On Day 3, when it mattered the most, Swindle settled on a large reef with a depression that provided deeper water for the smallmouth. These fish are harder to locate, but I’m convinced there are huge schools of smallmouth that share the same deep water with the walleye. “I like to seek out more aggressive strikes with a jig-and-spottail shiner, and the shallow bite is absolutely electric this time of year.”, He recommends tying on a 1/8-ounce Fire-Ball®, Fire-Ball® Spin or Thumper® jig tipped with a shiner and probing rocky shorelines, points or humps, he says. Terms of Service Or better yet, plan your next fishing getaway on one of the best bass fisheries in the nation. Private Fish House Winter Services. Ron DaRosa. Sometimes muskies won’t actually hit a topwater bait; rather they will roll in front of or in back of it. The Angler of the Year Tournament is headed back our way for September and we're excited about the fantastic Smallmouth … Those were located on a reef sloping from 16 to 22 feet on the sides. The entire south end of the lake features a seemingly endless string of rock piles, and is a natural target for many anglers. Mille Lacs Lake Winter Fishing . “My best advice for perch fishermen is to look for transition zones—secondary breaklines coming off shorelines or gravel bars—areas you can find bug activity in the winter,” he says. The fact that you fish it on top all but ensures that you won’t be cleaning weeds off the lure following each cast. Paul metropolitan area enjoys a reputation that spreads far beyond state borders. This week Feider ran away with the win—including a blowout Day 3 limit weighing 26-2—by spending the tournament doing what he does the best. “You can definitely catch fish using other techniques,” he says, “but the truth is that you can work a piece of structure quickly and effectively, if not more effectively, by pitching a jig.”. Dean Fisher, who owns Fisher’s Resort in the northeast corner of the lake, has been guiding and skippering charter launch boats here for over 25 years. Locating big fish at this time can very challenging.

There’s basically one key to having success with muskies at night: Fish slow and methodically. But so can many, many other areas. Things run full-circle as late summer morphs into fall, the angler explains. "When using a two-hook jerkbait for smallmouth I always switch out the hooks," he explained. This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged. 630 630 4792 cell With crystal-clear water clarity—the result of invasive zebra mussels that filter plankton from the water—sight fishing is a true joy on sunny calm days in the early season. Biffle slowly dragged the rig across rocky reefs for his fourth-place finish. Lake Mille Lacs Ice Report. “The jig itself has a lot of action, with its articulating head,” he says, “but when it’s paired with a soft plastic, the bait stands upright and looks very much like a crayfish.”.

Daniels made a drop shot rig using a 4-inch Yamamoto Senko, rigged to No. Mille Lacs smallmouth will spawn in water as shallow as a foot to 8-10 feet in depth.

Central Minnesota’s Mille Lacs Lake is a true multi-species gem, featuring walleyes, smallmouth bass and muskies. A No. Smallmouth are notorious for their acrobatic leaps and subsurface runs that can throw a lure in a hurry. Mille Lacs proved why it’s the nation’s top ranked bass fishery according to Bassmaster Magazine. As far as “fishing string”, I use Berkley’s 100% fluorocarbon 8 pound test as a leader attached to 20 pound test (6lb diameter) Spiderwire Ultracast Invisi Braid or Berkley’s Nanofill for sinking baits like tubes and jigs. It’s just very versatile.”, Casting and retrieving a swimbait is another way to go, and tends to attract the largest fish in an area. Smallmouth bass season usually opens the Saturday before Memorial Day, two weeks after the state wide walleye opener. Advertising

Walleyes first tend to move back toward secondary breaklines where Roach again targets them with jigs and soft plastics. Typically two patterns exist on Mille Lacs. “Now’s when I fish a Buck-Shot® Rattle or a Forage Minnow® spoon almost exclusively,” he says. “When fishing tubes, slow is the key,” Roach says. Lake Mille Lacs has many rock points and reefs, which can be productive any time of year. “The lake is so huge, and offers so much in the way of structure and cover, it’s impossible to say, ‘go here and do this and you’ll catch them,’” he says, “but the old saying is true, ‘somewhere on Mille Lacs, the fish are always biting.’”. Podcast The lure of choice was a Gary Yamamoto Custom Lures 5-inch Senko, blue/silver flake. The choice was a Lucky Craft Pointer modified to closely match the baitfish in his area. Vineland Bay and other spots along the western shoreline, for example, can be extremely productive. It’s an outstanding big-fish technique.”. He chose a 4.5-inch Straight Tail Roboworm (Watermelon Magic or Green Shiner), rigged to a 1/0 Gamakatsu Split Shot/Drop Shot Hook and 1/4-ounce Reins TG Tungston Drop Shot Sinker. Not only is the mid-lake structure going; you can find walleyes in extremely shallow water, too. Another key adjustment involved the hooks. Bug hatches do influence the bite. Three Mile Reef and the prominent points of Agate Bay on the east side, as well as Indian and Sherman’s points on the west side are examples of the type of territory he’s talking about, but in reality, Mille Lacs is full of prime underwater real estate that holds early-season ’eyes. He also used a 3/4-ounce Strike King Tour Grade Football Jig with 5-inch Strike King Rage Tail. “If I had to choose to fish just one lure for smallmouths on Mille Lacs,” says Roach, “it would be a tube bait, specifically an Impulse® Fatty Tube. While many anglers used a drop shot, Feider included, his twist was a wacky rig. Email: jtd648@comcast.net, Jim DaRosa There's nothing easy, though. As an added bonus, don’t be surprised if you catch an occasional walleye, northern pike or musky. Ronnestrand says Mille Lacs provides the best opportunity for a 50-pounder in Minnesota. That required using a black marker pen to make black stripes down both sides of the jerkbait. “Too many anglers tend to pull up to the reefs and power-fish the entire area and then boogie out of there. In the spring, sand breaks such as those on the north side hold large schools of walleyes. The main draw is huge numbers of quality fish, including many 20-inch brutes. When the jerkbait bite slowed he switched to an all-white Chatterbait he found on a trip to California.

