Once Tahquamenon Country’s nearly 100 inland lakes and Lake Superior’s Emerson Bay become solid, it’s time to bore holes through the ice and drop your line. Here’s where you can experience the thrill of reeling in some of the tastiest walleye, whitefish, northern pike and panfish anywhere in Michigan.
Below are tips on how to make this one of your best ice-fishing adventures ever — one you will plan to repeat every winter.
Anyone 17 years of age or older must carry a current Michigan fishing license to fish on our state’s inland lakes, ponds, streams, rivers and the Great Lakes Superior, Huron, Michigan and Erie. Before you go on the ice, read the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Fishing Report and check their ice fishing page for information. There you can download or print the current fishing app or guide that is good from April 1 to March 31 annually.
Every third weekend of February, Michigan waives all fishing license fees. This applies to Michigan residents and non-residents and is a great time to try the sport or share it with friends and family. All fishing regulations still apply.
Inland lakes safely freeze as early as December and stay frozen until March or April. Lake Superior rarely freezes to safe depths, but inlet bays off Whitefish Bay may freeze in February. Follow the safety tips below before ever going on the ice. Local anglers recommend wetting your line just after sunrise and a few hours before sunset to increase your chances of making a catch.
This bay on Lake Superior’s Whitefish Bay doesn’t always freeze by February, but when it does hard-water anglers love reeling in whitefish from its chilly waters.
Three of the complex’s six lakes are popular for their world-class ice fishing. They are located approximately a half-hour southwest of Newberry. Auger in and drop a line at Big Manistique Lake for northern pike, yellow perch and walleye; North Manistique Lake for walleye, northern pike, yellow perch and crappie; and South Manistique Lake for walleye, northern pike and yellow perch.
This 780-acre lake is 28 miles northwest of Newberry in Muskallonge Lake State Park. Anglers wet their lines for northern pike and yellow perch.
Fish this 125-acre lake 23.5 miles north of Newberry for northern pike and yellow perch.
This nearly 300-acre lake in McMillan Township is 41 minutes west of Paradise. It has hungry walleye and northern pike waiting for you to drop a line.
For equipment, bait and local fishing advice near the Manistique Lakes Complex, visit J’s Ice Fishing Shanty Rental and Mick’s Bait Shop. In Newberry, visit Duke’s Sport Shop and in McMillan, Helmer House Mercantile.
Yooper Outdoor #906 is Tahquamenon Country’s premier outfitter for fishing through the ice on Lake Superior or on area inland lakes. You’ll reel in walleyes, bluegills, perch, crappies, pikes, ciscos and bass when the biting is best. Your guide will provide you with everything you need to catch fish.
Fishing inside a hard shack or portable shanty not only shelters you from winter weather but gives you a place to store equipment, set up a heater, cook stove and other supplies. It also makes it easier to learn fish feeding habits and patterns. Most anglers in Tahquamenon Country use portable shanties. However, here are Michigan DNR’s requirements for hard shanties: