Category Archives: Fishing & Ice Report

November 27th, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

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!!


October 27th, 2015

Well here I go again…

This year was a landmark year for me for age this year.  I made it to 60!  Have a new grand daughter “Freya” and along with “Isabel” that turned 8 years old this year, I’m a pretty happy Grampa.  And after 42 years on the ice and 34 years on cement as a automotive mechanic, marine mechanic and the last 12 years of that sitting on a chair in the marine business  I own in the summer I still am moving… :)

As most of you know that read my blog/fishing report in the winter alot has happened at Mille Lacs over the last 10 plus years with the fishery and I’m not going to explain it as most know what is going on.

I applied to get on the new Mille Lacs Advisory Committee and was picked to be on it and in the last few weeks and for the first time in along time I’m actually excited to participate.  For years the Mille lacs Input Group, (formed after the disbanding of the Mille Lacs lake Advisory Assn. after the treaty court case because of lack of interest due to the US Supreme Court decision in favor of the 1837 Treaty Rights), was formed by the MNDNR for input of the fishery), turned into a “rubber stamp” with two hours meetings once a year which there was no time for anything but to except that.  It was totally dysfunctional and finally our MNDNR stopped it. Now there is an opportunity for those of us in the new committee to meet regularly, talk about issues concerning the fishery we are concerned with besides the regulation changes as before.  In my opinion it is a start, even though there is a long road ahead.  But we do have a voice now at the least.

But sadly anglers in this State are getting so opinionated because of the “species” they want to fish for are breaking up what could be a group of all fishermen that if unified to one cause could speak together to help this lake and change something for all the lakes in the State of Minnesota.. and maybe other States also.  Change always happens….but does anyone realize that working together (speaking of fishermen as a whole), could help change something much bigger and more important than just what they want to catch?  I’m thinking so if they would….How about instead of “pushing” for one species and it’s regulation changes to work for them…. Focus on who manages the State of Minnesota’s fisheries first?  Then worry about how any one lake is managed after that.

Treaty rights are one thing, but if it affects a fishery’s decline, we should be able to challenge the methods and timing of harvest to protect the resource. And in my opinion, that has happened here at Mille Lacs Lake and has led to it’s decline of Walleyes in Mille Lacs over the years since the court case, Despite the claims of “global warming”, “zebra mussels”, and a U of M biologist/scientist backed up the MNDNR studies, doesn’t have in my opinion any “common sense” beyond what reports he analyzes that are given to him. Mainly created because all of the “political” side of all this mess the State of Minnesota is in.

I believe we need to have a consensus as a big group of fishermen to promote change if what is most important is to happen. Not as small groups protecting their “species” they want to catch… Otherwise the group of people with the most power and influence in Minnesota because of lobbyists, etc…. and most know who they are,…  are slowly taking  control of how the State’s fishery’s are managed sit back and laugh because of the angler’s lack of organization… Right now that is what is happening….  Many of you fishermen don’t realize how important this is…and unfortunately most don’t care about how big that could become…

Mille Lacs Lake’s Walleyes are rebounding thanks to a 2013 spawning season where they were left undisturbed by due to the late ice that stopped the disturbance of spawning grounds before the normal state regulated angling season, ( A principle that the State of Minnesota ‘s DNR has practiced for a very long time). And the results speak for themselves despite what you read or hear differently. And the 2014 isn’t too far behind I believe  and if they make it through the next year they will be represented in the fall surveys as it was a very late year for ice also. The good news for us is that there is evidence of that the Perch size is slowly increasing and there is some strong consistent year classes of Tullibee in the mix which this lake needs to support larger fish.

Regulations were “recommended” by the committee last week and the overall consensus was to be conservative for the Walleyes which I believe is good. I don’t like “caps” and “closures” like what has occurred here recently. Fortunately because of winter the “mortality rate” is very low if fishermen catch and release properly, so a “closure” will not happen if the “cap” is  met. And as part of an organization, (MLLAA that in 1986 worked for proper “catch and release” methods) to prevent unnecessary loss of Walleyes which was at time unheard of). I think it is time it should be reintroduced.

And the idea of “judging” this lakes population based on a fall gill-netting survey once a year, (because of “Treaty Management” that we have lived under for too long has to go.) NOBODY can accurately assess this lake that way.  The MLLAA years ago got the MNDNR to do yearly assessments. Before that they only “assessed” Mille Lacs every five years. At one of the MLLAA meetings a few years after it was done yearly, we asked them how it was working and if yearly assessments were worthwhile.  They said that they helped, but could not accurately judge it on one year alone.  but it helped in forming trends of what was happening.  So there you go.  “Treaty Management” based on and inaccurate year only “assessment” cannot be done because of too many variables.

That is enough for this this report, but there is more I will be “blogging” about.  it is my hopes those of you will read this start to share it and we all need to change this for the sake of the Mille Lacs fishery. And for all the fisheries around this state and maybe start the trend around the rest country. Most of the USA fisheries a subject to variations of this form of mismanagement.

Keep a Tight Line!


April 14th, 2015

25243_105914699446571_5028809_n  This will be my last post here for the summer,  I will start up again late this fall as winter approaches.  With the marine business going in the summer my focus is elsewhere and I’m not on the lake as I am in the winter to give accurate fishing reports. I am looking forward to a good winter season this coming year, and the lake and it’s fishery will come back again.

However, I do want say something about how I feel about all of the controversy surrounding Mille Lacs the last few years…  I think the time has come for all people in this State and Country for that matter, to abide by the same rules when it comes to natural resources.  It includes the same management philosophy, and the same harvest procedures.  I believe traditions need to be honored for preserving a tradition, but not to the point of contributing to the loss of a resource.  And I’m afraid that if the current path we are on continues there will be not much left for anyone, regardless of what nationality anyone is.

