Mille Lacs has had some great fishing so far this season. Most resorts say it’s like they haven’t seen in a very long time. Social media if flooded with photos of fish of all sizes and species. I even hear of some keepers (19-21″ slot) are being caught.
This last weekend brought us some very warm temperatures which melted almost all of the snow other than where drifting had occurred. The ice got very wet and sloppy and some resorts opted to stop allowing weekend wheelhouse traffic. This was done to protect their ice roads and keep them in good shape for the rental and private customers. With the cooler temps coming in this week it should heal things up nicely.
No matter what, be sure to check with resorts or bait shops before you head out on the ice. Get their information on where the trouble spots and bridges are along with some fishing advice.
Fishing Photos From Around the Lake
Fishing reports from around the lake:
Lundeen’s Tackle Castle – The ice thickness on Mille Lacs remains at 18+ inches – up to 23 in spots. It took 2 months to “grow” it this thick… a couple of thirty-something days isn’t going to make it go away overnight. There is still some snow covering most of the lake. The pressure breaks continue to flex from the warm temperatures – if you’re planning to cross a break to get out to “bigger water”, be sure you’re crossing at a bridge for safety. The resorts that have placed bridges across the break(s) are maintaining them daily, but you can only fight Mother Nature so much.
The overall walleye bite is still good. We’ve had people remark about having the “best day ever” on Mille Lacs while at the same time others are picking up only a few. I’ll break it down as simply as I can – if you’re not on fish… move. The “magic” is to be on the fish. Granted, sometimes they will go better on a rattle bait, other times on a glow jig and a deadstick, sometimes on rocks and other times on the mud flats. It’s fishing. But if you’re looking for a better season overall out of Mille Lacs, you better have a good memory. Our advice is to get out there while the bite is still good.
- Walleye – 22-30 feet on the edges of the mud flats or deep gravel with a shiner or small sucker.
- Northern – 9-14 feet near the weedline with suckers.
- Perch – fish the perch alongside your walleyes. There have been some nice ones showing up, but it’s “one here and one there”. Consider them a bonus at this point.
Tutt’s Bait & Tackle – Fish off the reef in 22-23 feet of water depending on the time of day. Switching up jigging spoons styles, sizes, and colors helped trigger the fish. Rattlin Blade Spoons and Flutter style baits in 1/8th or 1/4oz sizes. Pink, Gold, Green, and White Glow all worked best. Give set lines a try with glow jigs set 6″-12″ off the bottom. Fatheads or Rainbows are the bait of choice.
Lybacks Ice Fishing – Today was a pretty quiet day on the ice. We had rentals customers out but not many others. The bite was ok, but nothing to spectacular compared to what people were used to over the last 2-3 weeks. Perch activity was ok but not many Jumbo’s, (12? or over is what I call a Jumbo.) lots of 9? though. give them a couple more years… One angler took pictures of a huge muskie cruising under the ice under his hole.. pretty big fish..
The ice will start to heal up and harden this week with it slowly turning colder, but it will take a couple days. Hopefully we won’t get much snow on it before it does. A lot of resorts dealing with the pressure ridge are doing the smart thing and letting things freeze this week in hopes of getting back to it by the weekend. It was a good thing this warm did not continue or there really would have been some problems. It pays to check with the resort you go to and not listen to the hype. Everyone on this lake has different conditions to deal with.. it’s a big lake..
Chapman’s Mille Lacs Resort – Well that was an interesting weekend! Sloppy wet mess and still is but ice is in good shape. Had 5-6″ of water around the stages wheelhouses but Tim drilled holes around them which helped drain the water. Even had to reset all the road stakes. Fishing was okay with some catching walleyes and some not. Heard of a northern or two but not many fishing for them and lots of little perch. A report of 20 keeper sunfish but the crappies were tight lipped.
Mac’s Twin Bay Resort – Pretty great weekend! Ice stayed fine, but very wet. Fishing was ok but not as good as last weekend. BUT it was a weekend of fishing and fun and NOT work. How can you not enjoy that?