One of the words that hasn’t been used frequently enough to describe walleye fishing on Mille Lacs over the past few years is “fun”. Well let be the first to tell you if you like catching fish the fun is back!
I’ve been able to make two quick trips to Mille Lacs so far this year and I can’t wait to get back! Between myself and the couple friends who joined me we’ve put well over 100 walleyes on the ice.
Early ice conditions that hampered getting out are mostly gone and resorts have their houses out now as well as roads for full sized vehicles, but it certainly hasn’t slowed the fishing. If you’ve ever wanted the perfect opportunity to teach someone (son/daughter/spouse) about walleye fishing now is the perfect time to head to Mille Lacs.
During my first trip in early January we were limited to near shore fishing but found that even shallow during mid-day the walleyes, perch, and northerns were very aggressive. The most prevalent fish are coming from the 2012 & 2013 year classes which are now between 12-16.5″, but we also found several fish into the 17-20″ range as well as missing a few opportunities at “picture” fish.
My second trip was just this past weekend and we were able to make it out to the mud finding very similar results with an aggressive bite going on even during bright sunny conditions mid-day. VMC Rattle spoons were my hot bait, not as much because the fish preferred them over other offerings, but rather that they allowed us to get baits back down quickly when fish would come through and having a heavier bait helped during high winds that we were dealing with. Again most of the fish were in the 12-16″ range but did find fish into the low 20’s. I also lost a giant in the hole when it got stuck in the wet cement-like snowy slush that with the high winds would fill every hole almost instantly after drilling.
Not only are the walleyes on fire right now but there have also been some very promising reports of jumbo perch showing up on the North end sand so there’s also opportunities for those who need to come home with fish for the pan. (Check out Big Gill’s pic in the picture gallery)
The excellent fishing wasn’t the only highlight of my trip as I was also VERY impressed with some of the new gear that I’ve been trying this year. With the wind filling my LX-7 with snow I put it away for a while and switched over to the LX-5i that I bought as a back-up and I was not disappointed. The flat screen made it very easy to read even with a combination of blowing snow and bright sun. I also am quickly becoming a huge fan of replacing the hooks on my spoons with the new VMC glow resin trebles. In the past if a fish hits and didn’t get hooked I could feel that the minnow head was gone I’ve always had to reel up and re-bait, thus frequently losing the opportunity for that fish to hit a second time. However, with the glow trebles I’ve found the extra color on the hook let’s me leave it down and still get a second bite. Most impressive though was my TUCR Commander… Wow is this a fun rod! Even though I lost my big fish at the hole I don’t think the rod could have performed any more perfectly on a large walleye and not only that, but it is still light enough to be just as fun with the 12″ fish. Also impressive was how well my Striker Predator Suit handled not only the wind but me going elbow deep trying to grab the big fish came unpinned at the hole. I couldn’t believe that the stretchy wrist material that keeps the wind out on my jacket also completely kept my sweatshirt arm dry and even with a several mile ATV trip home I didn’t get cold at all.
If you’re looking for a fun trip with lot’s of action don’t forget Mille Lacs. Do the lake!