Ice fishing allows Michigan anglers to catch fish virtually all year long. Michigan is home to thousands of inland lakes--most of which freeze over in the winter--allowing anglers to access them for ice fishing. Ice fishing techniques are different then any other type of fishing in Michigan, but the catches can be just as great.
Ice fishing in Michigan often occurs in water less then 15 feet in depth. Fish areas that are weedy during summer months as the weed growth will usually stay intact until springtime. This structure provides a place for the fish to hide and it holds bait fish for food.
Fish in the winter months prefer live bait over artificial in most areas. Minnows, wigglers and wax worms are the most popular live bait used in Michigan during the winter. This is often used with a small weighted ice fishing jig and a peg float. Wax worms should be held stationary, while minnows and wigglers are let to swim naturally.
The cold water tends to keep the fish stationary, so you must move to find them. Drill several holes in an area and switch until you find an area of fish. Fish finders made specifically for ice fishing also can help locate fish. Pay attention to where others are fishing and to ice shanties as anglers often congregate to where the fish are schooled.
Ice should always be carefully inspected before walking on, and test holes should be drilled whenever possible to measure thickness. Avoid areas by open water as the ice will be unstable and will likely crack once weight is applied. Fishing alone on the ice is not recommended as there will be no one to help you in an emergency. At the very least let someone know where you will be and when you will be back.