|"The Bait Shop"|
...(12-1)The walleye season on Mille Lacs is now OPEN!.
...(1-20)The ice thickness on Mille Lacs remains at 18+ inches - up to 23 in spots. It took 2 months to "grow" it this thick... a couple of thirty-something days isn't going to make it go away overnight. There is still some snow covering most of the lake. The pressure breaks continue to flex from the warm temperatures - if you're planning to cross a break to get out to "bigger water", be sure you're crossing at a bridge for safety. The resorts that have placed bridges across the break(s) are maintaining them daily, but you can only fight Mother Nature so much.
The overall walleye bite is still good. We've had people remark about having the "best day ever" on Mille Lacs while at the same time others are picking up only a few. I'll break it down as simply as I can - if you're not on fish... move. The "magic" is to be on the fish. Granted, sometimes they will go better on a rattle bait, other times on a glow jig and a deadstick, sometimes on rocks and other times on the mud flats. It's fishing. But if you're looking for a better season overall out of Mille Lacs, you better have a good memory. Our advice is to get out there while the bite is still good.
The ice thicknes is good - 17-22 inches in most areas. There have still been some struggles with the pressure breaks, so before you get your heart set on driving to a particular structure, CONTACT YOUR RESORT DIRECTLY to verify that they have a road/bridge to your hotspot.
Surprisingly, the bite remained pretty consistent despite the high pressure and bitter cold. The walleye bite has been good from 10-35 feet of water, with the best range being from 22-26 feet. Jigging spoons (Weasels, Slender Spoons, Tinglers) tipped with a piece of a minnow have been a good option, but many folks have realized that the "sniffers" will respond better to a glow jig (Demon, Big Max) with a live shiner or small sucker... sometimes the subtle approach out performs the aggressive one. Northern activity is a little better that what we saw last week. 9-14 feet with suckers is the ticket here.
...(1-5)Cold enough for you? It's 20 below as I'm writing this today. If anything, we know it's making ice. Much of the ice on the main lake runs from 14-17 inches, with some areas even thicker. AND IT"S STILL MAKING ICE! I expect that any resort that plans on allowing their customers to drive on the ice this season will be driving this coming weekend. There are some flaws/cracks/breaks/heaves... whatever you choose to call them - we highly recommend that you always cross ANY flaw at a bridge. There is about 3 inches of snow covering much of the lake.
The walleye bite is good - VERY good. We're seeing fish on most any legitimate piece of structure from rock to mud flats to gravel bars... they all hold fish. It's been important to be "on" the structure, rather than somewhere "near" the structure. These walleye are scattered from 6 to 30+ feet, but the best range is from 18-23. Some of the better spots this week include the Resort Flat, Sloppy Joes, Graveyard and 3-mile. Fatheads on a jigging spoon (Weasel, Buckshot, Slender Spoon) have been good. There's also a good bite on the rattle reels/tip-ups/deadsticks with a glow Demon tipped with a shiner. Northern fishing/spearing is a little slower than we saw it last week. Stick to 10-13 feet with a large sucker. Perch action varies, with a lot of little ones mixed in with a handful of keepers. Waxies or Euros on a pink Doodle Bug have worked best.