IRON MOUNTAIN Increased northern activity marked what otherwise was a slower week for ice anglers.
"They caught a lot of northern during the derby last week at Fischer Lake," said Pattie Teske at Florence Sport and Bait. "Panfishing has been slower this week."
At Whispering Pines Outpost in Breitung Township, a nearly 34-incher was caught Thursday and registered as the current leader in the monthly fishing contest, said John Grier.
"There's a lot of fishermen going out," Grier said. "We've gotten reports of big crappie being caught, but the exact location wasn't revealed. We're selling all types of bait. Shiners are going really well."
Don Ciochetto at the Sport Shop in Iron River also mentioned increased catches of northern.
"Lot of guys out panfishing right now," he added. "And they seem to be doing well on various lakes."
Bait sales picked up toward the end of week at Crystal Bait in Crystal Falls. Tom Bean said fishing up that way was still a little slow, but a few walleye and panfish were being caught.
Perch and bluegill were biting on Lake Antoine, according to Dean Lindblom at Country Bait and Tackle. Some anglers were getting their holes drilled by a group of do-good teenagers the other day.
"We're moving a lot of bait," he said. "Shiners, walleye suckers and wax worms are the most popular."
Bob Kennard at Midtown Bait and Tackle in Channing said Sawyer Lake remains good for steady action.
"They're picking up some pike and a few walleye on Way Dam," he added.
"Witch Lake and Squaw Lake were still hot too."
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources said high and low pressure systems affect fishing, which is the reason the bite has been slow lately. The agency reported the following fishing conditions across the Upper Peninsula:
Lake Gogebic - Is producing some walleye. Most anglers were taking one or two legal size fish.
Keweenaw Bay - Steelhead and menominee are being caught on the east side near L'Anse. A few smelt were taken at the head of the bay.
Menominee River - The bite has been slow with few fish caught.
Little Bay De Noc - Has ice north of the Narrows and south towards the Escanaba River, however; ships are still moving in and out of the southern bay. This area is very dangerous and should be avoided. Walleye fishing was slow but has picked up in recent days. Many are fishing late evening along the First, Second and Center Reefs. Try tip-ups with sucker minnows in 18 to 25 feet of water. Good catches off the east bank near Kipling for day anglers jigging rapalas with minnows or tip-ups in 16 to 35 feet of water. Same area had fair to good perch catches using minnows. Bigger walleye were caught off the Terrace Bay Inn and south to the Escanaba River when using tip-ups with sucker minnows in 25 to 32 feet of water. Good perch action off the Center Reef when jigging minnows in 16 to 30 feet of water. Most of the fish were running 10 inches or bigger.
Munising - Ice is forming in the bay. Whitefish and splake have been caught.
Indian Lake - Ice conditions are poor near the mouth of the Indian River, just north of the beach on the west shore, and both north and south of the Lange's Boat Launch. Anglers are advised to stay in the area where other anglers are and not venture towards any of the areas mentioned above. Also be careful near the large pressure crack running north and south right down the middle of the lake. The gates at the dam have been closed so water levels are down. Those drilling holes near the rock pile need to be careful. More walleye and pike were caught on the north end in waters up to 10 feet deep. Try tip-ups with 2 inch minnows, or for walleye, try a Swedish Pimple with or without a minnow. A fair to good number of perch were still being caught off the northeast corner. Most were 6 to 7 inches however a few bigger ones were also caught.
Munuscong Bay - Walleye catches have slowed. The fish are scattered and can be found as deep as 30 feet. Perch fishing was also slow, try shallow waters 3 to 6 feet deep.
Cedarville and Hessel - Cold weather had a negative impact on catch rates. Persistent anglers are catching perch along the far eastern side or the west side of Hessel Bay in 6 to 14 feet of water.