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The Cranker

Another Mille Lacs Opener

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The Cranker

As I sit here in the resort office over looking at the sunset over the new open water on the big pond, we call Lake Mille Lacs. There is an excitement that comes over me for the opener of walleye fishing. At 40 plus years of age I remain a little kid at heart. I still can not sleep the night before two event, one is opening fishing on Lake Mille Lacs, and the other is the opener of pheasant hunting in Iowa. When that little kid in me stops getting excited about these openers, then that's when I take up another hobby, like maybe needle point or something along those lines.

You see Lake Mille Lacs has this mystery about her, she is big, and she can be intimidating at times, but she can also be calm and beautiful too. Above all, Lake Mille Lacs features one of the very best Walleye, Smallmouth bass and Muskie fisheries in the world! The lake is producing trophy fish of each species each and every season!

Many of us, with myself included, have doubted the slot size restrictions on the walleyes that the Minnesota Dept. of Natural Resources have put on Lake Mille Lacs over the years. Boy was I wrong. Now, I have to believe that Lake Mille Lacs is probably the best Walleye factory in the world in my opinion. For this, my hat goes off to the Minnesota Department of Resources on the job that they have done with the lake.

For those of you that don't know, it is not uncommon to go out on Lake Mille Lacs and catch 30 to 60 walleyes in a day with two or three over 27 inches. It is also not uncommon to catch a monster 50 inch plus muskie. Infact , there are strong rumors that the next world record muskie will come out Lake Mille Lacs. The smallmouth bass are getting bigger and bigger each season. There have been numerous 6 plus pound smallmouth bass caught over the past few years. The other fish attraction on Lake Mille Lacs is the early spring crappies. Lake Mille Lacs isn't known to have many crappies but in the spring of the year one can go out on the south end of the lake and catch 1 to 2 pound crappies.

One of the best times to come to Lake Mille Lacs to fish walleyes is in late May through June. The walleyes are done spawning and are active. I like fishing the wind blown sides of any structure. Whether its the rocks, sand humps, gravel or mud. I like to pull 6 to 8ft crawler harnesses with Colorado Blades, or lindy rig, or even find some structure and just bobber fish with a leach on some rocks. By fishing these wind blown sides of structure you will increase your chances of catching some of those beautiful Mille Lacs walleyes.

Muskies are not my most sought after fish. But from listening to some of the best guides on the lake the rock piles and weed beds are going to be your best bet for finding a trophy muskie! Most guides will tell you that the months of September and October can be just incredible! Top water baits along with spinner baits will produce fish. Smallmouth Bass will be found mostly along the rocks. Typically all your bass lures will produce giant smallmouth bass on Lake Mille Lacs

People pay thousands of dollars to head to Canada for fishing like we have here on Lake Mille Lacs. It's truly a fishing mega. If you have never fished Lake Mille Lacs I invite you to come on up, over or down to Lake Mille Lacs and experience the excitement that this lake provides!

Fish On!!!

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minniwinni91

Cranker This is awsome Good Job.

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Team Otter

Well said Jim.

Mille Lacs is indeed special but I also have room in my heart for Gull, Leech, Winnie, Lake of the Woods, The Rainy River, URL, Pokegama and some of the local gems here in southern MN. grin.gif

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Tim_Anderson

Oh yeah......can't wait to get after them muskies! Is it June yet?

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

    • Cliff Wagenbach
      I do not think that there are docks at the overnight campsites but some do have sandy shorelines. Most of the shore lunch/picnic  sites do have docks but are not overnight camping sites. Cliff
    • Getanet
      Thanks for the info guys. Looks like I have some research to do. Chucker, do you know if Hinsdale Island has a place to dock a boat ?  I'd hate to have it banging against rocks all night.
    • Rick
      The new northern pike fishing regulations, which were announced recently and go into effect on the May 12 fishing opener, have three distinct zones to address the different characteristics of pike populations in Minnesota, according to the Department of Natural Resources.

