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Return of Mille Lacs


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Meilertson

Over the past few years Mille Lacs lake has been given a bad rep by most people. And I would agree that fishing there now isn't what it once was. Over fishing and the development of detailed maps and GPS chips have forever changed the lake. But there is hope for this body of water. I've ice fished it 6 times this year and learned something new on each trip. I've noticed a very large amount of 8-10" walleyes out there meaning in another 2-3 years this lake should be on fire. And I think its already picking up. Christmas eve a buddy and myself battled a soaking wet wheeler ride out to the mud and had a great bite. We caught some very healthy fish with big fat bellys on them. These fish were not going hungry. Again we caught some of those little eyes too. My last outing was just 3 days ago in that frigid 1 degree temp and 30mph winds from the SW. Fished shallower just a few hundred yards from shore in about 13'. After an hour of nothing the vexilar lit up a BIG red mark, we leaned forward and down my buddies hole was a 30" (give or take) giant walleye. He sat there staring at the VMC Flashchamp but wouldn't bite. 2 minutes later we noticed his girlfriends bobber is MIA. Whatever it was pealed 10' of line and got the meal. As I was re-baiting that bobber the other bobber goes down. My buddies girlfriend sets the hook, rod doubled over and it came off after 2 cranks. Then about 30 minutes later another big mark on the graph. Look down and again easily a 5 pound walleye down there. Again he didn't want to eat but very cool to see. We went 0 for 4 but it felt like success. We'll get em next time perhaps when it's not "HOTH" out there (anyone who's seen star wars will get that one). Point is there's fish out their people. The dead sea is much alive. Get off the couch and go give it a try. It's only gonna get better in the upcoming years.

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leech~~

Thanks for the report! What side of the lake were you on? I'm going to be banging round out there with the sled and porty all day tomorrow! smile

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Matt,I have seen this lake float up and down in population size and bait fish avalabilty.The perch fishing used to be crazy compared to today.Average size of ALL species(except for smallmouth)is way down.Look at some old fishing shows/magazines about mille and WOW the stringers of eyes and perch were incredible!!!If my memory serves me the term"Dead sea"was first coined about millelacs in the 1970's in a news paper story out of Brainerd.The lake is still a walleye factory and will continue to be IMHO.Do right keep doin right!I want to get up to Rainy and go after some of those Monster crappies with you or your pops!c63

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15 yrs ago I would come home with 10

-12 nice perch in a weekend, not hoarding , just enough for a 2 person meal. Problem is when this new 10-12 inch population is keep able the dnr will be forced to change the slot so as to not exceed the harvest quota. So the catching will still be good, but the keeping will be poor as it is now.

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Meilertson

Leech: I was fishing dang near right in the middle on Christmas eve, however I was close to the casino on my last outing. I know there's been some fish being caught on the flats I just haven't been able to get out as much. But I've fished out there in the past where you fish 5 or 6 different flats with no action and then the next one you hit, BANG. There they are. The fact that your mobile out there is key. As of late for me the morning and evening bite has been much better, which makes moving spots all day tricky when later you might do great on a spot that was dead during mid day. But I do believe if you pay your dues out there, you will have success.

Chris: Rainy's been good so far from what my ol man tells me. I was up there just after Christmas and we caught some walleyes and crappies if was a good time. We didn't fish overly hard it was pretty cold out but given our effort we did just fine. Give do right a call!

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Matt,I remember some time in the late 90's maybe early 20's there was a year when every walleye caught was skinny and looked starved.We would troll in midday and hammer the eye's(super hungry) but they were VERY unhealthy.These cycles happen and will continue so just keep pluggin away and you'll get some.Have yet to get a decent pout but I hear they are back alittle.Out on the flats the old saying spot on the spot is key.We can fish 8 to 10 different flats then move 25 feet(or less) and bam your in them!!!!On CLEAR water lakes better than(14'secchi)the low light times are magnified as prime feeding times for most fish but walleyes really strap on the feedbag!(sometimes)No guarantees on the water!!Good catchin!c63 smile

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  • 2 weeks later...

have any of you guys noticed if the water is getting clearer each season in the summer due to the zebras? has anyone ever seen SCUBA divers in the lake?

I'm always looking for new places to shoot big carp!

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yes and no. Early in the year the last few years it has been clearer than ever before. But if we get a lot of rain and wind it dirties up pretty good. Most of the summer and into the fall it was pretty dirty this year. Couldnt see bottom in 5ft. Yet other times you can see bottom in 15ft.

