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Outdoors report

Ice stays firm,panfish biting

March 6, 2010
The Daily News

IRON MOUNTAIN -Ice anglers were reporting good ice throughout the area despite the warmer daytime highs experienced this week.

"It's still getting real cold at night, so the ice is holding up well," said Don Ciochetto at the Sport Shop in Iron River. "There's been a lot of activity with the warmer weather, too. A lot of panfish being taken."

Wax worms remain a good choice to attract panfish, and wigglers have risen in popularity among anglers.

"I'm getting good reports on everything right now," said John Grier at Whispering Pines Outpost. "Guys were getting some bigger perch now on wax worms and wigglers, a lot of wigglers."

Grier also mentioned walleye action picking up, with anglers preferring shiners and suckers as bait.

Patti Teske at Florence Sport and Bait agreed that panfishing is still going strong, as did Dean Lindblom at Country Bait and Tackle in Iron Mountain.

"There's a lot of people catching perch, bluegill and other panfish," he said, suggesting minnows, wax worms and wigglers. "A couple of guys were getting good size to the perch, averaging in the 10-11 inch range."

Lindblom said walleye fishermen were finding success on the Peavy system this past week, pulling out fish in the 16- to 17-inch range. Walleye suckers and fatheads were working best.

Walleye success was also reported by Tom Bean at Crystal Bait.

"Guys were doing pretty good on walleye this week," he said. "I also hear bluegill fishermen are doing real good right now."

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources reported the following fishing conditions across the Upper Peninsula:

Menominee River: Menekaunee had slow fishing. Those with cameras can see the bluegills and perch, but catch rates are slow. Sixth Street had bad ice with open water, so those using the access site need to use extreme caution. Boom Landing and the Mystery Ship sites were busy with tip-ups rigged for pike and walleye. Some nice pike were caught but not many walleye were seen. Those wading and casting near Boom Island had hopes of landing brown trout and steelhead, but none were reported. More are fishing off the Cat Walk but catch rates were slow. Those targeting walleye through the ice on the Wisconsin side near the Hattie Street Dam seem to catch more fish during the evening hours.

Green Bay: Anglers around the bay and inside the walls of the marina are targeting panfish while jigging minnows or wax worms. Perch were caught but they were small.

Little Bay de Noc: Ice conditions remain tricky to navigate with pressure cracks presenting most of the problems. Anglers have had consistent problems trying to cross in the Kipling and Gladstone areas. Use caution and ''look before you leap,'' especially with a vehicle. The ice is thicker in the north end of the bay than in the southern sections. With warmer weather in the forecast, many have started to remove their ice shanties. The better walleye fishing was in the head of the bay when using tip-ups with large minnows in 6 to 20 feet of water. Most caught large fish with many in the 10-pound range. Reports for the rest of the bay were spotty when jigging or using tip-ups in 15 to 30 feet of water. Anglers were fishing in the southern waters, but the ice there is dangerous and should be avoided. Catch rates were down but did increase for those fishing in 28 to 33 feet of water around the Center Reef. Try jigging minnows. Whitefish action off Sand Point in Escanaba was fair to good, but the area is dangerous so only foot traffic is recommended.

Munising: A fair number of splake along with a few whitefish have been caught in 50 to 60 feet of water. Some reported coho in Trout Bay which is off Grand Island but said the ice was unpredictable.

Keweenaw Bay: Lake trout fishing was good when jigging in 130 to 270 feet of water off Whirl-I-Gig Road and Old Mission. Ice conditions vary so use caution. Some anglers report the ice moving up and down while fishing.



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