Mille Lacs Fishing, Ice, and Trail Report 12-12-14

It has been exciting to see the lake form so well this year. This is the first time in years that mother nature has thrown us the perfect combination to get great ice without heavy snowfall. Even with the mild temps last week and threat of temps in the forty’s we will make it through without a hitch. The ice in the bays is a solid 14 inches with more in spots. That goes out for about two miles. Past that we have some rough ice that has formed from heavy winds, that ice is very thick with slush below it. Beyond the rough ice we have a great sheet of ice with 10-12 inches. Be sure to travel slowly out there because with fluctuating temps you may get some unexpected cracks that will form.

The walleye have been biting well. Mostly coming in the morning and over night in 20-30ft of water on the edges of rocks and gravel. We are getting lots of perch in almost every depth, but the trick is finding the big ones. You have to sort through the small ones to get the big ones. The perch have primarily been in 15-25 ft. Spearing continues to be a success, everyone is having luck finding the Pike. Most people spearing are still reporting monster Pike 40+inches.

The snowmobile trails are almost ready to go, all we will need is one more little snowfall and we can start sending out the sleds. Swamps have been packed and we currently have good snow coverage. We could use 4-6 more inches to make the trails completely accessible  and safe to ride. Now that we have safe ice on the lake we’re ready for the next big snow storm. Be sure to call McQuoids Inn with any questions regarding trails, snowfall, ice or the fishing. Many of these things change quickly at this time of year. We are more than happy to answer any questions that can improve your trip to Lake Mille Lacs.

McQuoids Fishing, Ice, and Trail Report 12-6-14

Winter is pretty much in full swing around Isle MN. The ice in the Isle and Macs Twin Bay areas is already 14 plus inches and growing steady. Many resorts are allowing half ton pick-ups and smaller vehicles on the ice starting this weekend. If you plan on taking a vehicle on the ice always be careful. Respect and follow the resorts roads and speed limits. Staked roads are going to be what resorts  have determined to be the safest travel spots.  Please no drilling on roads! With that being said, the new pike spearing has been a hit we have many large groups s up taking advantage of all of our large condos so they can all stay together in the same unit. Many that are spearing have been able to get a 30-40 incher and we are still hearing about a lot of big 40 plus inch Pike being seen and harvested as well. The Walleye bite is starting off very well. We haven’t had a ton of traffic yet and this will be the first full weekend of people out in there permanent ice houses. Evening anglers on the first perimeter rock reefs have been getting into a number of walleye. Bobber fishing or tip-up fishing the top edge of the reefs with a rainbow minnow about 12 to 18 inches off bottom is a great way to get into some early season walleye action. For a daytime walleye bite you should get off the edges and out into some 25-35ft water and jig a minnow head on your favorite jigging spoons. A good starting point would be the deep gravel edges surrounding the Hennepin Island area.

For all of you Snowmobilers chomping at the bit, we are getting one step closer to being able to unleash the rental fleet for the season. Owner and trail guide Terry McQuoid  just picked up 10 new Polaris 550 Indy XT’s. Also our local club, the Drift Skippers has been working hard to pack swamps and prep trails so that with one more decent snow fall we can get out riding.

Nov. 25 2014 Ice and Fishing Report

The ice around the Isle bay area and surrounding bays held up nicely. Although we had a little warm spell last weekend the ice strength and thickness made it through. People are still fishing and spearing daily. The bite and the spearing have both started off really good. Most that are out have been putting some very large Northern Pike on the ice. We have even been hearing some buzz about some nice Perch being caught in the deeper water in and surrounding Isle Bay. I would expect to see a lot more four wheeler traffic this weekend. The forecast looks great to keep us on track for the best early ice we have seen in a decade. Remember before accessing the lake, be sure to check with local resorts and bait shops, and always check ice all the way out to your spot when fishing early in the season.

November 2014 Early Ice!

There is no doubt about it, this November has brought some unexpected cold and snowy weather. The cool temps have brought some unexpected and much appreciated early ice. The bays surrounding the SE corner of Mille Lacs including Isle, Wahkon, and Cove have roughly 6 inches of good ice, with even more in some areas. We have people walking out to angle and spear in all of theses locations already. Barring a large snow storm we will probably see snowmobile and four wheel traffic as early as this weekend. Either way we are getting off to a good start to our winter season. With any luck the ice will keep forming nicely and the Winter season will be in full swing. Remember to always check with your local resorts and bait shops before getting on the ice.

