Category Archives: Fishing & Ice Report

October 14th, 2016

It has been a long time since I’ve post on the blog/report.  It was a busy summer up here with a lot of changes in the fishery, the focus on Small-mouth Bass, the frustration with the fishing regulations to help the “recovery” of the Walleye, dealing with keeping a business going that revolves around the lake and it’s fishery, and talking to everyone that walked into the door at my marine business I own and trying to keep afloat… All in all there has not been much time to reflect on it like I do every nite when I’m home in the winter.  (Days are shorter then… 🙂 ).

A highlight of the summer for me was having  Seth Feider –  (a bass  fisherman (and great person too) that bought a Bass Cat boat from me), fished the Bass-master’s Elite Series all year and won the Bass-masters AOY Tournament at Mille lacs this past month.  He was the only Minnesotan that fished the series and with his boat with Lyback’s Marine on it was pretty cool to see for me.  The show about the Mille Lacs tournament will be on ESPN, Sunday, October 16th and again sometime in November.

Last night we had the “October” Mille Lacs Fisheries Advisory Committee meeting which we talked about the possibility of harvest for the upcoming winter and summer season.  We talked about the effects of the Bass-masters tournament the the future impacts from bass fishermen on the lake. We talked about accomplishments of the committee and it’s future direction for the next year. And also on of the members of our committee resigned.  Jamie Edwards –  who was the representative for the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, and also one of their political lobbyists, and director of Government relations for the Band.

He attended the first two organizational meetings and to my recollection, attended one mid summer when we invited the GLIFWC representatives to our meeting so we could learn more about what they do and their view and opinion of what is going on. During that meeting the only people he talked to and communicated with during the “break” was the State of Minnesota’s elected representatives, members of GLIFWIC and MN DNR officials.  There was little or no attempt converse with other members of the committee that I seen. Otherwise at almost all the other meetings his attendance was by phone connection and when ever asked about the Bands opinion the answer was always “I will have to get back to the group” , which never would happen.  Obviously he was put there as an observer by the Bands and not to be an active participant of the group like the rest of us were.

In his resignation letter to the committee, he call the group a “hostile and biased” committee.  He and the Mille Lacs Band “copied” Governor Dayton along with the members of our committee and DNR officials with his letter. (Apparently there is special privilege there)..   Everyone on the Mille Lacs Fisheries Advisory Committee encouraged the Bands presence and many times ask for more participation so we could understand more of their culture and reasons. The members concerns have always  been and will always be the lake and it’s fishery. (We started that idea back in the 80’s with the Mille Lacs Lake Advisory Assn.  We knew that if we did our best to preserve and protect Mille Lacs and it’s fishery, anglers would come to the lake we lived and worked on.) The 17 member committee is made up from a very diverse group of citizens. 3 county commissioners, President of the MN Bass Nation, A member of the Northern and Muskie Alliance.  two guides from northern Minnesota, a DNR forage study biologist, five fishing related business around Mille Lacs, a realtor/lakeshore owner, and a retired lakeshore owner on Mille Lacs.

Another major reason in the letter of resignation was that the members of our committee felt it was “culturally offensive” that netting Walleyes during the spawning season was not good for the welfare of a fishery and it’s sustainability was stated as such.  Most of us non Native Americans in Minnesota have a “culture” also after over 160 plus years of being a State, (Minnesota) of the United States of America too.  I am saddened and outraged they always go to the “racist” scenario. Especially when our only concern is the recovery of a Walleye fishery that belong to all of us citizens of the State of Minnesota along with the Bands according to a treaty decision.  There isn’t one person on the committee that doesn’t recognize and accept the Bands right to harvest, their “culture” and traditions.  But also there isn’t one person on the committee that agrees that harvest during the spawning season is good for Mille Lacs Lake by nets. The DNR officials cannot state the same because of the “political” treaty management process they are stuck in currently. But the MN DNR’s policy has always been to protect species while they are reproducing or we would have open seasons all year long. I agree and support with our MN DNR’s statewide policies of that that have been there for over 100 years.

The saddest part of all, since the treaty decision and subsequent harvests during the spawning season for Walleyes, the Mille Lacs Lake’s fishery has been in decline and so has it’s community. And that is whether anyone “officially” wants to admit it or not, has been a contributing factor..  Most of us that have lived here all of our lives remember when we all, Mille Lacs Band members and locals got along. I used to bowl at our local bowling ally with friends from the Band, went to school as a kid and had Native American friends in my class that were truly friends.  Most of that has disappeared because of this political treaty management, and not by my intent or others to keep Mille lacs and it’s fishery healthy for all. But now we are “termed” biased on this committee by the his resignation letter. I considered Jamie Edwards a friend also as he brought his boat to us to work on, he knew my sister, lived just east of where my business was and we got along well,  And now because of my concerns for Mille Lacs and it’s fishery… I’m considered a “racist” by the Bands..   Those that really know me and people that know what all I’ve really worked for all these years know differently…

Keep a Tight Line!


May 27th, 2016

It has been a long time since I have put anything on this (my report/blog page).  Last time  was on April 1st. Since then alot has happened on Mille Lacs scene since then in regards to the Walleye regulations and it’s  fishery. First we had a “catch and release” fishery with no live bait, which the Advisory committee (which I am a member of) with a conference call with the Governor and DNR officials fortunately was reversed for the live bait portion overturned.

Now at our last meeting, (which I couldn’t attend due to work at my marine shop), some of the true problems of the Mille Lacs and it’s Walleye fishery decline, (in my opinion) was talked about and right away the  “media” reports of the meeting started talking about the “race” card in respect to the fishery and treaty rights again. (mainly due to the influence of the Bands and their advertising with the media and the lobbying contributions by the Mille Lacs Band to Minnesota’s Senators and Representatives.)  and guess who is one of the members of of the the Mille Lacs Advisory committee but one of their lobbyists. You can decide for yourself what happened after that…. Unfortunately the only “card” they have to play is the Supreme Courts decision to allow treaty rights to harvest.  And the last 15 plus years of abuse of Mille Lacs’s Walleye resource by harvesting with gillnets and spears during the reproductive time of year for Walleyes ,(and or any other wildlife) has proven over time is counterproductive to the species survival if done during that time. And is proven in other places besides here.  Example: (Do we or they shoot deer while they are carrying fawns?)

So anyways, I get an email from a member of the council a couple weeks ago because some of us were talking via email that we felt there was a need to work on making a resolution that said if Mille Lacs was to have a “catch and release” fishery that we felt that because the DNR’s methods of censusing the “hooking mortality” of catch and released Walleyes had a (admitted by DNR officials), had the possibility to have a 25% to 35% margin of error by their that we needed “no closure” at Mille Lacs to help businesses survive during the fisheries recovery. And that we felt that the gill-netting of Walleyes during spawning was “culturally offensive to today’s society’s beliefs and detrimental to fishery biologically.  His response was that it was “culturally offensive” to them to say that in our statement that we said it was “culturally offensive” to us, and he stated that he was surprised that the state would even pay out money to have a committee that would say that ….(Wow)… Guess who that was… it proves that is all they have to fall back on, after almost two hundred year they still don’t care about the resource. But they try they try to portray themselves as the caretakers of it…(their record doesn’t prove that at all for anyone that really checks it out.)…the more we expose the truth, the more the majority will decide.

I am so sick and tired of this crap and the people that  just because of an outdated treaty think they can turn back time and rape a resource to it’s almost distinction, (Red Lake for example, Northern Wisconsin lakes for example), with no regard the times, all of us are living in now. (not 200 years ago). Along with the government that the rest of the country, including us in Minnesota that pays taxes to take care of them in so many ways, would think that there would be some understanding instead of demanding of it.  Everyone except them have learned over time that harvesting a natural resource when it is reproducing is wrong and to protect it during that time is important. (Must be a reason for that).

