Category Archives: Fishing & Ice Report

November 23rd, 2014

Saturday i worked on the approach and got on the ice. Right in front there was 7-8 inches and a lot of slush underneath. But the approach is ready.

Today I went out as far the end of Popes , the north side of Gull (1st) reef, and the Spider Reef.  About 1 mile out for us from our shoreline. About 1/2 way out the ice depth stayed approx 6-7″ and the slush under the ice started to ease up. At the 3/4 mark the ice depth dropped to 4-5″ with some slush and where i turned around the ice depth was only 4″ in spots.

So obviously we have a ways to go on the main lake.  I did take advantage of the warm weather and with the 4-wheeler and plow and knocked down the rough ice in areas where the roads will end up.  It was fun being out there again, especially with the temps today.

Now we need some cold weather and no snow and we will be in business! We will be open for foot traffic to those areas starting tomorrow.

Keep a Tight Line!


November 20th, 2014

We have ice that I’m pretty sure will stay put at least 2-3 miles out.  From there we will see what the strong south winds do when it warms up the next couple days and then the NW winds bring after. So far from what I can see 4-5 miles out in the main lake with my spotting scope it looks pretty nasty right now with ice ridges, but you never know until you actually get there.

The ice in the bays is doing well with 6-7 inches in isle, Wahkon and Cove Bays from what report’s I have heard.  I still haven’t ventured out in front and will not until after the weekend when I see what happens. Definitely the main lake is not ready yet.

It sure would be nice to have a good winter up here this year.

Keep a Tight Line!



November 18th, 2014

The ice is forming out on the main lake approx 1/2 mile with the strong NW winds the last couple of days.  It just seems like the water is too warm yet or it should have been alot farther out by now.

I’m sure there will be a few fishermen venturing out on the southern bays this weekend. But they will have to be extremely careful if they do. Seems to be alot of interest in spearing, so I’m sure the bays will see alot of that.

I’m pretty sure we will not be letting any out by foot until the weekend after Thanksgiving depending on the weather, But it will be nice to get an early start if Mother Nature lets us. After last year we need all the help we can get!

Keep a Tight Line!



November 13th,2014

In the last couple days ice is starting to form on the bays on the south end of the lake. And with the weather getting as cold as they are predicting there might be some walkable ice in those area in a week or so. The main lake has a long way to go yet.

On thing about freezing up this early, (at least from past experiences with it the last 40  years), is that a lot of the times it doesn’t stay cold enough to really get some ice depth out there and it increases the  chances of getting snow on it which can slow it down even more. But there’s nothing we can do about it so we’ll take what we get..

This is Important!!   On Nov 20th at 9:30 a.m. in Courtroom 100 at the Minnesota Judicial Center,  at 25 Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, in St. Paul.  A three judge panel of the Minnesota Court of Appeals is going to listen to oral arguments in a Mille Lacs related lawsuit.

Basically what it is about is that in 1998 the State of Minnesota passed a constitutional amendment protect the heritage to hunt and fish for it’s citizens.  Since then about 25 other states have done so also.  Two citizen’s groups, a resort, and two individual’s are charging the MN DNR in failing to protect our Mille Lacs fishing heritage based on that amendment.

And as most will agree. During the last 15 years of “treaty management” , Mille Lacs has been bombarded with miles of gillnets in the springtime spawning season, before most fishermen arrived  Millions of Walleyes and other species taken, spawning grounds disturbed by nets, jet powered boats and pontoons going up and down the shoreline spooking Walleyes of the rocks with their powerful lights, etc.   “Our DNR” is trying to blame the decline of the fishery to zebra mussels, spiney water fleas, water clarity, etc.  Everything but, They say they have studies saying reproduction is the same.  Do they have studies with numbers before the gill netting to compare? ( haven’t seen any yet!)   And meanwhile our MN DNR has sat by the wayside saying there is nothing they can do. (which is totally false.)

This court case might force the State of Mn to take action.  When the treaty rights were granted by the US Supreme Court by “one” vote, the court let the State of MN and the Bands decide quotas, methods, etc.  All of that can be changed by objection and going to court. The problem has been is that there is so much tribal lobbying money in the Capitol.  And everyone knows what lobbyists and their money does down there.

The more citizen’s of Minnesota that show up for this court appearance will show the judges how important this is to all of us.  If anything, go there to educate yourself on what is happening.  This is not a”treaty rights case”. It’s about protecting a resource that belongs to all of us.

Keep a Tight Line!





