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"The original Mille Lacs on-line fishing report"
Courtesy of Lundeen's Tackle Castle and Guide Service

Last updated 8-26-16
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The Minnesota DNR has announced the 2016 regulations for Mille Lacs:

Here are the Mille Lacs regulations for the 2016 season:

2016 regulations
This lake has special fishing regulations that differ from statewide or border water regulations for those species identified below and take precedence. Unless otherwise mentioned all general regulations, seasons, limits, possession, transportation and border water regulations apply. including all tributaries from the mouth upstream to posted boundaries
Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass: Bass season is open May 14 - February 26. Prior to May 28, all largemouth bass and smallmouth bass must be immediately released. Beginning May 28, combined possession limit is four, with only one bass over 21". All bass 17"-21" must be immediately released.
Northern Pike: Possession limit is five, with only one greater than 40". All northern pike 30"-40" must be immediately released.
Tullibee (Cisco): Possession limit ten.
Walleye: Catch-and-release only. All walleye must be immediately released.
Night Closure: From 10 p.m. on May 16 through 12:01 a.m. on December 1. Nightly from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., no one may fish for any species, except while: 1) muskellunge angling - beginning June 6 - muskellunge may be targeted with artificial lures longer than 8" or sucker minnows longer than 8"; no possession of tackle or bait not specifically used for muskellunge; and no possession or targeting of species other than muskellunge; or 2) bow fishing for rough fish, but angling equipment may not be possessed, and only rough fish may be in possession.
No culling or live-well sorting: Fish taken into possession are considered part of an angler's bag limit and cannot be exchanged with another fish. However smallmouth bass and largemouth bass may be culled following statewide culling rules.


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...(8-26) By now most Minnesotans have heard that State anglers have exceeded the "quota" (via hooking mortality, whatever that means). Shortly after that, the DNR and Governor Dayton announced that Mille Lacs anglers would be allowed to continue fishing walleye even though the "quota" had been met and exceeded. The DNR announced Tuesday that, in fact, anglers WILL NOT be allowed to fish walleye on Mille Lacs beginning September 6th through November 30th. All lake-related issues aside, why are these people allowed to make public policy? How do they decide whether to wear a plain shirt or a checkered one? In an early August 9th announcement regarding the continuation of the catch-and-release season, Dayton remarked: "It was my decision," Dayton said. "And to impose [a closure on Mille Lacs business owners and others] without a compelling reason wasn't something I could justify. ... Closing the walleye fishing season on Mille Lacs would devastate area businesses and communities."

I guess the Governor changed his mind. AGAIN.

I can hardly wait to see what they decide to do next week!

The bite is similar to what we saw over last weekend. The smallmouth action is good on the rocks in 8-15 feet, the walleye bite remains solid in the evenings on the mud flats and northern activity is hit-or-miss.

Yes, we still have decent leeches, but the end is in sight.

...(8-18) This is around the time each summer that we usually talk about a tougher walleye bite. While I'll be the first to admit that it isn't what it was a month or two months or even three months ago, it's MILES ahead of any mid-August in my memory. 95% of the daytime walleye we see come from the mud flats. Fish the mud flats. Spinners/crawlers are good, leeches (yes, we still have decent leeches) on a live-bait rig or under a slip bobber are good and we've even had some pretty respectable days trolling leadcore. Once again, fish the mud flats. Smallmouth action is right where we expect it in mid-August - many of the fish are in that 7-15 feet of water. Fish the biggest rocks you can find in these depths like 3-mile, Indian Point and Sherman's Point with tubes or dropshot rigs. Northern action is up a little from last week - use a large sucker and drift it along the weed edges in 10-12 feet.

Yes, we still have leeches.

We received news earlier this week that Mille Lacs anglers have reached AND exceeded the 28,600 pound walleye quota set earlier this year. Unlike last year where the DNR shut down walleye in early August, they have decided to leave the season open. WOW! As you would suspect, the "arm-chair biologists" have busy since the news was released. The comments range all across the spectrum - bad science, bad data, bad policy, some surprised, some defiant, some happy, some ashamed, some accusing... all the while the Mille Lacs walleye remain a "pawn" in a political train-wreck.

***************Be sure to keep your crawlers and leeches cool. Pumping 75+ degree surface water will kill them just about as fast as leaving them sit in the sun. Speaking of leeches, the supply has toughened up a lot. Several years ago, I wrote an article about the lifecycle of a leech and why they get hard to come by as the summer goes on. You can find that article HERE if you would like to brush up on your "leechology".

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.

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