|From left Dan, Ryan and Blake with Northern Pike|
Just spent two days on the ice of Houghton Lake trying for some winter magic. My nephew and his wife Jess, their son Ryan and his friend Blake came up over winter break. (Katie and Sarah came up too but they weren't into fishing) Dan had just bought a new portable shanty and wanted to try it out. So we went down to Lymans on the Lake bait shop and picked up some waxworms and some "blues" (big minnows) and headed out onto the ice. We were situated off the western edge of the southern weed bed in the main body of Houghton Lake. Getting the holes drilled and the tip-ups set up we each picked a hole and dropped in jigheads with either a waxworm or blue.
We were fishing for about 30 minutes when we had a couple of nibbles, then the 1st tip-up flag went up. Reeling it in we found a nice Northern Pike on the end of the line. He went after a blue.
After another 15-20 minutes I caught a Yellow Perch, nice but not quite big enough to be worth keeping. He went for a waxworm. Next Ryan pulled in another Perch on a waxworm and that was the extent of our catch for the day. Six holes, 3 fish, no keepers.
The next day we went to the East Bay off of Harveys Marine. I have seen quite a few shanties there on the weekends. There was only one other there when we set up on Wednesday. The other angler pulled a nice Northern Pike out while we setting up.
After fighting a heavy wind we finally got the shanty setup and staked down. A few minutes later we were baited up and waiting for that first tug on the line. Three and a half hours later we were still waiting. One of the tip-ups had flagged but it was either just a fish swimming by or the wind. Either way we had a few minutes of excitement trying to get out of the shanty to check the rig. Five people in a shanty is a little tight.
Ice on Houghton Lake is between 8-10 inches where we fished.
Northern Pike and Yellow Perch are biting.
Suggested baits: Waxworms and Minnows on a small hook or jighead.
Depth: Around 9-12 feet, set up close to the bottom.
Fishing is rated: Fair to good.
Hope to see ya on the ice,