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

Last updated 5-19-16
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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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... (5-19) The 2016 opener is in the books now, and as fishing goes it was a pretty good one - lots of walleye spread out over numerous year classes. It started strong at midnight with some solid trolling action, mostly across the north end due to the high wind. The trollers found fish from 4 to 10 feet of water using Husky Jerks and Rattlin' Rogues. The air temperature dipped below freezing, making conditions resemble "openers-of-old" where snowsuits and gloves were standard attire. In spite of the weather, the fish cooperated and nearly everyone we spoke with had fish - some had lots of fish. The daytime bite ranged from 10 to 20 feet with nearly all the angling effort focused on the north end of Mille Lacs. High winds made fishing anywhere else REALLY uncomfortable. Smallmouth acton was slower than expected. Most people agree that the big drop in water temperature pushed the smallies deeper and slowed the bite. Only a handful of northern were reported, likely (also) because of the rough conditions along the south end. The "elephant in the room" was the lack of anglers who chose to open on MIlle Lacs - some say it was the temperature, some say it was the wind, some chose other waters in hope of bringing home a meal of walleye. Whatever the reason, if you like to catch walleye Mille Lacs is the place to be now. Going forward, expect the walleye bite to remain good in 10-20 feet on rock reefs or sand around the perimeter of the lake. Shiners and leeches are the top baits. Smallmouth are showing up in the shallows, as the water temps are recovering. Look for the northern to feed in 6-12 feet over the next few weeks as the weeds begin to establish. Suckers are the best bait.

Surface temps remain in the high 50's.

The "night ban" is now in effect.

...(5-12) This is the weekend that tons of Minnesotans wait for - The Opener! The hazard markers have been placed and all the docks are in at the public accesses... we're set to go. Look for most of the fish to be in 18 feet or less water. Traditional opening day favorites like the north end, Vineland Bay and Big Point will certainly be worth a look. Toward evening you might look to some shallower water on the rock reefs for some bobber fishing - 6-10 feet should be good here. Leeches have become the "bait-of-choice" on Mille Lacs. A modest-sized leech will often out-perform a jumbo during the early weeks of the season. Don't overlook minnows either - if you're ever going to run minnows, now's the time while the water is cool.

The surface temperature has been in the mid-50's.

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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