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Outdoors report

Ice season winds down

March 5, 2011
The Daily News

Country Bait and Tackle hosts weekend contest

IRON MOUNTAIN Steady fishing is being reported as the ice angling season quickly approaches its final weeks.

"Guys are still doing pretty good with panfishing," said Don Ciochetto at the Sport Shop in Iron River. "There were a few walleyes taken and still a lot of undersize northern."

Northern and walleye closes this weekend in Wisconsin. There is a one-fish per day limit on boundary waters. Michigan inland lake season closes March 15.

"Fishing is so so," reported Patti Teske at Florence Sport and Bait.

"They're getting panfish right now, bluegills and crappie. There's been a few walleye here and there. Not much reported on the Brule."

Bob Kennard at Midtown Bait and Tackle in Channing said fishing was "OK" at last weekend's fisheree on Way Dam. He said wax worms and crappie minnows continue as his top sellers.

A 29-inch walleye won the monthly contest at John Grier's Whispering Pines Outpost in Breitung Township. So far a 12-inch perch leads for the March contest.

"They're catching fish in the boundary waters," Grier mentioned. "We're selling a lot of minnows and wax worms. Guys still after perch and bluegill continue to catch fish."

Dean Lindblom's Country Bait and Tackle holds a fishing contest this weekend for anglers on all area lakes and rivers. Anglers need to bring entries into the shop. There is a $10 buy-in. Prizes will be awarded in categories for pike, walleye, perch, crappie and bluegill.

"Walleye have been hitting, with a few in the 20-inch range taken out of Lake Antoine," Lindblom said. "Perch are biting in certain spots. Bluegill has been a little lackluster."

Fishing guides and licenses for 2011 are now available at area bait shops. The 2010 licenses expire March 31.

Leftover spring turkey licenses go on sale March 8.

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

Keweenaw Bay: The fish bite was slow again this past week but anglers are picking up a few Coho and Herring at the Head of the Bay, and off of Sand Point in 40 to 60 feet of water fishing 10 to 15 feet down. Anglers have also caught a mix of smelt and perch in the early morning fishing in 25 to 40 feet of water around Baraga Marina. The whitefish bite was up and down during the past week. Anglers have also picked up a few lake trout in the whitefish hole east of Baraga Marina in 70 to 90 feet of water. The smelt bite has been good for the night time anglers around the Baraga Marina.

Little Bay De Noc: Several anglers fell through the ice just off the north end of Butler Island this week. Every one was without harm but vehicles needed professional rescue. Please use caution at all times. Good walleye catches reported this week in the Gladstone area. Many used tip-ups with sucker minnows. Anglers fished in 28 to 33 feet of water using tip-ups and jigging raps. From Center reef north to Garth Point, most used tip-ups with suckers in 22 to 35 feet of water. Best fishing all season was in the Garth Point area with most catches in shallower waters from 8 to 20 feet of water. Perch catches remained fair with deep water producing best catches of jumbos. Most jigged minnows or wigglers in and around 30 feet of water just off Second Reef. Perch anglers in the shallows reported good numbers of small fish all around the Butler Island area jigging wigglers and minnows. Anglers reported many caught but few kept. Fair to good catches were reported by whitefish anglers off Sand Point by weeks end. Anglers were jigging spawn or minnows in 75 to 85 feet of water. Good numbers of northern pike caught all around the mouth of the Day's River. Most were caught using tip-ups with sucker minnows. The fishing here has gotten much better in recent days. The ice should hold up as temperatures should remain below freezing.

Munising: A lack of recent snowfall continues to make traversing the ice difficult and very slippery. Anglers are advised to wear cleats when fishing in these conditions. The primary focus in the bay remains on whitefish. The catch rates continued to be fair to poor. Single eggs and wax worms have been the bait of choice, with most anglers fishing depths from 50 to 80 feet of water, bouncing baits just off the bottom. Anglers have also begun to catch Menominee using these tactics in shallower water with the primary bait being wax worms. Some of these fish have approached 14 inches.

Indian Lake: The lack of snow has made the lake dangerous for those traveling and walking on the ice. Anglers should wear cleats and drive with caution since it is still very slippery when traveling with any motor vehicle. The pressure crack is still bothersome since it continuously shifts and runs north and south for the majority of the lake. Anglers wanting to fish the north east side of the lake should use Danielson's landing. Anglers fishing the northwest side should try fishing at Lange's Bay boat launch. The south east/west part of the lake can now be accessed at the State Park boat launch since snow drifts are no longer an issue. The week was generally slow for catch rates of all species.



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