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David Anderson

have any of you guys noticed if the water is getting clearer each season in the summer due to the zebras? has anyone ever seen SCUBA divers in the lake?

I'm always looking for new places to shoot big carp!

As stated the lake clarity is always changing. I remember seeing my anchor laying on the bottom in 15 feet of water just off the Graveyard years before there were any zebra mussels.

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maxpower117

I think we can thank the return of Mille Lacs to:

Slot limits

Night fishing bans

Harvest quotas

Liberalized pike limits

Liberalized smallmouth limits

Pike spearing

And last but not least, AIS inspections.

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Bandersnatch

Holy dump

Who is mixing up the Kool-Aid.

Any positive changes on Mille Lac have be In Spite Of not Because Of the MNDNR

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fish_hunt_guy

I was joking. I think the current DNR (the fisheries department) all need to be canned. To bad there is no accountability for doing a poor job with any government position. If it were a private company they all would be fired for mismanagement of the resource.

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Unfortunatly I remember people keeping (and burying in snowbanks)gunny sacks of jumbos years ago.I always thought if you take more than a meal or two each time fishing you were taking too much.Everyone has their idea of whats proper although I personally think a whole gunny sack(or more)is just fish hoggin'.Good luck to all keep on drillin' don't fall in!!!c63

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Bandersnatch

I was joking. I think the current DNR (the fisheries department) all need to be canned. To bad there is no accountability for doing a poor job with any government position. If it were a private company they all would be fired for mismanagement of the resource.

dam!!

Failed the sarcasm test AGAIN!!!

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Lake is out of fish or short on fish and this is the DNR's fault. Did they over fish the lake? Did they grant the Indians the right to net. WE OVERFISHED IT PERIOD! QUIT BLAMING THE ONLY PEOPLE WHO ARE ACTUALLY TRYING TO KEEP THE LAKE IN GOOD SHAPE. WITHOUT THEM IT WOULD BE COMPLETELY FISHED OUT BY US. EVERY YEAR SOMEONE BLAMES THEM AS IF THEY SPEND EVERY WAKING MOMENT ON TRYING TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO KEEP RESORTS, TRIBES AND FISHERMAN WHO HATE THEM HAPPY. FISH ANOTHER LAKE OR DON'T BUT SHUT THE HELL UP. MORE THAN HALF OF YOU THAT COMPLAIN ABOUT THEM ARE PROBABLY POACHING ANYWAYS.

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Wanted to make sure I was heard over all the crying at the pity party. America is becoming a blame casting society and it's gotta stop sometime. I suppose I was a little overboard but let's take a look at what the DNR has to do up on Red Lake now. It's not netting or the DNR that is causing the change in limits. That lake has been pounded all summer and from first Ice. Some of the resorts charged 15 dollars for access because they were smart enough to know that the lake couldn't handle the pressure. Let's take a serious objective look at what's going on with the lakes and then maybe we'll be able to fix the problem.

The numbers of people fishing all bodies of water are increasing. The electronics technology is getting better and easier to use. Ice houses are getting built better and are being sold like hotcakes. Boats are being built better and are also selling like hotcakes. It's all too easy to say that it's the DNR's fault since it's their job to keep the lakes in good order so that's what some do. It's a David and Goliath battle though as they cannot accurately predict how many people are going to shift their fishing habits from one lake to the next. Try to predict which lake is going to get pounded now that they shut Red down. If I owned a resort on Leech or Winnie I would start raising rates now.

We all know what the solution to the problem is. Go get a video game console or find some way to enjoy the outdoors that doesn't take fish out of the water. It's all about fishing pressure and what can be done to lower it. The DNR does what they do because we ourselves don't.

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tfin--Would the limits on Red Lake be the same without the gill-netting being a part of the process? Or are they being limited to accommodate/make up for almost a million pounds of harvest by gill-nets each year?

Would the slot limits, which are now pointed out by the "blue ribbon" DNR appointed group, ( page 12 of their report/study that recently came out) as the main reason the YOY walleye are not surviving, be in place without the netting on Mille Lacs?

In fact, per your DNR records, angler harvest has not changed in any one direction, on average, for the past 40 plus years. Nothing changed or was a concern for the DNR, as they have admitted to in writing on the record, until Treaty harvest was forced onto them. NOTHING else per your DNR records.

Contrary to your thinking, the DNR records show and the recent blue ribbon panel study shows, management of the lake has been wrong in the past 15 years. Why did the DNR change to the past 15 year and present day management process? ONLY one reason--per the DNR in writing, to accommodate/make up for the Tribal harvest.

