|"The Bait Shop"|
...(5-21) We saw a pretty lite turnout on Mille Lacs again this week - ugly weather conditions along with the "elephant-in-the-room" made for some pretty lonely boat ramps. Those of us who put in our time caught some pretty decent fish - more "big" fish than small, but I suspect as the season inches on we'll see a bunch of these smaller fish we've been getting for the past year or so. I'd say the north end still has the best daytime bite. We did see some good daytime fish on the mud flats too (yes, already) and also on some of the shoreline reefs toward dark. Shiners and leeches hold the top spot, with crawlers coming in third. It's still a bit cold for the spinner bite to evolve - I like to hold off until the water in into the 60's consistently before running the spinner assault. Anglers should have the lake to themselves this weekend, as the water is too cold for all but the hardiest (craziest) tubers and skiers!
The surface temperature remains in the mid-50's. A significant "cool" rain and a couple nights in the frost zone have kept the lake pretty cool. We have a light wind and high skies today - this should give us a step toward some warmer water temps. Just remember... warmer temps often position us for the first major bug hatch each season - just sayin'!
... (5-14) Mille Lacs was a little quieter for the opener - a little quieter on the walleye bite and a little quieter in angler hours. That's not to say that there weren't any people or they didn't catch any fish... just quieter. In fact, most of the folks we talked to Saturday and Sunday boated some fish (seems like 7 was about the average) and even some scattered "keepers"! The action was best on the north end in 18-22 feet during the daytime and 7-12 in the evenings. Leeches and shiners were the top live baits. Smallmouth action was good, with nearly all of the fish coming from less than 5 feet of water. Small tube jigs and grub tails are working the best. Not too many folks were chasing northern so far this week. It seems like some anglers are confused about the whole northern thing - stop in and we'll get a yellow sticker for you and explain the new northern regs the best we can.
Surface temps remain in the mid 50's.
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.