Photo essay: Ice fishing community annually forms on Muskegon Lake

Ice fishermen flock to the frozen waters of Muskegon Lake annually during the winter season. On March 4, 2015, that was the case. Walleye was the most sought-after species but many admitted they would have been happy catching anything. While the subzero and colder-than-normal temperatures of February led to a thick ice covering, the recent and continual warm up is expected to limit the days remaining for ice fishing this season. With the countdown until the end of the ice fishing season underway, these passionate wintertime anglers will be once again counting down the months until the community on the ice comes together again.

Calvin Larson of Muskegon, reals up his second perch of the day while fishing Muskegon Lake with a friend, Ron Sweet, not far off the shore near Hartshorn Marina.  Larson and Sweet estimated the ice to be 20 inches thick.  (Andraya Croft | MLive.com)
Calvin Larson of Muskegon, reals up his second perch of the day while fishing Muskegon Lake with a friend, Ron Sweet, not far off the shore near Hartshorn Marina. Larson and Sweet estimated the ice to be 20 inches thick. (Andraya Croft | MLive.com)
Ron Sweet of Muskegon, and his dog, Niles, a three year-old Welsh Corgi, look out the shanty window while fishing close to shore.  Sweet and his long-time friend Calvin Larson, fish as many times as they can.  (Andraya Croft | MLive.com)
Ron Sweet of Muskegon, and his dog, Niles, a three year-old Welsh Corgi, look out the shanty window while fishing close to shore. Sweet and his long-time friend Calvin Larson, fish as many times as they can. (Andraya Croft | MLive.com)
Two ice fishing shanties and a four wheeler are set up in the middle of Muskegon Lake.  According to the Department of Natural Resources, for new clear ice only, at 12 to 15 inches it is safe enough to drive a medium truck onto the ice.  (Andraya Croft | MLive.com)
Two ice fishing shanties and a four wheeler are set up in the middle of Muskegon Lake. According to the Department of Natural Resources, for new clear ice only, at 12 to 15 inches it is safe enough to drive a medium truck onto the ice. (Andraya Croft | MLive.com)
Calvin Larson of Muskegon, smiles as he pulls up his second perch caught throughout the day while fishing with his friend, Ron Sweet.  No matter how big they are I can fillet them, Larson said.  Any fish Sweet catches, Larson will fillet as well.  (Andraya Croft | MLive.com)
Calvin Larson of Muskegon, smiles as he pulls up his second perch caught throughout the day while fishing with his friend, Ron Sweet. No matter how big they are I can fillet them, Larson said. Any fish Sweet catches, Larson will fillet as well. (Andraya Croft | MLive.com)
Calvin Larson of Muskegon, removes his hook from a perch just pulled through the ice.  Larson and his long-time friend Ron Sweet, most commonly fish Muskegon Lake together but also make it out to others including: Brooks Lake, Crystal Lake, Middle Lake, and Twin Lake.  (Andraya Croft | MLive.com)
Calvin Larson of Muskegon, removes his hook from a perch just pulled through the ice. Larson and his long-time friend Ron Sweet, most commonly fish Muskegon Lake together but also make it out to others including: Brooks Lake, Crystal Lake, Middle Lake, and Twin Lake. (Andraya Croft | MLive.com)
Ron Sweet of Muskegon, left, adjusts his fishing pole with his dog Niles on his lap as he fishes with Calvin Larson.  If it's too windy, I don't come out, but if it's cold that don't matter, Sweet said.  (Andraya Croft | MLive.com)
Ron Sweet of Muskegon, left, adjusts his fishing pole with his dog Niles on his lap as he fishes with Calvin Larson. If it’s too windy, I don’t come out, but if it’s cold that don’t matter, Sweet said. (Andraya Croft | MLive.com)
Ice fishing shanties are set up across Muskegon Lake near the North Muskegon Waterfront Sports Park.  The Muskegon area had a high of 39 degrees and a low of 24 degrees with an average wind speed of 13.7 miles per hour according to the National Weather Service.  (Andraya Croft | MLive.com)
Ice fishing shanties are set up across Muskegon Lake near the North Muskegon Waterfront Sports Park. The Muskegon area had a high of 39 degrees and a low of 24 degrees with an average wind speed of 13.7 miles per hour according to the National Weather Service. (Andraya Croft | MLive.com)
Don Hallwood of North Muskegon, focuses on the tip of his rod while fishing for walleye near the North Muskegon Waterfront Sports Park.  Hallwood, who has missed one day of fishing in the past week, caught an 11.5 pound walleye in 26 feet yesterday, Tuesday, March 3, at the same location.  (Andraya Croft | MLive.com)
Don Hallwood of North Muskegon, focuses on the tip of his rod while fishing for walleye near the North Muskegon Waterfront Sports Park. Hallwood, who has missed one day of fishing in the past week, caught an 11.5 pound walleye in 26 feet yesterday, Tuesday, March 3, at the same location. (Andraya Croft | MLive.com)
Don Hallwood of North Muskegon, uses a propane heater in his one man shanty to keep warm while fishing for walleye.  Hallwood has had the most luck catching walleye in the evening between five and six p.m.  (Andraya Croft | MLive.com)
Don Hallwood of North Muskegon, uses a propane heater in his one man shanty to keep warm while fishing for walleye. Hallwood has had the most luck catching walleye in the evening between five and six p.m. (Andraya Croft | MLive.com)
Matt Borushko of St. Louis, left, hooks a live minnow to a double hook rig while fishing for walleye with Chase Miller of Grand Rapids, right.  Borushko who regularly fishes Saginaw Bay, traveled with Miller to fish Muskegon Lake for their first time.    (Andraya Croft | MLive.com)
Matt Borushko of St. Louis, left, hooks a live minnow to a double hook rig while fishing for walleye with Chase Miller of Grand Rapids, right. Borushko who regularly fishes Saginaw Bay, traveled with Miller to fish Muskegon Lake for their first time. (Andraya Croft | MLive.com)
Ice fishing shanties are set up on Muskegon Lake near the North Muskegon Waterfront Sports Park.  Some ice fisherman will walk a half hour to get to a desired location.  (Andraya Croft | MLive.com)
Ice fishing shanties are set up on Muskegon Lake near the North Muskegon Waterfront Sports Park. Some ice fisherman will walk a half hour to get to a desired location. (Andraya Croft | MLive.com)
Dan Colman of Hesperia fishes for walleye in his twenty year old shanty with the help of a guide.  Colman spends his time fishing a few times per week.  (Andraya Croft | MLive.com)
Dan Colman of Hesperia fishes for walleye in his twenty year old shanty with the help of a guide. Colman spends his time fishing a few times per week. (Andraya Croft | MLive.com)
Bob Jackson of Muskegon, works with three fishing poles in 34 feet of water.  The most poles one person can use at a time is three.  Jackson often meets with friends out on the ice three to four times per week.  (Andraya Croft | MLive.com)
Bob Jackson of Muskegon, works with three fishing poles in 34 feet of water. The most poles one person can use at a time is three. Jackson often meets with friends out on the ice three to four times per week. (Andraya Croft | MLive.com)
Randy Slatton of North Muskegon, left, and Bob Jackson of Muskegon, right, pack up their ice fishing gear to move closer to shore with hopes of catching walleye.  The season for walleye fishing ends March 15.  (Andraya Croft | MLive.com)
Randy Slatton of North Muskegon, left, and Bob Jackson of Muskegon, right, pack up their ice fishing gear to move closer to shore with hopes of catching walleye. The season for walleye fishing ends March 15. (Andraya Croft | MLive.com)
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