Feeling the heat this weekend we ventured to a local resort to watch the arrival of a few hundred motorcycles on a run around the lake. #MILLELACS was breezy with a southwest wind steadily blowing, keeping the temps down and the bugs moving. As we sat and relaxed, I started to see our customer base enjoying the lake.
If you have never experienced what it is like to simply gaze over this magnificent body of water, to smell it, feel the breeze, watch the waves, to simply #DOTHELAKE, you are missing out on an unforgettable visit.
#MILLELACS will always be a controversial area for many people and they will never be appeased on any level. The good news is that there is an entire lake wide community that considers this to be “Their lake”, and will show up almost every weekend to simply #DOTHELAKE. They may sit by it, fish on it, swim in it, drive around it, or just enjoy being here.
To those loyal followers of #MILLELACS , I say thank you for being here and taking part in an experience of a lifetime.
Oh one more thing: the fishing has been great this year!
The present and the future.
Mille lacs is having a banner year on catching quality walleyes, and of course the number of slot fish harvested is proportionate to the lakes population.
We have a huge year class and maybe 2 more coming up that will allow the lake to get back in balance, if that is possible with the un-natural manipulations with the current “Treaty Fisheries Management” approach. A different approach should be considered and all options should be on the table….
I have seen this lake go through its cycle of good fishing and bad fishing many times in my 30+ years here. Every single swing to good or bad has been a “FORAGE” availability issue. Now they blame everything under the sun “including the sun” for the imbalance that is perceived.
I disagree with the strategy, the statistical studies, Treaty management as a whole, etc. I will stick my neck out as usual and give my opinion on how to fix the management problem with a partial list of options, some are way outside the box, but we need to go there.
– Stop the constant Treaty management approach shared by the MN DNR and GLIFWC. The millions spent on this management style is beyond ridiculous.
– Turn over the management of the lake to GLIFWC (that’s a stinger)
– Put the limit at 2 walleyes, either 2 under 18” or 1 under 18” and 1 over 25” this protects the spawners and harvests some of the large fish. No matter the pressure, the lake should be able to maintain a good population as this would keep the harvest lower on a good forage year and higher on a low forage year. This is how the lake took care of itself before. The old 6 fish limit won’t hold up state wide anymore and a 2 fish limit on Mille lacs is very conservative and pro-active.
– Implement my WRP “Walleye Replacement Program” that would give the Tribes more options on harvest timing and volume while making sure that the elders would receive walleye delivered to them every month. The money saved from the management would easily pay for it and supply them with more walleyes than are allotted to them now. This removes no rights or practices for the tribes, they can net or spear if they wish. They would not have the slim years of harvest volume as they have in the past few years.
– Change the harvest timing to allow the spawning fish to get through the spring. Setting nets in deeper water later in the spring after spawn is an option never explored. Security of the nets could be accomplished easily with some enforcement manpower.
– Change the placement of the test nets placed by the DNR.
– Interview more guides, launch drivers, etc. don’t just sit at an empty access all day long to creel anglers that don’t exist.
USE SOME COMMON SENSE.
What to do and where to go.
The vacationers are starting to show up already for the weekend and many are asking what to do.
– Sat night there will be the usual fireworks around the lake and is always best viewed from a boat out on the water. you will be able to enjoy a 360 view of the sky lighting up.
– Water sports of every kind will be popular.…
– Resorts have special events planned this weekend from fishing tourneys to pool parties and even a motorcycle run.
– Golf courses are a busy place this weekend so maybe call ahead, and remember we have a mini golf at Portside.
– Launch trips will be heading out as many as 3 trips daily and there may be some ” Touring rides” available as well.
– Farmers markets and numerous shopping opportunities are available lake wide.
Of course many will be on the water for the numerous species of fish available in #millellacs.
WALLEYE will be best early morning and evening in the shallow to mid depth water. Bobber fishing or trolling cranks will work. During the day the deeper water will be where to look unless its windy, Typical presentations with leeches and crawlers will entice them on the flats or the gravel, Maybe some spinners to cover more ground on the gravel. Be sure to handle your release fish with care and keep them in the water or return them to it as fast as possible. There are huge numbers of sub 15″ walleyes in the shallow water so be careful to cut the line on any deeply hooked fish.
SMALLMOUTH are hot and a great thing to introduce kids to arm tiring action. Get out and locate some Buoys as these are marking the rocky areas where the smallies live. Throw out a bobber leech rig or cast small crankbaits and rubber baits in 3′ to 12′ and hang on.