For almost 40 years I have stood my ground on this issue based on the protection of the fishery. Not the objection to treaty rights of harvest that were affirmed almost 19 years ago.. (Even though I have been termed  “racist” because of it many times…I am not.)  Long before the treaty stuff started I was objecting to gill-netting during the time Walleyes were spawning and I met face to face with the Mille Lacs Band Chief at the time Art Gahbow when at the age of 23, I was president of the Mille lacs Lake Advisory Assn.  The day after a meeting with the tribal council where I and other members presented a petition to them objecting to the mention of them starting to net during the spring for Walleyes.  (They had been doing it for years long before to celebrate a tradition of their culture, and all around the lake knew it and respected it . But they announced they were going to do it in larger proportions, and made it known to the media.)

I was at my Dad’s place and two big Lincoln’s drove in and guys in black suits and Art Gahbow in full Tribal dress got out of the cars and walked to my Dad’s office for his Ice Fishing business and came in.  The first thing Art said to my Dad was “Hi Clark!  How have you been?”  Turns out my Dad and Art were friends back in their school days, they talked for awhile and then he turned to me and asked “are you really going to go thru with this petition and make it  an issue?”  I told him as a representative of the Mille Lacs Lake Advisory Assn.  I was going to to protect the reproduction of the resource and make it and issue. And that is how this all started for me…….

To hear all the bullshit and politics these days and seeing how our State of Minnesota’s officials cover it up because of money and allow the destruction of it’s citizens resources that they are supposed represent, and because of a old treaty and the people it represents can’t change with the times and celebrate a tradition, instead of thinking they have to live on it like they did 200 years ago is to me totally nuts.  It would be like me because I’m Norwegian, be a “Viking” and conquer lands and all the stuff they did then and wouldn’t do now…..or maybe us “Vikings”  should……   lol   🙂

Keep a Tight Line!


April 1st, 2016

The lake is starting to give up it’s ice.  Ice out will be earlier this year compared to average by about 3 weeks due to lack of cold weather this winter.


Mille Lacs will be catch and release for anglers this coming summer due to the effects “Treaty Management” and which lead to the decline of the Walleye population in my opinion. Meanwhile the Bands are “netting Perch” and spearing Walleyes during the spawning season again.  I’m sure the Walleyes know not to swim into a “Perch” net……   Crazy world we live in these days….

I’m not against Bands right to harvest or treaty rights, but to harvest a resource that is supposedly in trouble during the time it is reproducing is against all nature intended it to be.  A federal court decision still doesn’t mean it is good for natures way of doing things.


March 16th,2016

I thought I would show a picture of tonight when I got home from work.  lybacks

I want to thank all the positive e-mails from Minnesota residents that read my March 11th report/blog.  It is good to know that those that live in Minnesota and know about Mille Lacs Lake and it’s history of being a  great fishery so close to so many people in this State for so long is important.  The lake has always been an important part of my family’s life since my grand father homesteaded where I live now over 110 years ago. And along with many, many others in Minnesota that have come to for years, it is time for us that care speak up. It is time for all parties involved in the management of the great resource this lake provides for us to take care of it for everyone.  To use backward, out of date policies of harvesting fish during their spawning season just doesn’t work…anywhere, let alone here.  Just because some document says you can, doesn’t and shouldn’t mean a thing when it destroys the resource for all like it has….and the last last 15 years of “treaty management” has proven to all to everyone that this is not the path to follow.  Wake up Minnesotan’s….It’s time to change this!

Thanks for your support!

Keep a Tight Line!     Eddy


March 14th,2016

The ice deteriorated to a lot over the last few days. Saturday we went out and scoured the area on last time to make sure things were picked up. The ice we checked was 16-20″ thick, but totally honeycombed from top to bottom.  The amazing part is that just 5 days earlier it was  22″-24″ and as solid as could be with no honeycomb at all.

