Ice conditions turn dicey; youth turkey hunt in Wisconsin

Outdoors report

IRON MOUNTAIN — With ice deteriorating, most anglers are either waiting for warmer days or hitting the road for walleye or steelhead.

At Whisler Outdoors in Florence, Wis., Doug Whisler said some lakes still have ice, but conditions are variable. “Everyone should use extreme caution this time of year,” he said.

“Since the storm (on Thursday), it’s been extra slow,” said John Grier at Whispering Pines Outpost in Breitung Township.

Walleye fishermen were flocking to the Peshtigo and Menominee rivers in Marinette County but only a few fish were caught, said Aaron McCullough, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources wildlife technician at Wausaukee. The best catches were reportedly at the mouth of the Menominee or by the U.S. 41 bridge on the Peshtigo.

After the snow and rain this week, rivers and streams are flowing high and fast.

“Fishermen should use caution, whether on shore or on a boat on all rivers and especially when near dams,” said Kathy Frank, Marinette County emergency management coordinator. “There is still ice coming downstream as well as debris from the spring melt,” Frank said.

Wisconsin has a statewide youth turkey hunt today and Sunday. The first regular season starts Wednesday.

The Upper Peninsula turkey hunt opens April 22 and permits are still available at Grier’s M-95 shop.

The Michigan DNR reported the following Upper Peninsula fishing activity:

Manistique River: Steelhead fishing is just getting started. Anglers reported steelhead and brown trout from the dam south to Dewey’s Bass Hole and over to the high dam spill over. Most were casting spawn bags or Berkley honey worms. The boat launch is open however you do have to watch for floating ice.

Keweenaw Bay: Anglers should stay off the ice. The shoreline ice is very weak and getting worse every day. The South Entry and Traverse Bay still have ice at the boat launch. When Traverse Bay does open-up, anglers will still have problems getting out due to stamp sand blowing and closing the river.

Marquette: Pack ice had blown into the Upper Harbor which prevented anglers from launching boats. The rivers seem to be picking up slightly but were still slow overall. A couple anglers were fishing near the mouth of the Dead River. A few Menominee, splake and steelhead were caught at the mouth of the Carp River, but most anglers were leaving with no fish.

Chocolay River: Fishing was slow with only a couple steelhead or brown trout caught near the M-28 Bridge and down near the mouth. Most were floating spawn bags. Quite a few anglers were out however only a few caught fish.

Little Bay De Noc: This will most likely be the last week of ice fishing. The shoreline ice in the northern bay is getting worse making it difficult to get out. Perch anglers had fair to good reports from the Day’s River to the Second Reef with minnows and wigglers in 18 to 30 feet. The Whitefish, Tacoosh, Rapid, Day’s and parts of the Ford River are all open water.

Au Train: Anglers were targeting coho near shore only as ice conditions were not good and will only get worse. Anglers were out from the boat launch, Au Train River and the roadside park at Scott Falls.

Munising: Still had ice in the bay but it is starting to break up. Murray Bay had a lot of slush and water. Holes were opening-up near the west channel and Powell Point. The Anna River mouth is somewhat open. There are some open areas where anglers can fish from the pier.

Grand Marais: Had no anglers. Pack ice is present within the harbor and beyond the breakwall the lake ice is breaking up. Ice fishing is no longer possible. Pier fishing is limited to the beginning of the pier because of ice on the walkway. The Sucker River is open upstream but limited down near the mouth because of ice.

Detour: The boat launch at the marina was still covered with snow. There was no place to launch a boat in Detour Village.