If you are looking for some hard water to get out on that you normally don't ice fish, here are some places you may want to plan to visit.

Anyone who knows's me, know's I love to ice fish. Since moving back to the Grand Rapids area I have struggled to consistently catch any fish. I seem to have no problem finding 2-inch perch but finding a really good spot or spots has been a struggle.

So I thought bout taking a look elsewhere across the state and that is when I remembered some spots I used to fish back in the day.

Saginaw Bay

I have tried jigging for walleye on Croton and Hardy Ponds while only catching one in three winters and it was only about 8 inches. I did some internet searching and everything summer or winter pointed to the Saginaw Bay.

I used fish Saginaw Bay back in the day. There are ditches that come out of the bay that freeze first and are really solid for early big perch. It's mind-blowing to catch perch over 12 inches in a ditch. You can catch some really nice perch on Saginaw Bay once it's frozen and safe to fish.

If you go to Saginaw Bay, definitely spend some time jigging and using tip-ups for walleye. Early morning and as the sun goes down I have found to be the best times.

Lake Gogebic

My best friend Curt took me to Lake Gogebic years ago in the Upper Peninsula. When we arrived it was dark when we set up. When it got light it looked like a small city had been built on the ice with shanties and tip-ups everywhere.  Usually, when there are that many people in one place fishing, there is a reason, and that reason is walleye.

There are a couple of spots that work pretty well early in the season. Bergaland Bay and House Bay. As you move more into the winter and it is colder it is best to move more to the middle of Lake Gogebic.

Walleye love to eat perch and so do I, so don't miss out on the perch fishing near Bergalannd Bay's Alligator and Porcupine Points for top-notch perch fishing. You may stumble across some Wally's in the process as a bonus.

Cadillac and Mitchell Lakes

There are two lakes that are side by side in Cadillac that I have heard about my whole life in the state of Michigan and they are Cadillac Lake and Mitchell Lake. This may be a road trip for my son and me since I don't live too far south of there.

It is much colder in that area so these two lakes tend to ice up often before Christmas for some early ice fishing. Ice fishermen all know that early ice can produce some of the best fishing as well as late ice for the season.

Lots of people downstate make the drive for those crappies both lakes offer. From what I have been told by other anglers there are some solid hand-sized bluegills found in both lakes. Bring a tip-up or two because both of these lakes hold some hefty pike.

Hamlin Lake

First Ice and last ice can be an ice fisherman's dream if you love those tasty bluegills. This lake has some big bluegills and you can often limit out on crappies.

If you are looking for a location to get you started on the hard water. Head near Ludington State Park just south of the Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness Area. Pan fishing is top-notch and some say some of the best ice fishing in the state.

Hamlin is a very big lake so if you are looking for solitude on the ice there is plenty of room to find a spot away from the crowd that will be just as good. It never hurts to swing by the local bait shop for a few secret locations.

Hopefully, you get a chance to discover some of these lakes, I know I sure look forward to returning to a few spots as well as making a few new discoveries myself.

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