So that it’s for us folks.  Lets hope for a good summer and a better winter next year…….

Keep a Tight Line!


March 11th,2016

Yesterday I went for a walk out on the ice and with the super warm temps and sunshine today it is time to close.  Our access will not be open for anglers until next winter.

This year was a weird one for sure with the El Nino affect temps. The late start and the quick finish did not help the people that make a living around this lake much. That and along with the difficult times,(to say the least) because of the condition of the Walleye fishery.

The Tribes involved in the 1837 Treaty and the miss-management and “politically correct” ignoring of what was really happening to the fishery by the State of Minnesota and it’s DNR was what really happened to this lake’s Walleyes.  Not climate change, not Zebra Mussels, over angling or clearer water.  Yes, all that does and will have an effect on it’s ability to recover, and the lake probably will not ever be what it was.  But it would not have declined at such a rate if the netting and spearing in the spring during spawning had not happened.  Destroying a resource because of an almost 200 year old treaty gave rights to a few that abused it, and ignoring the majority of the people in this State is another example of just how screwed up this country is becoming. The “political” cover up and ignorance by the State of Minnesota’s Governor and others in St. Paul is a travesty to the Minnesota’s fishing heritage.  It seems our MN Senators are more worried about the wait at the airport with TSA …  Remember that at the ballot box this fall….

Implications for the Mille Lacs Lake Fishery with Continued Enfor

Please take the time to read this attachment.  It is very well researched and accurate. Our DNR claims netting had “nothing” to do with it, but I totally disagree.  There is not one place in this country where netting has had a positive effect on a fishery…..period.  If the Walleye are to recover in Mille Lacs, ( which looks like they are and there is hope.)  All parties involved needs to make sure what happened here over the last 15 years does not happen again. Please read it, pass it along and start talking about it.  Public pressure and telling our government how important it is to all of us will be the only way to stop it.

Keep a Tight Line!




March 10th, 2016

This morning the ice is getting darker.  The water is gone off the top and the next couple days will take a toll on it with the warm temps.

No one has been out here and the only fishing  activity I’ve been seeing is in the bays. If you want to give it one last try on the ice this year this might be the last weekend to do it.  Call ahead to wherever you would plan to go and find out what is going on before you make the trip.

Keep a Tight Line!


March 9th,2016

The water on the ice went down yesterday which means it is going to deteriorate fast when we get the warm sunny days.  If the current temperatures stick around this month the ice won’t last long.  But it all could change with the cold if it returns.

Our access is closed and more than likely will remain that way until next season.  I am going to go out this weekend and make one last pass around the areas we went to to make sure nothing was left out there as far as blocks, etc.  This year when houses came off we were able to retrieve almost all of it at that time, but just want to make sure.

Keep a Tight Line!    Eddy

March 8th,2016

Yesterday was our last day for allowing driving out of our access.  It will remain closed unless the weather changes and turns cold again, but that is looking like it is not going to happen.

If you still want to come up and ATV out you will need to call ahead the day before you come to see how it is looking.  We have limited space to park right now as the frost is going out so a heads up call would be appreciated.

El Nino kicked butt this year……….

Keep a Tight Line!    Eddy

March 6th-7th, 2016

Yesterday with the warm south wind hat snow we had melted and there was water pretty much everywhere 1-2″ deep by the end of the day. And it is still there this morning.

Fishing was pretty tough out in the deeper spots, but in the shallow Perch spots the bite was good.  There were small one mostly but you could pick thru them to get the 10″ ones.

We will be pulling the last two rentals off today and removing all the road stakes.  After today it is supposed to rain and that just might end it for driving.  I do not expect much for anglers from here on out with the weather changing as it is.

Keep a Tight Line!     Eddy