Category: Mille Lacs Lake Ice Conditions

Ice Fishing Report 1-28-2015

We have had some really mild weather the last few days. The ice conditions have stayed safe with 24″-26′ inch thickness. It is slick out there! Little snow means slippery so ice cleats are highly recommended if you’re going to venture out. I know it is pushed often but, please remember to check with your access point before heading out. Cracks can open overnight and your local resorts can help steer you clear of mishaps.

We have seen some NICE Pike this week. Mac’s Twin Bay just North of us has had several in the 40″ class size, the biggest coming in at 43″. There have been some very nice fish in the 35-38″ range as well. The nice weather and light snow allowing plenty of light penetration are probably the biggest factors in keeping these monsters active. Big rainbows and shiners seem to be the best bait choice. Hook them through the back on a set line or tip up just outside of the weeds and wait. Remember Pike are looking up and out for food and utilize a majority of the water column so don’t set your baits just off the bottom. Halfway down is plenty. Look for weed lines 10-15 feet. It’s worth it to put a nice tip up in deep water too, deep gravel or reef edges you’ll fish just a little differently with a nice rainbow or shiner a foot or two off the bottom.

The walleye bite has been best early morning and sunset to just after dark. If the weather is nice take advantage of hole hoping to stay on top of the bite. A tip up or set line has taken quite a few nice walleyes too.  Downsize on your shiner or go with a nice rainbow minnow and set it about a foot off the bottom. If your jigging, go with a spoon in the gold-perch color pattern and a minnow head, smaller minnow heads have been producing more fish than the larger minnows.  Keeping the fish active, interested and chasing produces the most bites. Look for Walleyes on the top or edges of the gravel. 24 to 28 of water. Again with little snow the light penetration during the day is keeping the best bite to your low light hours and overcast days.

Perch and Tulibee have been biting best during the day. Anglers have found some good sized fish. Jig the deep water, 32-38 feet of water. Edges of deep gravel bars or mud are the best place to start. Use the same type of spoon as you would for the Walleyes, if possible downsizing just a little will entice picky eaters. Large perch will take a spoon with minnow head when the bite is aggressive but, euros or waxies to tip your treble works too.

Good luck out there!

Ice Fishing and Snowmobile Trail Report for January 22, 2015

Fishing and Ice Report

The ice fishing on Mille Lacs is still going strong.  The lake has a good sheet of 24″-26″ of ice. We haven’t had much for snow, so travel has been fairly easy. An ATV or snowmobile has been a great way for anglers to get to spots that aren’t always accessible easily by vehicle.  We do stress caution to all ice anglers and suggest checking with your local resort or bait shop before venturing out. Using a resort with a road access can help steer you clear of any cracks.

The Walleye bite continues to be good. We are finding the most fish in 30-33 feet of water. Deep gravel has been a good spot to start with jigging spoons and a minnow head. Anything gold or gold/perch seems to catch the best interest. Throw out a tip up if you have one, anglers have nabbed some really nice walleyes on tip-ups and set lines with a rainbow or shiner. The fish have been thick and healthy this winter!

The Jumbo Perch have made a bit of a much welcomed come back this year.  You’ll find them in the 30-33 feet of water range as well. Breaks, gravel, and reef edges have all produced some nice sized fish. You will have to do some sorting. Mille Lacs has an abundance of smaller perch this year. Jigging spoons are working for perch as well as the Walleye. Down-sizing your spoon and bait will entice picky eaters on days when the action is a little slow. Gold seems to work well, my go-to has been a smaller jigging spoon in a color combo something with a pink/gold or orange/gold. Euros or waxies will work to tip your treble. I prefer euro larva over the waxies.

If you’re looking for Tulibee, anglers are finding them in 35-40 feet of water. A small jigging spoon tipped with euros will trick a hungry fish. Many anglers also like to use a spoon with a dropper tipped with a euro or two. The flashy spoon attracts the Tulibee while the smaller dropper with bait gets the curious but, finicky fish to bite.

Anglers are still getting some nice pike in the bays. Isle Bay,  Twin Bay, Whakon and Cove are popular spots for those targeting Pike. The mild weather has made for some fun tip-up days. Shiners seem to attract a little more attention than a sucker minnow. Set your tip-up just outside the weeds and you often don’t have to wait too long for some action. Pike will hit an array of brightly colored jigging spoons if you’re looking for some rod and reel action. You can also set a smaller sized shiner under a bobber rod. Look for the weed edges in the bays when targeting pike. You’ll also usually find a large pike or two on many of Mille Lacs reefs.

