|"The Bait Shop"|
... MILLE LACS LAKE
FISHING REGULATIONS 2018
(Including tributaries to posted boundaries)
* Walleye season is currently closed
NORTHERN PIKE: Currently open. The northern pike limit remains at 5 fish, with only 1 of those fish being over 30 inches. Anglers/spearers must harvest 2 pike UNDER 30 inches before they are allowed to harvest 1 over 30 inches. Live bait (all sizes) is allowed.
SMALLMOUTH BASS AND LARGEMOUTH BASS:
* Currently closed.
TULLIBEE (Cisco):Possession limit is 10.
ALL OTHER SPECIES:Follow statewide regulations.
... MILLE LACS LAKE
FISHING REGULATIONS 2018
(3-1)... The walleye season ended with a "fizz". I'm not sure anyone expected things to be much different after what we saw (or didn't see) over the past 2 weeks. There were still some perch and some tullibee this week, but I certainly wouldn't call it a great bite - more "sniffers" than "takers". It seems that the bug-bite (waxies/euros/shrimp) is stronger than the minnow bite. Dropper-style rigs are turning some fish, along with some tungsten Weevils. No word on northern activity. Remember that Mille Lacs remains open to northern pike ANGLING (not spearing) through 3-25-18. Unfortunately, the supply of suckers statewide has been thin - this is not to say that they're non-existent, but we get a few here and a few there... not the tank-full that we're used to. It's not uncommon lately to sell out of suckers.
Nearly all of the houses are off Mille Lacs. Some of the resorts still have decent roads to all the spots they went to all season. Some have closed their accesses. Be sure to call the resort directly to be sure they can get you to where you want to go. We've seen a number of people get stuck when they tried to go cross-country - if you can take a road all/most of the way, I think that's a great idea!
The ice thickness is still around 30 inches.
The 2018 licenses are due now. We have them available for sale at the baitshop.
(2-25) The walleye season comes to a close today. Most of the fish this weekend (not that there were tons of them... there weren't) were BIG. A lot of us expected the season to close on a high note, since the weather conditions were favorable. Not so much. Going forward, the northern season (angling only) will remain open until March 25th. The supply of sucker minnows statewide is tight... get 'em where you can if you plan to fish northern during the late season on Mille Lacs.
All remaining fish houses on Mille Lacs must be removed by 3-5-18.
2018 Fish and Game licenses are now available. They go into effect March 1, 2018.
Beginning immediately, we'll be changing our hours to 6AM - 6PM daily.
(2-22)We received around 6 inches of snow since the weekend, with another dab expected tonight. The lake roads are in pretty good shape, but with the new snow and some wind you can expect some drifting - especially around the houses.
We didn't see many folks chasing walleye this week - those who did agreed that much of the bite is still at first and last light and periodically throughout the night. That's been the story for sometime now. Look to some deeper (28-32 feet) water during the daytime and shallower (12-20 feet) water during the daylight periods. Rattle baits (Rattlin' Flyers, Buckshots) tipped with a piece of a minnow are working best. Purple and yellow have been two of the better colors. Some scattered perch have been found in the deep water too - be sure to have some bugs (waxies, euros or freshwater shrimp) with you.
This Sunday (February 25th) marks the end of the walleye season.
Fish houses need to be removed by 3-5-18.
(2-15)The clock is ticking down on the remainder of the walleye season - February 25th will be the close. That gives us 2 weekends and a few days in between. The best walleye action we're seeing is at first and last light and throughout the night. It's not the bite we had just a few weeks back, but we're still getting a decent number of good reports. It might be worth looking at 15-18 feet of rocks if you can setup away from the noise and commotion that comes with the weekend - this has been a solid depth, but it won't pay off if there's a bunch (or hardly ANY for that matter) of noise. If you can't make that happen, the deep (28-32) edges of the mud flats and gravel would be a better option. UV Buckshots and Rattlin' Flyers have been good tipped with a piece of a fathead. It's also worth having a line down with a whole minnow - not necessarily huge, but certainly lively. Northern action was hit-or-miss this week - a few BIG pike came from some deeper (12-16) water this week. Big suckers are the ticket here. The perch and tullibee bite has been best on the deep edges of the mud flats. Small spoons tipped with a waxie or gob of euros has been best. Yellow perch and green perch have been the best colors.
