The lake is slowly showing signs of getting cold enough to freeze. Some of the shallow bays and areas protected from the wind are skimming over, but the main lake has a long way to go before that happens. And we will need to get a lot colder weather than we are having lately. What a change from last year. (After Thanksgiving dinner in 2014 I pulled one of our 8 by 12 rentals out with the Jeep about a half mile from our shore on 10 inches of ice……)
The “El Nino” is having the same effect so far as it did in the fall of 1997. That year we had open water until almost Christmas. One of my workers back then put his boat in and was fishing on December 17th west of Hennipen Island. Hopefully that won’t happen this year, but it is going to later than usual I’m thinkin….
When we do get out there I’m predicting a pretty good winter for the bite this year. We still only have a one Walleye limit with a 18″-20″ slot, but there will be alot of Walleyes caught and released that if the lake wasn’t hog tied with “treaty management” would have made any conservative angler happy. And will in the future once the population recovers. There are some bigger Perch in the lake thanks to smaller numbers of big Walleyes that either died off from old age, died from catch and release, or ended up in nets.
The “eating machine” that was created by “treaty management” practices and disturbance of the spawning grounds in the spring put the lake’s Walleye population in jeopardy to the point of almost no harvest for anyone. Hope both parties (the Bands and the MNDNR) learned from what they “both” did to Mille Lacs Lake and don’t repeat it again. Now the next stage of how to manage a uniform harvest from both parties of the treaty will be the challenge as the lake recovers. And the next couple years will tell the story of who really is trying to protect the resource…..and it’s up to us anglers to show that to the courts in the future…
Keep a Tight Line!!