As has become tradition for a good friend Captain Dave, he invited me to the opener on Mille Lacs. I think that this makes the 10th or so opener spent on the big pond.
Mille Lacs has certainly had controversy lately, but that is not what this entry is about. It is about tradition. It is about spending time with good friends. It is about getting out on a lake on the opener and chasing my favorite fish, the walleye.
We had to be prepared for this opener. We almost had to alter our normal plans. The 2016 open water season has been declared catch and release only by the DNR. I am ok with that. It was also originally decided not to allow live bait on the lake. I am ok with that too, but we probably would have changed our plans. You see, Captain Dave likes to fish with a leech under a slip bobber on a plain red hook. Without live bait, his favorite method for fishing was out the window. We started looking over other area lakes for a slip bobber fishable lake.
Fortunately, the DNR relented and decided to allow live bait again.
The weather did not favor us this year. After a somewhat early spring, with the spawn being complete, winter roared it's ugly head. We woke on Saturday to a little snow on the boat tarp and 28 degrees. If that wasn't enough, there was also the NW wind at 15, gusting to 25. It would not be pretty out on the pond.
That's ok we are Minnesotans. We live for this stuff.
We pitched a shut out in the morning and were quite disappointed. Lots of trouble getting the anchor to hold and even more trouble getting fish interested in our baits. It never even reached 50 degrees that day.
However, the evening was a much different story. We relocated to another part of the lake, hoping to avoid some of the wind. We found a fishy looking spot and anchored. While it started slow, just before dark things got busy. We stayed out until our leeches ran out. We took our cold bodies off the lake and cranked the heat on the pickup. Another year of opener memories behind us.
The lake is an amazing resource. For all of the negativity out there about Mille Lacs, my personal opinion is that the future is promising. We caught fish from at least 3 year classes, possibly 4. And yes, most of the fish were from 2013.
I now look forward to fishing my local lakes on much nicer days. But the 2016 walleye hunt is under way