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Ice fishing sunrise

Ice Fishing

ICE FISHING 

Delta County has the longest freshwater shoreline of any county in the entire USA. So it’s no surprise that “villages” of ice fishing shanties spring up on both Little and Big Bays de Noc. This area is for trophy walleye fishing, where you can reel in a 30 to 32-inch keeper, tipping the scales at 14-pounds. Catch northern pike or a mess of yellow perch. Or try to beat the 54-inch and 43-pound sturgeon hefted through the ice of Stonington Peninsula in mid-January 1996.

Tyler flynn ice fishing

Photo: @tyler.flynn_

BEST TIME AND PLACE TO FISH

The first and last light of the day is the best for fishing. Head out early in the morning before sunrise or hours before sunset. Experts say that good ice fishing is present at the same place that you would find success in the spring, summer, and fall. Plan to start your winter fishing in the northernmost waters of the two bays. That’s where the ice first forms.

INSIDER TIP:

The boat landing at Kipling has an extensive weed bed that attracts walleye. The “black bottom” area to the south is well-known for being a good fishing spot. Check your depth charts and fish the edges.

HOW TO ACCESS:

Little Bay de Noc

Big Bay de Noc

Lake Michigan

SAFETY TIPS

ICE SHANTIES

As soon as ice forms on the Big and Little Bays de Noc, hard shacks, and portable shanty “villages” begin to appear. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has the following requirements:

Ice fishing sunrise

Photo: @kelli929kelli

EQUIPMENT NEEDED

In addition to the safety gear and shanty listed above, avid ice anglers recommend that you bring an ice spud or auger to cut an 8 inch to 10-inch hole, jigging rod(s), tip-up(s), heater, fish sonar or finder, and live bait or artificial lures or both. Be sure to carry your ID and Michigan fishing license (details below).

LOCAL FISHING SUPPLIES

-Dunham’s Sports, 301 N Lincoln Rd, Escanaba; 906-789-4007

-Bay View Bait & Tackle, 7110 US Highway 2 41 M35, Gladstone; (906) 786-1488

-Bayshore Bait & Tackle, 1323 N Lake Shore Dr, Gladstone, MI 49837; (906) 428-9687

FISHING GUIDES

Hook Set Fishing offers half or full-day packages; gear available for up to three people; will fillet and ice pack catches; call 906-399-5407 (requests one-week notice).

Interested in growing your guide business? If you offer ice fishing guide services in the Escanaba area, please contact Robert at 800-533-4386 or robert@visitescanaba.com. We will add your contact information to our list.

Jordan ice fishing

Read more Michigan fishing regulations information here

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