So you like fishing? Sure, you've gone Michigan fishing in the spring, summer and fall, but what about ice fishing Michigan in the cold winter? Michigan ice fishing is a tradition to some and the fishing shouldn't stop just because it gets cold and the lakes freeze over. Little shanty towns begin to dot the ice as the season sets in and often those who are properly prepared for the conditions come back with a nice assortment of fish. Many may even consider Michigan ice fishing ideal, as the fish seems to taste better coming out of the icy cold water. And, with the key to ice fishing in Michigan often being patience, the reward of making that catch after waiting it out makes the experience all the better. Just make sure you're prepared for the cold and that you have the right equipment, and you'll have a great time ice fishing in Michigan.
Ice fishing is of course optimal in the northern part of the country where long, cold winters have the chance to adequately freeze the area waters. That makes Michigan perfect for ice fishing. Especially in the Upper Peninsula near towns like Sault Ste Marie, where the seasonal freeze-over begins early in November and lasts a bit longer into the Spring. However, people ice fish all over the state, and it's the tops in Michigan events for many during the season. Every year in January in Montague, just north of Muskegon, you'll find the White Lake Perch Festival, with ice fishing tournaments among the festivities. Even as far down as Quincy, south of Lansing and Battle Creek on I-69, you'll find the Quincy Chain of Lakes Tip Up Festival in February. North of Detroit on I-75 at Saginaw By, take part in the Shanty Days festival, in February as well, where ice fishing is featured, as well sled dog races, the polar bear dip, and so much more.
Michigan is blessed with many inlet lakes, and these are less susceptible to the winds as the Great Lakes may be. Wherever you decide to go ice fishing in Michigan, it is most important to have the right equipment and to be safe. Dress more than accordingly, because you'll want to stay warm, or you won't enjoy yourself much. It can often be a bit colder sitting atop the ice and you won't be moving around much so make sure you have some long underwear, and a flannel or wool shirt won't hurt to throw over that. Michigan ice fishing is zen-like, and now that you're prepared, it's time to become that zen master. Of course it helps to have the right equipment.
Fishing rods for ice fishing Michigan can be purchased through local dealers who are familiar with the conditions you'll be getting yourself into. The rods tend to be shorter, and if fishing in shallow water you'll be fine with the typical rod and reel, but Ice fishing in Michigan often encompasses fishing deeper than 10-15 feet, so you'll want to use a tip up, which helps to alert you when you've caught something, and you'll likely want to stick to smaller baits and lures. Again, pick up your supplies at the local outfitter when you go, and they'll help you take care of your equipment needs. Maybe the most important device is a hand or gas powered auger for digging your holes, and on top of that, a strainer to scoop the ice shavings from the holes once they are established. You're almost ready. Now, all you'll need is a foam or insulated bait bucket, ice picks for safety if you should fall in, a bait net , and a stool or large bucket to sit on.
Make sure you keep it safe, more than anything. Wear a life jacket, and try not to go alone. If you are alone, make sure you have a cell phone, and that the ice is at least 4 or more inches thick. If you have never tried ice fishing Michigan waters, then the best idea is probably to arrange a trip with one of the various ice fishing charters Michigan is known for. They'll take care of all the odds and ends, and you can just worry about how you're going to prepare your fish for dinner.