M arch ice fishing in our area provides some great weather and good opportunities if you take advantage of them. Concentrate your efforts at the north end of the lakes you venture out on, the sun will warm the north end first, and fish will migrate to the warmer water. Weeds will begin to grow again if the sun can penetrate the ice where snow has melted creating more oxygen. Fish will become more active and catching them should be easier than in February.
The bluegill and crappie move out of the deeper holding water of February back onto the shallower flats. Perch migrate closer to their spawning areas near cattails and reeds. Northern pike and walleye will stage near or enter creeks and rivers and migrate up to spawn on warmer spring days before the season closes March 15th. Steelhead can also be caught near the river mouths at Pentwater, Ludington, and Manistee as they stage before their annual spawning runs.
Leave your machines at home and enjoy the walk out onto the ice as it becomes weaker. The darker the ice is in the spring, the weaker it is. I had planned on fishing Pere Marquette Lake one day in March a few years ago, and it turned to open water overnight. Never ice fish alone at last ice, bring a rope and or a life jacket if you fish toward the end of the month.