IRON MOUNTAIN Improved fishing was reported throughout the area this week.
"There was a 9- to 10-pound walleye caught this week," said John Grier at Whispering Pines Outpost. "Guys are still panfishing. Some say they are doing really well while others are catching a lot of small fish.
Badwater was producing northern, some up in the 30-inch range."
Tom Bean at Crystal Bait in Crystal Falls and Don Ciochetto at the Sport Shop in Iron River both mentioned an increase in northern activity, but mostly small fish.
"They're catching a lot of small ones," Bean said. "A lot of guys are panfishing and getting some perch and bluegills."
"Things are picking up," Ciochetto said. "There were some pretty nice panfish being caught this week. A lot of northern, but mostly undersize."
Bob Kennard at Midtown Bait and Tackle in Channing said walleye was picking up a little bit.
"Quite a few pike being caught," he added.
Dean Lindblom at Country Bait and Tackle suggested Lake Antoine for perch fishing.
"They've been catching perch and northern," he said. "Last weekend saw a 32-inch and 28-inch northern caught."
Pattie Teske at Florence Sport and Bait said crappies are biting, too.
"A lot of guys are using wax worms right now for the crappie," she said, suggesting anglers look for fish suspended in about 15 feet of water. "They're getting a few perch and some northern with tip-ups."
Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment reported the following fishing conditions across the Upper Peninsula:
Keweenaw Bay - The ice has broken up and there are between 20 and 30 ice shanties floating on the broken ice. On some, all you can see is the very top. The area of danger is from the Falls River west towards the Baraga Marina and then a wide sweep to the northwest and north to just inside Light House Point. There was still ice near the Baraga Marina to the head of the bay however it is now known if the ice will stay or break up. Extreme caution needs to be used! Be sure to check the ice yourself and check with other anglers in the area before heading out. The bite was slow for all species except smelt, which have been caught at night. The ice broke up between Sand Point, the Tribal Station and across the bay to the Whirl-I-Gig. The ice was moving up and down by 3 feet or so off Jentoft's Dock and Sand Point, and shoreline ice was broken up about 30 feet out. Those traveling on the ice should also watch for debris from ice shanties. Strong wind the end of last week sent several ice shanties flying, and some fell apart as they tumbled across the ice.
Little Bay De Noc - Warm weather created some problems with ice conditions, especially near the pressure cracks, islands and power plant discharges. Melting snow is making for difficult travel across the ice, so bring some cleats. Walleye fishing was still slow. Most are fishing the head of the bay with tip-ups and sucker minnows in 14 to 32 feet of water. The Narrows and south by the Escanaba River produced a few fish however most of the shanties were removed after the warm spell. Whitefish anglers were removing shanties from Sand Point as catch rates were fair at best for those jigging minnows or spawn in 75 to 85 feet of water. For perch, try the Second and Center Reefs in 20 to 33 feet of water with minnows or wigglers. Extreme caution needs to be used as several vehicles have gone through the ice.
Munising - Strong winds blew the snow off the ice so it is slippery. Anglers are advised to wear cleats when heading out. Catch rates for whitefish were fair but some nice fish were caught when bouncing a single egg or wax worms off the bottom in 50 to 80 feet of water. Those spearing reported slow catch rates for lake herring. A few more splake were caught but the overall action was slow. Weather conditions have hampered lake trout fishing.
Indian Lake - Walleye anglers did manage to catch some fish on the far north end of the lake when using tip-ups with large minnows. A few walleye were caught during the day however the fish were more active in the late afternoon and evening. Perch were also caught but many were small. The warm spell, high winds and refreeze did some damage to ice shanties so be careful when traveling across the ice. The large pressure crack is also an issue at this time. Anglers should enter from either the east end at Danielson's Landing or the west end from launch at Lange's Bay. Access from the park was possible now that the snow drifts are gone.
Munuscong Bay - Is still producing a few walleye in 17 to 30 feet of water. A good number of small pike were also caught. Perch activity increased in Fowlers Bay when using wigglers in 3 feet of water. Good perch action was reported between Kemps Point and the Moon Islands.
Cedarville and Hessel - Hessel Bay is providing a lot of catch and release activity for anglers with an abundance of undersized perch.