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Troy Smutka

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

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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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Troy Smutka

5/14/17     Fished the big pond for the opener Saturday. Seventeen walleyes between 16 and 27 1/4 inches and five smallies from 17 to 19 inches. Caught some fish on Rippin' Raps, but most on a leech under a slip float. Caught all the fish "mobile anchoring" on shallow to mid-depth rocky flats--seven to eleven feet deep. Used the troller and the wind, what there was, to move around rocky, gravelly flats, casting Rippin' Raps early and slip bobbers with leeches after the sun got a little higher. Used the spot lock to anchor in position when we caught a fish, then moved on if we didn't catch any more. Saved the spots where we anchored and moved to and from these spots until no more fish were caught. Then moved on to a new flat. Fish were scattered, but biting all day. Caught the last fish at 3 pm with sunny skies and flat calm. Mostly post spawn males looking to feed heavily regardless of weather conditions. A few females up too--they will continue to get more active. Pampered the moms on Sunday--great weekend all around! The walleyes are plentiful in all sizes on Mille Lacs and are biting well. Smallmouth fishing will only get better as the spawn passes and the water warms. I have a few dates left the next several weeks to get people out. Fishing the MTT on Mille Lacs on Saturday. Check out my You Tube channel--episode 3 of "Fishing and Hunting the North Country" will be uploaded by the end of the week, showing our opener on Mille Lacs. Get up to the big pond and take advantage of spectacular walleye and smallie fishing--don't let anyone scare you away with the story that the lake is dead--it is alive and well. Some of the best walleye fishing I have seen in years. Talk to Lynwood at the Malmo Market for accurate tips and great bait. Good luck, and I will see you out there somewhere.

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Troy Smutka

6/4/17     Fished the MTT Walleye Tournament on Saturday, and then some recreational fishing for a couple hours on Sunday morning. Caught maybe thirty walleyes on Saturday from 16 to 27 1/4 inches. Our top five in the catch measure photo and release tournament added up to 26.77 pounds. Fished the mid-lake mud flats on Saturday with light winds. Live bait rigs with nine foot snells and leeches were the ticket in 30-34 feet of water along the edges of the mud. Sunday morning stopped at a rock reef close to the landing with much more wind. Caught nine from 16 to 19 inches in a couple hours on leeches under a slip float.  Eight to twelve feet of water was the best with good waves rolling in. Mille Lacs walleyes are jumping in the boat right now. Fish of all sizes (tournament anglers Saturday reported walleyes from 12 to 29 1/2 inches) are on the shallow and mid depth rocks, on the deep gravel, and the deep mud as well as roaming the basin. They are BITING on just about anything you want to put down there. Don't believe the "dead sea" or "walleye population in crisis" lines being uttered by the negative nellies. The walleye population is healthy and biting. Stop in to see Lynwood at the Malmo Market for the best bait on the lake and the latest tips on what spots and baits are best. Good luck, and I will see you out there somewhere.

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ANYFISH2

Troy,

Honest question, not trying stir anything.

But how do the majority of walleyes look?

A few friends have been out there a bit the past couple of weekends and they are saying the fish are starting to look thin again.  Granted it and far removed from the spawn, i just hope we dont have another mid 2000's on our hands with hungry walleyes.

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maxpower117
33 minutes ago, ANYFISH2 said:

i just hope we dont have another mid 2000's on our hands with hungry walleyes.

Rest assured that if the harvest stays the way it is, we WILL have another "cycle". 

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Nhamm

9' snell's? 34' water?  

 

Good thing the bait will be out their @$$ before you feel em bc you'll need to pop that swim bladder.......and people complain of mortality rates?

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maxpower117
12 hours ago, Nhamm said:

9' snell's? 34' water?  

 

Good thing the bait will be out their @$$ before you feel em bc you'll need to pop that swim bladder.......and people complain of mortality rates?

If the swim bladder is not visible and the fish are quickly returned to the water, there is little affect to the fish and survival rate is very high. 

 

You might want to do a little research and show some respect. 

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ANYFISH2

Thank you Troy!

 

Enjoy your posts,  this one^^ is a prime example.

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Kettle

I use long Snell's on Mille lacs and many others do too. The water clarity affects my Snell length, clearer water longer Snell. I feel a tap and give it and arms length and set the hook, corner of mouth everytime. You can have a one foot Snell and if you feed it 20 feet of line it's going to gut it. Snell length has nothing to do with gut hooks. 

