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Troy Smutka

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

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jay83196

Great info thanks! How long is long snell? What size hook? Any favorite colors? Now that I'm trying to steal all your secrets smile thanks again I love hearing what other guys do.

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Troy Smutka

jay,

I usually start out with a 7-8' snell on the mud, and lengthen it to as much as 10' if I am not getting bit or the fish are picking it up and dropping it. You just have to experiment with colors, but my confidence live bait rig on Mille Lacs is a red hook with a glow/white rattle bead. I always start with that, but have caught fish with plain, red, and orange hooks with white, green, and orange rattle beads as well as with no bead. #6 hook with crawlers and leeches, #4 hook with a rainbow. You can go to a #4 hook with a jumbo leech if you are missing fish.

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fish_hunt_guy

Hey Stick in the Mud did you catch any walleyes with the topwater or was it all smallies? Just curious. Thanks

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Stick in Mud

All smallies on top. Tonight was about the same for us...slow walleye fishing, then we switched over to topwater the last 45 minutes. We did get some 'eyes, but only one keeper. Decided that bass fishing was more fun!

There's nothing better than watching a bass come up and smack a topwater. smile

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jay83196

Great info, how heavy a sinker? Is it best to go as light as possible depending on wind and drift speed? Or heavy and keep it almost vertical straight down? I use 8# mono usually flourocarbon, having second thoughts thinking braid might be better?

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Sandmannd

Great info, how heavy a sinker? Is it best to go as light as possible depending on wind and drift speed? Or heavy and keep it almost vertical straight down? I use 8# mono usually flourocarbon, having second thoughts thinking braid might be better?

I like to stay as vertical as I can when rigging for eyes. I use just enough weight to allow me to do so. When you stay vertical you can raise and lower that weight to create a little more action which works great. I use 6 lb fireline crystal on my line to the weight and put a snap swivel on after the weight. Then I use a 7-11' snell made out of 6 lb vanish with a #6 gamagizu hook on it. Red is always a good color for the hook but up there I've had to switch to cobalt, chartreuse, etc. You have to play a round to find what's working on that day. Sometimes on the mud it's nice to use spinners as well. Just don't be afraid to mix it up.

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Troy Smutka

jay,

I go with a heavy enough sinker to stay as vertical as possible. Usually 5/8 to even 1 ounce in deeper water like on the flats. Fluorocarbon or braid will work fine on the mud. I use braid when I am rigging on deep rocks or gravel just because it's sensitivity due to no-stretch telegraphs the bottom to me better. I can feel the instant the sinker is up against some rock and pop it out before it gets wedged in. The stretch in mono or fluorocarbon delays the signal back to me just enough for the sinker to get stuck before I realize it. Nothing to snag on the mud, so either is fine. If I use braid on the main line to the sinker, then I like to use a fluorocarbon snell for stealth at the bait. You can control your speed by back-trolling into the wind if there is one, and slip-drifting with the wind so you can stay vertical. Less muck kicking up and better control and feel of your bait vertical than dragging a ways out. Fishing vertical and very slowly allows you to tell whether to feed line to a fish or not, and how much. You can use the motor to sit on top of the fish when it bites. This avoids deep-hooked fish better than just flipping the bail, feeding a bunch of line while you drift farther from the fish, then reeling up until you "find" the fish again.

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maros91

What size and color rapalas to cast on the rocks for smallies. My trip last weekend got postponed to next weekend. All great info so far.

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Troy Smutka

Biff,

I like either shad/minnow or crawfish colored cranks for smallies on the rocks. #5 and #7 Shad Raps or Jointed Shad Raps work well, as does a DT 4, 6, or 10 depending on water depth. I also like the old #5 Fat Rap in a crawfish color bounced off the rocks. If the bass are scrounging craws, then use the crawfish colors and pick a bait that dives deep enough to bounce off the rocks. Warning, you will likely lose a bait or two. If the fish appear to be feeding higher on minnows, then go with the minnow color and you can run it a foot or two off the bottom. Fun way to fish smallies, they just hammer a crankbait when they are active so hold on to your rod. Good luck.

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Troy Smutka

7/6/14

Got out on the big pond and fished through 3 footers on Saturday. Slip-drifted some transitions lines with leeches under slip bobbers. No 18-20 inchers, but caught some nice fish plus six under the slot from 12-16 inches. Missed several with difficulty taking up slack line in 20+ mph winds and had a couple small ones come unbuttoned. Partner got queasy so not out too long. Hope all those smaller fish are indicative of a couple good year classes. Looks like fish are setting up on the deep transitions from rock or gravel to soft bottom. Saw bugs, perch, and eyes on the sonar. Good luck and I will see you out there somewhere.

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Troy Smutka

7/13/13

Fished the deep gravel and mud this weekend. Bug hatches are in full swing as larvae, perch, and walleyes are all over the sonar off the edges of the deep gravel bars and mud flats. We caught smaller fish power corkin' with leeches, and larger fish trolling #4 and #5 Shad Raps and Jointed Shad Raps on lead core at 2 mph. Caught many 12-16 inchers (could be good news for the future if we can protect these fish for a couple more years) and many larger fish from 22 to 28 inches. A 15, 22, and 28 are shown below. The bite was not exactly fast, but we were dealing with a cold front and there is a lot of food in the water right now. As the insect hatches slow down over the next week or two the bite should improve some. Good luck, and I will see you out there somewhere.

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Troy Smutka

7/27/14

Walleye bite is slow right now on the big pond. Lots of big fish out on the deep mud and gravel, but lots of food in the form of larvae, blood worms, perch, and minnows as well. Trolling crankbaits on leadcore triggers a strike once in a while, but it can be slow. Some smaller eyes can be had up on rocks from 8-14 feet deep, especially if there is some wind blowing in. Catching these 12-19" fish, along with some smallies and a few jumbo perch casting or trolling #5 and #7 Shad Raps, as well as on leeches under slip bobbers. Photo is of a 22.25" smallie my Dad caught on a crankbait on the rocks. Digital scale said 6 pounds 11 ounces, and a rare slot eye. Good luck, and I will see you out there somewhere.

