Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Word is Out

Saturday was my birthday and at the last minute decided what better way to spend it than on Lake Mille Lacs fishing the hot walleye bite.  Because my friend Mark had already spent the night in his fish house the night before, he thought it would be a good idea to tag along and try the flats for a change of pace and agreed to meet me at Lundeen's at noon.  My plan was the same game as last week, drive on the ice at Dewey's till the bridge across the heave, unload the ATV, pack everything in the sled and head out.  I could not go by the first set of deep gravel humps without trying them.  It was as dead as the week before so off to 7 mile flat.  Word was that a couple of the east side resorts had roads open to the flats and Holy Moses, half the world must have gotten the word.  As we approached the center of the lake every flat in front of us had cars and trucks lining the entire edge circumference of the flat.  I'll bet from the air it looked like a high level Lakemaster Bottom Contour Map!  Arriving on 7 mile there must have been 75 guys set up including 1 guy in our exact spot of last weeks massacre.  Stopping to see how his luck had been he confirmed it was slow and if fact about 25% of the people had left already.   Amazing as I cannot believe that many people would be driving out as the ice conditions were not that great just a week ago and it hasn't been that cold.  If fact the word was 2 trucks went in on the south side earlier that morning.  As Ron White would say......You can't fix stupid.  Mark and I fished a few open holes left by the previous guys with nothing showing up on our screens.  Deciding to move we loaded up and headed west to a near shore flat called Sherman's that had few anglers and is quite large assuring we could find our own quiet area.    Using our maps we found that "special" looking area and drilled our holes along the top and bottom of the edge.

Almost immediately we began marking fish.  Within 10 minutes Mark had had a nice walleye through the hole, a good sign.  It was about 2:00 in the afternoon and the prime time was about 1 1/2 hour away.  Well, it took its merry old time and arrived about 30 minutes late.  The fact that we marked fish with regularity helped keep our interest knowing eventually they would turn on.  About 4:00 the action started as we put a couple of keepers on the ice.  At about 4:30 the fish really became aggressive.  Although hard to believe, they were almost too aggressive as they would hit so hard the the hook would almost be ripped out or hooked lightly.  I fish braided line and often the lack of stretch will make this problem even worse.  Between Mark and I we must have lost 9 fish after hooking them for less than 10 seconds, many of them coming off just before we got them into the hole.  By the time the bite stopped we had 3 nice keepers, a respectable perch, had let at least 3 more over 20 inches back into our holes, and lost another 9 fish we never saw.  Of course you should have seen the ones that got away!  Over all it was a great day on Mille Lacs as again we proved how important it is to get away from the crowds and noise, look for that "fishy" spot, and drill a lot of holes to move around looking for active fish.  On this trip both Mark and I caught all of our fish on the deep side of the drop and really never moved much as we settled into the couple of holes that stayed consistent.   Our hot baits were Mark's Swedish Pimple and my Rattlin' Flyer although I did catch one on a Jigging Rap.  With the fish as aggressive as they were, the Rap is a great bait however this time the fish were a little more fussy wanting something more subtle yet they still hit with vengeance.  With the season winding down I can't complain much about the last 2 weeks on the pond. 

It has been an interesting week as I spent Monday thru Wednesday in Orlando flying back Wednesday night.  Having been upgraded to first class I was looking forward to a nice relaxing ride home as I wrote this weeks post on the plane.  As luck would have it the on board WiFi was broken so I given a choice of playing solitaire for 3 hours or watch the Steve Martin movie, The Big Year.  It wasn't too bad.  This week might find me fishing some of my old stomping grounds on the back waters of the Mississippi River somewhere between LaCrosse and Alma.  My friend Kevin has been doing well as he nailed a 15 inch perch a few days ago.  That's a nice perch anywhere.  I continue to get the boat ready as everything indicates an early spring.  With the low water the walleye fishing this spring could be interesting.   We'll see!

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