Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Mille Lacs 2010 Maiden Voyage

Having skipped last week's opportunity to hit Mille Lacs Lake, it gave me time to get a few things caught up around the house.  Memorial Weekend is usually my first real excursion to the pond and this year was no exception.  Monday is a great time to hit the lake as most of the traffic is heading south and the lake is substantially less crowded.  The reports from Mille Lacs has been excellent with a lot of fish being caught and a good number of them acceptable for the live well.  Mille Lacs has special restrictions due to the current Native American netting which goes on in the spring, during spawning, and before the fishing season opens.  These restrictions include a bag limit of 4 fish which must be under 18 inches with one allowed over 28 inches.  In the past 5 years the average walleye was exceeding 18 inches and bringing home some fish to eat was difficult.  This year has started out much better with many slot fish available.  The Minnesota DNR regulates the total amount of fish harvest based on the Indian harvest and available sportsman harvest.  The last few years the total harvest has been less than half of the total allowed (around 460,000 pounds).  This year we may have the opportunity to utilize our full allowable take of fish.  The first picture is the largest fish I landed, about a 22 incher.

Deciding to go out of the west side, we headed for a deeper rock reef south of Sherman's Point.  My friend Bill Lundeen had insisted that we fish deep, 26 - 30 feet.  The water temperature was 62, a number I expected to be higher.  After 30 minutes on the rocks I called my friend Jon Bathke to see if he was on the pond.  He answered the phone but was at home.  A short discussion of yesterday's success changed my strategy.  Hitting a special spot on Sherman's Flat, I nailed a couple walleyes, one keeper and one to long.  Action was slow so we moved to another favorite spot of mine, The Cut.  Although we marked a ton of fish as well I had a very nice fish on, that was about it.  I finally conceded to Mr. Lundeen's suggestion, headed south and bobber fish the deep water gravel.  Picking a popular gravel bar, we anchored in 28 feet of water, away from the assembled crowd.  Using slip bobbers set about 18 inches off the bottom baited with a leech, I had our first fish within 5 minutes of anchoring.  The next 3 hours proved to be quite successful as we put 7 more in the box giving us a total of 8 walleyes with a couple of nice perch thrown in for a bonus.  One interesting experiment that I like to do is target the fish just below the boat which show up on my depthfinder.  My guests were a couple of frequent friends, Tom McAtee and Tom Emmons.    Mr. McAtee had some issues with his line so I let him use my bobber rig as I jigged directly under the boat, watching the jig and fish on m depthfinder.  It was just like ice fishing as I caught at least 4 walleyes this way.  In an interesting experiment, I have a very cool stereo system in my boat.  As I marked fish directly below me, I cranked the volume to a definite uncomfortable level (Lot's of bass!).  The fish never moved.  So much for noise scaring fish.  This picture is of my good friend Tom Emmons with a nice keeper walleye.

This weekend I will be competing in the MTT Walleye Tournament on Mille Lacs.  Held out of Hunter's Point Resort on the east side,  Mark Applen will be my partner in our attempt to capture the $5000 grand prize.  It should be interesting as I have never fished an open water tourney on Mille Lacs.  I will report our results next week with the hopes that both bank accounts will be substantially larger on Monday!


Jeff King said...

Man, I gotta go fishing somewhere a guy can wear shorts. And after Keith showed me how to deep fry I have to say I think that fish you're holding beats our halibut.

Thanks for the great report and good luck with the tournament, I look forward to hearing about it. I might do a tournament myself, ah,.. golf tournament.

Dave Anderson said...


Man, I read your post, bummer. Hang in there. We prefished tonight and nailed a winning livewell of fish so we are hoping to repeat this performance for real in the morning. I'll have to send you up some special deep fry batter and some walleyes to try. Maybe it will get the run going! I do remember in 2006 the late red run was haveing 35,000 reds coming in on August 17th. Go figure.

Jeff King said...

I appreciate the thought buddy. The sonar counts actually bumped pretty good the last few days. If that trend continues its certainly good news...except for the guy who made the call at ADF+G...he could've been a bit premature.

I suppose having found the fish in pre-fishing its not only usually repeatable but has to be good for your confidence. confidence is a big part of excelling at this game of ours......

Anonymous said...

David---so the noise thing---does that mean that you CAN talk and laugh while fishing?!! HAHAHAHA!!!