Traverse Bay Fishing Report: March 2015

russ maddin

I ce fishing is in full swing; nearly all inland lakes in the Grand Traverse area are frozen. Look for lake trout, whitefish, and cisco and other trout species on Elk, Crystal, Torch, and Green and Duck lakes in anywhere from 60-to-135 foot of water. Locally make Elk Rapids jigs, Swedish pimples and Jonah jigs are great lures for deep-water species of fish. Perch can really load up this time of year as the spawn nears. They will often start to congregate in the shallower ends of connecting lakes. Skegmog, Clam, Little Glen are all good examples. Lakes connecting to the Great Lakes can also be extremely good for late season perch. Charlevoix, Arcadia, Portage, Manistee, Pere Marquette, and Pentwater are all prime port lakes to intercept perch.

Fish will be moving into these lakes in decent numbers to spawn. These Great Lakes perch like larger offerings: blue minnows, Slab Grabbers, Jack Spoons, Hali’s and a host of other lures. The easiest place to get after these migrant perch is in the mid-depth basins. 35-to-50 feet pockets of depth in this range will often hold perch. If the fish are not in the pocket move to the nearby flat off the contour, you can bet the predators will accompany these fish. Pike and walleye will be on the scene fattening up for their spawn. It could pay to put a tip-up on the perch grounds in case a marauding predator is lurking around.

These port lakes also will have browns and steelhead in them. Target the river-mouths of the Betsie, and both little and big Manistee rivers. Spawn bags suspended with slip bobbers, slammer rigs or automatic fisherman style tip-ups all work for browns and steels.

Panfish will be on the bite in the low light hours both in evening and early morning. I ran into a few good days recently right in the middle of the day some of which ended in easy limits in 16-to-25 feet of water using plastics. Get out have fun and always stay on top.