(2-8)The bite appears to have slowed down somewhat, but it's tough to get an accurate read with the angler count dropping off. Now that the Super Bowl and the bitter cold are both over, we'll be able to get back to "normal" numbers of anglers. The handful of walleye anglers that have been around through the beginning of the week have all remarked about the importance of being ready at "prime time"... it may be the only window you get that day! Use a small jigging spoon (number 2 or 3 Swedish Pimple or a small Weasel) tipped with a piece of a fathead on your jig line, and a whole minnow on a Gold or Red Moon Glow under your rattle reels/tip-up. Northern action has been best in Cove Bay so far this week stick to 10-12 feet using big suckers.
(2-1)The bite has been pretty decent so far this week. You'll find that first light, last light and throughout the night will be the best, but even the daytime has been OK in the deeper (28-32 feet) water adjacent to the deep gravel. Add in a few perch and some tullibee and it can make for a good trip! We're hearing a certain amount of whining from some folks who sit over the same 2 holes all weekend and expect the fish to come to them - they might be sitting there for a LONG time. I'm not saying you need to move every 15 minutes, but rest assured... the fishing is as good as you're going to see it on Mille Lacs for the beginning of February. Stick to 28-32 feet on the deep edges of the gravel and try to stay of the "community holes" that have been pounded all season. Rattlin' Flyers tipped with a fathead or small rainbow have been the ticket. We're seeing a fair number of BIG tullibee starting to hit now - use a small rocker-minnow or a dropper rig tipped with a gob of waxies or euros.
(1-25)The most recent "snowstorm-of-the-century" missed the Mille Lacs area alltogether. Nothing. In fact, the snow that is left is ample to bank houses and still allow for ATV travel on the lake.
The walleye bite on Mille Lacs is better than we typically expect at the end of January - we're still seeing fish from a number of year classes, along with a handful of "keepers" mixed in. The overall bite is down somewhat from earlier in the month, but again... better than we usually expect. Use fatheads or rainbows for your jig lines with a Frostee or a small rattle spoon. A "perch" or "shiner" pattern is best. A larger whole minnow (when available) like a shiner or sucker works best on your rattle reel/tip-up/deadstick. Action has been split evenly between jigging and not jigging. Northern activity has picked up over the last week. Most of the fish have come from 10-12 feet in Cove, Wahkon or Vineland Bay.
(1-12)We're back to the deep freeze. We received about an inch of snow Thursday, but by the time the wind whipped it around there were/are spots that are bare and others that have drifts approaching 2 feet! The bite has been slow by most people's standards, with most of the action coming at first light, last light and throughout the night. The day bite has been tough for most folks. The best walleye action we're seeing is in 28-30 feet. Some of the better spots so far this week include Indian Point, 3-mile reef and Sherman's Flat. Perch activity has been spotty at best.
The ice THICKNESS over most of Mille Lacs is 14+ inches. Some areas have in excess of 20 inches. We won't dwell on the THICKNESS anymore until toward the end of the season. Going forward, our advice is to stay in the areas that your resort tells you to stay in, stay away from the areas your resort tells you to stay away from and stay off the cracks/heaves unless you're crossing them on a bridge. Common sense? You'd think. Be safe.
(1-5)The continued cold temperatures have not been kind to the walleye bite on Mille Lacs - that's not to say it's dead, but it has slowed noticeably from where we were before Christmas. The best times are at first and last light and throughout the night. During these periods, a deadstick/rattle reel/tip-up is the way to go. Use a subtle, simple glow jig or even a plain hook with a shiner or small sucker. 22-25 feet is the best depth range. During the daytime we see a spotty bite on lightweight spoons like Tinglers or Slender Spoons tipped with a piece of a minnow. Be careful not to "over-jig" while these fish are neutral... you'll get your chance to "over-jig" soon. Northern activity has been slower too.
Last weekend a large number of "newbies" got their first lesson in the relationship between sub-zero temperatures and LP (liquid petroleum) gas. Here's a link to a good article that may help folks understand some of the basics of how propane "works". Pay particular attention to the paragraphs titled "How can propane be stored as a Liquid above its boiling point of -44 degrees", and "Does the amount of Liquid effect the pressure inside a propane storage container?"
(12-28)... We saw a bunch of people last weekend (and all week long so far) getting their houses pulled out and set up for another season on Mille Lacs! Cove, Wahkon and Isle bays are each sporting 12-15 inches of good ice, while the main lake ranges from 9-12 inches over most of it. Several resorts have started letting "smaller" vehicles and single-axle wheel houses out about a mile, while others are still holding back until the ice gets just a little thicker. If you're looking to head to Mille Lacs over the New Year's weekend, be sure to check with your resort first to see if they will pull your house out (or let you pull your house) and whether or not you will be able to drive.
