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BEST SUNFISH AND GILL LAKES IN AREA


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ALL,
LOOKING FOR SUNNY AND GILLS IN THE AREA. WHICH LAKES WOULD YOU RECOMMEND. i KNOW ALL HAVE CRAPPIES BUT I LIKE TO WORK FOR NICE SIZE CATCH AND RELEASE SUNNYS AND GILLS. I'V FISHED GUN,WAWA,AITKIN,FLEMING,SANDY JUST TO NAME A FEW. ANY SLEEPER LAKES?

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D-Man -

In some, and perhaps even most, instances you are right, but I've seen it firsthand twice from this site. Both times occurred last winter on smaller, relatively limited pressured and accessible lakes. One had an outstanding population of large bluegills, the other had a sizable population of gigantic crappies. In both instances the pressure went from me and an occasional other person to 10-15 groups of people on the ice. The people were nice, and most that I talked to let me know that they heard about the lakes here. But the problem was that virtually everyone kept whatever they could catch. It was sickening to have these lakes that I (and others) had fished for years (catch and release only) virtually emptied over several weeks.

As for the McGregor area over to Aitkin, as you probably know better than I, there are a ton of great panfish lakes. If I wanted to find a sleeper lake, I'd forget about all of the well known ones and start fishing smaller lakes with limited pressure. Just get a good map and start fishing. You'd be suprised at what you'll find.

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Thats too bad to hear, I know what you mean. Gun lake use to be a great panfish lake until it was featured by the outdoor news. I use to fish a different lake everyday in the winter from Aitkin to Mcgregor in search of untapped fish with limited results. I then concentrated on the bigger more populated lakes that I knew held big panfish. What I found was "sleeper spots" rather than sleeper lakes. It's amazing how many people will go to a lake, set up a house and sit in one spot all day and not catch anything.

------------------
Mille Lacs Guide Service
651-271-5459
www.millelacsguideservice.com

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Doc B

I agree with you 100%. As soon as word gets out online, people have flocked to some of the local lakes.

I am not setting myself up, however, as one who won't take a tip on new equipment and techniques.

I just think that many people are hesitant to share information about lakes because smaller lakes can be fished out in a season.

I agree with Derek - I hunt more for spots in bigger water lately. That's the fun of it. There are many great lakes in the Aitkin/McG. area that can be explored.

Ice conditions were not great last weekend. I drove to a few lakes and chiseled holes. Lakes around 300 acres or less measured three inches. Hopefully, next weekend I'll get out!

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I second Hanging Kettle for panfish.

Alot of folks settle in the hole out from the access, and it's a decent spot.

Don't overlook, however, the 20-22' depths beyond the group in the channel area.

Also, there is another hole that holds panfish around the point. There is a feeder crick coming in there, and a decent weedling and break along that shore.

All good areas to look.

------------------
Good fishing,
UJ
[email protected]

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Three years ago I walked out on Little Pine and found some pound crappies. I fished it for 5 days straight. I was sticking out like a sore thumb to the traffic on 169. Didn't take long for the crowds to settle in. Fortunately I had pressured the fish so bad in those five days they moved on before the crowds could do damage on them.

------------------
Mille Lacs Guide Service
651-271-5459
www.millelacsguideservice.com

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All,
I can agree with what you say but i just like to get out and try new lakes with a healthy population with size to boot. I keep only what i can eat that day. Limits are for meat hounds who stock pile fish in the freezer. I for one try to protect the fishery itself as a whole. As for crappie in the area if i can't catch gills or sunnys i can get enough crappies for a meal. thanks

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Posting info on smaller or "sleeper" lakes makes a huge difference in the numbers of people who fish the lake. I know people who stopped visiting this site because they were pissed that people were giving up info on lakes that most people don't even know exist. With larger lakes anyone can say fish the weedlines, humps, breaks, and other structure in x feet of water. If you point someone to a smaller lake there is usually a limited number of spots the fish will hang out in and they are pretty easy to find. For example Headquarter lake produces lots of crappies but they are all 6-8 inches. They used to be 10-12 inches until the word got out and the lake got overfished. Don't get me wrong, this is an awesome site to share info on. I just think specific info on smaller lakes should be kept to a minimum. Just my vent!

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I look at it this way. If you don't take the time to learn how to read a lake map and don't learn about the species behavior patterns that you are seeking, you will never learn anything. You will waste more time chasing hot bites when what you can learn on your own will last a lifetime. Its like asking for answers on a test when you didn't do your homework.

