Late start for fishing

January 28, 2016

By John Raffel

Despite the recent cold weather and presence of anglers and shanties on area water surfaces, the DNR continues to tell area residents to be careful while testing their success in upcoming days and weeks.

Mark Tonello, area DNR fisheries biologist, said the ice fishing season is finally in full force.

“I would say that occurred just recently, but there been people out there since just after New Year,” Tonello said. “Safe ice means different things to different people.”

Tonello said safe ice to him means “when there’s a whole bunch of other people out there first. We don’t put a definition on it. I can’t say ‘so many inches’ or anything like that. It’s a judgment call. The problem is when you get snow on it and then you’ve got two inches here, maybe one inch or there, four inches here.

“The problem is that it’s not the same everywhere. For what it’s worth, most lakes up in this neck of the woods are getting fish now. I’ve seen a fair amount of people at Lake Cadillac. I’m hearing of some crappies and pike and the occasional walleye. Lake Missaukee is a good one.”

Tonello doesn’t remember a late season like this once since 2006.

“Even when we got ice in mid-January, the fish never did bite very well,” he recalled. “It was not a good ice fishing season. The only thing we see is toward the end of the year. In shallower lakes, you can get low oxygen and force fish to go dormant and not do much. Other than that (the ice) doesn’t bother them too much.”

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