Ice fishing in Michigan is not a phenomenon that popped up over night. In fact, ever since people have called Michigan home they have been ice fishing. There is evidence that the earliest explorers to the Great Lakes region witnessed people ice fishing. How awesome is that? Native Americans used decoys to spear fish and so can you!
If you haven't tried ice fishing before, you need to make it a point to try it this year. In my opinion, you cannot call yourself a true Michigander until you experience this awesome sport. Ice fishing is a cheap, fun sport to try out with your loved ones.
The ice fishing in Michigan is truly one of the best in the country. From local lakes to the big water of the Great Lakes, Michigan has it all. I have enjoyed the sport of ice fishing for almost ten years now and have fished quite a few different lakes.
Check out some of my favorite lakes!
Lake Saint Clair- Lake Saint Clair is known in the winter for perch. Many other types of fish can be caught on the lake but perch is primarily the fish being caught. However, pike, walleye, bluegills, crappie, musky(out of season-do not target), bass(also out of season.) can all be caught fishing Lake Saint Clair.
Saginaw Bay- Saginaw Bay is one of the top three or four destinations in the country for catching walleye. If the conditions are right, limits of walleye can be counted on day after day. Unfortunately for anglers, ice conditions and walleye movements change day to day making fishing Saginaw bay a tricky proposition. The walleye can be six or seven miles away from access points so bring a guide or somebody experienced if you are a rookie. Popular access spots for Saginaw bay are Linwood Beach and Ericson road.
Fletchers Pond- Fletchers Pond in Hillman, MI is one of Michigan's best pike lakes. For many years, pike anglers have went to Fletchers not only in search of that pike of a lifetime but also for good numbers of them. The last year I went to Fletchers the size of the fish seemed down but there were plenty of 23-24 inch pike to be caught. If you go, try Jack's landing to access the lake.
Houghton Lake- Houghton Lake is another lake with great tradition. Houghton Lake is not only home to an assortment of fish species but also an annual festival called Tip-up town. Every year, ice fisherman and non-ice fisherman alike flock to Houghton Lake to enjoy the festivities. There are seven access points to Houghton Lake spaced out around the lake so finding how to get on the water should not be difficult.
Higgins Lake- Higgins Lake is home to an unlikely ice fishing target... smelt. Most people do not ice fish for smelt but they can be very fun to fish for. Every night anglers go out armed with lanterns and small hooks looking for a mess of smelt on Higgins Lake. There are four access points which can be found on the southeast, west and north portion of the lake.
Crystal Lake- Crystal Lake by Lake Michigan is another lake that anglers can target smelt. Perch fishing is also hot on Crystal Lake but anglers usually have to do a lot of sorting. If you decide to ice fish Crystal Lake, try to pull of an ice fishing marathon. Target perch in the day and then set up for smelt at night. You might also get an occasional Lake Trout for your troubles. A popular access spot to Crystal Lake is on the south side of the lake. Simply park on the road, walk a couple hundred feet out on the lake and you will be pulling perch after perch in no time.
Lake Erie- Lake Erie is an awesome ice fishing destination for both perch and walleye if anglers can access the ice. Like Saginaw Bay, anglers have to be extremely cautious on Lake Erie. Make sure to check wind directions and do not go out if there is a strong west wind. Lake Erie does not lock in so you are taking your life into your hands with an offshore breeze. Most anglers fish in Brest Bay or around Erie Metropark. Airport Bay is also a hot spot but access is severely limited.
This concludes my favorite lakes to ice fish in the state of Michigan. However, there are thousands more out there. If you would like to share your favorite lake, feel free to post in the comment section of this article. Any help would be greatly appreciated to get a newbie on their first fish!
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