Mille lacs is NOT IN A CRISIS !!
That will be MY message at the Input group meeting.
We need the public and the PRESS to understand that our walleye population has NOT crashed…GEEZ.
All anyone hears is the negative, negative, negative B.S.
The DNR is rarely accurate in almost everything they do or say, including informing the public that the shutdown at Mille lacs was due to the MANDATE of TREATY FISHERIES MANAGEMENT, not that we have no walleyes in the lake.
Ask any of your friends that were not here fishing this summer and they will tell you that’s all they have heard is bad news. For those that fished this summer know an entirely different story, impossible to disprove.
More after the meeting.

Posted in Fishing Reports


Fall assessment has started on Mille lacs.
The DNR is out setting their test nets and the electro-shocking boats are in the area getting ready, Reports from some onlookers say that the nets looked to have good numbers of small walleyes and a mix of others as well.
It’s a sick sight to see the DNR set these gill nets and kill more walleyes than if they would have left the lake at Catch & Release.
This goes on every fall and has for decades, in years past we have seen increases in water temps during this process and the DNR will show fewer fish in the nets. The next year may be normal and all the fish show up again. CRISIS!!! oh, Never mind.
This supports my claim that the methods used to collect data are antiquated at best. The bigger problem is there are no sampling methods that will provide the data needed to manage Mille lacs under the “EXACT SCIENCE” of Treaty Fisheries Management.
My opinion on the new “Research center” is as follows:
We (the DNR) have done such a poor job managing the lake that we will reward ourselves with a big shiny new building to waste more time and money.

Posted in Fishing Reports

How we got here.

A Handshake decimates an entire Community.
That’s how we arrived at where we are today.

The DNR and GLIFWC reviewed the data collected (with a 30% margin of error) and decided that 40,00 pounds will be the quota, and because they agreed to it, they will not even consider that the data could be 30% or more to the good as the summer catch showed.
The DNR offered the Input group numerous options for the season and the MOST CONSERVATIVE option (1 Walleye) was chosen by the DNR because the they said there was an 80% chance that we would make the season without going to catch and release. (How is that for accuracy?)
They are going to economically devastate hundreds of families in the surrounding areas (Not just resorts). So, here we are, over a handshake deal that was behind closed doors.

Feel free to ask the DNR if any of the following is true.
Aitkin fisheries 218-429-3010

– Mille lacs is not, I repeat not on the verge of collapse.

– Catch and release would not have put the lake in jeopardy, it only would have gone against the HANDSHAKE.

– There is an abundance of spawning age females.

– There is a 2013 year class that rivals any year class..ever.

– This was one of the most consistent summer fishing for walleyes than many can remember. All sizes of walleyes were caught in all areas of the lake.

– Mille lacs has a few weak year classes of walleyes, as it always has in the history of the lake.

Please share this, please share this, please share this….

Steve Johnson

Posted in Fishing Reports


Opinions, facts and rambling..
I have been reading some of the comments from the media outlets about the Mille lacs situation. It amazes me how much mis-information is out there, and the ability for the Mis-informed to react with such negativity. The ability to hide behind the anonymity of the internet only makes it worse.

My opinion:
Mille lacs is a cyclical ecosystem, always has been. It has always created its own boom and bust seasons based on one thing, FORAGE. When forage (food) base is at a normal level, the spawning rate seems to go up and the survival rate of walleyes is very good. The exact opposite can occur on a low forage base year, the newly born walleyes become the forage as there are not enough perch and tulibees for all the hungry fish. SIMPLE BIOLOGY.

My opinion:
The system and practices in place and utilized for the last 4 decades were developed to assess the HEALTH of a fishery, not the EXACT population. Yet the DNR continues to jam that square peg in the round hole.

My opinion:
There are so many directions that this topic takes in any conversation it borders on insanity. Believe me when I say I’ve heard it all and some more than enough.
This is the only topic the DNR gives a definite answer, NO it does not impact the lake. This answer is always based on one thing ” recruitment” of YOY walleye.

Creel survey and mortality:
My opinion:
Both of these exist because of Treaty Fisheries Management. The creel survey should be used to gather data for the health of a fishery, not a harvest guess. The mortality rate is based on 1 study that was implemented because the old study done elsewhere was considered “unreliable”. Apparently the current study and data is perfect until proven wrong by the next study.

– Try as we might, we will never influence the cyclical nature of Mille lacs. She will always react in the correct way and fix herself.

– A new system of population estimate needs to be developed, if it can’t be done, then it cant be done. Stick to looking at the health of the fishery.

Everything needs to be put on the table on this subject. There are NO FACTS on any level, only assumptions, accusations, etc.
I would like to see some research on how it has affected specific areas and reefs. I have the hypothesis that too many genetically superior males could be removed from their “home” reef leaving the weak males to take “or not take”their place. This would cause a chain reaction on the survival rate of weak inferior YOY.

And last:
My opinion:
The data on the population of Mille lacs is wrong, more fish exist in the lake than any of the data shows. Ask the launch drivers and guides and regular anglers of the lake. They have been wrong before, why would I think they are correct this time.

Mille lacs resorts are employers of the families of the area, my business alone helps to support up to 10 families.

Posted in Fishing Reports


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!

Posted in Fishing Reports

The present and the future

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.
Steve Johnson

Posted in Fishing Reports

4th on Millelacs

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.

Posted in Fishing Reports

Great fishing and a venting

How can fishing be this good?
With all the issues the DNR claims ‪#‎MILLELACS‬ lake has how is it possible that almost everyone going out on the lake is catching fish? The DNR did not predict a “HOT” bite this summer, they said it “MIGHT” be good at best. Forage in the lake seems plentiful with plenty of bug hatches to go along with it. The information that came out from the DNR spelled DOOM for the lake and yet fishing has been fantastic. ‪#‎WALLEYE‬ of every size have been caught including slots, and the number of smaller (under15″) walleyes being caught is mind boggling. This will be the fish the DNR will move to protect at all cost soon, when in fact some of them as well as some of the big “over 25″ should be harvested or we will be putting ourselves at the mercy of a HUGE eating machine population by next year.
My father (77) goes fishing about every evening the lake is calm, he has been crushing the walleyes this year. One of the best years in consistency and variety he has ever had, Trolling cranks in shallow water, never more than a mile from his cabin. Some evenings he gets his slot fish and has a meal for the next day or offers it to me, (thanks dad). He has boated all sizes of fish this year, tons of sub 15″ and tons of just under 19″ also plenty of 23” plus walleyes. Almost every night he fights at least 1 smally and has a ball doing it.
Fact is we had a 66% drop in man hours fished on the lake because of the GLOOMY outlook from the DNR.
Fact is the launches are getting numbers off the charts (50 walleyes over the rail is common).
Fact is the walleyes appear healthy not starved.
Fact is there are walleyes in 8′ of water and on the flats this time of year.
Fact is the only move the DNR has left this year is to force the lake into C&R based on outdated techniques and data.
Fact is the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. DNR….change your tactics or get out of the way!

My thoughts, more to come

Posted in Fishing Reports

My opinion

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 being 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.
Share this post if you wish, but remember, this is my page and negative or off color remarks get deleted and I sometimes ban the poster. (Chinese Democracy)

Posted in Fishing Reports

Summer Slam!

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 cast 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.

Posted in Fishing Reports
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