|"The Bait Shop"|
...(6-24) I think we've said it all so far - Strong walleye bite, strong smallmouth bite, improving northern bite... that about sums it up again this week. Most of the walleye action is on the mud flats. Use leeches or crawlers. Smallies are hanging in 5-12 feet on the rockpiles. Tubes, wackys, drop-shot rigs and jerk baits all work well. Northern can be taken on spoons or on live suckers. Nearly all these fish are weed-oriented and are found in 7-12 feet at this point.
The newest creel data from the DNR is in:
Fishing report through Thursday, June 30:
State anglers (June 1-15)
Hooking mortality estimate: 1,015 pounds (513 fish)
Released: 40,086 pounds (23,424 fish)
Tribal fishing total: 7,808 of 11,400 allowed pounds (2,407 fish)
State angler total: 3,107 of 28,600 allowed pounds (1,487 fish)
State anglers (June 1-15)
Harvested: 356 pounds (119 fish)
Hooking mortality estimate: 756 pounds (263 fish)
Released: 7,281 pounds (2,613 fish)
Tribal fishing total: 1,752 of 50,000 allowed pounds (430 fish)
State angler total: 6,876 of 50,000 allowed pounds (1,880 fish)
...(6-17) The bite on Mille Lacs is still good - lots of walleye and smallmouth spread out in a number of areas. The fishing pressure remains light, so you shouldn't have to fish in a crowd. The top spot for walleye is on the mud flats in the northwest quadrant of the lake - these fish will move up and down the edges of the flats throughout the course of the day, from 23 to 32 feet. Leeches are your best bait, followed closely by nightcrawlers on a spinner rig. Silver, pink and Copper are your top spinner colors. The evenings are still good for picking up some fish before bedtime. With surface temperatures approaching the 70's, be sure to play your fish carefully. If you're going to shoot a picture, have your camera out and ready. Smallmouth action has moved from "the beds" to the traditional rockpiles and hiding spots. These fish hungry! Tubes, Senkos, Shadow Raps, leeches... they're all in play right now. That's not to say you can simply throw ANYTHING at them at ANY time, but we're seeing one boat pound the smallies on one thing and just a few boats over those guys are hammerin' them on something totally different! Remember - just because "the book" might say that the fish bite best on black and orange salamanders in June doesn't mean that you should leave the rest of your tackle box at home... it's STILL fishing! Be prepared and open to what THE FISH tell you THEY want.
If you didn't read this last fall, it deserves your attention this week. Here a link to the DNR'S Hooked on Mille Lacs fall newsletter. You can check out some of the results of the 2014 fall netting survey. Of particular interest is the summary on page 4: "There is nothing in this data that suggests tribal fishing is affecting reproduction". If you're left with a shred of doubt after this compelling analysis, PLEASE contact the Aitkin Fisheries Office of the Minnesota DNR.