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Shack

The Myth, The Legend, The Mille Lacs Crappie.

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Shack

I would like to start off and say I would like this thread to be an exact and precise thread, with good info and proven facts about what I am going to discuss. I would like this thread to become a great resource for current and future reference. The topic I am curtailing on here is, crappies on Mille Lacs.

We have all seen the threads in the past asking “How’s the crappie bite on Mille Lacs” and “Where are the crappies biting at” (which I will say I am guilty of as well), but I want to go further than just this. I would like (and most every other true Mille Lacs fisherman) to discuss this topic in the way we F.M.ers are know for in almost other topic known to man on this site “to the point“. With this aside, I will proceed.

I will start off with a almost proven fact. I have been researching Mille Laces crappies on the net the last couple of days and came to a conclusion, there is nothing. I did not search every search engine on the web and I did not search every resorts web-site for info or images, but all I could muster up was a blurb on a Tony Dean site and an old post from FM that leads no where. So, I figure we as F.M.er’s (being the pioneers we are) should be the first and claim being the first site/info that needles this subject in an expert, experienced way. “Or” (from what I found) be the first web site to post an image of a Mille Laces crappie in the world on the internet. If anyone can prove this incorrect, please do so and if you have an images of a Mill Laces crappies, please post them.

I will be the first! ;\)

I got on the crappies at Mille Lacs today, and here are some of the images.

Some crappies!

57q77M0vcSqf1KllksoQXcdnLZRh2GsE01B2.jpg

RtK5YYIcI-TFOQPBP2ZV60lif+Ky7EKG01B2.jpg

80JTNcqquv-MZ82zRaJeZO+ni0c2LJHz01B2.jpg

uGRczZJkswnQ5UY2xz0477ai6kRdCidh01B2.jpg

A Jumbo that got in the way

BiwVyVUxBS6FusyIXYJbefjsaSeRTrPM01B2.jpg

Doubles. The big one is like 13.5" and thick

-Gzl627LB1N-Wy9DG+TfxnpDknOFAKLD01B1.jpg

I have full video footage of t0days fishing, but I am having some issue with how the files loaded in my computer.

I will update some more tomorrow. All I will say, it took close to almost 70 augered holes, a little luck and a lot of moving.

I am sun burnt and tired grin.gif.

Good luck..

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HoleHopper

Nice Craps! Good to see em going! Is that Father Hennipen in the background?

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Dan189

Crappies, (especially big, smart, fast ones) avoid the DNR nets fairly well. Probably having to do with their sleek shape. This leads to fairly misleading net counts for elusive slabs.

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JIGGIN'

If I may ask, were you fishing in one of the many SE corner bays??? That is where I heard of these mysterious crappies congregating around this time of the year. Nice fish, thanks for the clarification...

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Wookiee

Nice crappies Shack! Way to get on 'em!

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polarsusd81

I was fortunate enough to find them one year on opener weekend. Fishing from a dock on the south end of the lake, the Friday before opener. The dock I was fishing on, was in some pretty dark and somewhat deep water (about 10 feet), and the slabs were piled in. This was quite a few years back, and I was hungry for a limit of slab crappies, and in less than an hour I filled a 5 gallon bucket to the top with 15 crappies. It was similar to some of the first years Upper Red was pumping out the slabs and everyone caught on. They were biting little flu-flu jigs with wax worms, and very thick fish. This was the one and only time I have ever run into them, but come open water, I might try to get back to the same dock. I would post the exact name of the place, but that would make it far too easy.

Those are certainly some nice fish Shack.

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Shack

Thanks guys.

I took that image out of the post and will repost after I touch it up a little grin.gif. I do not know how you got Father Henny out of that little bit, but that area is a good part of the lake to “start”. That image proved these fish came from Mille Lacs and might end up in my avaitor grin.gif. The common stereotype of Mille Lacs is Isle bay for crappies. My past experiences differ from this. My first go round with ML hog’s, was in the eighties on the south west side. My grandfather and I where on a bull rush edge, that had a drop off to about ten feet at the end tip of the bar. During the summer time we where fishing for walleyes and northern,those darn pesky crappies kept getting in the way.

All along the southern shore of Mille Lacs (I have heard and seen) can produce crappies any time of year. Also, the eastern bays and rock bars are among some other great spots on the lake and do not forget about boat harbors and other structure that can hold these fish.

The Mille Lacs crappie is just not fished all that much. Most fishermen can start out on a trip up to ML for crappies and get the “deer in the headlights” look and get turned around by the great walleye and perch fishing (my self included).

The idea is to find the habitat, structure, find fish on electronics and present them what they want. It sounds easy, but it took nine hours to find them yesterday and many, many, many holes drilled. My arms are like noodles today.

Also remember sun screen/block this time of year. I look like I was in Florida for week after yesterday.

