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Troy Smutka

Mille Lacs Lake Fishing Reports by Great Day on the Water Guide Service

100 posts in this topic

Smuts,thanks for the tips.....drill drill drill too is a good thing.Happy catchin'c63

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5/11/15     Opened the 2015 season on Mille Lacs Saturday. Caught thirteen walleyes from 18-27 inches, including our three slot fish. Also caught seven smallies up to 19 inches and two pike. We were fishing a shallow rock and gravel flat from 6 to 8 feet deep. Moved around with the MinnKota casting a crankbait, a jerkbait, and a slip bobber with leech. Located fish concentrated in an area with some cabbage weeds near some smaller rock. Hovered near them with the MinnKota spot-lock and cast a large leech under a slip float to them to catch most of the fish. Plenty of walleyes to be caught in Mille Lacs this year, with plenty of slot fish for those who want some to eat. Don't let the doom and gloom guys scare you away from the lake. Contact me if you want to get in on some great fishing. Good luck, and I will see you out there somewhere.

 

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5/31/15     Hit the big pond this weekend and caught a lot of eyes from 16 to 25 inches, including our slots. Also stuck several smallies up to 20 inches, and one pike. Cold and windy, but we battled and caught most of our fish on shallow to mid depth rocks power-corking with leeches. Mille Lacs is alive and well--we are doing even better for eyes and smallies than last season. Good luck, and I will see you out there somewhere.

 

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What is the water temp? Are smallies on bed yet?

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58-60 degrees

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Muskie Fever,

     We charted 58 to 61 degrees this weekend depending on where we were. Sunday was cooler water than Friday. Male smallies were getting scuffed up on the belly and fins, so I am guessing they are starting to make beds.

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Hey  Mr. Smuts, few questions for you. When you say "power corking" what exactly do you mean by that? Is it just fishing a lot of spots with bobbers? Or more like live bait rigging where you scan a lot and fish a little? How long do you wait for bites? I like to try new things as much as I can and this has me interested. Not many things better than watching your bobber disappear into the depths. Thanks. 

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hardcore,

     We do power corking shallow and deep. Shallow, we aren't going to see fish on the locator, but we move around on shallow flats watching the locator for larger rocks, humps that come up shallower some--usually rocks, or patches of weeds. Any time we come across a change like one of these, we stop and fish it pretty thoroughly. We also mark it in the GPS for future reference. If we catch fish in a few spots, we will move between those spots with a line in the water the whole time. With a good wind coming in over a shallow flat, we use the electric or the gas kicker to slow the drift of the boat to the same speed the bobbers are drifting, and use the motor to adjust our path in the drift to hit the spots we want to. Deep power corking we do basically the same way, but with the added help of being able to spot fish on the locator and stop and fish them. If we are slip drifting with the Terrova in deep water and we spot fish on the locator, we hit the spot lock on the Terrova and fish that area hard before moving on again. In deep water, we often try to stay on the transition from one kind of bottom to another--on Mille Lacs that is rock to soft bottom, gravel to soft bottom, or even the mud to the lake basin. Deep summer walleyes really cruise that transition. You could to the same thing in deep water with a live bait rig, but with the water getting clear and the pressure, we often find that we catch more fish with a slip bobber presentation than a live bait rig, probably because it is more subtle and stealthy with no weight clunking around on the bottom. This is becoming a great technique for fishing shallow and deep on Mille Lacs. Good luck!

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Well thank you sir, this pretty much answered all my questions and then some. Now I just need to convince my s.o to let me go out and try these new things I just learned. Happy fishing! 

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6/14/15     Hit the walleyes good with a few smallies mixed in on the big pond this weekend. Got my oldest daughter one of her biggest walleyes and my younger daughter her first smallie on Friday evening. Saturday morning my Dad and I were power corkin' for eyes. Caught a bunch of 10-14 inchers on deep gravel. Were charting some larger ones but couldn't get them to go, so moved to 16 feet deep rocks and caught seventeen eyes from 14.5 to 20.75 inches. Using the Terrova and Humminbird to hold on spots, and once the fish moved shallower or deeper due to fishing pressure, boat traffic, wind change, etc., we moved with them and locked on them again. Leeches under a slip float hanging three feet above bottom outfished the live bait rigs being fished all around us. The pics below show a healthy fish population--we caught fish from 10 to 21.5 inches between Friday night and Saturday morning. The bigger ones are in there too, just not where we were fishing. We have not been on the lake all season without catching at least one slot fish. So, there are walleyes of all sizes, including slot fish, in good numbers on Mille Lacs. Get up there and enjoy it. If you need some help, give me a call, I have some dates open. Good luck, and I will see you out there somewhere.