Perch Extravaganza is Saturday February 21st this year. Don’t miss out on one of the best days on Mille Lacs ice!


With the small amounts of snow the trails still haven’t seen much for snowmobiling this year. The lake shores do offer some decent riding if you’re coming up and would like to get some time in on your sled. We’ll keep crossing our fingers for snow!


McQuoid’s Inn Fishing, Ice, and Trails Report 12-31-14

The fishing continues to be good around the SE corner of Mille Lacs. Many anglers have been catching walleye of all shapes and sizes, with some very big ones as well. The small fish continue to bite as well, showing year classes of young Mille Lacs walleye to be very strong. Many of the fish in our area are being caught 18-25ft of water and even shallower in the evening. Pike fishing and spearing continues to productive in the Isle and Twin Bays area but the pressure has definitely lowered. Perch have been biting good every where in the SE basins form 20-30ft. If you just want some action go for some perch.  With the cool down expect the resort roads to push even further into the deep gravel. We currently have amazing ice for this time of year. Even with all the warm weather and the rain days the ice has held strong. We have the best travel conditions you could possibly ask for. Average ice thickness is about 16inches with much more in some areas, but as always check with your local bait shops and resorts before venturing out. We are still lacking the snow we need to get out and enjoy the snowmobile trails. With only a couple inches of snow on the ground we need a couple good storms to get us on our sleds, Think Snow!!

McQuoid’s, NAIFC Tournament, Fishing, Ice, and Trail Report 12-22-14

McQuoid’s Inn and Event Center hosted the NAIFC championship tournament this weekend. The event was a hit. The North American Ice Fishing Circuit is one of the largest and most well represented ice circuits in the world. Teams from 3 Countries and 12 States had representation, from Montana to Vermont. Mille Lacs made a name for itself in 2012 when the NAIFC brought its first championship here. 24.80 pounds the heaviest weight ever posted in any pan fish tournament they have ever held. 2014 did not disappoint that very record set here was broke again with an amazing 32.66 pound bag of crappie! The championship team wasn’t the only team putting up big weights teams 1-20 out of the 65 to participate weighed pan fish that were pushing a 1/2 to 3/4 pound average. The tournament was held from North Twin bay to Isle bay and many big perch and gills were brought in as well. McQuoid’s Inn is proud to bring in the NAIFC to show that Lake Mille Lacs is still a premier Crappie, Sunfish, and Perch destination in the Country.

Enough about the pan fish. Walleye have been hitting really well around the SE corner of Mille Lacs. Jigging Spoons and minnow heads during the day and shiners on a tip up or rattle wheel after dark or in the early morning. Fisherman are catching all sizes of walleye including some keepers. The perch are biting as well. look to 25-30 feet of water. In the Isle area we have 14-18 inches of ice Macs Twin Bay has great roads and access for vehicles, but look to the resorts you’d like to go out of for current ice reports.

Not much to report on the trails as of now we will need some cooler temps and much more snow to get us on track for the season. With a little luck we will get some in this next cool down.

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.

The 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 weed lines 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 jerk baits. As always practice catch and release to preserve our world class fishery! Tight Lines

Trails are in Great Shape to End the Season 3/28/14

Well this will be the last snowmobile trails and fishing report until fishing opener. It was a great winter time and still is winter here in the Mille Lacs Lake area. We got 4 Inches of snow yesterday which covered any bare spots that were on the trails and has made for excellent conditions. The softness of the snow and how it packing in on the trails will make them good throughout the weekend. We only have three days left to get out and enjoy the Soo line, Red Top and Kathio Loops and we have excellent trail conditions to do it. Hopefully everybody can get out and enjoy the new snow and the warm weather that we have.
If snowmobiling is not your thing right now, you can head on down to the Northwest Sportshow and say, “hi”, to Mike and Katey. They are manning the the both for the week down there, it runs through Sunday. Its a great time to talk about the new fishing regulations and maybe dream about some time on the open water. Speaking of fishing, it has been a little slow around the lake, but I did here of some good tullibee and perch action happening in the tullibee hole and around the graveyard. Fish are hitting in the deeper water 30-33 feet of water, with jigging spoons tipped with waxies or euro larvae.
With the snowmobile trails closing on the 1st we will start to shift our focus to the upcoming fishing season, and will be busy trying to get the boats, docks, cabins etc. up to par. Hopefully everyone out there is planning to visit this summer, the walleye should be biting again. As always have a safe time on all your outdoor adventures and we hope to see you on the trail.JB