We’ll start with the big news…the goods news. We are anticipating snow on on Tuesday. It has been a lack-luster winter snowmobiling in the Mille Lacs area, we have little snow winter long. The Driftskippers local snowmobile club has kept up with grooming and brushing. If the forecast is correct, and we get the snow, the trails are ready to go! We have every finger we own crossed. Wouldn’t it be great to get out on excellent trails before spring arrives! McQuoid’s Inn will update their website, blog, and Facebook with conditions as we head into the week.
Fishing remains good. The perch bite is still on. The schools are a mixture of large and small fish so you have to do some sorting but, plenty of anglers have found fish in the 12-13″ range and we’ve seen a fair share of 14″ too! The longer days have the perch bite a bit more aggressive. Small spoons with larva or waxies will do the trick. The Tulibee have also been biting, they prefer the flashiest spoon you can find tipped with larva. The Tulibee have been biting right in with the perch. Tulibee and perch have been deep. 28-33 feet of water. Anglers are also starting to find perch shallower off the breaks near shore.
We closed out on a decent winter for Walleye and saw a lot of proof that Mille Lacs Walleye population is on the rebound. Pike fishing was phenomenal as well with many trophy fish in the 40+ inch range!
While we are anticpating snow don’t let that completely deter thoughts of spring. Our new fleet of launch boats will be ready for anglers for opener. Saturday May 9th, 2015 is Minnesota’s Fishing Opener. Check out our launch information and schedule page here: McQuoid’s Launch Service.
Fishing has been holding up about the same all season, lots of action and fish. Closer to shore we have a good Perch bite right now, we are catching a lot of fish and you have to do some sorting to get the keepers. The small and large fish have been mixed all season. Look for deep basins within the first two miles of shore with 25-30 feet of water. Walleye fishing has been best from 3pm until about 8pm but people staying over night are seeing action on rattle wheels both late into the evening and early morning. The edges of the gravel bars down south have been the best for the walleyes. You’ll want to fish in 28-31ft. We have also been catching some Tulibees as well, finding most of them mixed in with the perch schools. Small or medium spoons of almost any color have been working and you usually find it to be either a painted spoon day or shiny spoon day. Tip spoons with euro larvae for Perch and Tulibee and with a minnow head for Walleyes.
We did receive 4-5″ of snow Tuesday and Wednesday. Terry was out grooming the trails. The Red Top is in excellent riding condition. We will be letting rentals go through the weekend and will continue to do so as the trails hold up.
Don’t forget to check with your access point before heading out. We have lots of good safe ice but, cracks can and do form and your resort can help keep you clear of any danger.
Mille Lacs has a good sheet of 28-30″ of ice, even more in some spots. Be sure to check with your access point, local bait store or resort before heading out. They can steer you clear of any cracks or heaved areas.
The fishing action has remained steady this week. We are seeing a good number of smaller fish in both the Walleye and Perch numbers. With that, we are seeing good numbers of jumbo perch coming in off the deep structure edges.
For perch start looking on your reef or flat edges in 29 -34 feet of water. Best action has been on jigging spoons with euro larva or waxies. Blue has been the color the last few days. If you can find something in blue/gold even better. Early and mid-morning bite has been the best.
The Walleye action is still hot too! The sunset-evening bite has been the best. We have had a lot of fish in the 15-16 inch range which is good news for our up and coming population. Don’t let the small guys deter you, there are still a good number of big healthy fish out there as well. Set lines with a nice size rainbow or small shiner work great for the larger walleye. Jigging spoons in gold or gold perch with a minnow head have been productive. 24-26 feet of water on reefs or gravel bars has produced the best bite, moving shallower as the evening progresses.
Pike fishing is still good in the bays. Tip-ups on weed lines with larger sucker minnows or shiners have taken some nice fish in the 40″ class. Remember angling for Pike continues through March but, the spearing season closes February 22nd along with walleye.
This has been a great year for Tulibee. If you’re looking for Tulibee, the deep holes off the flats and reef edges is producing a good number of fish. Stay mobile and don’t be afraid to downsize if the fish are finicky. Tip small spoons or jigs with a euro larva, the more flash the better!
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!
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!
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 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.
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.
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.
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.