NORTHERN action has picked up and should be an easy one to get. Sucker minnows under a bobber or shiny spinner baits near the weedlines in 6′ to 12′ will get them to hit. We are starting to see some big ones get active. A muskie might even surprise you and show up.
PERCH in the Jumbo range are being caught in with the walleyes on some launches, always a great bonus for a meal.
What will be the next move by the DNR?
Scratching their heads can lead to a hole in the brain.
If the “BAD PRESS” that #MILLELACS got this spring hadn’t happened, we would be way over the “QUOTA” that used to be 24% of harvestable surplus but now has been slashed to about 8%.
I think we would have gone to C&R by memorial weekend if the normal amount of anglers would have shown up.
They say there are too many year classes missing and yet all sizes of walleyes are bei…ng caught.
They say we need to protect the spawning stock biomass “FEMALES” and yet this is the largest part of the eating machine. Big fish have been everywhere.
They say clear water, zebra mussels, spiny water fleas, and oh yeah GLOBAL WARMING are all too blame, and yet with all these issues we just happen to have a bumper crop of 2013 walleyes and possibly a good 2014 year class. How is this possible you ask? I asked and the answer I got was “the forage level was good”.
This lake has always cycled and always recovered and it has always been “FORAGE” that made the difference. TA DA !!
By artificially creating an eating machine that has gone well beyond normal, and following the broken system of Treaty fisheries management, the DNR is making the recovery of the lake take longer between cycles. But Mille lacs is doing just that, recovering.
It’s a fact that TFM has lead to an over harvest of male walleyes both from Spring netting and slot limits.
It’s a fact that the sampling nets put in Mille lacs leave around 80% of the lake un-touched, and this will not change because it wont be consistent for their statistical analysis. So we could have “DO HAVE” a huge number of walleyes un-accounted for.
Step outside the box and move away from the same old sampling and testing. You have proven that you cannot do this year after year and yet you all get new job titles and a bigger budget.
In closing I will say that if you missed this season on Mille lacs you missed a good one.
MY THOUGHTS….MORE TO COME.
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Summer Slam on #MILLELACS
What a season so far, great weather and even better fishing on Mille lacs. Walleyes, Smallmouth, Northerns, Muskie too, all the species are keeping anglers busy.
Summer patterns are falling into place, water temps hitting 70 and the mud flats turning on and putting out big fish.
Question: Where can you go and “not” catch a big walleye on Mille lacs?
Answer: Nowhere, I think you could stand in the middle of Hennipen island and if you could ca…st far enough that would work too.
2 weeks until the 4th of July, the typical slowing of the bite takes hold and it will get tougher to get into the fish. This is one of those years that the slowing will be welcomed.
Most of the Gloomers were predicting no anglers on Mille lacs, and the ones that would show up would be disappointed, WRONG! We had great loyal opener customers and too many good fishing stories to keep track of. Along with the high number of fish caught there were a few slot fish to keep for the pan.
Most of the rocky areas of the lake put out fish, 12′-22′. Live bait as well as cranks in the evening worked well.
Social media is full of #millelacs opener success photos, and we were hearing it right from the anglers.
The Smallmouth that were caught was astounding, the average size of these Bronzebacks seems to be getting bigger all the time.
So if you decided to stay home and avoid Mille lacs this year, you should reconsider and put the big pond back on your list of lakes to have some great action.
“Catching” fish is every anglers goal, keeping fish is lower on the list for many of you. If its ACTION you want, this is the lake. Where else can you have a chance at the “GRAND SLAM” of Minnesota?
The water temps should be right this year for the north end sand to be a good bet and some of the deeper rocky areas will hold active fish too. The catching this year on Mille lacs will be (IMO) very good, forage at so-so normal levels should make for some great fishing.
The smaller walleyes will have the feed bags on this spring so be extra careful if you are Bobber fishing in the evenings. Use extreme care when unhooking these future keepers, …barbless hooks will help in the process. I believe there will be a ton of 10″ to 15″ walleyes that will frustrate some anglers and make a great day on the lake for others.
The 19″-21″ walleyes are out there in greater numbers than the DNR says, (according to us un-informed locals) so a meal of fish is not “off” the table.
We know many of you will make it up for the opener and have a great time on the big lake and we appreciate all of you for that effort.
This season put some pressure on the smallmouth that are ALL over the reefs in huge size and numbers. If you want the kids to have some rip the rod outta your hands action, get up on the rocks and start pitching rubber baits or cranks.
GET ON UP HERE AND #DOTHELAKE