Who is to blame? What is to blame? Based on reality. Based on official DNR records. Based on the blue ribbon panel findings. Your answer based on hard facts that can be backed up by on the record info/finding?

Did the DNR tell the courts what they knew what was inevitable if they implemented the courts rulings into how they managed the lake? No.

Again.... who or what is to blame? Angler harvest has not changed on average--per your DNR records.

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tfin--FYI--per your DNR records, angler pressure is going down statewide, not going up. And the demographics show that will continue for a long time into the future.

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And no, records show the huge decline in walleye numbers at Mille Lacs, per DNR population study graphs, zebra mussels are NOT the cause of the walleye crash. Several years ( most noticeably about 6 years before the zeebs showed up and about 8 years before they really grew in numbers) before the zeebs showed up, the graphs show a huge decline. Per the DNR's own studies/population graphs.

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maxpower117

You guys saying we need to blame ourselves is ridiculous. Not everyone that buys a fishing license is plugged into the status of the lake. If they catch fish, they want to keep them. I haven't kept a walleye in Mille Lacs for over 2 years and even when I have, it's been a half limit or less.

So I'm to blame for the a hole who is out there keeping everything he catches? Or according to you, I'm to blame for the guys that keep their limits (legally) every time up? What the ell can I do about that?

That, my friend IS the DNR's responsibility.

Open up your eyes. This is the second major crash ML has been through in the past 15 years using the same flawed philosophy. There were many that knew the lake very well before this slot limit management plan who perfectly predicted these crashes long as these slots were introduced. Only now they are experimenting with the other species which has great potential to be another major fail.

And now the DNR is going to take credit for a comeback that was completely inevitable regardless of what they've done.

I'm not a DNR hater by any means. They do a great job managing all the less politically influenced bodies of water. Add in politics, you'll see politically influenced management practices.

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IMO one of ML biggest problems is that it's too close to the metro.2 or 3 seasons ago,when they had all the flooding, we were forced to come down 169 as our usual route thru Moose Lake was under water.I couldn't believe how packed all the boat ramps were & not sure if I seen 1 where I would've tried to put a boat in.

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So I guess it's the DNR's fault the lakes are in trouble. It's the Government's fault that there are people on welfare. It's the school's fault that some children fall behind. It's the police's fault that criminals get shot sometimes. It's TV's fault that kids have ADD. It's Religion fault that there are wars. Well we wouldn't need police if people were good, we wouldn't need schools if people homeschooled. We wouldn't need Gov't if we could look after ourselves. Wars would still be fought even if there wasn't religion. People would still be poor without liberals. And the lakes would only be good for watersports and peeing in if it weren't for the DNR. Grow up and take some blame upon yourself. Catch and Release people are automatically exempt from all my arguments because I'd have to be a complete one-who-thinks-I-am-silly to think it's there fault.

Statistics show that statistics are manipulated to prove one's own theories. I don't need statistics. I fish and I see.

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maxpower117

So I guess it's the DNR's fault the lakes are in trouble. It's the Government's fault that there are people on welfare. It's the school's fault that some children fall behind. It's the police's fault that criminals get shot sometimes. It's TV's fault that kids have ADD. It's Religion fault that there are wars. Well we wouldn't need police if people were good, we wouldn't need schools if people homeschooled. We wouldn't need Gov't if we could look after ourselves. Wars would still be fought even if there wasn't religion. People would still be poor without liberals. And the lakes would only be good for watersports and peeing in if it weren't for the DNR. Grow up and take some blame upon yourself. Catch and Release people are automatically exempt from all my arguments because I'd have to be a complete one-who-thinks-I-am-silly to think it's there fault.

Statistics show that statistics are manipulated to prove one's own theories. I don't need statistics. I fish and I see.

Your are over generalizing your point, just to make a point. Mille Lacs is a very specific problem.

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Maxpower, It is the second big crash and yes they tried the multispecies protection and it failed. They probably tried that to keep resorts and non walleye fisherman happy. In the end though it is those of us that take fish from the lake that are to blame for the lake not having fish. I agree that the protect slot being the same year after year failed but how are they supposed to make everyone happy? The lake will have to crash from time to time because there is no solution to make all parties happy.

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Northender, what DNR statistic accurately show angling pressure? Is it the number of licenses sold or is there some other way they have to know how many people fish every lake every day?

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

    • mulefarm
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    • Pzswenj
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    • Troy Smutka
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    • Troy Smutka
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    • ozzie
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    • BigVTim
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