The 2022/2023 ice fishing season has not had a great start in West Michigan because there's almost no safe ice. Here are some locations further north with safe ice.

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Bad Ice Fishing Weather

A sign warns of danger as ice thaws on a pond in southern Wisconsin.
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I sure thought back in November when parts of West Michigan got hit with the first good amount of snow and cold I would be on the hard water before Christmas. Well, mother nature has had other plans for those of us in West Michigan who like to ice fish.

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Ice fishing is one of my favorite things to do with my son and I already expected to be having a fish fry or two by now. Every time it got cold in the last part of 2022, a few days later it would either rain, warm up, or both.

I love the taste of bluegills and other panfish that are caught through the ice but I'm not one to risk my life for bluegill fishing on thin ice. I started looking around to see how far I would have to drive to find some ice and below is what I found.

Places North of Grand Rapids With Safe Ice

Thin ice freezing around some trees.
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I love the taste of bluegills and other panfish that are caught through the ice but I'm not one to risk my life for bluegill fishing on thin ice. I started looking around to see how far I would have to drive to find some ice and below is what I found.

Cadillac and Mitchel Lakes

Family ice fishing
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I am thinking of driving up to Cadillac this weekend and trying Cadillac and Mitchel lakes. Both have had steady ice since the middle of December. They are both huge lakes so if you have never been there, ask the local bait shop for some tips or just look out to see where the other fisherman are.

Houghton Lake

Ice Fishing
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Houghton Lake is a drive but it's one of the best lakes to ice fish in Michigan. It is relatively shallow and usually one of the first lakes to freeze over. Houghton Lake is just about everything an ice fishing angler could want plus there are lots of hotels and bait shops around the lake.

Otsego Lake

Ice fishing trap waits patiently for fish under the ice.
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Otsego Lake in Gaylord has good ice and there are lots of people fishing the lake. I saw a video that was from yesterday and there were tons of people on the lake. I even saw an ATV out there.

Upper Peninsula - Lake Gogebic

Ice fishing shacks out on the frozen harbour.
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Lake Gogebic in the Upper Peninsula is a great lake if you are looking for great ice and walleye. It already looks like a little city on parts of the lake with all the ice shanties that are going up for the next couple of months.

My buddy Curt who lives on the west side of the Upper Peninsula has been catching some crappy and he says the ice is really good in the Iron River area.

You get about 2 hours north of Grand Rapids and just about any lake of any size has some decent ice. Lake Michigan is still not fishable by ice but if you travel north some of the cuts have some safe ice in them. I am sure there are a few small ponds around West Michigan that might be ok but I say fish with extreme caution.

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