IRON MOUNTAIN - Walleye action is increasing for boundary water fishermen, while inland anglers are finding more water opening up and accessible.
"Guys are reporting that the walleye are starting to run a little bit, not full-bore though," said Pattie Teske at Florence Sport and Bait. "They're using fat heads and rapalas."
Dean Lindblom at Iron Mountain's Country Bait and Tackle also recommended fatheads and rapalas for walleye success on the Menominee River, saying a lot of anglers have been trying their luck.
Elsewhere, anglers have begun to take advantage of open water on inland lakes. Conditions vary throughout the area, but many lakes are reported more and more ice-free. Rain in the forecast should help clear up remaining ice.
"There's a fair amount of guys going out, with lakes pretty near open now," said John Grier at Whispering Pines Outpost in Breitung Township.
Pat Carey at Midtown Bait and Tackle in Channing reported sales of nightcrawlers and leeches, adding bluegills and crappie were hitting well on the mine ponds, which are said to be mostly open.
Anglers are reminded that they must have 2010 licenses, and ORV riders are required to have their new stickers as well.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources reported the following fishing conditions across the Upper Peninsula:
Lake Gogebic - The ice is going fast and strong winds have been shifting it back and forth on the lake. Anglers are warned to stay off the ice. There is open water on the north end and the south end is open out past the pier at the County Park.
Keweenaw Bay - Windy conditions and clear cold water has slowed catch rates. Any remaining ice is not safe. A good rain along with a strong south wind is needed to push ice out of the bay.
Marquette - Anglers are targeting coho, splake, steelhead, and whitefish. Coho and steelhead action has increased however more coho have been caught. Best baits were jigs with twister tails, spoons, spawn bags or crawlers. Anglers are trolling or casting in 25 to 35 feet of water with some coho as far down as 50 feet. Splake were caught off the lower harbor breakwall.
Menominee River - Those fishing closer to the Hattie Street Dam reported slow catch rates because the dam was closed and the current came to a stop. Anglers had a hard time getting their rapalas to drift out to where the fish usually congregate. A few brown trout were caught by those trolling. Those jigging minnows between the mouth and Boom Landing have caught walleye in the deeper holes. Yellow perch are coming up to spawn. The pond near the Mystery Ship launch is a good spot for perch fishing when jigging minnows with a slip bobber.
Green Bay - Has open water. Anglers targeting walleye are trolling the shoreline with crawler harnesses. Catch rates were fair. Pier anglers are having some luck near the lighthouse when jigging minnows for walleye and perch.
Little Bay De Noc - Still has some ice in the upper bay although most is open water. The only launch fully open is the North Shore Launch in Escanaba. The Ford River and Rapid River launches are open but not fully operational as of this report. Fishing this week should be good. Steelhead anglers are fishing the rivers however not much to report yet. The rivers are very low for this time of the year with temperatures ranging from 38 degrees to the mid 40's.
Au Train - The Brownstone launch is ice free however there is still some ice floating in the bay. A few coho were caught near the mouth of the Au Train River however catch rates were still slow. Best baits were spawn bags or spoons.
Rock River - Catch rates were slow however a few anglers were able to catch the occasional coho or steelhead.
Munising - Ice was holding between Sand Point and the city dock however it is not safe. Ice is gone from the Grand Island dock and the Sand Point ramp. A couple coho were caught by those jigging. Look for whitefish in deep waters.
Cedarville and Hessel - Boat anglers in Hessel were targeting perch but catch rates were slow.