Fishing & Ice Report
Finally things are starting to look like we might see summer. Trees are starting to bud, ice is starting to melt on the shorelines where it piled up two weeks ago, and the grass is green! Since opening weekend on May 11th, it has been pretty quiet up here compared to Openers of the past. Now with Memorial weekend approaching it feels more like the Opener, especially at my marine shop. Now finally, people are picking up their boats and getting ready. Unfortunately, somebody, ( the refinery owners?) decided that they needed to raise the price of gas in the upper Midwest while all of us are planning to travel and enjoy things after a long winter, how ironic…sounds like greed to me…. Anyways, with the imbalance of bait fish to predators the Walleyes are hungry. Guides that I’ve have talked to average about 30 Walleyes a trip and despite the narrow harvest slot they are keeping about a 10 percent ratio. Which is good. A couple 18-20 inch Walleyes make a pretty good meal. There are some major conflicts on the horizon with Mille Lacs despite all it has went through already. Now there are fishermen out there that are starting a “Save Mille Lacs Smallmouth Alliance”. Why don’t fishermen look at a lake and see what was in it before and take care of it for what it was before any of you showed up, and “decided” to make it better for their own enjoyment? What happens to all the fishermen that didn’t go to Mille Lacs this winter after the ice fishing season to fish for Perch for a day or two in March. (because there wasn’t any here to catch) Finally…. the MN DNR has realized how important Mille Lacs is for what is for the … Continue reading
Well we are finally into some normality up here at Mille Lacs with open water, people putting docks in, fishermen on the lake and the grass turning green. It has been long awaited for those of us up here. So far fishing has been pretty good even with the cold water temps. I’m hearing some pretty good reports from anglers and they are actually catching Walleyes in the 2 inch harvest slot we have this year. That is good news. It also sounds like the Walleyes are hungry but from what pictures I’ve seen so far they are not looking starved as some of us expected. We will see how it all plays out this season. One thing for sure so far, whether it is because of the reg changes, late ice-out, or high gas prices, (probably a combination of all), it is definitely a lot quieter up here than normal so far. We had some major ice events last weekend and there is still signs of it on the shoreline despite the warm weather. It is eerie seeing ice on the shore and green grass and trees budding with leaves. Strange times I guess.. Keep a tight Line!! Eddy
Well I think it is finally going to happen….Ice Out! I’m predicting it will be over by this coming weekend. There will be ice on the shores, ice on the islands, and just about anyplace we don’t want to see it but there will at least be water on the main lake……. Since last weekend Mille Lacs has went “viral” with videos of ice pushing and piles on the south shore, and last night and today until the wind switched it hit the N-NW side by Myr Mar and areas towards Garrison. But the old lake is finally giving up it’s ice. It’s getting softer and thinner and it is my hope that when it reaches the shore tonight on our end is will be so soft it will just “mush-up”. It’s been quite a ice season up here and one I hopefully will not see again, both in the “treaty mismanagement” I call it now. And the MN DNR’s ignoring for the past 10 years that this is a “Walleye” Lake, not a “Trophy everything else” Lake. Plus I’m just getting sick and tired of seeing ice!! (Especially hard when I also own a Marine Business…) Just remember, June 21st the days start getting shorter…. Hopefully it all will work out, and don’t forget….12-17 inch Smallmouth Bass taste good when caught in cold water….lol Keep a tight Line! Eddy
Today another record was set at Mille Lacs. Ice on the main lake on opening day. The other was I believe in 1950. Right now the NW winds are blowing 25-40 mph and the ice coming our way. I’m hoping and praying that it doesn’t take out our house on the lakeshore, as it is only 50 feet away. We have big rocks in front and there is a reef a quarter mile out in front that hopefully will stop the most of it. You will see some of it on our web cam. It’s going to be a scary next few hours for us here.
