Category Archives: Fishing & Ice Report

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!!


April 11th,2014

The last few days travel was nearly impossible out on the ice unless you would have had an airboat.  I went out two time with snowmobile and there was numerous times I almost got stuck in deep slush.  It was that way almost everywhere you went, from 4 to12 inches or more in spots.  This evening though, things are looking better.  The water is going down and it looks like alot of the slush on top has melted.

Saturday when the weather passes I’m going to head out again and see what it looks like.  Mainly so I can plan a date for our lake clean-up day  (block party) which I’m hoping will be next Saturday the 19th. I’ll let you know.

On the fishing side, this next week looks weatherwise like it could be the week to try with ATV’s  We are supposed to have freezing nights and low 40′s days so travel in most areas should be really good.  I’m sure there is plenty of ice out there yet and the way the water has went down slowly there shouldn’t be any big drain holes, but a person will still have to watch out for them.  I will let fishermen know more Saturday night when I get off the lake.

Keep a Tight Line!!


April 7th, 2014

With the warmer weather the snow on the ice is melting some and things are getting pretty slushy out there.  ATV travel is next to impossible and the next few day until the water starts going down there will be no one venturing out from here.  Depending on what the ice looks like after that will determine if we let anyone go out anymore.

We’ see how it looks Friday and I’ll post then.  Won’t be too long and we will have our ice clean-up day.,”block Party”.. I’ll keep you posted.

Keep a Tight LIne!



April 4th, 2014

No one has been out the last couple days and I doubt today we will see anyone either.We had about 4 inches of snow overnight and know the NW wind is howling.

From here on out there will be no roads and vehicle traffic.  The only we we will let anyone out of our place is by snowmobile only.  No ATV’s unless they have tracks.  There is too much snow out there and lots of areas where water is under it.  In time the warm weather will melt it and we will have alot of water on top, but when it goes down eventually there will be good going for awhile.

Also when the warm weather comes the bite will go again as it has the few times it did warm lately.  Everyone must call ahead the day before come to ensure a parking spot for their as we have limited space.   (I’m really beginning to wonder if there will be open water for the opener in May)……….

Keep a Tight Line!


April 2nd, 2014

I went out on the lake last evening after work and opened the road to the “Tullibee Hole” for probably the last time. The warm weather we had before the last snow and wind yesterday had got the road pretty wet and with the snow and drifts I cleared of last night was all slush underneath.  By the time I was done there was spots that had 4-6 inches of water across the road.   When checking it this morning it had a crust of an inch on it so I’m closing the road for vehicles until things melt and the water starts going down.  With another 6-12 inches of snow coming later this week, who know how long we will have ice this spring……

Those wanting to go out must call ahead the night before, bring a snowmobile and sled or you will not be going out of here.  When the warm weather does come I think there will be a week or so of good fishing out there.

Keep a Tight Line!




April 1st, 2014

Last evening we received and still are getting some snow this morning (1-3 inches) and NW   winds 30 mph plus.  Lots of drifting close to and on the lake.  With the water that was showing up on the roads and now the drifted snow across them, I’m not sure if I’m going to be able to open them up again with the freezing at night they are forecasting.

We’ll wait and see what it looks like tomorrow and I’ll let you know.  it’s too bad, because once again when it warmed up over the weekend, and especially Sunday the bite started to improve.  There is lots of ice out there yet and maybe when the weather stabilizes and just stays warm we’ll have a few days to get out there yet!  Might just be with snowmobiles or ATV’s…

Keep a Tight LIne!!