thickness does vary. Anglers need to use caution. Some are fishing out from the Au Train River and the Brownstone Boat Launch for steelhead and coho however the Brownstone was not plowed. A few were fishing the Rock River access which is just starting to open up.
Munising - Ice conditions were holding due to cold temperatures at night. Nice weather did not help anglers as catch rates were down across the board.
Lake Gogebic - Ice conditions were holding however slush is building off the packed trails. Anglers are advised to travel by foot only, no machines. Catch rates were very slow. Berglund Bay was active in the evening with walleye anglers using tip-ups.
Keweenaw Bay - Anglers need to use caution if going out on the ice. The warm weather has started to affect the ice in some areas. The salmon bite was slow however lake trout were caught in 130 to 270 feet of water off Jentoft's Dock, Whirl-I-Gig, Old Mission and Pequaming. Smelt anglers did well at night between Baraga and Bucks Marina.
Marquette - Ice fishing is not possible in the Marquette area as most of the ice has left the upper harbor. Anglers are fishing from boats, piers and shore for salmon, steelhead and whitefish however catch rates were slow. The lower harbor still had ice. Beach access was still possible near the "bubblers" however the City of Marquette may be closing that access shortly. Shore anglers were fishing near the Carp River and the power plant. Most are using jigs with hair, tipped with cut bait or worms. Green was a good color.
Munuscong Bay - Light numbers of walleye were caught in 20 to 30 feet of water. Pike and perch are being caught toward Grassing Island when jigging minnows in about 3 feet of water.
Cedarville and Hessel - Anglers are catching smaller perch at the east end of Hessel Bay in 6 to 8 feet of water. Most are using minnows or wax worms.