Not only do we have an early start on the lake freezing we also have a great jump on the snow for the Trails this season. The snowmobile trails surrounding the Isle area go for hundreds of miles right from our door step. December 1st is the opening date for all trails in MN. The local snowmobile club the Drift Skippers have been hard at it to get the trails ready to ride with our early snow fall. Be sure to contact us at McQuoids for your next snowmobile adventure. Not only do we rent snowmobiles but we can point you and your friends in the right direction to have a great time on the trails in our area.

Mid-October Fishing Report

We still have plenty of time left this fall for some last minute fishing trips.  The fat fall Walleye, Muskie, and Smallmouth Bass are all starting to turn on. We also have a decent Perch bite this fall, but you have to sort through the small ones to find the keepers. The Walleye have been on the bottom edges of shoreline reefs and breaks. Best way to trigger the bite is with a large rainbow or shiner on a jig. The Perch have been on the weed lines or in the deep water adjacent to the weed lines. To target the Perch you need to use a small jig with a crappie minnow or a bobber set-up with a hook and half a night crawler. The Bass have been a little scattered but are still being caught on the edges of the reefs with shallow tops. Most bass are showing up in 12-18 feet of water. Best way to fish for the Smallmouth is with tubes or a drop-shot rig. The Muskie bite has also been heating up. Many anglers that have been putting in the time casting are seeing and catching some monsters, but many fish in the last week or so have come while trolling. The Muskie can be in super shallow right now or in the deep water on the edges of reefs, the good thing is they have been biting. Call us at McQuoid’s to book your Guide service or next Launch fishing trip.

Dog Days are upon us

Well its officially August, the dog days of summer are here, and with the weather this week in to next are living up to their name.  Calm, hot, sunny days all week are going to drive the water temp into the high 70′s and maybe even some low 80′s usually shut the walleye fishing off and turn the Muskie and Pike fishing hot. We are noticing just the opposite. The walleye fishing is some of the best we have seen this summer right now. Trolling cranks over the rocks are producing good numbers of Walleyes and Smallmouth. Most of the keepers we are seeing are coming shallow, 10 ft or less!!!! If its sunny and calm though go deeper where they cant see you. 16-23 feet have been very important on those days. Float a bobber and leech on those deeper rock piles for consistent action. The lead bite still seems non existent during a time period that it should be going strong but that can switch in a matter of a day. As always stay mobile and stay on active fish. They have a lot of food down there right now. Muskies and Pike are picking up as well, the water temps are in the 75-77 degree range and that means the big girls are getting hungry! Those deeper cabbage beds and weedlines are going to produce your best fishing, the Muskies haven’t moved out to the rocks much but it shouldn’t be long!

Good numbers of Smallies are still showing up, on the deeper edges of the reefs and rock piles. On calm sunny days hit the top of the piles and reefs some killer top water action. Move out deeper as the day progresses and work the cooler water with tubes and jerkbaits. As always practice catch and release to preserve our world class fishery! Tight Lines

No More Night Ban?

Some good news for many anglers, especially Muskie fisherman, coming today from the Mn DNR. “The night ban on Lake Mille Lacs will be lifted July 21, starting at 10 p.m” This is great news for many fisherman around the lake that find themselves in a scramble to make the dock by that 10 o’clock  deadline. As for the fishing it has still been pretty consistent. The lead bite has started to pick up on the deep edges of all the reefs and mud flats with some very big fish being hoisted up for some quick photos. The water temp is still hovering around 71-73 degrees meaning on cooler morning and evenings you can still catch some walleyes under a slip bobber with a leech. 29-33 feet of water has seen the most success. STAY MOBILE! There are plenty of fish out there to be caught!

Switching gears to muskie and pike, that bite has been hit or miss. We are hearing of a lot of Muskies still chasing baits over the weed beds. Look for them where you are finding the hungry Pike, and they are hungry, in that 8-12 feet of cabbage weeds. Some really nice Pike have been getting brought in with bright colored baits, dont be afraid to fish fast with some big buck tails or spinner baits, orange or green seem to be what the fish have been craving! The Muskies have not really showed up on any of the rock reefs yet but it wont be long!

