Traverse Bay Fishing Report: February 2016


I ce is here! Wow, what a slow start to the season. Most of the smaller lakes and some of the medium-sized lakes are now safe. With colder temperatures steady on the horizon more and more bodies of water will be accessible to ice anglers. Missaukee, Cadillac, Mitchell, Manistee (Kalkaska co) Round Lake, the chain in Ellsworth, and many others are now available to the ice angler.

Panfish at first ice is a very exciting time for anglers. Look for fish on the insides and outsides of the weed edge from 8’ to 16’ of water depending on the size of the lake. Other areas to concentrate on are blow-downs, brush piles, sunken islands, and points. Concentrate on features along the shoreline to aid in likely locations. Those anglers without graphs or GPS units,
Russ_3other good tricks for locating fish are as simple as observing ice conditions. Look at areas of ice that formed differently. Read the ice as it can tell anglers a lot about features that lie below. Areas with weeds and submerged debris are often are more slushy on the surface so watch your tracks. Areas of slush can also help identify soft bottom, shallow spots, or weed beds. These are a couple of tricks I learned back when there were no electronics and gas augers were a luxury.

If you haven’t tried plastics, first ice is the best time to try them. Plastics can out-produce bait, and one can be right back in the game without re-baiting. Good luck and always stay on top!