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Troy Smutka

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

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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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chris63

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

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Troy Smutka

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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Troy Smutka

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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MuskieFever

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

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Mike #1

58-60 degrees

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Troy Smutka

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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hardcore365

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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Troy Smutka

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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hardcore365

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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Troy Smutka

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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      So, I gave up on eyes this weekend.  Figured it was time for a change.     I fished for Crappie, they were much more willing to bite.  They are mostly all shallow, 2-4'.  I caught them on minnows and tube jig.  I just scanned the shallows looking for schools.     Funny thing, I was fishing the Edgeton Rd Bridge, caught a solid 9" gill, then next cast something picked up my tube, I set the hook, I see a bright white belly turn, and the jig popped out.  I guess the issue with a tiny jig and a ultra light rod.  I think it was a 24'ish  walleye.  Next cast I stuck a 14" walleye.  Then two dudes in bass boats came chugging along at about 6mph with their motor trimmed to high hell and stirred everything up.  Thought that was nice of them.     So, I also did see a large grouping of blue gill beds on the main sand flat on Horseshoe.  Only a few bites.  I could see fish in them with SI.  Also tried weed edges for gill in about 9-10', and just dinks.  Threw a crawler at the shore, and started hammering 8-9" gills.     So fish can be caught, just have to try and figure out what they want.  With more consistent weather should come a better bite.  
    • Vlewis128
      Hi all. I am currently at Rush Lake near Perham at Four Seaons Resort. We’ve been here three days and have caught basically nothing. Can anyone give me some advice on walleyes here? Where to go and good baits for this lake? I’ll take any advice on any type of fish you might experience with on this lake. Never been here before.....
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