November 9th, 2014

Well……Here we go. NOAA weather just forecasted 10-18 inches of snow the next couple days.  The good thing is that there is open water for it to fall on.  Wasn’t really expecting this much this early, but with no ice we are good.

My hope is this isn’t a “pattern” that will continue after we get ice.  We will have to wait it out and see.  These days with the weather patterns changing, ( or so it seems), who knows.  All I know is we are going to get out there when we can.

Fishing should be better this year with more Walleyes in the mix and Northern Pike the DNR wants us to catch, (or spear), and I’m thinking we will have some better Perch fishing also.

I’m home from the Marine shop now and it will give me time to get the things I need to get in order with the home shop, the trucks, and houses.  It is good to be home.

Keep a Tight Line!


September 29th, 2014

Last evening was in my mind the “end” of summer at Mille Lacs,  We went from almost 80 degrees to 50 in one day.  When the NW winds kicked up I just felt it.  And the need to get going for the season has got me going again.

This year will mark my 41st year on the ice, not counting the 4 or 5 years as a part-timer after school as I a teenager.  And at 59 years…….it’s been most of my winters.  It’s sort of crazy, (or maybe i am), but it has got me excited for the winter again.  I guess I’m not like those that go south where warmer weather awaits or even want to,(though maybe i should at my age,) but I guess I’m stuck with what I still want to do.  And that isn’t all that bad I guess.

Despite all the things that has happened at Mille Lacs the last 15 years with the “treaty management”, zebra mussels and clearer water, and the “northern and bass explosion” (?)  Walleyes have had a good couple years to create some good young year classes that haven’t been “consumed” mysteriously like our MN DNR claims….(could it be because we have had two years of late ice and almost undisturbed spawning grounds unlike we have had the last 13 years by nets and spearing?)  We’ll never know……..

Anyways, I’m still happy and excited to do this again and I know that if people that use the lake do their best to take care of it, it will survive for all of us…..and if they don’t?  Mother Nature just might……..

Keep a tight Line!!

August 18th,2014

So far this summer was better fishing for most that came to Mille Lacs.  Unfortunately, the MN DNR had so much media exposure this past spring that their predictions made about this summer’s bite chased fishermen away before they could even decide……and there has been new opportunities for anglers with  Smallmouth Bass, Northern Pike, and the night ban lifted..but it shouldn’t have had to been this way an been such a “negative issue”..

Mille Lacs has been in the worst shape for Walleyes I have ever seen in my life.  And there has been alot of changes in the lake with water clarity, zebra mussels and fishing pressure. but the fact remains that thru all of those circumstances the was a constant that beside all of that went unchecked over the last 15 years was the effects of “treaty management” which because of “Court” decisions put the MN DNR in a place where they could not speak for the good of the lake in general.  (Thanks Minnesota).. In my opinion, despite of what happened at a federal level should have been and and still should be argued against for the good of the resource and the good of the majority of the citizens of that enjoy it.  (all sides included).

I do realize that there are many factors changing this lake and ALL parties involved on the government level need to solve this problem and do their best to work together and stop the separation that has happen because of two sides caused by treaties…  Traditions are one thing, but the good of the resource is the most important to All of us and needs to be shared equally to the portion of the people that are involved.  The entire economy of this area is at stake,  including the Band’s Casino’s,

Amazingly, Mille Lacs, (thanks to nature is trying to recover), there is evidence now of new year classes of Walleyes coming up thru the ranks with the anglers reports I’ve been hearing about. The Perch, (which are very important to most of us on the ice) are getting thru the “bait fish stage” that the MN DNR considers them.  (But most anglers, especially in the winter enjoy are going to be there this winter and in the future until something else happens……

My hope is that when this lake gets to the point where it looks like it might be something like it used to be, the Bands and the MN DNR don’t screw up again…!   There has to be changes on both sides…..

Keep a Tight Line!!


June 5, 2014

Normally I don’t post here in the summer, but I have a reason to now.

We are into summer and so far fishing is better than was expected, (or predicted) by our DNR. And one of the highlights is the Smallmouth Bass fishing. It is actually incredible to those that experience it!  Unfortunately, most fishermen that think of Mille Lacs, think Walleyes.

But with the media reports and MN DNR press releases, most Walleye fishermen are staying away from Mille Lacs.  But slowly the bass fishermen are finding out that this lake is probably one of the top five Smallmouth destinations in the Midwest and are showing up.