It is finally looking like things are going to break up out there on the lake over the next few days. We will probably not have a “opener” this year as we would all know it. With the weather forecasted and the winds, there will most likely be some open water on the north end, but for us on the south end we will be seeing a lot of ice. Crazy times…….I guess it will be something to tell our grandchildren about. The good thing is Mother Nature is getting back at all of us for not taking care of the lake’s resources as as we should have. ( MN DNR, and the BANDS). Sometimes I just don’t get it. Mille Lacs Lake and it’s resource cannot be managed two different ways and survive…. history has shown all of us that now. Maybe the State and the Bands should wake up and realize that instead of playing games with “treaty rights” and management. Mille Lacs Lake doesn’t care whose “right”‘ is right and just because we have the “right” doesn’t mean it’s ok.! It’s just trying to survive. It’s time both sides realize that and work together for the good of the lake!! Just remember…….what comes around goes around…. Keep a tight Line! Eddy
Last evening I went out on the ice for the last time, picking up whatever was leftover that was missed when we had our clean-up day (“block party”) last Saturday. I drilled the ice in all depths of water, and I found that anything over 10 feet to almost 40 feet had 24 to 27 inches of ice. Anything 4 feet or less,(on the shallow reefs) had little ice or was open. The ice I drilled was honeycombed almost all the way thru. If we do get some warm weather next week and some rains, it might be close to going out by the Opener on May 11th. I’m not counting on it. Tonight when I got home from the marine shop the ice on the main lake in front of us had turned”white”, which means the next time it changes and goes “black” it will be waterlogged, and ready to finally melt. Normally it takes about a week depending on normal weather in my years seeing it the ice go. But who has seen “normal” lately….?. Anyways, it was good to know it was over for me out there, and start concentrating on boats! I was 3 miles out when I was done, and on the way in to shore there was time to think about all the changes coming for us at Mille Lacs and it’s future. And also time to reflect on the 40 plus years I’ve always made it home off the ice, during and after a long season. Sadly, my thoughts were turned to a friend in Bayfield, WI. that didn’t make it home off the ice this year. Jim Hudson……may you God be with you and Rest in Peace…… I’ll always think about you when I go out there again…… Keep a tight line!! … Continue reading
Last Saturday a bunch of us went out and picked up whatever was left on the lake over winter that was hidden by the snow. The ice depth was around 29-30 inches in water over 10 feet deep. Shallower than that is varied to as little a 12. There was still a fair amount of snow around where houses had been and it was hard to get them all. Last evening I went out to check things after two days of warm weather and a little rain and it was a lot easier to see and pick up ones that were missed on Saturday. Ice depth had changed to about 25-27 inches and was definitely honeycombed, almost all the way thru. Out in the “Tullibee Hole” it was 28 plus. The shallow reefs, Gull, Grassy, the reefs south of the Twin Islands were opening up on top, but that was in 3 feet of water or less. Now with colder weather coming again and freezing nights it will probably slow the melt somewhat the next few days. I think it is going to take some really warm days next week with rain to take it out by the Opener. There is going to be some interesting times at Mille Lacs this spring……… Keep a Tight Line!!! Eddy
Finally spring is showing it’s face. Things are starting to melt and the “Block Party” is on for tomorrow. We will be starting about 1:00 p.m. and with the people showing up so far we will be done by 6:00 or 7:00. Only two weeks away to the fishing opener and there is still 30 plus inches of ice but thing are changing out there. In the bays the ice by the weeds is turning dark and the shallow open lake reefs are also. If the weather continues on the current trend we might make it by opener yet, but it will be close! For those that don’t know what our “block party” is . It’s a 30 plus year ritual where we go out and scour the ice and pick up anything left over from the winter’s fishermen so it doesn’t end up in the lake or on the shoreline. This will be probably the latest we’ve had it so we will be making history in our little world at Mille Lacs.
Not much to report out there for fishing. Just more snow two days ago and the ice if you look at our web cam isn’t going anywhere soon. The weather is changing though, Predictions for 60′s the next few days is going to help. The question is will it help enough. there is a lot of ice out there and nothing will happen with that until the snow is gone off the top. Maybe in the next week we will get a lot of warm rains and it will speed the process. Even though the late ice is becoming a topic for Opener, it will be another blow to the local resorts and businesses around the lake, and think of the businesses farther north than us in the same predicament. Once opening weekend is gone it’s not replaced…The only bright spot for Mille Lacs is that is going to save some Walleyes this spring during spawning!! Keep a Tight Line! Eddy
Yesterday I went on the ice and visited a couple friends fishing a couple miles out. There was 3-6 inches of snow on the ice and really good going. They had tried a few places before I met up with them and there was not much going on. They drilled a hole so we could measure the ice and it was about 34″ thick. (pretty thick for this time of year.) We drilled to almost the bottom and pulled it up and waited to see if water would seep in which is a sign of “honeycombed” ice but it stayed dry. What had been soft a week or so ago was not now. The weather is changing and it will probably go out before the opener, but I think its going to be a close. It’s a shame the the Perch bite is gone. I’m almost sure that the situation of all the big fish in Mille Lacs has hurt them also. Normally this time of year with this much ice the lake would have been buzzing with activity from Perch and Tullibee Fishermen but not anymore… Keep a Tight Line!! Eddy