Easily one of my favorite weekends of the year is the 1st weekend with ice thick enough for fishing shoreline breaks on Mille Lacs. There’s just something special about early ice!
This winter that magic weekend took place last Saturday and Sunday and making it even better was being able to spend time on the ice with some of my very best friends from growing up and some new ones as well. Ice conditions were actually in very good shape with between 8-11.5 inches of ice in the areas we fished, although I did hear reports of ice as thin as 3″ so still not time to explore without being extremely cautious. Our total fish count for 3 trips out was 37 walleyes and based on how good it’s been the past couple winters that actually felt slow!
A majority of the fish we marked were gave us the cold shoulder and even the ones we caught were on smaller spoons and light biters usually hooked only in the edge of the lip. The key being to use a slower cadence and shorter jigging strokes for most fish. Our tip ups had similar results as we had several false flags where fish were bumping the baits but not hungry enough to eat. With a storm front having pushed through on Friday just before we fished I can only expect it to get even better with a few days of stable weather.
This was also my first weekend getting a chance to run some of my new gear for the 2017 season and I was a very happy fisherman with my new toys. My 40v lithium lazer exceeded all of my expectations for cutting performance and while I didn’t yet test the limits of its battery I drilled ~25-30 holes in 8″ thick ice at spot one and over 50 holes through 11.5″ thick ice in spots #2-3 and still had over 50% of the battery left. Not to be outdone the Marcum Lithium shuttle also did all that I was hoping for and more as after 15 hours of run time for an LX-7 I still had 63% battery power left. I can see it’s going to take a lot more than I dished out this past weekend to push them to their limit, but I can’t wait to try!
Tight lines and have fun!