________________________________________________________________________

Also!!!

Tom (polarsus81)

Great post man. That is the kind of info I had in mind when I started this thread. Giving your experience’s in detail (with out giving up your spot) gives others idea’s for the future and can help others get on fish.

Cool.

What worked yesterday:

I found fish shallow (5’ of water from below the ice), right in from the outer edge of an existing weed line/bed. They where suspended about a 1 ½’ to 2’ off of bottom and would follow bait up (showing me they wanted to feed). I use a MarCum LX-5 and I tell you that machine works wonders in find the fish. I was using a light action 29” rod, modified with s stainless steel spring bobber at the end. For bait I used my tried and true green Ratzo, tipped with a red euro larvae. I would drop jig right down to the bars on the MarCum, jig lightly until I see “Red” and then stop. Boop, boop, boop, start reel’in up. I lost some nice fish yesterday, but caught a lot.

Good luck

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Sartell Angler

I've fished Mille Lacs twice in the summer (for eyes) and once on the hardwater (2 weeks ago) for perch. Needless to say I am wet behind the ears when it comes to fishing the big pond and am a virgin of the Mille Lacs crappie bite.

That said, I'm getting up there soon for the perch and may give the crappies a go also. I have experience fishing the shallow water, late-ice crappie so I feel my learning curve is shorter than most in that respect.

70 holes is a lot to drill! I can vouch for the power of the sun this time of year also--I'm getting a pretty nice base for Mexico just by being out on the ice a lot lately.

Good fishing! If you see a guy in a green hooded sweatshirt and a black cap don't be afraid to say hi.

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Shack

The “almost” proven fact is the large schools of jumbo perch are not going to be located in the same areas that crappies will be in. I feel for a first time day trip on Mille Lacs ice for a given season, should be dedicated to one species of fish. When it comes to walleyes (during open season) and perch that is one thing, but with going for crappies and perch that is a total different situation. Now if your are going up for the weekend or a couple days, do a combo of one day crappies and the next day perch. If for a day trip I would select one or the other, until you are comfortable with both species, then hit a dual species day.

Just my opinion, but if one is going to do a dual species day, hit Perch in the AM and crappies after 1:00 pm, on into the evening. On the other side, during the later part of the day and early evening, I have seen my best Jumbo perch bite.

After a couple of single species day trips with success, you will know right where to go to better your odds on getting fish.

I will not rule out a dual species day trip for my self in the next couple weeks.

Good luck.

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Coach1310

Great post Shack!! The Myth, The Legend is TRUE!!!! They do exist!! I may try to find some myself, but I will give it a week or so.

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Dances with Walleye

Okay...

So I keep a fish house on ML during the winter, and always hear about the ice-out crappie bite, and while I've intended to try it out, something always seems to get in the way.

Yesterday I found out that my Dad's health (Heart) is taking a down turn... 12-20 months is the current estimate... Long story, don't want to get into it.

Because of an inner ear - Balance problem he can't really handle the boat.

He's still mobile an energetic at this point, so I was really hoping to get in some shore fishing with him this spring. He always talks about how he wants to catch some slab crappies like you used to be able to catch.

So I came here looking to find more info on the ML Crappie bite, and found this thread.

I'm not looking for anyone's secret spots etc... I'm just wondering what kind of shore fishing opportunities there are and what kind of footing, and things like bathrooms etc...

When I hit ML, I'm always on the west side, and don't know the East and South at all.

Any Advice and locations you guys can offer up that's "Elderly Friendly" would be very much appreciated.

Thanks

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Shack

Dances with walleye,

This is not the easiest question to answer. I am hoping in the next weeks or months, this thread will stay alive and transition into summer fishing for crappies on ML. The reason why I say this is because crappies are a highly transitional fish. The move like a wild fire, but will stay in area’s for short periods of time. To say they are going to be at one dock or landing at one month, week or even day, is very hard to say.

One of the best crappie fishing days I ever had (for size and numbers) was a boat slip dock on a lake in Brainerd. My family has been staying a week or two at this place since 1984 during the summer time. One day about 5-6 years ago, I launched my boat on the first day when we arrived and motored it over to a slip. My boy wanted to fish off of the dock while I got everything together in the boat. I figured pan fish would hang around the dock, so I rigged up a flu-flu and a small crappie minnow or worm at first. Well, after a couple minutes I hear him calling for me. I went over and had a 13” plus crappie on. I thought it was a fluke, put you could see huge 10-16” crappies suspended all over the place around the dock. It was late afternoon and me and my boy caught these crappies for about an hour and half until dark. Even the marina operator came over and could not believe what he saw. He had never seen crappies like that and even started to fish with us. We had a blast. The next day they where gone and for the rest of the week we never seen another crappie hanging around that dock, for that matter I have never seen them since or ever before.

That shows you what shore/dock crappie fishing can hold and not hold.