------------------
Mille Lacs Guide Service
651-271-5459
www.millelacsguideservice.com

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Exactly! Hot bites are overrated anyway, why would you want to sit near someone else when you could be off exploring a possible honey hole that you could have all for yourself. I'd much rather explore and not catch fish than jump in with a crowd and catch my limit. It's called fishing, not catching!! Good luck to all, get out and try a new lake! Also, remember to throw back the breeder size fish, they're our future!

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Guess I should change my topic to: What lakes hold the potential for producing large sunnys and gills in the area. sorry if i stepped on anyones toes!

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I really like Mud Lake for panfish. Its located in Section 37 of Unorganized Township in Aitkin County. Kind of hard to get there but worth the trip. Don't tell anyone else though.

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

    • JerkinLips
      There were a lot of ATV/SxS running around the lake but I found it quite slippery even with AWD engaged.  I did see a couple of snowmobiles crossing the lake.  There is enough snow to keep the slides lubricated, especially when the temperature is above freezing.  If your track is studded that would help traction and slide lubrication.
    • SkunkedAgain
      It looks like it's ATV/SxS season on the lake. Snowmobile season is on temporary (or permanent) hiatus.
    • JerkinLips
      Was back Tuesday-Thursday this week after I discovered that walleye season ends on Sunday, February 25th.  I thought that the season has closed the last day of February in recent years.  I see that I fished on Monday, February 28th two winters ago so lucky I didn't get busted then.   The ice was in very good shape.  I found 15-18 inches of solid ice in the areas I checked.  There was no standing water on the ice and very little snow as shown in the 3 pictures of the McKinley Park landing from Thursday afternoon.  When the temperature was below freezing, the ice was very slippery.  When it warmed up mid day it wasn't as bad.  The landing was starting to deteriorate today, but with the cold weather on Friday it should freeze over.  It may start to get bad again by Sunday when it warms up.  Full size vehicles were still driving out close to Birch Island so apparently that path is still good.   Fishing was very good for late season.  Most of my walleyes were again 9-12 inches, but I did catch a 21, 24, and 27.  I was lucky to catch my limit of 14-15 inchers today to bring home for a meal.  The walleyes preferred small rainbows, but also liked lively chubs.  I caught four fish on the same small rainbow today when I was running low on small ones.  I finally gave up on that minnow when I went 20 minutes without a bite.  I had 3 rainbows come off the hook on their own; one when I dropped it in the hole and the other two when I dropped them to the bottom.  I think that happens when you hook them in the soft part of their body.  I caught my first tulibee of the winter (15 inches) and it really stunk up the house.  I also caught a lot of perch for the first time this winter.  I only caught 1 perch the previous 14 days I fished, but I caught 11 perch in these 3 last days, including six that were 11-13 inches long.  I wish I liked to eat perch so I could have kept them.  The hardest bite I had this week was by the pictured 8 inch walleye.  This little guy grabbed that full sized minnow and pulled it quickly to to bottom of the hole.  (However the 27 inch walleye did peel off a bit of drag bringing her in).  Morning bite from 830 to 1230 was best.   If you venture out the last weekend of the season, good luck.  Be cautious of ice conditions since the sun can really melt some holes in the ice this late in the season.
    • smurfy
      i cant speak for out that way but check the st cloud thread.......Rick gavee a pretty decent report on the ice around the area. he fishes a ton in the winter and is thinking of calling it quits............that tells me something!!!!
    • Mike89
      be careful!!  
    • mulefarm
      Thinking about one last outing, any information on the ice?
    • Brianf.
      There's not much snow left from what I can see on our Ring cam.  This is facing North across Niles Bay.  Also, the temp is 44 at this moment so what snow might be left is going fast.  
    • rundrave
      @Rick G   have you changed your approach or how you are fishing with no snow cover this year? It seems to really have changed things. Fish are spooky to  any movement above the ice.  Even just jigging a rod with your hand etc. spooks fish. Weed lines are not dying off etc., fish are staying up shallower etc.   I have had a lot more luck just dead sticking and bobber fishing and being away from holes or intentionally drilling holes in slush pockets or drifts to eliminate shadows etc.
    • smurfy
      Awesome cause Rick!!👍👍👌
    • Rick G
      Fishing has been pretty good for the most part with the exception of a slow day mixed in here and there. Been on a few different lakes in the last week. Ice conditions continue to fluctuate depending on warm and cold spells.  Right now there is 7-8 inches on the lakes I have been on. Snow cover is just about gone again, and with the warm days coming I think our ice season might be coming to an end locally.  Today I fished with a good buddy and we were on a mission... To find enough fresh fish to feed the folks at a local veterans home Friday dinner.  Mission accomplished!!!   Found a good mix of perfect eater size fish😁.   
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