Saginaw Bay Area Weekly Fishing Report 02/23/2017

Saginaw Bay: Stay off the ice! There is no safe ice or even remotely walk-able ice anywhere on the bay!! Most of the cuts and rivers around the bay are wide open and can provide some shore fishing for perch. Boat anglers were fishing the lower Quanicassee River.

  • Saginaw River: Had lots of fishing activity with all the boat launches from Saginaw to Bay City open and usable. There are lots of undersized walleye in the river as many reported catching 50 to 75 short ones in order to get five or six fish over 13 inches. Most are using bright colored jig heads with shiners or plastic scented tails but some were jigging rapalas. The best fishing seemed to be in the middle of the shipping channel in the deepest water. Most were vertical jigging but some would anchor and cast.
  • Tittabawassee River: Had lots of boat anglers. All of the boat ramps were open including Imerman Park. A lot of shore anglers were also out but the walleye fishing was very slow. Most anglers caught none but a couple boat anglers up near the Dow Dam did manage to get a couple. The water is really cold yet, and it does not appear that the spring walleye run from the bay into the rivers has gotten underway yet.

Au Gres: Rivers in the area are open. The Rifle River in particular was fairly low and clear and well suited for steelhead fishing right now. No signs of suckers running yet; it is too early and the water is still too cold.

  • Au Gres River: There was a lot of fishing activity up at the Singing Bridge access site. Steelhead were caught on spawn by those surfcasting or fishing the lower river.

Outer Saginaw Bay:

 Oscoda: Pier anglers reported good brown trout and lake trout fishing.

Tawas Area: Stay off the ice! There is no safe ice or even remotely walk-able ice anywhere on the bay.

Fishing Tip: Looking for inland trout this winter? Try Crystal Lake!

Lake trout, one of Michigan’s native sport fish, can be a fun species to target, even in the winter months. One of the best inland spots to target this fish is Crystal Lake in Benzie County.

Crystal Lake consists of more than 9,700 acres of great fishing, with lake trout primarily hanging out in the western two-thirds of the lake where deeper water is available. If you’re interested in paying a visit to this destination, try one of the following techniques for lake trout:

  1. Jig with heavy spoons or jigs and outfit your lure with a strip of sucker meat, smelt (of which there is a population of on Crystal Lake) or the head of a minnow.
  2. Use tip-ups with a live smelt or emerald shiners to capture the attention of lake trout.

Crystal Lake has a healthy population of rainbow trout, yellow perch and burbot as well, keep that in mind as you head out on the ice! We should also mention Crystal Lake has coho salmon and is one of only two inland lakes in Michigan with its own population of “landlocked” coho salmon (the other being Glen Lake in Leelanau County)!

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