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Free fishing this weekend; UP lakes producing walleye

IRON MOUNTAIN — It’s free fishing weekend today and Sunday in Michigan.

Both residents and nonresidents can fish for free. While no license is required, all regulations still apply.

Even with the extremely cold temperatures, ice anglers are reminded to use caution.

“Never go out alone, take a cell phone, check the ice ahead of you with a spud and stay away from pressure cracks as well as any inlets or outlets where there is a constant current,” the Michigan Department of Natural Resources advised. More tips are available at Michigan.gov/IceSafety.

Inland lakes in the Upper Peninsula were producing good numbers of walleye and perch prior to the cold front, the DNR said. Panfish were found in deeper water.

A fishing and disc golf event hosted by Comrades n’ Chains is set for Sunday at Fortune Lake. Activities start at noon at Bewabic State Park. Call 906-239-2622 for more information.

Fay Whisler of Whisler Outdoors in Florence, Wis., said a few crappie catches were reported this week and Friday’s “warm up” was bringing out more angers.

Leff’s annual All Lake Fishing Derby is taking place today. Any Florence County water can be fished. Leff’s is 3 miles west of Florence on Highway 101.

The Michigan DNR reported these Upper Peninsula conditions:

Keweenaw Bay: Has some ice; however, conditions can change daily, so extreme caution needs to be used when venturing out. Those heading out have caught splake, brown trout, coho and a few pike.

Little Bay de Noc: Perch have been caught off Kipling. Walleye were caught off Escanaba when fishing along the drop-off. Anglers are using jigging raps and tip-ups with sucker minnows.

Munising: Fishing pressure decreased with the brutal cold weather and up to 12 inches or more of snowfall. Wind chills have been as low as 25 below with north winds. A few anglers were out; however, catch rates for coho, whitefish and splake were down. Whitefish were in 50 to 60 feet. Some were marking smelt. Schools of coho were coming through, but not everyone caught fish. The bite was best in the morning.

Big Manistique Lake: Was producing a fair number of walleye.

St. Marys River: A few whitefish were caught in Ashmun Bay. Perch were caught in Fowlers Bay.

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