Completely different note, Troy thank you for your insightful report. I couldn't make it to the mud today with the little boat but found a few nice ones in 20 ft in gravel.

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ifishwalleye

Hi, I'm heading to the big pond tomorrow for a day trip. I'm bringing my 12yro son and his best friend. I plan on fishing the north end. I'm looking for a fresh report from this weekend.  Any tips are much appreciated. 

 

Thanks!

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Kettle

Ifish, I'm on my way up now to fish the north end. PM me and I can show you and the kids a few spots

Kettle

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ldbbeck

I disagree no I was not there but that does not matter. I iced fished this winter late January jigging a time of year with lowest mortality rate. Fished in 29 feet of water caught 12 walleyes and I reeled them in slowly and two had there bladders coming up. I left decided having chance to kill fish is not worth. Did not fish in a boat last year at all for same reason. Lots of us have spots where we can go out on right now and catch 50 walleyes but choose not to for the health of the lake. My opinion is if its that bad close it completely and this winter was a joke we all know it was poach city out there. Having said all this the state allows you to fish so it is your choice.       

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maxpower117

I apologize for getting involved in this thread. I think it's time to move the opinion section to another thread and let the op post his reports. 

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Troy Smutka

Thanks Maxpower, I appreciate your suggestion to return this thread to fishing reports and questions to help people enjoy the lake and catch more walleyes. I will stick to this goal with people like you and the people who know everything about everything and are always right will hopefully argue with each other in some other location. Have graduation parties and Father's Day activities with my family around home this weekend, but will be back up at Mille Lacs soon, weather permitting, and will post more reports and tips then. Good luck to everyone on the big pond this weekend--have fun. Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there.

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ifishwalleye

Hi, I'm looking for a fresh report from the North end. 

Thanks!

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maxpower117
On 6/26/2017 at 1:08 PM, ifishwalleye said:

Hi, I'm looking for a fresh report from the North end. 

Thanks!

I'd say that nothing much has changed. 

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Troy Smutka

7/2/17     As far as the north end, all I have heard recently is lots of smallies of all sizes and a few small to mid-sized walleyes on Garrison Reef and Myr Mar Reef. We were on the mud the last two mornings. Caught 93 walleyes from 14 to 27.5 inches. Caught them all on top in 22-25 feet of water, near the top of the break. Live bait rigs with a red hook, white rattle bead, and a jumbo leech were our best combination. Also caught a few fish on nightcrawlers and jigging raps, as well as leeches under a slip float. Sixty-five degree surface water temp. is cold for early July, but helps when bringing fish up from deeper water that is not much colder. No need to feed line, just give the fish the rod tip when you feel them hit, and sweep back at them. Take your time getting them up, and you will have a fish hooked in the outer part of the mouth with no damage to the swim bladder ready to release quickly. Our fish were all barely hooked on the outside of the mouth, we had several come unbuttoned but that is better than feeding line and hooking them deep. The fish, big and small, were trying to jump out of our hands as we were setting them back in the water. Only a few more days to enjoy the fantastic fishing for the lake's spectacular walleye population. Once the closure comes on Friday, don't quit Mille Lacs. Now that more of the walleyes have moved deep, you can actually keep them off baits over the shallow and mid-depth rocks to catch the lake's phenomenal smallmouth bass. The muskies are starting to get active as well. Let's do our part for the area businesses and continue staying at the resorts this month, buying gas, snacks, and tackle at the stores, and enjoy the lake recentlyu named the best smallmouth bass lake in the country. If walleyes are your game, buy your live bait at the area stores and try Knife Lake to the SE a short distance, or Borden Lake just to the NW, or any of the other great walleye lakes in the area. Let's help keep the MIlle Lacs area businesses open. Thanks! Good luck, and I will see you out there somewhere.

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Troy Smutka

7/3/17     Got my little guy up to my Dad's campground Sunday evening for a campfire and then out on Mille Lacs for walleyes today. Finished with a swim in the pool before heading back to the cities. Beautiful day on the water. Slowly slip drifted a deep gravel bar in 28 to 30 feet of water with leeches under slip-floats. My son loves fishing this way. Whenever we contacted fish or saw them on the sonar, we hit the spot-lock on the MinnKota and fished the area thoroughly. Found walleyes stacked in three different areas, and my little guy caught sixteen eyes from 18 to 25 inches in just over two hours. The two 25's were his biggest eyes so far. Had a couple of doubles and a chance at a triple but while I was taking the photo of the double below, didn't see the third bobber down until it was coming back up without a leech on it. Good luck and I will see you out there somewhere. 

