Ice fishing is off to a fast start in 2013 — nearly a month ahead of last year.
According to local bait shops, there is good ice on several local bayous, and anglers are catching decent numbers of bluegills.
“They’re fishing on Millhouse, fishing on Bruce’s, and there’s approximately 3 1/2 inches of ice out there,” said Gary Stillson of Lakeview Marine & Tackle in Grand Haven. “They’re also fishing over by Eastmanville, which is pretty good fishing right now.”
Stillson said anglers are also doing well on Sterns Bayou in Robinson Township, but there isn’t any public access on Sterns.
“It’s hard to access because it’s all landlocked, so you need to know somebody,” Stillson said.
“Mostly right now it’s bluegills and specs, although a lot of guys are starting to get their (spearing) shanties out there. They’re doing a lot of tip-up fishing (for pike), too.”
A year ago, it wasn’t until the final days of January before the ice was fit for fishing.
“Everybody’s pretty anxious to get out, so we’ve been a lot busier,” said Willis Kerridge of Fish On Bait and Tackle in Nunica. “A lot of guys never ended up buying stuff last year because there was no ice.”
Kerridge said that while people are catching fish, they’re working hard to find good-sized keepers.
“They’re catching quite a few bluegills, but the size has been small,” he said. “They’re getting a few pike on tip-ups.”
In addition to local bayous, Kerridge said people are fishing on Little Black Lake off Pontaluna Road. Closer to home, he said Lloyds Bayou still is not safe to fish on.
“There are a lot of springs in Lloyds,” Kerridge said.
Kerridge said another option is catching perch in the open water around some of the bridges in Spring Lake.