      Each of the zones – north-central, northeast and south – provide protection for different sizes of pike, and there are reasons for those differences. “We’re continuing to let anglers know there are new pike regulations for those who want to keep pike on inland waters,” said Chris Kavanaugh, DNR northeast region fisheries manager. “We also want to share the thinking behind the new regulations.” North-central zone
      The north-central zone is the largest of the three zones, and here the possession limit is 10 northern pike, but only two can be longer than 26 inches; and all from 22 to 26 inches must be released. “We’re responding to angler concerns about the over-abundance of small, or hammer-handle, pike in the north-central zone,” Kavanaugh said. Through anglers keeping small fish but protecting the 22 to 26 inch pike, the objective in the north-central zone is to both reduce the abundance of small pike and allow medium size pike to grow larger. The advantages of growing larger pike are twofold. While protected these medium size pike will eat small pike, helping reduce abundance of small pike. And when they eventually grow out of the protected size range they will be a more desirable size for keeping. Southern zone
      In the southern zone, where reproduction is limited, the regulation intends to increase pike abundance while also improving the size of fish harvested. Anglers in the southern zone can keep two fish, but the minimum size is 24 inches. “The management issue in the southern zone is the opposite of what’s happening in the north-central zone,” Kavanaugh said. “With low reproduction, stocking is often necessary to provide a pike fishery in the south. Here we want to protect young pike and give them a chance to grow.” Growth rates are much faster in these southern lakes so most will reach the 24 inch keeper size in a few years. Northeastern zone
      In the northeastern zone, pike reproduction is good but these lakes do not have the high density problems of the north-central zone since they still have a nice balance of medium to large pike. Here, it makes sense to provide protection for large pike while they still exist. “The trophy pike of the Arrowhead Region have definitely made some great stories and photos over the decades,” Kavanaugh said. “But these fish grow slowly in the cold water and if too many anglers keep trophy pike here, they’ll be gone.” In the northeastern zone, anglers can keep two pike but must release all from 30 to 40 inches, with only one over 40 inches allowed in possession. Other considerations
      Anglers who want to keep pike will need to be prepared to measure them. Those planning to take advantage of the expanded bag limit on small pike should familiarize themselves with the extra cuts it takes to fillet the fish. New pike regulations do not affect border water fishing regulations or special regulations that cover individual lakes, rivers and streams. Darkhouse spearing regulations for pike differ slightly and those regulations are listed in the spearing section of the regulations booklet. For more information on the new zone regulations visit mndnr.gov/pike or contact a local area fisheries office. Contact information can be found at mndnr.gov/areas/fisheries or in the printed fishing regulations booklet. Discuss below - to view set the hook here.
    • Rick
      The lingering cold weather is delaying ice-out on Minnesota lakes and rivers, which could make it difficult for DNR crews to have the 1,500 public water accesses it manages ready in time for the May 12 fishing opener. “I want Minnesotans to know that we are doing everything we can to get ready for the fishing opener,” said DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr, “but mostly what we need are warmer temperatures and sunshine.” There are approximately 3,000 public water access sites statewide, and the DNR’s Parks and Trails Division manages about half of them. “Winter weather is always a challenge to Minnesota’s public water access sites,” said Nancy Stewart, water recreation program consultant. “Because of the late ice-out this year, DNR crews will have a shorter window than usual to get boat ramps and docks ready for the May 12 fishing opener, but we will have as many of them ready as possible.” Every year, repairs are needed at hundreds of sites, because freezing temperatures and ice cause concrete to crack and buckle on the ramps. In some years, crews can get a head start on that work, even before ice-out, but this year the snow has prevented them from assessing damage, and the ramps can’t be re-leveled until the ground thaws. In the meantime, crews are busy rehabbing docks by, for example, changing bumpers and wheels as needed so that they’ll be ready to pop in when the time comes. “Even if every last dock isn’t in by the opener, there will be places to fish and boat,” said Stewart. Helpful resources on the DNR’s Public Water Access website include: A map showing where ice-out has occurred. Phone numbers for DNR Area Offices for updates. Boaters and anglers can also get their questions answered by calling the DNR Info Center: 888-646-6367 (8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday). Discuss below - to view set the hook here.
