Friday, February 24, 2012

Houghton Lake Fishing Report: Feb 24, 2012

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,

Ken S

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Fishing Report Reedsburg Dam & Backus Lake: Feb 20, 2012

Reedsburg Dam Fishing Report

Wood Ducks at Reedsburg Dam
Due to the warm temperatures and the early spring like weather, the ice has begun to recede on the flooding (lake) side of the dam. Another sign of an early spring is the wood ducks already swimming near the boat launch. On the low side of the dam (the river side) the water levels are rising and are already high enough to make fishing from the shore difficult. And as of a few days before this post I saw one fisherman wearing waders casting his line from the bottom of the stairs on the far side. The water levels have gotten that high.

The last word I had was some small Northern Pike being caught but nothing large enough to keep and I've heard even those have stopped. On the flooding side the ice is still a hindrance to fishing from shore.

I would rate fishing poor at Reedsburg Dam.

Backus Lake Fishing Report

Several Ice Fisherman at Backus Lake
The ice is still solid at Backus Lake (probably due the shallowness of the lake). And fishing for Perch is moderate and some Northern Pike are being caught but nothing of any size. Although Backus Lake is great for Sunfish, Bluegill, Perch and the occasional Bass and Northern Pike, it can be difficult to get to in winter as access is a seasonal road. Still some anglers brave the icy ruts and actually pull trailers with snowmobiles out to the access point. Considering Houghton Lake has many easily accessible entry points, Backus Lake may not be worth the hassle. Still if you don't like crowds it could be worth the drive.

I would rate fishing moderate at Backus Lake.

Note: There is a lot of open water near Korbinski's Marine on M-55. Another sign of possibly an early ice out this year.

Stay warm and safe on the ice,

Ken S.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Higgins Lake Fishing Report : Feb 16, 2012

DNR boat launch W/side of Higgins Lake
Higgins Lake finally froze and fisherman have landed on the water like a flock of Geese. With up to 9 inches of ice reported in some areas, shanties have sprung up almost over night. Just in time for the Higgins Lake-Roscommon Winterfest 2012. And the March spring thaw which may start earlier than usual this year.

About 50 yds off the DNR boat launch on the west side of Higgins Lake there are about a dozen permanent (hard shell) shanties with maybe a couple of the portable (soft side) shanties thrown in. About another 50 yds out from there is another dozen or so shanties.

This was Thursday about noon and the parking lot was filling up with pick up trucks and snowmobile trailers. A couple of the fishermen were having some luck catching mostly Splake & Perch but were still concerned about the ice. With the warm weather (mid 30's over the last week) the newly formed ice could be shifting and cracking.


What's biting; Splake and Perch

Best bait; waxworms and minnows

Best area: near DNR boat launch west side.

Reminder: Higgins-Roscommon Winterfest 2012 is this weekend Feb 17-18.

Good luck and stay safe,

Ken S