Michigan experiences some very cold temperatures, but anglers don’t have to wait for spring or summer to fish. They can choose one of the 11,000 lakes and ponds in Michigan to ice fish. However, it’s important to stay safe while ice fishing and wear the appropriate clothes. Keep reading to learn about the best lakes for ice fishing in Michigan!
Hamlin Lake is a man-made lake in Michigan. The lake is 12 miles long and about two miles wide, covering 5,350 acres. Hamlin Lake is divided into two sections, the upper and lower lakes. Interestingly, the western section is deeper than the lower lake, with a maximum depth of 80 feet. Parts of the lake touch Ludington State Park and Manistee National Forest. Park visitors can rent a boat or canoe along the water. Although Hamlin Lake is popular during summer, many people also ice fish in winter. Anglers can catch walleye, crappie, and pike fish at Hamlin Lake.
Cass Lake is a popular ice fishing destination. This lake is the largest and deepest lake in Oakland County, Michigan. Its surface area is 1,280 acres, and the lake has a maximum depth of 123 feet. Multiple towns and cities border this beautiful lake, offering plenty of activities for residents and visitors. In certain conditions, anglers have a good chance of catching walleye and crappies. The crappies in Cass Lake can be found in sloping contours and bays. These fish are healthy and about 10 to 11 inches long. As a perk, you can use one of the grills along the lake to cook your catch!
Saginaw Bay is located in Lake Huron, on the eastern side of Michigan. This unique bay has a surface area of 1,143 square miles and sits at an elevation of 581 feet. Additionally, it has a long history that began with indigenous peoples.
The fish community at Saginaw Bay is unique. Since it’s warmer and shallower than the rest of Lake Huron, its fish community is diverse. Although you can catch common fish like walleye and yellow perch, you also have a shot at lake whitefish and lake sturgeon. The best time to ice fish at Saginaw Bay is between late December and mid to late March. However, you should always practice safety and check the conditions before stepping onto the lake.
Reeds Lake is a 265-acre freshwater lake in East Grand Rapids. This lake is a popular spot for boating, kayaking, and fishing during all seasons. Since the 1870s, it’s been a hotspot for locals. An early-20th-century amusement park once operated by the lake, but it closed in 1955. Now, the lake is known for its ice fishing. Additionally, lots of people visit to bird watch. You can spot great blue herons, Canadian geese, and mallards at the lake.
Crystal Lake is near Lake Michigan, located in Benzie County. It covers about 9,854 acres of land, making it the 9th largest inland lake in the state. For many years, it was called “Cap Lake”, because of the frequent whitecaps visible on its surface. As its official name suggests, Crystal Lake is stunning and crystal clear. Since the watershed that feeds the lake is small, sewage outflow is minimal. While you can enjoy the clean and refreshing water during the summer, you can also fish for coho salmon, lake trout, and rainbow trout in the winter.
Another one of the best lakes for ice fishing in Michigan is Lake Gogebic. This lake is a large natural body of water. Its surface area is 13,380 acres, and it has a shore length of 34.35 miles. Lake Gogebic is 14 miles long and 2.5 miles wide. Its average depth is 17.5 feet, and despite its large size, its maximum depth is only 38 feet. Lake Gogebic is popular for ice fishing because it’s frequently stocked with brown bullhead, pumpkinseed, whitefish, northern pike, and walleye. Its ice fishing season runs from first ice to mid-January, but you should always check the conditions before planning a trip.
Brevoort Lake is a favorite for many anglers in Michigan because fishermen never know what they’ll catch! The lake is located in Mackinac County, with much of the shoreline part of the Hiawatha National Forest. The lake is known for its healthy and abundant walleye and chinook salmon; however, you might get lucky and reel in a trout, crappie, or perch.
Houghton Lake is Michigan’s largest inland lake covering 22,000 acres! Despite its size, the maximum depth of the lake is only 22 feet with an average depth of 7.5 feet. However, it’s rare for depths to exceed 17 feet. Houghton Lake is 10 miles long and 5.5 miles wide. It is a very popular destination for ice fishing in winter. In fact, a large ice fishing and winter sports festival are held every year along with multiple events. The most common fish found while ice fishing in Houghton Lake are smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, walleye, yellow perch, and bluegill.
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