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Redlineracer12

Awesome smallie!!

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jay83196

For the few of you having success I'm curious if I'm in the wrong locations or using a bad presentation... I've fished blue jug flat, resort flat, And several others in those area's. I'm sticking to the edges and just off the edges of the flats. I use 6-10' leader with 6# vanish line with spin n glo spinners, or a red hooks with a chartrues bead and a leech or shiner. Drifting between .4-.8 mph or trolling if no wind. Been out 4 times poor luck everytime. I also trolled several colors of shad raps in Garrison area reefs also no luck!

Advice please...I don't Wana give up on my favorite lake!

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Juan Grande

Wow, that smallie is amazing! Congrats to your dad!

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Troy Smutka

jay,

There are lots of large walleyes roaming the basin off the mud flats and gravel bars right now. Problem is, there is a ton of food in the lake in the form of small perch, minnows, and larvae. We troll small crankbaits with leadcore deep this time of year to try to trigger reaction strikes, but this is as slow as I have seen it in a few years. The crayfish hatch and molt is getting started on the shallow and mid-depth rocks, and this brings good action for smaller walleyes shallow, especially early and late. Last Friday, two of us caught a 16, 17, 18, and 18.5 as well as the big smallie shown above on crankbaits and leeches under slip bobbers on rocks from 8-14 feet deep. This bite should be on for the next couple weeks. When there are better numbers of jumbo perch in the lake than there are right now, this pattern catches plenty of them as well. We also hit smallies and pike. We power cork with leeches, or cast or troll #5 Shad Raps, Jointed Shad Raps, and Flicker Shads depending on the depth and size of the rocky area we are fishing. You can find these shallow rocky areas all around the lake. Give it a try, and good luck.

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MuskieFever

Any musky reports?

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Troy Smutka

Muskies are starting to get active on the shallow rock reefs on the south and east side. The crayfish molt and hatch is on in these spots, and we are catching walleyes, smallies, pike, and a few jumbo perch trolling #5 crankbaits in 8-12 feet of water. We landed a small musky this weekend, and had a big one on for a few seconds before it bit the line and took the crankbait. Didn't fish for them specifically, but we did see a big one nail something near the surface in about nine feet of water as well. Probably moved to these spots to feed on perch and small walleyes feeding on crayfish.

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Troy Smutka

8/3/14 Fished shallow rocks this weekend as detailed above and caught multiple species including five of the elusive slot walleyes. Trolling #5 Shad Raps, Jointed Shad Raps, and Flicker Shads as well as power corking with leeches. Walleyes we filleted were full of crayfish pieces and the smallies we caught were spitting them up by the boat during the fight. Good luck, and I will see you out there somewhere.

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Troy Smutka

8/10/14

Shallow rock crayfish bite is still on. We trolled small crankbaits Friday evening and trolled crankbaits and fished leeches under slip bobbers Saturday morning on rocks in 8-12 feet of water. Caught about a dozen walleyes from 12-17 inches, as well as five 18-19.75 inchers. Also caught several smallies from 15-17 inches. Walleyes we filleted were full of crayfish. This bite should be one for another week or two. Deep mud and gravel fish are still a tough bite. Leeches on rigs or under slip bobbers are your best bet for these deep fish--they aren't hitting cranks on lead like they often do this time of year. Good luck, and stay safe.

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fish_hunt_guy

Thanks for the reports Smuts! Nice fish.

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Troy Smutka

1/18/15

Hammered tulibees and perch on Mille Lacs this weekend. Fish were in 27-29 feet of water over soft bottom close to harder bottom transition. Caught them on small spoons and jigs tipped with red Eurolarvae and minnow heads. Kept a three person limit of tulibees for the smoker, and sixteen jumbos for the fry pan. Caught several more tulees, smaller perch, and a small walleye. Great fishing information and bait from the Malmo Market, and terrific lodging and food at the Red Door. 24 inches of good ice with little snow on top allowed us to drive wherever we wanted to search for fish. This bite should be on for a while--get up to the big pond to take advantage of great fishing conditions and a great bite, or give me a call if you need some help full-29555-52295-dscn0706.jpg

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. Good luck, and I will see you out there somewhere.

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Stick in Mud

Nice to see some hefty perch! Thanks for sharing the report.

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chris63

Smuts,How do you find soft to hard transition spots?Depth finder or camera or both?My old fl8 may not be doing the job.An old guy up at LOW showed me the tape measure trick.You use a 50' tape measure to "feel"the bottom.This works but I was looking for an "easy button"way?Nice perch!!!!Those tbees arent bad either!c63

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Troy Smutka

Chris,

You can use a flasher to find the transition. Hard bottom would be the color of a stronger return and soft bottom a weaker return. It can be a little trickier with flashers than with an LCD display. If in doubt, yes, use a camera. You could also use a heavy "depth finder" that you clip onto a light sensitive line and drop down to see if the lead goes "clunk" or "mush" on the bottom. Once you find the change, record it on a GPS and record the depth. On a particular piece of structure (rock reef, sand hump, mud flat, etc.) the transition from the bottom content of the structure to the lake basin is pretty much at the same depth all the way around it. Once you move to another structure, you will have to figure out the depth again as it could be different from other pieces of structure. We're far enough into winter that walleyes will be using the transition to loaf and feed. Perch and tulibees will feed on the soft bottom (larvae, minnows, freshwater shrimp, etc.) reasonably close to the transition. Good luck.

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