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6/29/15     Fished the big pond three days this weekend. Guided for smallies on Thursday, prefished walleyes on Friday, and then fished the Full Throttle Walleye Tournament on Saturday. Smallies were touchy on Thursday, staring at topwater baits, following crankbaits, and picking up and spitting out tubes. Jerkbaits, especially the Shadow Rap, triggered and hooked the most fish. At least our fish were big ones. Found walleyes in good numbers in two spots on Friday, and dialed in the right technique after trying several. Power corked on Saturday with leeches under the slip float. Light winds allowed us to use the Terrova to cover an expanse of 34 foot deep basin several hundred yards from a mud flat. One eye on the float, and one on the Humminbird. If we saw fish on the sonar or got bit, we hit the spot lock on the Terrova remote and sat on the fish and let the leeches do their thing to trigger negative to neutral fish with high skies, flat calm, and a high and still rising barometer. Much like ice fishing--caught several fish by moving the bait right below the transducers to a fish visible, and then watched the fish come up off the bottom and the float go down. Our biggest five weighed 24.39 pounds (Catch-Measure-Photo-Release tournament) which was good for 4th place. We caught fish from 9 to 27.5 inches, and a lot of them. Two good year classes of 9-11 inchers and 12-14 inchers are present, so the future looks bright on Mille Lacs. Good luck, and I will see you out there somewhere.

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7/12/15     Hit the big pond this weekend--no guiding or tournament, just some time out with Dad. We struggled out in the basin by the mud flats. Couldn't keep 10 to 14 inchers off our lines long enough to catch bigger ones. Caught small eyes on crankbaits on leadcore and on leeches. One jumbo perch also. Moved shallower day two and caught lots of walleyes from 16.5 to 18.75 inches on 12 to 14 foot rocks. Leeches under a slip bobber (power corking a couple reefs) caught the eyes including a 27 incher and some big bonus smallies. Walleyes of all sizes in the lake, but three strong year classes of walleyes between 9 and 18.5 inches have announced their presence so far this season. The future looks bright for walleyes as well as trophy smallies. Good luck, and I will see you out there somewhere.

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I have heard multiple reports of lots of small fish coming up in the lake, but all you hear or read in the paper is that the lake is a mess and there is no walleyes left!!

What gives???

Does the DNR really know what is going on??

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I think the problem is with the way the reporting occurs today.  We live in a world where scare tactics and worst case scenario headlines are what drives the content of the 6 o'clock news and the local fish wrapper.

So, when the DNR reports that they are shutting down walleye fishing because the quota has been met, the reporters all flock to the loudest pissed off resort owner and get their interview. 

Never mind that the quota was set with helping the lake recover and that fishing has been better than expected this year.  Those facts don't make their stories interesting.

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bringanextension

your about as cluless as GOV.DATON and our Worthless DNR Commishner T.L. that need to be OUSTED!!! We need someone for the people and resource not paid off by the indians and the casino(rights) money we gave them for what happenend over 100+ years ago!!!

our abundance of 11-15" walleyes now is due promenitely due to 2 years of late ice out and no netting in the spawning period !!!!!

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Walleyepro, which 2 years had late ice out and no netting?  2014 and 2015?  

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2013 and 2014

i've been fishn Mille Lacs for 40 years mostly on the north end out of Barnacles. In our resort tournament last year 20 plus teams and zero walleyes weighed in, this year they tried different format you could have 2 of each - eyes,muskies,northerns,bass, and jumbos. only 3 teams signed up there for cancelled! IT"S SADD !!!

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Walleyepro, which 2 years had late ice out and no netting?  2014 and 2015?  

 

2013 and 2014

 

Late ice outs only delayed the nets, lessened the amount of them, and their success rates, but never prevented them.

Great report Smuts!

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Sorry smuts for helping  derail your thread I am done after this.

11-15" inch walleyes are 3-5 years old.  So, they were hatched/produced between 2010 and 2012. So I see no correlation in your thought.  I hope the past few years have produced good year classes, we may not know all that much for anot her year or two.

WE can destroy a population in short order but we can not bring it back as fast.

