Big crappies biting, walleye run begins

IRON MOUNTAIN — With winter still on the offensive, anglers are at least finding some panfish action.

Although shorelines are starting to deteriorate, many lakes have sturdy ice and crappies in particular are biting, said Fay Whisler at Whisler Outdoors in Florence, Wis.

“They’re catching some real nice ones right now,” she said. Bluegill results have also been good but perch have been finicky.

At Whispering Pines Outpost in Breitung Township, John Grier reminded hunters there’s plenty of turkey permits available for the Upper Peninsula opener April 23.

Despite the extended ice season, fishing interest has waned, he said. “Everybody’s just waiting for the storm,” he said Friday.

Walleye runs are underway on the Oconto and Menominee rivers, according to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Anglers traveling to Marinette, Wis., are reminded of the launch of the LCS-17 (USS Indianapolis) by Fincantieri Marinette Marine Corp. Due to today’s expected storm, the launch has been postponed to Tuesday. Previously, it was announced the launch would be today and would necessitate the closure of two boat landings on the Menominee River.

Boom Landing in Marinette and River Park (Mystery Ship) ramp in Menominee will still be closed to the public until about 5 p.m. today for christening ceremonies. Additionally, the boat landings will be closed from 8 p.m. Monday to approximately 5 p.m. Tuesday for the actual launching.

Other boat launches on the Menominee River will be open to the public. However, all boats, including kayaks and canoes, will be barred from the marine safety zone established by the US Coast Guard on Tuesday from approximately 9:45 a.m. until the ship is safely docked.

The Michigan DNR reported the following Upper Peninsula activity:

Little Bay De Noc: Still had ice; however, the edges were getting soft in some spots. The area around Butler Island had opened up, so use caution. Only a few anglers were targeting perch in 30 to 40 feet off Kipling. Catch rates were fair when using minnows or wigglers right on the bottom. Portage Point and south had open water. The Ford River was showing signs of breaking up, but was still not fishable. The Day’s River had open water in a few areas. This week could open up some areas for shore anglers.

Big Bay De Noc: Was entirely ice-covered, but no anglers had been seen, most likely due to the significant snowfall. Fairport is open water, but the marina was blocked because of snow.

Indian Lake: Was producing bluegills and perch.

Marquette: The bubblers were ice-free, but fishing was slow, with most anglers only getting 1-3 coho per trip. Only a handful of steelhead and brown trout were caught in both the Carp and Chocolay Rivers. Rain and runoff is needed to bring the water levels back up.

Munising: Still had ice fishing, but fewer anglers were out because of bad weather. The weather is to remain cold at night, with a low in the teens and only getting to the upper 30’s during the day. Those targeting coho only caught a few as the schools of fish had been moving in and out. Night anglers caught a couple burbot.

Grand Marais: The harbor was frozen solid; however, the ice outside the harbor was moving in and out depending on wind direction, and some massive ice floes were present. Only a handful of local anglers had been ice fishing in the harbor. Most were targeting Menominee, but a few coho were also caught. There was no activity along the Sucker River, as ice floes along with a wall of ice about 15 feet high were reported on the pier. Heavy snowfall in the area has also been a problem.

Two Hearted River: Had difficult fishing conditions due to deep snow in the area.

Manistique Lake: Anglers were getting some panfish.