Ice fishermen reel in the new year

Ice fishermen reel in the new year

EMMET COUNTY, Mich. (WPBN/WGTU) -- Folks in northern Michigan are taking advantage of the cold weather with ice fishing.

Fishermen eager to catch the first perch or walleye of the year walked or rode out onto the ice to set up shanties.

Most of them have been locals, but some have been calling local bait shops from all over the state to see if the ice is ready.

“Now that the ice is in, we’ve had lots of phone calls from out of state, downstate wanting to know the ice reports and whatnot,” said Brenda Fergeson, who works at Young's Bait and Party Store in Alanson.

On Burt Lake, some parts of the ice are more than six inches thick, strong enough for fishermen to bring their shanties out with a snowmobiles or four-wheelers and get to the middle of the lake.

“I’m hoping to catch a nice pike or a walleye,” said Kevin Styles, who was out fishing for the day.

All of the fishermen hope to bring home dinner, but it's also about spending time outdoors.

“Just get out of the house, you’re not going to catch them in the living room,” Styles said.

Young's Bait and Party Store has been keeping busy in the past week and a half.

On Monday afternoon, it had already sold live bait to about 20 fishermen for the day.

Whether they use live bait or tackle, fishermen were happy to be spending New Year's Day on the ice.

“Just spending time with family, catching fish, having fun, reeling in some walleye chunkers and some jumbo perch," Said Kylaar Manfredine, another fisherman.

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