If the DNR listened exclusively  to locals and business owners this lake would be worse off now than it is.  They have never been in favor of anything that might cut into their bottom line, they still would want to have a six fish limit.  That would help right?

ThE treaty rights may have brought forth the slots that may have led to this, but is not the only reason for the status of the lake.  Take it away, lake still struggles in current state.  Keep it and the lake will still recover.

Edited by ANYFISH2

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I posted a similar response to a similar post in the outdoor Mn Talk forum and it is fitting here as well.

 

From a 2013 survey, a 3 year old ML walleye is 13-15" long, shorter than your suggestion. A 4 year old ML walleye is generally 15-16" long. I know I'm not catching or hearing of people catching an abundance of 15-16" fish. There are 10-13" fish everywhere that I have fished this year.  Boated a couple fat 13" fish trolling yesterday in 12 FOW.

http://files.dnr.state.mn.us/areas/fisheries/aitkin/mille-lacs-creel.pdf Page 26.

I would accept that the abundance of 12-14" walleyes in ML are less than 3 years old, maybe 2-3 yrs. Most likely not 4 years old.

At 1 year they between 9-10 inches. I am seening a lot of 10-13" eyes. Those could be in the wheelhouse of 1.5 years old and from the suggested year class of the original post.

And for history sake, I said (on this forum, formally HSO) they should have shut it down last spring.  If they had, we would almost be back to fishing normally today.  Instead they are stretching out the pain over a number of years and they still have no clue what they are doing.

Edited by Kyhl

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The whole crash of Mille Lacs was predicted by MR Sternberg.  HE stood by his conclusions the DNR didn't or wouldn't listen so He took an early retirement and got out of the DNR. The slot limits created to keep the harvest a x amount of lbs a number which was arbitrarily decided upon only  lowered the lbs of fish harvested. They in no way shape or form were there to create a balanced fishery. If you do your research like the Canadians did on slots. They found out the fish at least in their waters that had the highest spawning success were the 18 to 21 inch females. So they protected them. As they are the prime breeders. Do bigger females have more eggs  yes do more of them hatch and grow to maturity in the wild no. At DNR hatcheries yes the big girls eggs hatch but that is a controlled environment so they target big fish for milking the eggs. Think of it this way  Do women of 18 to 35 years old have more children than the 60 plus crowd. Now if at Mille lacs Sternberg said if you do this you are killing the prime breeders exclusively and completely protecting the big fish. Now the avg fisherman thinks protecting the big one is the right thing to do lets put slots everywhere. Well pretty soon you have a lake of giant walleye and while we are at it lets protect the pike and put a whole bunch of muskie in as well. Now years later Gee where are the perch? I don't know. you get the picture. The lake has become so heavily weighted towards large walleye that they have eaten up the prey and resorted to cannibalism to live. Other documented studies have all shown this is what walleyes do. This is what Sternberg predicted excepted it is worse than his predictions. It's not smallies eating walleye every study shows they don't eat walleye their own studies show it. Pike do eat some. Muskies we don't know because they are sacred and they will not discuss it. In any case the problem is  according to them we have walleyes hatch and they all disappear before the 2nd to 3rd year. When they are the perfect small perch size that walleyes eat. SURPRISING. They need to thin the bigger fish and come to a better agreement with the Bands. Or we can just walk away from this as the biggest case of fisheries mismanagement of all times. Also we need to reevaluate slots look to Winni leech and Vermillion walleye size increasing perch disappearing. Sound like the same blackhole.  IMHO

MWal

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Your absolutely right Smuts!  I am sure we all could sit down and find we are more alike than different.  We all love the lake and want to see it recover sooner than later.

Has the the shallow wind blown rock bite started?  I know now most early August has been great to us up shallow in years past.

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Anyfish2,

     Heading up later this week and then will post a report on what we find. Last time up our best fishing for anything bigger than 14 inches was rocks in the 8 to 12 foot range (see post a ways above). We did see crayfish on the rocks shallow enough to see in the clear water. Will start on the shallow to mid-depth rocks and see if the bite is on--usually happens in late July to mid August depending on water temps.

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Thanks for the info Smuts.  I will probably return to trolling that 12-15' range again on Friday.  What is funny is that Sunday I started with a perch color rap after removing a red crayfish rattle rap that was on the line.  I think the crayfish rattle rap will be tied on again Friday.

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