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Troy Smutka

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

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BringAnExtension

Smuts -

Sorry that my post contributed to hijacking your thread.  Keep the fishing reports coming!

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rascal23

smuts, 

Thanks for the info. I was wondering what you could tell about the crayfish molt. Any idea how long it lasts and how it varies around the lake? How many times a year?  We'll be up Mon. - Wed. to fish smallies  and spend lots of $$ on food ,gas and lodging.

Thanks again,    

rascal

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Troy Smutka

rascal23,

     Just got back from Mille Lacs. Crayfish are all over the shallow and mid-depth rocks. Usually starts the end of July or beginning of August depending on water temps, and can last a few weeks. Check out the following post for a detailed report from this weekend, and good luck with the smallies.

8/2/15     Hit the shallow and mid-depth rocks on the big pond this weekend with the crayfish bite on. Battled strong NW winds Saturday, and strong winds from a few directions around showers Sunday morning. Best action was on leeches under slip floats (power corking) on a rock reef in about 11-14 feet of water, with the bait about 2 feet up. Caught walleyes from 16 to 20.75 inches, including a couple of slots. Also caught some nice smallies and some jumbo perch. Many of the fish were spitting up crayfish pieces in the water and in the boat, and I had to clean pieces out of the livewell from the two slots we kept and ate Saturday night. Often we catch fish casting crankbaits, jerkbaits, and Rippin' Raps or trolling #5 Shad Raps and Jointed Shad Raps in six to nine foot rocks during this time, but I think the weather had the fish just a little deeper and less active, thus the bobber bite. Even if walleyes close, the shallow to mid-depth rocks will have jumbo perch, pike, and smallies on them the next couple weeks so take advantage of the opportunity. Good luck, and I will see you out there somewhere.

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rascal23

Back from Mille lacs and honestly it was tough. Fished all day Tues. out of Garrison off pike point, mostly  6-11 fow and got a 16" on a green tube. That was it for a long time. Tried the reeds to the south then moved the next point south and back to Pike point fishing everything from cranks to drop shot, tubes, pitbosses, beaver-tail plastics and straight tail worms on jigs and t-rigged. Nothing. Mid afternoon we moved out to Garrison reef and after trying a number of spots, finally found some biters on a small hump that broke sharp from 6ft to 9ft where my buddy hooked up on 8 - 10 fish, biggest being 20" but most small all on a 5" green pumpkin trick worm on 1/16 oz jig.

   Wed. we fished Isle to Big point, fishing all the usual spots. Finally I hooked up on couple on a deep hump off doe island - 13 fow on a jig/craw. Fished a bunch more spots - nothing. Towards evening I got a couple next to doe island on a 4" dinger . One was a 19 +".  Tough couple of days, but no better place in MN to catch your best smallie, and i'll take that over numbers.   In hindsight, we maybe should have spent more time deeper, but we thought the nice weather would have brought them shallow.

  Something of note -  No fish had sores on there heads, and I caught a crawdad on a plastic and it was bright red-orange, if that means anything.

   Also, Lots of people on the lake, fishing, tubeing, cruising around and launches were running all day. Get out there and fish. I'll be back.

  rascal

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Juan Grande

Nice report rascal.  Contrary to popular belief, the smallies don't jump in the boat some days, you really have to work for them.

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rascal23

No doubt.  I'ld like to fish with all the guy's who say they're so easy to catch so they can show me what I'm doing wrong.

  A couple other things I noticed on this trip was how incredibly FAT all the fish were - some of the 14-16" fish were obese.   Another thing was how low the clarity was. Maybe it was our timing around an algea bloom, but I've never seen it less clear. I thought the mussels were supposed to really clear the water.

 

    rascal

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Juan Grande

If it was really windy, that stirs up the bottom and cuts down on clarity a lot.  

I think the crayfish molted recently so the smallies have probably been gorging on them. 

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Troy Smutka

8/17/15     On Mille Lacs this weekend for the first time since the walleye closure. A little light on boats, but saw several launches out that were full--that was good to see. We targeted rocks from 8 to 12 feet deep again, and caught smallies, walleyes, perch, and pike. Nothing big, but good numbers. Smallies ranged mostly from 15 to 17 inches, with a couple bigger and a couple smaller. Walleyes ranged from 12 to 20 inches. Pike went from 19 to 26 inches, and most of the perch were under nine inches, unfortunately. We usually catch larger perch on the shallow rocks this time of year, but not many this weekend. Caught most fish casting and trolling crankbaits, and casting Rippin' Raps in 8 to 10 feet. Tried 12-13 feet with leeches under bobbers for a while looking for some larger smallies or perch, but still just caught mid-sized smallies and eyes, so switched back to artificials. Don't give up on the lake--smallies are biting on the rocks and there are some walleyes, pike, and perch there for bonus fish. If you catch any eyes, please be careful and get them right back in the water--avoid netting them if you can and don't take time with photos. Launches are doing trips on the shallow rocks. Good luck, and I will see you out there somewhere.

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Troy Smutka

9/2/15     Got up to the big pond for the last time this open water season this past weekend. Caught a lot of smallmouth in the 14-17 inch range and several walleyes in the same size range on rocks in 8-12 feet of water on the SE corner. Rippin' Raps and Shad Raps were the most consistent baits, though we tried a little of everything. Nothing big, but lots of action. No pics--wanted to get everything back in the water as quick as possible. My boat heads down the road with its new owner on Saturday, so this will be my last open water fishing report of 2015. Football and hunting will take up my time in the fall. Check the waterfowl hunting reports this fall for our hunting reports, and I will be back on this forum as well as Hutchinson and the Metro with ice fishing reports once the water firms up. Pick up a new boat in the spring and will be back with open water fishing reports then. Good luck this fall, and I will see you out there somewhere.

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ANYFISH2

Thanks for all the reports and info, smuts.

Goodluck with your endeavors this fall, will be looking forward to your hardwater reports!

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mwal

Troy

Thanks for all your informative reports!!1

 

Mwal

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Troy Smutka

5/22/16     First time on the big pond fishing blind in the MTT tournament this Saturday. My brother and I caught fish, but none very big so finished near the middle of the pack. Figures, got my Dad out on Sunday for a couple hours before heading south for a graduation party and in two hours we boated a 28.5 and two 23.5 inchers! One of the same spots as the day before, but a little more wind made the difference. Caught our fish both days power bobbin' with leeches on rocks from ten to fifteen feet deep. Tried shallower--no go--not enough wind. Saw plenty of fish on the mud, but also an insect hatch and perch and tulibees all over the sonar so the deep mud bite was tough. Back up in two weeks for another MTT tournament. Good luck, and I will see you out there somewhere.

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Kettle

I can second the hatch, there were a lot of dead bugs on the surface and a lot of mayflies I noticed flying around.  Surface temp was 63, ran out to the flats and the fish where there just didn't want to bite.  Tried everything I could!  Next week should be great, I thought it was awesome the amount of people out walleye fishing!  I only saw three fish boated all by a kid about 6 years old, how it should be!  I did see some football sized smallies just off shore

 

Kettle

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Troy Smutka

6/7/16     Fished the MTT again on Saturday, this time with my Dad filling in for my brother, and then fun fished a couple hours Sunday morning before heading to Motley for the Lund Boats catalog photo shoot. My Dad and I had a five fish weight (Catch, Measure, Photo, Release) of 24.05 pounds for the tournament. Respectable, but the winners averaged 7.5 pounds per fish with 37.55 pounds. Fish from 13 to 29 inches were caught, and lots of them. My Dad and I boated about 30 during the tournament. The lakes walleye fishery seems to be a bit stronger than is being advertised. Sunday morning my Dad and I, recreational fishing, boated eight and missed three in about three hours. They went from 15 to 27 inches. We were power bobbin with leeches on rocks in 10 to 14 feet of water both days (either foggy, raining, windy, or a combination much of the time both days had fish active shallow). Good luck, and I will see you out there somewhere.

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Daze Off

Coming up Saturday for smallies - best bet for locations - north/south, east/west? Initial plan is southwest....

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Troy Smutka

Best reports right now are the east side, from Isle Bay to Agate Reef. Hair jigs and minnow colored crankbaits are the best baits right now. Topwater should work if you can get a calm morning. Smallies are feeding up right not, not on crayfish, so tubes have been slow. I know there are plenty of fish on the SW part of the lake as well, but most of the good reports right not are east. Good luck.