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Troy Smutka

8/10/17     Guided three guys for smallmouth on Mille Lacs on Wednesday. Got our trip in before the storms and heavy rain showed up in the afternoon. Caught a bunch of smallies, but no pigs. Fish were from fifteen to nineteen inches. Also caught around twenty walleyes up on the shallow rocks, in eight to ten feet of water. The eyes were from fifteen to twenty inches. Added one jumbo perch. Fish came on crankbaits, jigs with three inch grubs, and Senkos wacky rigged. Good company, conversation, and fishing, and lucked out on the weather. Good luck, and I will see you out there somewhere.

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Troy Smutka

8/21/17     Got out on Mille Lacs on Saturday morning. Started out on rocks in 10-12 feet of water, then as the sum came up and the wind layed down moved to gravel in 28-30 feet and then the deep transition from a rock/gravel reef to the soft lake bottom in 32 feet of water. Caught smallies and walleyes on the rocks, and walleyes on the gravel and the deep transition line. Power bobbing with leeches about one foot above bottom on the rocks and two to four feet above bottom in the deeper spots. The five smallies went from 16 to 18.5 inches, and the walleyes went from 16 to 25.5 inches. They weren't jumping in the boat--we had to try different spots, move around slowly on spots with the MinnKota, and then anchor when we did catch or see fish on the Humminbird. Had to work for them, but wound up averaging three fish per hour with the faster action early and then slowing when the sun got high and the wind layed down--typical August fishing. Eyes and smallies are fat and look healthy--both fought very actively. Surface water temp. started at 68.7 degrees at sunrise and was to 72.4 when we headed in. Still a little cooler than average, but that is how this summer has been. Might be my last time on Mille Lacs--busy with football now and waterfowl hunting starts in a month. Good luck, and I will see you out there somewhere.

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      On the south end...  The lake just keeps producing walleyes.  Good fishing in numerous spots across the south shore, near the Lighthouse and Morris Point Gaps in 8-10' and around Garden Island.  Big numbers of walleyes also staged over deep mud in 25 - 31'.  Most anglers drifting or trolling harnesses (spinners) with crawlers or leeches.  Hammered gold is hard to beat but glow, pink, chartreuse and orange are also popular in the stained water.  Some fish are still being caught jigging on structure or rock to mud transitions.  Anglers catching plenty of eater walleyes along with good numbers of saugers.  Larger slot fish (19.5-28") along with trophy walleyes over 28" being caught often.    
      On the Rainy River...   Sturgeon anglers looking forward to sturgeon fishing reopening on July 1st.  Big numbers of sturgeon await.   No roll sinkers and sturgeon rigs along with crawlers and frozen shiners available locally.  Smallmouth bass in rocky areas, around bridges and current breaks.  Pike are also active cruising weedy bays, bay mouths and current breaks.  Both species don't get much attention and are present in good numbers.  Walleyes hanging out in 20-25'.
      Up at the NW Angle...  Until the US / Canada border opens, guests can travel across the lake and stay in MN waters.  Check with your favorite NW Angle resort for options.  
      Walleye fishing is worth the trip.  Schools of walleyes on structure, over sand and on mud.  Most fish showing up in 8 - 14' or 26 - 28'.  The best presentation is drifting and trolling spinners with crawlers or a minnow.  Pike and smallmouth bass active in weedy bays.  There are hundreds around the Angle.  Try a spinnerbait or spoon. 


    • JBMasterAngler
      By JBMasterAngler
      Just got back from our annual Grand Marais trip. Fishing was pretty good, despite this being the latest in the month I’ve ever been up there. This year was always planned to be a camping trip, but because several of the campgrounds are still closed (including the one I planned to stay at), I luckily was able to get a spot on Flour Lake. Weather was darn near perfect the whole week. We setup camp slower than expected, so we got a really late start on West Bearskin. Only caught 5 bass. But I didn’t fish any of the normal spots I hit. 
       
      Tuesday, we fished Hungry Jack Lake. Holy cow was the resort a zoo! I’ve never seen that place so busy! Which is good...those guys have always been really good to us. Kids caught a bunch of sunnies off the dock. Bass fishing was normal. There were still a few late bloomers on beds. Caught about 35 fish, including a 19.5, 19, and 18.75 inch smallies. Also caught a skinny 20 inch walleye. 
       