Everyone in the United States immigrated from somewhere at some time in history.  That’s why all of us are who we are.  Everyone’s nationality and their history has had traditions and beliefs that they still celebrate and remember as to pass on to future generations. Which is important and good for everyone. I respect that, and always will. Things will get better at Mille Lacs as long as everyone works towards the same goal, which is to protect and enjoy the resources it provides all of us.

But to go to extremes just because you can in this day in age isn’t good for anyone’s history……..and history will tell the story long after we are  gone…….

Keep a Tight Line!



April 9th,2015

Well the news is out for the Opener.  1 Walleye 19-21″ or over 28″ ,season long night ban. It pretty much insures Opening at Mille Lacs will not be much of one if you are a Walleye fisherman.  But on the positive side, they will be biting and the cold water will minimize mortality. And with the Bass season opening also there will be plenty of fish to catch for those that like to enjoy a good fight on the end of the line.

The lake is showing signs of recovery after what anglers seen out there last winter, So I know things will get better in the future, but what I think everyone needs to insure it will never happen again by voting this next year for someone that will stand up and not take lobbying monies and do something to change all of this. Before it happens to the big lakes in the entire State. It is possible to change alot of this mess, but it will have to be done on that level and by negotiation.  It all boils down to money and that is what will change this. Whether it’s payoffs, or threats of competition for the gambling dollars by the State. that is going to change it.  Fishermen have a year and a half to get organized and I suggest get going now!!

Keep a Tight Line!


April 2nd,2015

Today I thought with the strong NW winds the ice was going to move.  But from what I seen it didn’t move much so it will be awhile yet.  Our access is closed for the year obviously and we are getting things ready at the rental house for the Opener.

The DNR hasn’t released the regs for the upcoming season at Mille Lacs yet, and if I were them I would be ashamed to.  It is very upsetting to see the premier Walleye Lake in this State run to the ground so to speak in the last 15 years, and to have a State government and it’s Governor Dayton turn into spineless politicians and let this resource be practically destroyed.  Everyone knows what is going on here and why it happened. And they can’t say that because the source of the lobby money they receive will be cut off. Yet what happened in Wisconsin’s Lakes , Upper and Lower Red lake, or the comeback of Lake of the Woods when the “netters” were bought out isn’t good enough evidence for our DNR biologists. They search for every other reason possible to avoid the obvious, and keep their jobs……Even the big Twin Cities journalists won’t talk about that because guess who spends major money advertising in their papers….

Well, it just won’t be Mille Lacs much longer.  Rumors are that Lake Vermillion will be netted next because they can’t get enough Walleyes from Mille Lacs.  Another treaty will be tested and our State of Minnesota and it’s government more than likely will stand aside and let that happen.  Maybe some day after all the big Walleye lakes are wiped out, people in this State will wake up and see what they let happen to our great fisheries and vote for someone that will do something about it.

I’m not arguing against treaty rights or the right to harvest.  I’m saying leave the fish alone when they are spawning……period!!  And if our DNR says it doesn’t make a difference on the spawning outcome with what the Bands do during the spawning time, open it up for angling and quit having a closing and opening of Walleye season statewide!

Fishing will improve on Mille Lacs in the coming years and hopefully get back to some degree of what it once was.  But if the State lets the Bands harvest in the spring as it does now… I honestly believe this will happen again…and not just on Mille Lacs……

Something has got to change……     Keep a Tight Line!!




March 27th,2015

Today we are pulling the ATV bridge and closing our access for the year.  With the warmer weather coming the ice ice will start to deteriorate quickly and with being back at the marine business it will not be as easy to keep track of.

I will still keep up with the report for awhile yet as I have much to say about the condition of Mille Lacs and what is coming for the rest of the Minnesota’s lakes

Keep a Tight Line!


March 25th,2015

We still have the ATV bridge out and fishermen are getting out to the “Tullibee Hole”  The ice is still holding it’s own and last night we had some snow cover on it. with the cooler weather coming thru Sunday we will remain open.

Tullibee have been biting and depending on where you go out there you can do well or not.  you need to look around a little before fishing.

Keep a Tight Line!



March 22nd, 2015

Saturday and Sunday’s fishermen had mixed results out there. Saturday the NW wind blew and it was in the low teens in the am and warmed up some as the day went. I talked to two groups on their way off that didn’t fair well, but the third group had alot of Tullibee.

Sunday those coming early left early and the ones that stayed later did well.  Most action was Tullibee.  Everyone seems to be hanging east of the “Tullibee Hole”, but they should be moving west and looking.  But no one seems to want to try.

The ice is actually firming up some with the last tow nights below freezing.  Out in the darker clear ice where it was 24″-28″ and pretty much honeycombed most of the way thru is now pretty hard halfway down before it chunks up.  The ATV bridge is doing well and the ice seems fairly stable so we will continue to stay open for those that want to try.

Keep a Tight Line!


March 20th, 2015 2:00pm

For those waiting to hear the ATV bridge went out and is set up an hour ago. The first group is across it and headed to the “Tullibee Hole”  I’m heading out with some cones to mark a good route to it from the bridge so it will be easier for those tomorrow am.

Right now it is drizzling but after this it is going to turn colder for the next few days and will firm things up a little out there.  Should be good going for awhile.

Remember the bridge is only 4 feet wide. If you are planning on coming a plain old ATV is the ticket.

Keep a Tight Line!


March 19th, 2015

Decided to wait until I see what is coming for rain tomorrow aqnd evening.  The weather service delay the rain and right now it is a slight drizzle.  Still sounds like not much and tomorrow I will decide to put the bridge out for the weekend.  Just being cautious..

Watch the report midday for those that want to come up and try……

Keep a Tight Line!   Eddy