MDNR continues to expand UP winter fishing access

GWINN, Mich. (WLUC) – The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) continues to plow boat access at 25 Upper Peninsula ice fishing locations to keep them accessible.

The effort began in 2021 when MDNR partnered with local road commissions, municipalities and bait shops to keep access points clear. MDNR UP Area Deputy Stacy Haughey said the department has always wanted to do this. However, he was limited by financial support.

“We can’t use one thing for the other, so in this case we can’t use throwaway dollars to use in the winter,” Haughey said. “So we went to Minnesota and Wisconsin and tried to figure out how they did this, and this is a really creative solution to getting people out.”

Haughey said all the program partners sit down each spring and discuss how often the plow sites are being used. Forsyth Township Supervisor Joe Boogren said this program helps more than fishermen.

“It’s mainly for anglers, but you know I’ve seen people snowballing in these lakes since we opened them up,” Boogren said. “People will come out and walk around because it’s available,”

Boogren noted that the communities at Johnson Lake in Gwinn seem to be having a great time.

“It’s nice to see it being used and on the weekends, you’ll see a lot of open tents, you know people aren’t putting up ice shacks as much as they used to, but there are a lot of people. fish with their kids,” Boogren said.

All involved said the goal is year-round accessibility in a four-season area. They added that winter activities like ice fishing are why people love UP

Boat access areas to be worked on this winter are:

  • Baraga County: Lake Vermilac, Silver River
  • Chippewa County: Conley Point
  • Delta County: Little Bay de Noc (Kipling, River Ford)
  • Dickinson County: Lake Louise
  • Iron County: Indian Lake, Swan Lake, Lake Mary, Lake Emily, Lake Ellen
  • Keweenaw County: Lake Gratiot, Lake Medora, Lake Bailey
  • Luce County: Little Lake Harbor, Kak’s Lake, Big Manistique Lake
  • Mackinac County: South Manistique Lake, North Manistique Lake, Milakokia Lake, and Millecoquins Lake
  • Marquette County: Lake Michigamme, Greenwood Reservoir, Johnson Lake, Big Shag Lake, East Bass Lake
  • Schoolcraft County: The Great Spring Landing

For more information on places to fish in Michigan, visit the DNR website at: