Crappies, perch caught through the ice; deadlines approaching on shanties

Outdoors Report

IRON MOUNTAIN — Anglers taking advantage of mild February weather are landing plenty of panfish.

“There’s a lot of people going out fishing,” said John Grier at Whispering Pines Outpost on M-95. “Some nice crappies are being caught, and some perch.”

Northern have been biting at Carney Lake and a couple other spots, but walleye action has been slow, Grier said. A 24-incher is the best in his monthly contest, which switches to perch March 1.

“Bluegill and crappie fishing has been excellent,” said Jared Whisler at Whisler Outdoors in Florence, Wis. Perch action has also been good, with a 14 1/2-inch catch reported, and wigglers have been the best bait, he said.

Walleye and pike action has been fairly slow, Whisler added, though a 32 1/2-pike was taken.

Anglers are reminded that ice shanties must be removed by midnight March 15 on Michigan-Wisconsin boundary waters. For all Upper Peninsula counties, shanties must be removed by midnight March 31.

Following the mandatory removal dates, ice shanties still may be used but must be removed daily from the ice.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources reported the following Upper Peninsula fishing activity:

Keweenaw Bay: Fishing was slower. The smelt bite was fair after dark out from the Baraga marina. The whitefish action was slower than normal. Lake trout fishing was fair off of the Whirl-I-Gig. There were very few coho and brown trout caught but no kings or steelhead.

Little Bay De Noc: Ice remains throughout most of the Bay. Saunders Point is dangerous and should be avoided because of the warm water discharge and open water in the area. Overall fishing was slow but anglers are marking good numbers of fish throughout. Spotty walleye catches were reported throughout but the better catches were in the southern waters. Fair catches rates for those jigging rapalas in and around 30 feet just south of the Escanaba River and in 23 to 30 feet in the Stonington area. Bigger fish were caught along the break and 25 to 40 feet down off Portage Point. Many were using tip-ups in the upper Bay but those jigging did better. Perch anglers reported slow but steady catches. Some large perch were caught in the northern Bay. Fair catches were reported from the First Reef to the Third Reef with wigglers on the bottom. A lot of undersize walleye mixed with some keepers and several respectable catches of perch and pike were taken up near the Day’s River in 14 to 24 feet. Good to excellent pike spearing was reported in 8 to 10 feet just off Butler Island.

Munising: Catch rates for whitefish dropped slightly. Anglers are mainly fishing with a single egg or wax worm. The coho action was fair to good for those jigging spoons or a Swedish pimple. Catch rates were fair for smelt. Night anglers targeting burbot reported slow catch rates. Many were fishing Trout Bay and Sand Point.

Cedarville and Hessel: Fishing pressure picked up around the Les Cheneaux Islands but the number of fish caught was down. Some days have been better than others. Perch ranging eight to 12 inches were caught on minnows, spikes and wigglers in eight to 12 feet. Bigger fish were seen but none were caught. Anglers reported seeing smelt and splake. Pike fishing picked up with most fish ranging 22 to 30 inches. Anglers still need to be cautious of areas with a strong current and or moving ice.