As winter sets in, the snow sweeps in and the ice starts to form, and while this is groan-worthy to many, ice fishermen all over the state start to rejoice! Ice means ice fishing, so grab your ice augers, tip-ups, lures, and live bait, and set up your shanties! Get out there for the first ice and early season hauls and check out these best spots to ice fish in Michigan this winter!
It seems like there is always something fun happening in Houghton Lake, and the wintertime is no exception! Not only is this an awesome location for ice fishing, but there is an annual festival celebrating it! Tip-Up Town USA is a huge festival celebrating ice fishing and wintertime fun! If you consider yourself to be an ice fishing pro, or just seem to have a lot of luck with your catches, enter the ice fishing contest, where the biggest fish takes the prize! Even if you don’t visit for the festival, this lake holds a good population of Northern pike, walleye, bluegill, and more.
If you’re looking for variety, Muskegon Lake is the ice fishing destination for you! Perch and walleye are known to be plentiful in these waters, but this lake has been known to produce some huge northern pike! Bluegill have also been rumored to provide a good haul at first ice too! Muskegon Lake is a fairly large lake, giving you the advantage of good public access, so explore different areas of the lake and see which spot yields the best results!
You’ll get some good hauls from Lake Gogebic in the winter season, especially if you’re after some perch or walleye! Muddy areas are abundant with perch’s favorite snack, wigglers! You’ll have a lot of luck with a wiggler lure or light jigs, so be sure to pack them in your tackle box! Walleye start the season closer to the shore, but migrate toward the center of the lake later in the winter! Try your luck at Bergland Bay and Ice House Bay!
This northern Michigan lake is perfect for early-season fishing, as it is only 20 feet deep in most spots and freezes earlier in the season than a lot of lakes! Not only can you get out there on Intermediate Lake early, but the variety of fish is wonderful! First ice is a great time for walleyes and perch, which are fairly sizable! A good population of northern pike can be found here too!
If you’re looking for a good haul of pike, head up to Rice Lake in Houghton County! The lake was once so full of pike that they have lifted the size limit for catches! There are plenty of huge pike in these waters, along with muskie, sunfish, some rainbow trout, and more! Try to make it out for first ice and you’ll definitely fulfill your five pike-per-day limit!
Another lake with a good variety of fish, Lake Mitchell, located in Wexford County, contains a great grab bag of fish species that will make your ice fishing trip fruitful indeed! You’ll find a good population of black crappie, which has drastically fluctuated over the years. Sunfish and bluegill are also commonly found in winter, while walleye are more elusive, but they’re there! This lake also holds some northern pike, but they haven’t been too lengthy (but that doesn’t mean you should stop trying for that trophy fish!).
Head to Mason County and you’ll appreciate one of the best spots in the state for winter bluegill! Hamlin Lake provides a flourishing foraging habitat, which is the perfect food supply for fish like bluegill, which are known to be incredibly abundant at first ice! This is also the perfect recipe for thriving populations of pike, walleye, panfish, and some other invasive species. Be sure to get out there early in the season, as the fish around Hamlin Lake are known to get more picky!
Do you agree that these are the best spots to ice fish in Michigan? Fish populations can fluctuate from year to year, so this year’s haul could be a lot more rewarding than last! Leave us a comment with your favorite ice fishing spots, and let us know where the fish are biting this winter season!