Grand Rapids Fishing Report: February 2015


January got off to a wild start with lots of snow piling up on some medium-to-thin ice thickness, but the fish were biting. The cold temperatures made for rough days sitting on a bucket. I even considered breaking out a shelter.

The bluegills are still darting in and out of the weed beds. Smaller jigs with live bait seem to be the ticket. I’ve had good luck with real fine small plastics on #16 and #14 jigs. Since they are still in the shallower waters some of the old standby lead jigs are just as good as your new tungsten’s. Grubs and spikes have also both been producing. I’ve spoken to a few angler’s that are catching good size pike using both tip ups and spear holes.

Crappies are biting and have not been moving around too much. You should find them suspended over some deep holes. Smaller lakes with saddles or basins have been holding medium-size schools. We found it very productive to change holes every couple of fish or put a small one back. They seem to be less timid if you don’t fish the hole out. They need an escape route when the predators pass through the area. Jewel tipped jigs with #14 and #12, garnished with a bright plastic grub during the day have worked well. Use the GPS and a free app on your smartphone to record the spot when you find them. They haven’t been hitting real hard on the bite but if you can detect them sucking it in, you will be into a limit in no time. Late evenings minnows have been producing moderate results according to Terry D. I was able to get the glow jigs with a glow plastic working for the first hour of dark on a couple of trips in January.

Palm rods have become part of the arsenal on days when the fish are really finicky. There is a real art to learning to hand line and pitch the rod to keep the line from tangling. If you check out YouTube and other online resources, you can watch some really talented anglers handling them with ease. I recently got a tip about making your own palm rod spring bobbers out of old floppy discs. I knew that box of old software would come in handy for something. Try out those super small jigs and have some fun getting fish when no one else is catching.

Safe ice seems to be prevalent, but always use a walking spud when heading out to an unfamiliar lake. I recommend keeping a five-yard comfort zone between you and anyone not in your group out of courtesy, sometimes the quiet is as pleasing as the catch. Please remember to share ice conditions on and observe limits and rules. Be a great Michigan sportsman!