    • Rick
      Hunters are reminded that applications for bear hunting licenses are being accepted now through Friday, May 4, wherever Minnesota hunting and fishing license are sold, online at mndnr.gov/buyalicense and by telephone at 888-665-4236. A total of 3,350 licenses are available in 13 permit areas. Bear licenses cost $44 for residents and $230 for nonresidents, and there is a $5 application fee. The season is open from Saturday, Sept. 1, through Sunday, Oct. 14. Notification to lottery winners will be made by Friday, June 1. Lottery winners will receive a postcard in the mail and can check online at mndnr.gov/licenses/lotteries/index.html to see if they were drawn. The deadline to purchase licenses awarded by lottery will be Wednesday, Aug. 1. Any remaining unpurchased licenses will be available over the counter starting at noon on Monday, Aug. 6. An unlimited number of bear licenses will be sold over-the-counter for the no-quota area that includes east-central and far northwestern Minnesota. No-quota licenses are valid only in the no-quota area. Hunters with a no-quota license can harvest one bear. Bear hunting information is available on the DNR website at mndnr.gov/hunting/bear. Discuss below - to view set the hook here.
    • chucker1101
      There are 11 sites on/around Hinsdale Island, managed by the State DNR through one of the local parks (used to be Bear Island, it now might be Soudan Mine Park). Here's a link:  http://files.dnr.state.mn.us/destinations/state_parks/lake_vermilion_soudan_underground_mine/Hinsdale_map.pdf I think they're free to use, first come / first serve.  #11 is my favorite. I've heard that the ones on Hinsdale island have occasional visits from bears.
    • Cliff Wagenbach
      Check the lakevermilion.com site for a list of public campsites on Lake Vermilion. Cliff
    • gunner55
      We'll be making a trip in to GR again. in the next couple days. See what it looks like then.
    • TomWehler
      Hi I don;t know really if there is a list or not? Hmmmmm. good question? How do ya find out? I do know House boats tie up n camp to some of the smaller ones. So guessing fair game for campers also?? Fast simple way to find out those islands n locals might be to call Vermilion Houseboats n ask a few questions or drop by with a load Hoogies.  That 4 sure get some answers... KEEP OUT, PRIVIATE PROPERTY signs, Boat Lifts, docks ~ cabins n Reputation and of course GUNS n DOGS take care of the lite work for rest of us island owners. : ) 15 years ago Bonnie n I were going fishen an teasing Marauder crew of our hounds NO BOAT TODAY!  We jumped in boat on back dock, told them to have fun, be back soon. Driving around front of island to tease them an pick up front docks we see a boat pulling in to east side of island. I motor over an I ask if I can help them. Two dudes, kind of laurel n Hardy type couple. They say hey man, you a lake cop? Were on vacation an don't want no trouble, Go %$# @#$%^ an back off we are here 1st an need to take a dump. Before I say anything Bonnie says, well bud yer on private property an if you like staying healthy you should get back in yer boat really fast or you gonna know why in 10 seconds. : ) "Yeah well no one can own an island so just back off.....this aint nothing to do with you" That is when the four hounds turned corner of shed full blast in silent sneak attack mode.  : )Guess they were wrestling or chasing frogs or simply in shock that we did not let them in boat cause it took them about 1 minute to react to the voices. But maybe they were just waiting for right moment to GET IT ON! Becky arrived 1st....Buddy, then Barney an then Bailey....... One united big bark turned the dudes heads an you never seen two guys leap into a boat so fast just shy of four mouths full of teeth.... : ) Fat guy flew over the lil guy what seemed like 10 feet right into the bow of boat. Lil guys legs moving so fast to climb into boat an move it off show at same time all while screaming top of his lungs........HELP HELP HELP!!! Bonnie just says as I motor along to front docks to get hound pals.  "Talk to the hounds, this aint got nothing to do with us ~ remember" Fun couple of minutes! Later out on lake they apologized an asked info on places to camp an were sorry for being real DICKS. Told them to maybe got to DNR office in town an ask them about island camping as at the time I had no idea. Actually got to know them pretty good an laugh about this online every summer when they come to lake or when see them on lake once in a while. : ) Keep on rocken! T      
    • Hoey
      Yesterday there was open water, half way from the bridge to narrows used for netting and stripping.  It won't be long now.  The gates are still locked too.