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Troy Smutka

6/13/16     Fished a couple hours Friday evening and about six hours Saturday morning on mid-depth rocks in the SE part of the lake. Power bobbin' with leeches. Caught five eyes from 19 to 24 inches the last half hour before sunset Friday, caught thirty-one from 14 to 25.5 inches Saturday morning, plus six or seven 12-13 inchers and a nice smallie. Still catching fish from several year classes, and lots of them. The fish are healthy, fat, and they are fighting like smallmouth on the rocks in 10-20 feet of water. Fish are out deeper as well (gravel and mud) but we like fishing them shallower when wind or clouds have them active. Good luck, and I will see you out there somewhere. 

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DLD24

What is power bobbing?? I feel like I read what it is a while ago, but can't remember...Also when does the spinner bite heat up out there???Hoping to hit the pond for first time tomorrow.

Edited by DLD24

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Sculpin

Power corking can take a few different forms. Some guys drive around and watch their electronics, and if they see fish they set a slip bobber to the desired depth and toss it on the fish. Or you can ease around with your trolling motor, and fan cast an entire area with slip bobbers set at the desired depth. It's simply a way to cover water, and eliminates the need to stick an anchor and basically fish from a stationary spot. You need a day when the wind is kind of moderate, as boat control is critical.

Pulling spinners would be a good option right now, water temps are hanging around 66/68 degree's, and there are allot of fish out on the deep gravel, July Bar, 4 mille, Sloppy's etc. Or if you want a chance at some nice smallies, go to 3 Mile and pull  spinners around the rock/sand transitions, and expect some bonus walleyes in the mix....

The crayfish are molting, and the bass are feeding heavily on them, they'll love a crawler in this situation.

Good Luck !!   

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Troy Smutka

6/20/16     Big fish on the mud and gravel right now if you want to pull spinners or cranks with leadcore. Mayfly hatch was happening this weekend. If the wind is moderate, I use the MinnKota Humminbird combo to power bobb. If it is too windy wavy to keep the MinnKota in the water, then I switch to the Merc Pro Kicker on the transom. We are on mid-depth rocks right now, as it has been breezy or cloudy enough to have fish active in these spots. We work a long, thin reef slowly upwind with the bow mount, casting leeches under a bobber ahead and to each side of the boat. I then use the bow mount to slip-drift the boat back down wind, keeping the boat drifting the same speed or slightly faster than the bobber is drifting, reducing the amount of casting from the upwind troll. If I spot fish, or we catch one, I will hit the spot lock or anchor button on my MinnKota remote and hold on that spot for a while before moving on. If it is wavy, I will just do the slip-drifting part down wind using the gas kicker. We do the same thing to cover a flat shelf or step on a point that drops off of a bigger reef into deeper water. Later, we will power bobb in deeper water, trying to follow the transition from gravel to the lake basin or the bottom edge of mud flats. We will use basically the same technique. I will have an article about this technique in the August edition of Fur Fish and Game magazine.

     Got my Dad out to do this very thing on Friday evening and caught eight in about an hour and a half after the rain and wind blew by. Got my Dad and one of my high school football coaches out Saturday morning and caught about twenty. A pink and white or chartreuse and orange Creep Worm jig tipped with a leech under a slip bobber was the ticket. Remember, with the water on the big pond so clear, use a Fluorocarbon leader at the jig if you are using colored line or a braid. A good three or four feet of fluorocarbon keeps fish looking only at your jig and leech. Good luck, and I will see you out there somewhere.

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Troy Smutka

Was able to get up to the big pond for a couple days for the first time in a few weeks. Friday we had clouds and some wind, so we power bobbed with leeches on rocks in 11 to 15 feet of water. Caught thirty-one walleyes from 14 to 26 inches and six smallies from 16 to 19 inches. Saturday was clear and mostly calm, so we headed out to the mud. Cruised a couple of flats and found a school of fish on the bottom edge of the tip of one flat, in 33-34 feet. Slowly worked live bait rigs with leeches through them. Slower bite than Friday, but still boated fifteen walleyes from 14.5 to 26 inches. Missed a few, and had two come unbuttoned as well. Moved at 0.3 to 0.4 mph and kept the sinker off the bottom as much as possible. Eight foot snell with a red hook and white rattle bead was the best. The great bite on Mille Lacs continues. Good luck and I will see you out there somewhere.

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Troy Smutka

7/23/16     Scouted Friday morning for a guide trip Friday evening on the big pond. Hot, flat calm, sunny, and insect hatch going on. Tough conditions but we still caught plenty of fish--mostly big ones--both morning and evening. Fishing along the bottom edge of a couple of mid-lake mud flats, in 33-34 feet. Got a couple on leeches on live bait rigs, but most were on leeches under slip bobbers. Fish seemed to like this more subtle approach better and were easier to hook with a tough bite. Just slowly moved around an area just off the edge where we found fish. Good luck, and I will see you out there somewhere.

