|"The Bait Shop"|
Walleye: Release immediately all walleye less than 18.0" or greater than 20.0", except one over 28.0" may be harvested. Possession limit is 2, only one over 28.0".
Northern Pike: Release immediately all from 33.0" through 40.0". Possession limit is 3, only one over 40.0". No spearing.
Smallmouth Bass: Release immediately all from 17.0" through 20.0". Possession limit is 6, only one over 20.0".
Tullibee (Cisco): Possession limit is ten.
No Culling or live well sorting.
Night Closure: No one may fish for any species or possess fishing gear on the lake from 10pm through 6am beginning at 10pm on Monday, May 13 and ending at 12:01 am on Monday, June 10.
ORANGE "reward" tag: REMOVE tag and call 1-218-927-3751 for instructions. Receive a reward!
YELLOW numbered tag: Record tag number (do NOT remove) and report information at: www.dnr.state.mn.us/fisheries/tagged_fish_reporting
...(5-16) The opener of 2013 found over 90% of Mille Lacs still covered with ice. A mere handful of folks launched their boats and a few even took the photo-opp and had their picture taken ICE FISHING! On Saturday the wind started screaming from the north and ultimately pushed some of the ice onto the south shore. Again with the pictures, however the damage was less than it could have been given the amount of ice that DIDN'T come ashore. A quick shift to the east moved the main sheet of ice to the west and north for a couple days, then it ultimately blew the remaining ice to the east side where it sits now. I don't expect we'll see too many more days of the "never-ending winter". There has been a little more boat traffic each day and I expect that this weekend will bring even more. Understand that the water is still REALLY cold. As of today the hazard markers are NOT in and the docks at the public accesses are NOT in. Look for these when the ice is COMPLETELY gone. I saw a couple private docks and boat lifts in Cove Bay today.
Most of the fishing was on the north end - success varied from boat to boat. Most of the fish came from 16-20 feet although the shallow (12 feet and less) water gave up a few too. It's been mostly a minnow bite so far, with leeches coming in a close second.
The leeches are still behind normal for this time of year - these warm days will improve the supply and the size over the next few weeks. Yes, we have leeches. Shiners have been tough to come by too - they're a day-to-day deal right now. Today we have shiners.
...(5-9) Inbetween the hundreds of phone calls we've received each day this week asking "is the ice out yet?", we had a chance to check it out ourselves - first hand. I can say with great certainty that for the first Opener that I can remember, the ice won't be out on Mille Lacs. Oh, someone will find a strip of open water just to say they did it, just like someone will journey out to the ice sheet and set up their fish house... just to say they did it. But overall, this isn't ideal. Even the south bays are still about half covered today. The brightest spot is looking like the Rum River - it won't handle the thousands of boats that usually come to Mille Lacs, but I suspect it will take a pounding beginning Saturday AM. Knife Lake and Ann Lake will also take some pressure of Mille Lacs. Realistically, we're moving our hopes to next weekend for a more traditional "sea-scape".
You can check out the current ice conditions for Mille Lacs and all of the Minnesota lakes at ge.ssec.wisc.edu/modis-today/index.php . Just select a date and zoom in for a closer look.
Along with the lingering ice theme, remember that much of our bait in Minnesota (especially leeches) comes from ponds NORTH of here. This means that there may be a statewide "delay" in specialty items like leeches, shiners and rainbows. Unfortunately open water is a MUST to trap/seine these critters... at this point the ponds are still in "winter mode".