Another opener is upon us – surface temps are in the low to mid 50’s and water levels are good. Look for most of the fish to be in 20 feet or less water. Traditional opening day favorites like the north end, Vineland Bay and Big Point will likely take most of the pressure. Toward evening you might look to some shallower water on the rock reefs for some bobber fishing – 7 to 12 feet should be good here.

Remember, you can fish Mille Lacs “’round the clock” for the opener… the night ban doesn’t go into effect until 10PM on May 16th.

Leeches have become the “bait-of-choice” on Mille Lacs. A modest-sized leech will often out-perform a jumbo during the early weeks of the season. Don’t overlook minnows either – if you’re ever going to run minnows, now’s the time while the water is cool.  Try casting jigs and softbait combos or jigs tipped with minnows across shallow reefs.

We encourage you to “Fish Quick” – meaning don’t let the walleye take the bait for a long period of time.  Reel it in, remove the hook, handle it with care and release it as quickly as possible.
Help protect the walleye fishery – try artificial baits, experiment and have fun. Give circle and barbless hooks a try.

Bass fishing should be great as they will be all over the reefs. If you want the kids to have some rip the rod outta your hands action, get up on the rocks and start pitching rubber baits or cranks. Again handle with care and release as quickly as possible.

For Northerns try trolling the bay areas with spinner baits or tossing out a big bobber tipped with a sucker minnow.


2016 Mille Lacs Lake Fishing Regulations:

  • Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass: Bass season is open May 14 – February 26. Prior to May 28, all largemouth bass and smallmouth bass must be immediately released. Beginning May 28, combined possession limit is four, with only one bass over 21″. All bass 17″-21″ must be immediately released.
  • Northern Pike: Possession limit is five, with only one greater than 40″. All northern pike 30″-40″ must be immediately released.
  • Tullibee (Cisco): Possession limit ten.
  • Walleye: Catch-and-release only. All walleye must be immediately released.

Night Closure: From 10 p.m. on May 16 through 12:01 a.m. on December 1. Nightly from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., no one may fish for any species, except while: 1) muskellunge angling – beginning June 6 – muskellunge may be targeted with artificial lures longer than 8″ or sucker minnows longer than 8″; no possession of tackle or bait not specifically used for muskellunge; and no possession or targeting of species other than muskellunge; or 2) bow fishing for rough fish, but angling equipment may not be possessed, and only rough fish may be in possession.

No culling or live-well sorting: Fish taken into possession are considered part of an angler’s bag limit and cannot be exchanged with another fish. However smallmouth bass and largemouth bass may be culled following statewide culling rules.