|"The Bait Shop"|
...(7-2) Welcome to July! Folks have been working their way up the highway all week so far - it looks like "up north" is the place to be this weekend. We have several Independence Day celebrations scattered around the Mille Lacs area and we're expecting perfect weather for the next few days. I'll post a list of the parades/fireworks/dances a bit later in the Weekend Outlook.
The walleye bite on Mille Lacs is best on the mud flats. You can name-off a hundred other spots on the Big Lake and you'll likely catch a few here and a few there, but if you're coming to catch walleye... head for the flats! Leeches are the top bait. There's a solid pattern going with a leech and a long (6-10 feet) snell and also with a leech/slip bobber. We're also getting some bigger walleye on crawlers/spinners. You may have to look at both the top edge of the flat and the bottom or even off the bottom edge to find your fish - we see them move throughout the day as they relate to their food source(s). Smallmouth action is good around the big rock piles. Tubes, wackys and leeches are your top baits. Look for most of these fish to be in 8-12 feet. Northern action has been good in the Garrison area and across the weedline on the north end. Large sucker minnows drifted under a bobber are turning most of the fish.
The surface temperature is 72 degrees.
... (6-25) How convenient it would be to simply re-paste last week's fishing report into this week! Little has changed - the walleye bite is still best on the flats (Curly's, 7-mile, Needle) and leeches are still your top bait with crawlers/spinners coming in second. Smallies have moved out into a little deeper (6-12 feet) water and are going good on dark colored tubes and wackys. In short, it's lining up to be a "do-over" from last weekend.
We talked briefly last week about the green slime that seems to be ever-present in the shallows (12 feet and less) around Mille Lacs. This can be a real pain for anyone who likes to pull into their favorite rock reef in a stiff wind to bobber-up some big walleye. It's hard for some of us to resist reef fishing in a big wind, especially since it's one of the most consistent patterns that Mille Lacs holds. We've encountered this glop before - often for only a part of the season, but even one day seems like an eternity when it tosses a wrench into your favorite spot. Spots. You can pick it off each cast, but it seems to come back almost as soon as the bait hits the water. We found that fishing where the slime "isn't" (usually deeper than 12 feet) is a lot more rewarding. Most of our walleye this week came in water deeper than 12 feet, even in the big wind.
The surface temperature has finally reached 70 degrees.
The "night ban" is now in effect.
The "trailer sticker" that we were all supposed to have this spring has been put "on hold".
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: "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.