      Wednesday we fished our favorite, Greenwood Lake. We caught 100 bass. Mostly the typical small ones, but my son landed a 16.75 incher, which was his personal best. Also caught 1 little northern. Never caught one out of here for 25+ years. Now, ever since we caught the first one a few years ago, we always catch at least one every time we fish here. Lakers have moved away from the shallows. I marked a lot of them, but I didn’t get any to bite.
       
      Thursday was Loon Lake. Caught about 35 fish. They were tiny as usual, but for some reason my son’s favorite fish is rock bass, so he was happy to catch a bunch of them. I caught a 30 inch pike. Had several more follows from pike of similar size. Decided to go for a drive up the trail after fishing, instead of going back to camp. Good decision! We saw a moose and a lynx!
       
      Wanted to fish Two Island on our way home, but it just didn’t work out. Things in town were a mess! Between the road construction, and the coronavirus, it just wasn’t the same fun atmosphere. Unfortunately, it looks like the road construction will be even worse next year. Oh well, we still had fun. As always, wished the trip lasted longer.
       













    • Mwdbuckeye
      By Mwdbuckeye
      The week is fast approaching (July4-11) and the boys (and the three dads) are excited.  Any advice (species is far less important than consistent action) would be greatly appreciated.  Staying mid-lake so east or west are options.  Thanks and good fishing!
       
    • Paddlefinder
      By Paddlefinder
      I am going to try to access pug hole lake from roosevelt lake with my canoe. The 1978 fishing report marked multiple 15-20 lb pike. Has anyone been back there and is there a better access?
    • Well_Read_Redneck
      By Well_Read_Redneck
      The Largemouths have been biting more and more on Lake O'dowd in Shakopee.
       
      I landed this dude at around 8:30 last night in about 4-7 feet of water using a Berkley plastic worm on a Texas Rig.
       
      Lots of fun catching him from my kayak
       
      The ruler is a little blurry, but I marked him at right around 17 inches.
       

  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

    • Resplendent
      I plan to lake fishing next week too, hope the weather will be nice by that time.
    • Wanderer
      Did you have much for floating weeds or moss in the stretch you were fishing?  I’ve had lots this year, the same as last.  Been enough of a pain I’ve quit fishing it.   Always love the vids!
    • tacklejunkie
      I haven't seen any reports locally this year. The other forums all have updated reports. 
    • monstermoose78
      I can’t find varmint loads any where, Any help? 
    • Muskies
      Here’s a picture of the water...6 feet deep off my dock...very clear right now
    • Bryan P
      Got out on Fathers day with the Kayak down the Mississippi River for some good ole Smallmouth Bass action. River was low which made a great float and the smallies were hungry! They just couldn't resist the wacky worm once again. We have such an amazing fishery here in MN, glad to call this state home.  Enjoy.     
    • smalljaw
      Great smallmouth photos!  I feel better now.
    • Muskies
      Thanks for sharing...I was lucky enough to grow up on sand bay. As for muskies, I’ve caught a few smaller ones. The picture is of the lake today...it was a nice day but work needed to get done...no fishing
    • bfisherman11
      Getting closer for me. We will be up on 7/25. If you guys see a red Lowe FM 165 (Fishing Machine) w/90HP Merc, that will most likely be me.  We stay at Idlewood so with no CA this year I suspect we will be traveling east a lot. I know by then Black Bay is "supposed" to be done but I manage a few eyes in there this week. I just like fishing that area, I fished it a lot years ago with my dad. There are big pike everywhere so I will hit a few spots that week.  The reef's I like best for eyes are mostly all east.   The way the border looks I don't think Smalljaw will get to see his cabin in CA this year. That really stinks! Years ago I wished for a cabin on an island on Rainy, that is still a fantasy I guess. I wouldn't be too happy if I finally had my cabin and I couldn't visit it.   I am retiring this summer if things line up right. After this trip with my wife I might try to get my dad back up onto Rainy if I can figure it out. He is 83 and in decent shape except a bad back. My mom is our concern, she has dementia and needs watching, so far my dad is her full time caregiver. My dad started taking me to Rainy when I was in my early teens so I owe him. I know there may be better places to fish but Rainy just keeps me coming back.   Muskies, I really enjoy you posting. Oh, have you ever caught a musky on Rainy? I have not that I recall.   Thanks for letting ramble on your thread.   Bill    
    • Wanderer
      @ozzie I’ve been wanting to get on some whiteys for a while and have talked about hitting the chain for some time.  Just might have to try that tip now that I have an honest fishing boat again.   Or let me know if you have an open seat sometime or want to jump in with me. 😁
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