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Troy Smutka

8/8/16     Got out on the big pond this weekend. My Dad and I power bobbed with leeches on mid depth rocks with some pretty good wind and waves on Saturday. Caught fourteen walleyes between 14.5 and 17 inches and five smallies from 17-18 inches. Got two of my kids out on the deep mud with calm and sunny conditions on Sunday. Tougher bite--fish visible on the sonar but not too active. Did get my daughter her second biggest walleye (22") and my son his first two walleyes. Caught several, but definite lulls in between on Sunday. Good luck, and I will see you out there somewhere.

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Troy Smutka

1/15/17     Did an overnighter on Mille Lacs this weekend. Fished out of a sleeper on 18 foot rocks Friday evening and overnight and Saturday morning. Good bite from five to eight pm, great bite from midnight to two am, and good bite from six to nine am. Caught a fish here and there in between these times as well. Didn't get much sleep as the rattle wheels were noisy most of the night. Caught fish from fourteen to twenty-two inches. Fatheads on glow jigs under the rattle wheels caught lots of fish. Also jigged up fish on Buckshot Rattle Spoons with a minnow head and Buckshot Rattle Jigs with a live minnow. Fish move through in packs--had several doubles. Hit the deep transitions from one bottom content to another during the daytime for big perch, tulibees, and some walleyes. We weren't able to do that on this trip, but friends are catching some nice perch using this approach during the daytime. Stop at the Malmo Market for the best bait on the lake and sure-fire locations and strategies--talk to Lynwood. We went out of Castaways--good roads with only one bridge to cross. Eighteen inches of ice. Good luck, and I will see you out there somewhere.

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Troy Smutka

1/29/17  Hit Mille Lacs this weekend. Fished deep gravel, 28 to 30 feet. Bite was a little tough--lots of lookers but only some biters. Caught most of our fish early, before sunrise, and late, after sunset. Most of the fish were caught on a blue/white Rattle Jig tipped with a fathead or a Rattle Spoon with a minnow head. 22 inches of ice with little to no snow, but plenty of rough spots from sluch freezing on top. Man are there 16-18 inch walleyes in that lake right now! Good luck, and I will see you out there somewhere.

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

    • skyking
      Was up last week on Kab and it seemed that your bait depended on where you were fishing. Some areas leeches did good, but others minnows were the go to. We lindy rigged the entire trip and on days when wind was gusty we did pretty good shallower with minnows in 13 to 20 ft....then some areas we were doing better with leeches 16 to 32 ft. No wind was like the dead sea.
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      I don't think you will be able to run it on that generator. I have a yamaha 2000 and I have not tried it yet but from everything I have read you need 2800 watts to start the AC. All the 2018 ice castle fish houses are coleman mach 3 plus AC I think. 
    • BigVwalters
      The fishing was pretty decent over the weekend.  Walleyes were biting on rigs with leeches or crawlers. Caught 12 between Friday and Saturday with with 4 nice slotters.   Biggest being a 24".   
    • Borch
      Star Island in Cass Lake has remote, boat in primitive camping as well.
    • A Warrior
      Just returned from a successful trip on Kab.  Minnows did catch fish, but leeches were the ticket
    • Rick
      Angling regulations on Lake of the Woods and the Rainy River in northern Minnesota would change under a proposal being considered by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to reduce the number of walleye and sauger allowed to be kept in the winter on the lake, and on the river allowing only catch-and-release fishing for those fish in the spring.  “We recently went through a public process of updating the Lake of the Woods Fisheries Management Plan and identified several potential areas of concern with regard to current levels of harvest,” said Phil Talmage, Baudette fisheries supervisor. “That’s why we’re discussing these potential changes.” The proposed changes would reduce the aggregate limit of walleye and sauger in the winter to align with the summer regulations on Lake of the Woods, and make spring angling on the Rainy River catch-and-release for walleye and sauger. The changes would go into effect starting March 1, 2019. Anglers will see yellow signs at public water accesses around Lake of the Woods and the Rainy River later this month notifying the public of the proposal. Future news releases will provide the details of a formal public comment period during the fall, and will include ways to provide comment to the DNR on the proposal. For more information on Lake of the Woods management go to mndnr.gov/lakeofthewoods. Discuss below - to view set the hook here.