I am sure others will chime in on your question, but any dock with a weed line close, some depth near by on the dock would be my first spot to check. I know this may include some work in the week before you decide to go, but get a list of resorts together (preferable ones who have deep boat harbors) and start calling around. Also make another list of bait store/gas station’s around the area you want to fish and call them and ask how and where crappies are at. It’s a little work, but it will pay off.

I am making ML crappies a major targeted species form my self in the next year and I will let you know some how/what I know when the time comes. Just keep us updated as when you are going.

Us F.M.ers will help you out in your quest with your father. I know we will..

Good luck

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Coach1310

I know some of the "Old-Timers" fish from shore during the spring and fall in Father Hennepin State Park. I have heard of some really nice crappies being had there. If you go you may see guys wading out as far as possible and if this is an option I would check it out. If you want to leave your email I can give you couple of spots (not on ML) where shore fishing for crappies can be dynamite in the spring.

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MidCoast

I have once caught a 14 inch crappie out of Mille Lacs before while i was walleye fishing.. This was about 8 or 9 years ago though.

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jb_bobber

Great pictures shack. Did you catch those crappies in the morning, or in the afternoon? Looks like you had a great time. Thanks for sharing the info that you did.

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Shack

jb_bobber,

2:00pm right on the nose they started..

Welcome to FM dude.

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mille lacs muskie bum

i have hit it the last two nights. 5 yesterday and 1 today. most of them are around 10 inches but there are a few bigger ones showing up. pink ratso tipped with a larva has been working. the guys who are using minnows are catching more i think.

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DRP

Nice informative post Shack. It's nice to see some useful information on the forums. I myself have caught crappies shallow on Millelacs in the spring time. If your timing is correct, you should have some fun. I would also guess that you could have iced a few earlier in your hot holes...

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jb_bobber

Thanks shack for the time info. I'm going to give it a try on fri. Great site for info and a lot of fun to read. Good luck to all who fish this weekend.

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Shack

No problem guys, this is what FM is for!

jb_bobber,

Good luck when you go up. Its going to be a great weekend for the crappies. It might get a little busy in the "rat race" area(s), but keep your mind open and drill, drill, move and drill some more. I feel the 16"-18" fish are not in the popular areas, but they are in the lake.

I do not think it is to late to call one of the three resorts on top of this forum and get a room/shack for the weekend. Just because the shacks are off the lake, does not mean you can not sleep in them. I would call! Appledoorns, Wilderness and Hunter Winfields are all with in minutes of some great crappie action and I am sure Paul might have heard some stuff around town. E-mail Jay and see what he has heard. If not the perch should really start up this weekend. Who knows the shore line ice might be gone in a week from now, so get up to the pond and catch some fish ;).

Realistically, this could be the last weekend where getting on the ice does not involve hip waiters or a canoe grin.gif.

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SlamNFish

Great post shackbash!!!

NICE CROPS!!!

Hey have you ever tried over by twin bay?

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fish_on

Great post. Another fish that I have had a hard time locating is the big mouth bass. Anyone have any tips for those pesky critters?

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youngie22

I have a question... why is it that the crappie is thought of to be only in those southern bays? Does it have to do w/ type of bottom, type of vegetation, structure, forage? Do people just not target them to the north? Too many musky near Garrison? Does any one have insight to this? I have only spend about two 4 hour excursions to chase these things, and personally I didn't do so hot.

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Dances with Walleye

Yikes... I don't know about chasing them in Summer... As I understand it on a lake like ML where you don't have a thermocline develop and a shortage of holding structure... Means the bulk of them are going to suspend out there in the main basin.

About the only productive safe bet you're going to find is a weedline transitioning to hard bottom (Adjacent to deep water) when you're night fishing.

At least that's where I slop them in when I'm night fishing other lakes.

Spring time is where I'm looking for them from a nice place on shore that has Elderly friendly footing...

In summer I'm happy to go to other lakes and pick them up, rather than chase a suspended pod on the main basin of ML.

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Dances with Walleye

 Originally Posted By: youngie22
I have a question... why is it that the crappie is thought of to be only in those southern bays? Does it have to do w/ type of bottom, type of vegetation, structure, forage? Do people just not target them to the north? Too many musky near Garrison? Does any one have insight to this? I have only spend about two 4 hour excursions to chase these things, and personally I didn't do so hot.

If it's like the lakes that I have luck with from the boat, I think it's because of the weed growth adjacent to deep water... And the prevailing winds are from the West to North West... Which since Crappies are plankton and algal feeders more than they are actually minnow feeders, it means that the south is a good place in the nutrient cycle of the lake.

When I look back in the detailed journal I've kept over the course of the last 5+ Years... Almost all of the lakes that I fish on a regular basis the Crappie action is best on the south and south east sides of the lake. (Assuming standard structure through out.)

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