Grand Rapids Fishing Report: February 2016


January finally brought us some medium-to-thin thickness ice. For a while there many of us were wondering if we would ever get to fish in 2016!

The bluegills are still darting in and out of the weed beds. Smaller jigs with live bait seem to be the ticket. Great success on real fine small plastics on #16 & #14 jigs, we even got some practice in with or palm rods. 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 both been producing. Pike on both tip ups and spear holes have been of medium size with the anglers I have spoken with.

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 if you put a small one back. They seem to be less timid if you don’t fish the hole out. Jewel tipped jigs with #14 & #12, garnished with a bright plastic grub during the day have worked well. Use the GPS and a free app on your smart phone 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 the retired guys. 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. The addition of an LED light bar on my hopper bucket made it real easy to give them a UV charge on every up.

Palm rods have become part of the arsenal on days when the fish are 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 talented fishermen handling them with ease. 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 on an unfamiliar lake. I recommend keeping a 5-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!