The last fishing ice fishing tournament of the year, and last chance to qualify for next years National Championship. It will for sure be the nicest weather all the NAIFC contestants will see all year, I know I am looking forward to the sweatshirt weather on Sunday. Its the time of year where everybody can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel for winter, and start to really plan for the summer. It seems like our phones ring better when it is sunny outside and the temps are warmer, we will for sure welcome the warmer temps after this long winter. The DNR did hold it town hall meeting yesterday and should be coming up with some new regulations for this upcoming summer early next week. Early reports right now sound like it will be the same size restrictions on walleye as last year, and that they will for sure open the slots on Smallies and Northerns. They taste just as good deep fried as a walleye does, but we will post the new regs as soon as we see them. Hopefully it doesn’t turn off to many people from Mille Lacs, its still fun to go out and catch some big fish even if you can’t keep them.
On a fun note the Snowmobile trails are in excellent condition, the warmer air temps and good grooming has made for miles of great flat trails to ride on. We will not be losing all of our snow anytime soon and hopefully it should last into late March. The only way we are not going to be able to snowmobile is if we get some of those heavy spring rains and that doesn’t look like that will be happening anytime soon. The off chute trails such as the Red Top, 2 and 7 trails and Kathio loops are in great condition as well, and being hidden in the woods will keep them in great condition. Sunday looks like it will be the warmest day of the weekend to ride, and we still have plenty of sleds to rent that day, as well as guides to show you the best riding areas. Hopefully everybody has not looked to put their sleds away to focus on summer yet, we have plenty of snow, and should have the rest of the month to ride.
This weekend as I said earlier is the NAIFC qualifier, so it could be a little busy in Isle Bay. Fishing pressure around the lake has been very minimal, almost to the point where you could have the lake to yourself or feel like you have it to yourself. If you are going to venture out on the lake the best method for travel will be traveling by snowmobiles or tracked vehicles. Be careful on cloudy days because there are some big drifts left over from where an ice house was and it will be a bumpy ride going across the lake so make sure that you have everything strapped down tight. Perch and Tullibee continue to be hit or miss around the lake with some limited good reports coming in. If you are coming up to chase them look at the deeper basins around the lake, as well as the deep edges of the mud flats and gravel bars. Euro larvae seem to be the bait right now paired with a spoon and a dropper rig. For the NAIFC contestants crappies and sunfish seem to be in their magical 2 spots in Isle bay. Many anglers are seeing the fish, just not having to much success catching, which can be very frustrating. Hopefully the warmer temps on game day will make them bite. Smaller is better in my opinion when it comes to turning lookers into biters.
Hopefully everybody is safe this weekend, and hopefully the fish bite. For all the snowmobilers the time is running out, we only have the trails open for about 3 more weeks, then it might be time to put them away for another summer. If you come up to visit the Mille Lacs area this weekend, be safe on all your outdoor adventures and we hope to see you on the trails.JB