But when looking out on the lake in the evening when I get home from the marine shop it looks scarily peaceful in a way.  Not many Walleye anglers out there. I actually had a friend on Facebook up at Tofte on the North Shore ask me if the pictures on our web cam were not real because she couldn’t see boats out on the Spider Reef, (where the camera is pointed).  lol…..  And it’s really too bad, because the Walleye bite isn’t that bad.

It seems like most Walleye anglers are avoiding the lake this year due to regulations and all the stuff that goes along with it.  It makes it apparently clear to me that fishermen do want to take something in after a day of fishing for a fish fry more than everyone thought.  Or maybe they are just fed up with all the problems this lake has had for many reasons that most know.

One of the effects of this has caused two weeks of cancellations in our rental house.  Currently we have the dates of June 13th-June19th open, and June 27th-July 3rd open.  If there is anyone out there that would be interested, please check out or rental house page, check it out and call if you are interested. It would help Cindy and I out alot.  Right now you can catch the Smallmouth right off the dock if you wanted to and the Walleyes are just a little farther out!

Keep a Tight Line!!



April 21st, 2014

Minnesota Ice Fishing

Today was the last trip out on the ice for this year. The last two days we spent picking up anything leftover on the ice in the areas we go.  It feels good to know you did your best to make sure it’s clean out there.

It also wraps up one of the worst years on the ice Cindy and I have experienced in the last 30 years.  Just about everything that could go against us did.  With what looked like would be an early start, became one of the latest. Missing out on “Christmas Week” which everyone in the ice fishing rental business knows can make or break a season, and snow every 3rd day or so after that with high winds and record below zero days, (and once your out there you can’t quit).  Fuel expenses from plowing twice the normal. And to top it off a poor bite, restricted limit, small harvest slot, and almost no keepable Perch, fishermen didn’t frequent the lake like they would normally have.

Thanks to our MN DNR’s lack of insight in their management practices, (always reacting after the problems created instead of trying to look ahead before they create it.)  Telling us cleaner water, climate change, Zebra mussels, etc,  (which from the MN DNR was like it was just discovered), should have been thought about long before this and considered in their suggested management policies. Then add to that, GLIFWIC’s and MN DNR’s encouraging the bands to disturb reproduction by allowing harvest during the spawning season is absurd in my opinion, regardless of the one study they have proves to them that it doesn’t affect Mille Lacs.  If our MN DNR believes that what they are allowing to happen here is “ok”, why do they close areas to anglers in Northern Minnesota during the fishing opener because Walleyes are spawning?  Why did they buy out commercial netters on Lake of the Woods? Why did Red Lake crash?   “Political treaty management” shows no regard to protecting the the resource and allows for the abuse of “treaty rights” by some of those that have them, and Mille Lacs Lake is just another example.  The State of Minnesota’s politicians are afraid to stand up for it’s taxpaying citizens because almost all receive money from the Band’s lobbyists due to uncontrolled ,non-taxed casino money in MInnesota that “our” politicians allowed in the past.  Ron Schara said in a very good opinion piece last week in MN Outdoor News,  “If you are wondering why the State Capitol in St. Paul and it’s politicians aren’t up in arms about what is happening at Mille Lacs and doing something about it…look in the mirror…….”    Maybe its time for a change for a lot of things in Minnesota….(ya think?)

But life will go on, the lake will improve, and hopefully “our”  MN DNR  will come around and start representing the people that pay their wages, like GLIFWIC does for he Bands, (whose monies come from the Feds) that pay theirs.  There are still a lot of reasons Mille Lacs will be a “go to” lake forever.  Right now it is one of the top five Smallmouth destinations in North America. The Perch population is going to rebound to some catchable-keepable 10″ plus fish by next winter. and the Walleyes will come back in a short time.

Mille Lacs has just plain been a tradition for many anglers for many years and always will be, plus it’s an amazing body of water to see and be on.   Plus…We’re still here!!

Keep a Tight Line!!   Hope to see you next year!!




April 13th, 2014

Went out this a.m. and picked up all the road stakes and checked ice conditions. The water is starting to go down and most places are good going.  Areas around road banks and houses are still slushy. But if you watch where you are going it’s nice.  Didn’t notice any big drain holes either.

This will be the last week out there for sure.  Our last day will be next Saturday when we do the final passes of the area we go to pick up anything leftover on the ice.  blocks,,etc. at our “block party”.

This week I’m going to go out every and get a load with the snowmobile and it will make Saturday easier.

Keep a Tight Line!!