On April 1, all anglers 17 years of age and older will be required to have a 2013 fishing license. Be sure to pick up a copy of the 2013 Fishing Guide when you purchase your license. Even though the calendar says spring, ice fishing is going strong in the northern half of the Lower Peninsula and the Upper Peninsula. While spring is slow to arrive this year, a long, slow warm-up is better for fish production.
SOUTHWEST LOWER PENINSULA
St. Joseph River: Water levels were getting back to normal. Water temperatures dropped back down to 37 degrees. Very few steelhead moved through the Berrien Springs ladder during the cold spell. Fish movement is expected to increase over the weekend with the arrival of rain and warmer weather.
Kalamazoo River: Steelhead fishing slowed but there are still fish to be caught.
Gull Lake: Still had some ice on the south end but those fishing said the bite was really slow with only a few bluegill and perch biting during the day and a few smelt at night. Extreme caution needs to be used this time of year.
Grand River at Grand Rapids: As water levels come down, water clarity improves. Rain and warmer temperatures by the weekend should help to move fresh fish into the river.
Grand River at Lansing: Steelhead are now being caught near Ionia in Prairie Creek, so they are moving this way. Those looking for bluegill or crappie might want to check out the backwaters.
Muskegon River: Water levels are back to normal and the clarity is nice and clear. The steelhead bite slowed with the cold weather. Look for good fishing once spring gets here and stays.
SOUTHWEST LOWER PENINSULA
Green Lake: The smelt bite slowed but should pick back up with warmer weather.
Crystal Lake: Continues to give up smelt. No big numbers yet but catch rates should improve soon.
Manistee River: Steelhead fishing is in a bit of a holding pattern right now. Plenty of fish around, but water temperatures are cold and water levels are back down to normal. The next thaw should really get it fired up.
Lake Missaukee: Still has ice fishing.
Lake Cadillac: Ice fishing could last for another two weeks at this rate. Panfish are being caught but the bite has slowed. A few crappie were caught along the east end.
Lake Mitchell: Ice fishing is going strong with no end in sight, at least not right now. The bite was slow but panfish were caught in the coves.
Pere Marquette River: Has steelhead but catch rates were slow due to the cold water. The next warm-up should provide some excellent trout fishing.