The walleye bite has been good - at least up until the super-cold temperatures this week, then the bite tapered off a little like it always does. I would still consider it better than most other lakes at this point. Fatheads and shiners have been the best so far - fish the fats on a Slender Spoon or Tingler and the shiners on a jig with a BIG glow surface ( like a Demon or Gem-n-eye). 18-24 feet on some small rock or gravel has been the best depth. Northern action also slowed down a little with the cold, but was decent during today's warm-up. Stick to 8-12 feet near the weeds with suckers. Perch activity has been hit-or-miss so far.
On behalf of everyone who helps keep the wheels on here at Lundeen's Tackle Castle, I'd like to thank all of our customers for helping us get through another one of the most challenging years we've had since we took over back in 1991. We look forward to a better 2018 for everyone who works and plays in the Mille Lacs area.
(12-21)... The ice thickness on Mille Lacs started out great this season - we see some areas with as much as 13 inches! Like we said in an earlier Weekend Outlook, this early ice seldom freezes at a consistent thickness... this year is no different. Today we see a range from 13 down as far as 6, but there is a lot of 7-9 even out on the deep gravel and the mud flats. We've also seen a few cracks with the warmer weather. The temps will start to drop today and it's expected to be cold for at least a week and maybe 2! All this translates into seeing most folks using ATV's and snowmobiles to get around to their hot-spots. At this point we haven't seen many cars/trucks on the ice nor do we recommend car/truck travel for at least the next several days. Most of the resorts have staked-out at least part of their (future) road system and are checking the thickness daily. If it stays cold (and it looks like it will) they plan to pull both rentals and private houses SOON. Vehicle traffic won't be far behind at that point.
The walleye bite has been good so far. The prime depth range is between 18-24, but we see plenty of fish both deeper and shallower. In fact, a lot of the northern spearing guys remark about how many walleye they see in their spear houses (typically in 8-12 feet). Jigging raps, RPM's and Darters have accounted for a lot of the fish, with rattle spoons close behind. Tip these with a piece of a minnow and hang on! We're seeing multiple year-classes from 8-inchers to whoppers. Northern action has been average for this time of the season. Some big fish, some small fish. Use a 5-8 inch sucker under your tip-up in 9-12 feet of water near the weeds. Cove and Wahkon have been the best so far.
(12-15)... There has been a good number of people around Mille Lacs through the past week - ice conditions are good in many of the areas and the expectations for another great back-to-back season are high. The 3 bays on the south end have 8-12 inches in most spots and much of the main part of the lake is looking at 4-8 inches. We're seeing more houses beginning to dot the snowscape every day. Northern action has been pretty good so far in 9-12 feet. Live suckers have been the best so far, both for angling and spear decoys. Some of the spearing folk have commented on seeing A LOT of big walleye cruising through the holes, checking out their decoys. The walleye bite has been best in 18-20 feet, although nearly any legitimate piece of structure seems to be holding at least a few fish. Copper Pimples and Jiggin' Raps have been good so far. Keepers are present - be persistent!
(12-08)...We're finally starting to see some clusters of people around the south end of Mille Lacs. To this point, we've had some onsie-twosies around, but with the ice thickness ranging from 5-10 inches in Cove, Wahkon and Isle it's starting to look like "game-on"! Mostly northerns so far, with a few walleye a handful of perch and even the rogue crappie. Expect to see a fair number of houses dot the icescape starting this weekend. Look to 8-12 feet for your northern pike using sucker minnows, and 18-22 feet for the walleye with a live shiner or a jigging spoon or jiggin' rap tipped with a piece of a minnow. Perch, crappies and sunnies are best on waxies or spikes with a small teardrop.
(12-01)... Again, just a short update. We haven't gained any ice in the last week - in fact, we've lost a little. We still see A FEW people walking in Cove, Wahkon and Isle Bay, but at this point it's "walking" ice. Be sure to check the thickness YOURSELF before you go. Since there have been so few people, there hasn't been much of a read on the bite. All northerns to this point. Midweek, there were a few folks launching their boats in the Garrison area.
Beginning TODAY (December 1 2017), as we understand it, walleye fishing is allowed. Again. Anglers are allowed to keep 1 walleye 20-22 inches, or 1 over 28 inches. Live bait is allowed. The northern pike limit remains at 5 fish, with only 1 of those fish being over 30 inches. Anglers/spearers must harvest 2 pike UNDER 30 inches before they are allowed to harvest 1 over 30 inches. Live bait (all sizes) is allowed. Muskie season is now closed. Any questions, call the DNR in Saint Paul... they haven't bothered to update the "Mille Lacs regulations" page on their website as of yet.