2018-04-05 / Outdoors

Perch lure anglers into bay, away from thin ice


LAKE LEELANAU’S south basin, which is pictured Tuesday from the boat ramp on South Lake Leelanau Drive, is covered with a thin layer of ice. Multiple sources say ice across Leelanau County is unsafe at this point. LAKE LEELANAU’S south basin, which is pictured Tuesday from the boat ramp on South Lake Leelanau Drive, is covered with a thin layer of ice. Multiple sources say ice across Leelanau County is unsafe at this point. Old Man Winter is dragging his feet.

What’s that mean for the ice on Leelanau County’s inland lakes?

It depends, of course, but this week’s snowfall will likely have a thinning effect — despite freezing temperates.

So, for the most part, ice isn’t safe.

The Sportsman Shop owner, Bob Smith, said on Monday that little Glen is still open but big Glen is covered.

Is anyone still fishing it?

“Not in the last four days,” said Smith, who is shifting his attention toward catching lake trout and king salmon in Lake Michigan this summer.

Resident sportsman Mike Shimek of Maple City said last week that big Glen’s shoreline was “starting to go.”

At this point, Shimek said he doesn’t trust ice on any of the county lakes.

Lime Lake is no exception.

“It looks super safe, but it’s not,” Shimek said on Monday. “The top’s good, but the sun beats through that ice all day. It’s rotten from underneath.

“None of the lakes are safe. Little Traverse is rotting underneath. You don’t know where it’s a half an inch or an inch. This is when guys go through.”

Greg Alsip, owner of Lake Effect Fishing Charters and manager at Lake Leelanau Narrows Resort, said the temptation to ice fish on Lake Leelanau seemed to end with walleye season.

Frankly, there are safer places to fish.

Among them is West Grand Traverse Bay, where anglers have apparently been pounding the perch.

And among those anglers is Alsip.

“There’s lake trout out there, too,” he said.

Shimek said he spotted another angler fishing below the Leland Dam over the weekend, presumably for steelhead.

Fishing in the Leland River, according to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources 2018 Fishing Guide, is open all year — albeit with a 15-inch minimum length requirement for brook trout and brown trout and a 10-inch minimum for Atlantic, chinook, coho and pink salmon as well as lake trout, steelhead and splake.

Return to top