Let your electronic chart be your guide.

For non sinking baits Berkley’s Trans Optic is my choice for the remainder of my spinning/casting applications. Bug Hatches..Anytime from June thru August. Max Depth: 42 feet. Big smallmouth were attracted to the extra cover provided by scattered, large boulders. For a trailer he added a 4-inch Strike King Rage Tail. Drop shot rigs were top lures. Smallmouth bass begin to change their forage preference from crayfish to perch and other small fish. They are pelagic. Team Northland member, and the man behind Roach’s Guide Service, Tony Roach has spent as many days studying and fishing the lake as any angler alive today. And unlike a lot of lakes where it’s hard to buy a walleye outside the peak low-light periods, on Mille Lacs you can generally catch them all day long, depending on the day.”, Structure that produces early-winter walleyes is so abundant on Mille Lacs that it’s difficult to pin down one or two hotspots, according to Roach. Lead VS. Tungsten – Brian "Bro" Brosdahl →. “Once you find them, you can go with something like a Bro’s Bling Jig, Mud Bug or any of the small jig designs tipped with an Impulse® soft plastic bait,” he says.

General Gear Information Species Present: Walleyes, Yellow Perch, Smallmouth Bass, Largemouth Bass, Muskellunge, Northern Pike, Black Crappies, Bluegills, Sunfish, Pumpkinseeds, Rock Bass, Black Bullheads, Bowfin, Burbot, Tullibees, White Suckers, Shorthead Redhorse, Common Carp, various minnows, shiners and darters. They all caught smallmouth, from shallow to deep.

Going up Mille Lacs for first time ice fishing this up coming weekend. Hyperlinking Policy. He made the drop shot with a 4-inch green pumpkin worm, rigged to a No. You still can catch walleye and lots of them. Spinner baits, small swim baits, chatter baits or small crank baits, jig n worms are a good choice. Not sure where the fish are biting? “You might think a 4-inch tube catches big bass, but sometimes a little 2-inch bait works better.”. My favorite bait for these situations would be an Esox Assault double 9 bucktail, the other would be the FlapTail surface bait from Lee Lures. Tournament winner and Minnesotan Seth Feider proved the point. With such notoriety, however, comes increased fishing pressure—along with the desire to protect this fabulous resource for generations to come. With all that room to grow, the Lake Mille Lacs walleye has become the stuff of which legends are made. Follow that up with a Smelt Minnow on a drop-shot rig, with the hook point running into the chin and out the nose. “Walleyes really start to show up on those rocks to feed in late fall. He also used a swim bait rigged to a 3/8-ounce ball head jig. Once upon a time, Mille Lacs Lake was Minnesota’s centerpiece world-class walleye fishery. I use a double uni knot to attach the fluorocarbon leader to the Invisi-Braid. Isle, MN  56342 This is a shallow fishery with a maximum depth of only 40 feet. He used a 4-inch Roboworm Special FX Sculpin, rigged to a No. And though he’s among the 1 percent of anglers who know Mille Lacs like a favorite book, he says its sheer size and tremendous scope make it difficult to forecast a “guaranteed” bite at any particular time or place. Toward evening we return to the point—the spot-on-the-spot type of area.”. You can be among the first to get the latest info on where to go, what to use and how to use it! Seventy-two limits weighing over 20 pounds got caught over … But don’t limit yourself to these areas; if the action is too slow for your liking, move to similar structure elsewhere on the lake. Jim DaRosa Fisher speculates that the growth of these fish has altered their movement patterns. It’s also absolutely rich in a diverse array of structure and cover—rocks, mud flats, weedlines, points, submerged humps and more. Let it fall and rip it again—all the way to the boat. At the same time Roach urges anglers not to abandon rocks and weedlines entirely. The Super Bowl of Fishing. No matter what you like to eat or where you like to sleep, chances are Lake Mille Lacs has just what you are looking for when you come off the water. So was a 3.8-inch Keitech Swing Impact FAT on a 3/8-ounce weight with 2/0 Owner Round Bend Worm Hook. “This period is often overlooked,” says Roach, “because when it’s hot, people tend to think about going deeper.

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