Two people silhouetted by the son while ice fishing

Your guide to the best ice fishing in Michigan’s Tahquamenon Country

Your guide to the best ice fishing in Michigan’s Tahquamenon Country. Reel in tasty fish from scenic frozen inland lakes and Lake Superior.

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.

Get your Michigan fishing license

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. 

Fish for FREE on the third weekend of February

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. 

Man sitting on bucket with fishing rod cast into ice fishing hole

Best times and places to fish in Tahquamenon Country

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. 

Top fishing spots from nearly 100 choices

Emerson Bay | Whitefish Bay | Paradise

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. 

Manistique Lakes Complex | Curtis

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. 

Muskallonge Lake

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.

Perch Lake

Fish this 125-acre lake 23.5 miles north of Newberry for northern pike and yellow perch. 

Pike Lake

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. 

What to wear and bring on the ice

Where to get ice fishing equipment, bait and local advice

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

Go where the fish are biting with help from a local fishing guide

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. 

Ice shanties spread atop the iced over lake

Michigan permanent ice shanty regulations

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:

Ice safety always comes first 

Plan your ice fishing trip today!

Are you ready for some of the best winter fishing yet? Start planning your ice fishing trip now! Visit our best fishing in Michigan and lodgings pages for more information. 

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closeup of a stack of chopped wood
The northern lights over Lake Superior
deer standing in the snow
Whitefish bay sunrise in winter
drone shot of Manistique Lake in winter
Upper Tahquamenon Falls covered in snow and ice
drone shot of sunrise over tahquamenon river
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