The Smallies have moved into their deeper homes and have still been active as a track star. Crawfish colored crank baits and tubes are still going to be your best “go to” bait to catch the footballs of Mille Lacs. 8-12 feet of water off of the top of the rock reefs is where most of your focus should be, the water temp has not spiked too high yet so the bass fishing remains steady. As always, good luck out there and keep a tight line!

Sumer is heating Up!


More and More keeper Walleyes are showing up on our launch/guide trips.  They are scattered around the shallow rocks and mid-deep gravel bars.   Anglers with the most luck are using Lindy-Rigs and Crawler-Rigs.   The Mud has been heating up!  Our Guests have given us positive reports fishing along the edges of the Mud Flats.   Clouds of fish flies have been seen on the North-West side of the Lake.  Water Temps are anywhere from 60-65 degrees.   When the Weather gets Hot, So does the Fishing!  Have Fun out there!  Don’t forget your Bug Spray!

Small Mouth Bass

The Smallie fishing is still Slammin’!   The majority of the Bass have finished their spawning and have begun migrating off the edges of their shallow rock and sand beds.  A few can still be found near the shorelines and underneath the local docks.  However most of them are settling into their summer homes, which consist of deeper cobble and gravel edges around the reefs.  Casting tube jigs along the deeper outside edges of the shallow rock reefs is the most effective way to trigger a Bite!  Lots of Trophy size Small-mouths are being caught!  Good luck getting your Mounter!


Last Saturday was Muskie opener in Minnesota.  This weekend the bays and shorelines were filled with anglers heaving giant Muskie lures.  The Muskie population has been all the Buzz around the lake.  Reports of Big Fish being caught are all over!  Your best chances of Boating the fish of 10,000 casts would be to target the shallow developing weed beds adjacent to deeper water.  Huge Bucktails and Spinner-Baits seem to be the lures of choice for most Muskie enthusiasts, however i would recommend using a presentation that the fish have not seen before!  Slow-Medium speed retrieves seem to get the most attention.  Good Luck and be Patient!

Find this week’s catch in photos:

Walleyes Heating Up!

Extra cold water had the Walleye pretty tight lipped for the first two weekends of the season. Although, anglers that tried new things and thought outside the box found some fish that were ready to bite. Anglers come from all over to rig deep water or go bobber fish their favorite rock piles but with some fish still spawning and others in a lethargic post-spawn state, most of the fish were still in shallow water. Some Walleyes were found in water as shallow as two feet of water and others as deep as 15ft.  We have very good water clarity which makes shallow water fishing more challenging.  Shallow fish get spooked away, so the best way to target these fish is to get the boat in the deeper water off the edge of tight breaks and pitch light jigs tipped with a spot tail shiner into the shallow water on top of the structure. Look for areas generally containing large rock piles on top or a pre-existing weed line.  Don’t forget to work your casts parallel to the break line as well, in order to target the fish that may be staging down at the bottoms of the drop off.  This pattern has definitely been the most consistent so far this season and should still produce fish for the next week. The jig bite is a riot!  For guides that usually have to rig or troll most of the year, we enjoy the change of pace. So come on up to McQuoid’s and let us put you on the fish.

April Showers! 4/28/14

I can not say that I love windy frigid Spring rain but, it is just what the doctor ordered. That’s  if you’re trying to cure a cold that contains an ice sheet 3ft thick and nearly 20 miles long. Maybe not the ideal cure for spring fever but, it is exactly what Lake Mille Lacs  needs to get this fishing season on track. Hopefully damage stays at a minimum and everyone stays safe as the brittle ice sheets path of destruction invades the lake shores. Yesterday the West side of the Lake  saw ice piles that made it clear across Hwy. 169. As strong Southeastern winds continue to blow, the gap in this end of the lake will grow and with all this rain and wind it is only going to be a matter of days before all we see on Mille Lacs is boats and waves. Needless to say I am feeling pretty good about being 100% ice free by the 2014 Fishing Opener. So maybe this dreary Spring weather is not ideal for doing your yard work or doing any Spring painting at least it won’t stop us from putting all the new Launch boats in the water this week. One by one on Saturday May 10, they will all be ready to shove off the dock at 8 am for the first Trip of the Year. Lets just hope that all the Spring cliches are accurate and that if Springs in like a Lion that it goes out like a lamb, because we’ve most definitely gotten the Lion’s share.