Category: Mille Lacs Lake Ice Conditions

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 four hundreds of mile 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.

3/19/14 We Got More Snow!

Just when we thought that winter was done, we wake up to 8 inches of snow on the ground. We got hit by an isolated snow storm, that added a couple more inches to our yearly snow fall. One that is currently on pace to be the second snowiest winter on record. It was a weird snowfall because of how narrow the band of snow was. We got a lot of snow while the twin cities, and parts to the north of us did not receive anything.  The current 5 day forecast has the temps dipping down into the 20′s so the snow should not be going anywhere anytime soon, which means our trails should be in great condition for the upcoming weekend.

The owner Terry was out enjoying the Snowmobile trails yesterday, and said they were in great condition. The new powder on the trails made for fun riding. The Drift Skippers should be out in the next couple days knocking down any of the road approaches, and grooming the trails so they should be in pristine condition for the upcoming weekend. Very rarely do you get trail conditions this good, this late in March. So hopefully if you haven’t put your snowmobile away for the winter you can get it up here and enjoy the trails. We still have some rentals, and guides available for the upcoming weekend and we will continue to rent until the trails close on April 1st or until the trails can no longer be used.

Fishing pressure has been almost non existent on the lake. You could go out there and have the whole lake to yourself. Some people have been fishing in the bay going for the big panfish. I have heard a few limited reports coming out of the bay with some nice crappies but that’s about it. The Perch should hopefully pick up if we get some warmer weather and some snow melt on the lake. If you are looking at coming up make sure you have the snowmobile to travel around the lake as well as a extension on your auger.

The official start of spring is tomorrow, which for me gets me in the mood to get all the summer fishing stuff together. I know that the snow is here still, but I can’t help that think that fishing opener is a month and half away! For all the snowmobilers, it marks the end of the season, but you can still ride and find some great trail conditions in the area. As always be safe on all your outdoor adventures, and for more up to date conditions feel free to call our desk. We hope to see you on the trails this weekend.JB

3/13/14 Spring is a week away! Fishing and Snowmobile Trails Report

We had a little relapse in the weather yesterday, with the cold coming back, but if you were in the sun it still felt fairly warm. It is always nice to look at the weather and see the first day of spring on the calender. It looks like it will be nice that day with a high of 36, we would cringe if that was in September, but after a long winter 36 degrees is almost short weather.  This weekend we will be welcoming Bethel Church in for their annual retreat. Along with our regular resort guests and this retreat it will be a fun busy weekend up here. If you haven’t made any plans yet we will still have some last second rooms available for you.

Terry has been having fun all week on the Snowmobile trails, in fact he is out there right now leading a snowmobile guided trip. The trails are in excellent condition, and should be done and groomed in time for the upcoming weekend. We still have a good base of snow on the trails especially in the wooded areas, which should last till next barring any big rain falls. The Soo-Line trail does have some spots that are starting to bare up, and with the warmer weather I am sure we will see some more. The Red Top and Kathio loops are still in very good condition, and the 2 and 7 trails should continue to be good as well. We are still in March and could see more snow which would almost guarantee that we will have snow all the way up until the trails close April 1st.  We still have plenty of snowmobiles and Guides for rent, so get out while the trails are in good condition.

Fishing pressure is still very minimal on the lake. There have been some okay reports of Crappies and Sunfish on the bays, but not much pressure on them.  Smaller is better when you are chasing these panfish, small gold, silver or perch colored jigs, tipped with euro larvae have been working the best. During the low-light hours a small crappie minnow under a slipbobber has caught a few fish.I have heard very limited Perch Reports coming in, but the couple I have heard, its been slow out there. Hopefully some people start to head out and enjoy the nice weather out there. If you are choosing to come up and fish the lake, there are roads plowed into Isle Bay, into the crappie beds. If you choose to go beyond those roads, you will need a snowmobile to travel.

March is always a 50/50 month, you could have wonderful weather one year, and the other you would think we sunk into another ice age. This year seems to be latter, its been awesome weather, and it looks like we will be into spring in no time. Hopefully the ice is off early so those walleyes start biting right away on this years opener. I know that a lot of the trails around the state have started to close, but ours are still open and ready for your sled to ride on them. Hopefully everybody can get up and enjoy these last few days of winter, and as always be safe on all your outdoor adventures and we hope to see you on the trails.JB

3/10/14 The Weather is Getting Warmer, Snowmobile Trails and Fishing Report

I think we can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel for this winter. It was a fairly busy winter up here on Lake Mille Lacs, not only in terms of the outdoor activities, but the snow removal, and keeping busy with the cold temps. Yesterday’s weather was a sight for sore eyes, and it looks like it is going to stick around, although we have some nice weather being forecast, we are still in March, the snowiest time of the year. If you are looking to still do some winter activities, this would be the week to do that with some highs reaching the low- mid 40′s. I will be busy this week doing some spring cleaning, going through the summer fishing gear, and for sure taking some walks around the State Park to cure some of my Cabin Fever. I love spring time and cannot wait to be back in the boat fishing some walleye, just like I am sure many of you are.

Snowmobiling in the area was very busy this past weekend, with everybody getting out and enjoying the excellent weather and trail conditions. The trails are settling nicely and freezing hard at night, making them like a snowy highway through the woods. We still have plenty of a base on the trails, and one week of warm weather will not remove the snow on the trails. I do not see any rain in the forecast so it looks like we should have good snow through the weekend. We will continue to rent snowmobiles and provided guide snowmobile trips until we can no longer ride on the trails. We still have plenty of snowmobiles available for this week so that you can enjoy the trails a few more times before the snow is gone.  Hopefully everybody will get out and enjoy the trails, they don’t get any better then this.

It looks like the word is out, the crappie have started to show up in the shallows in Isle Bay. Fishing pressure will look to increase with the report of these big crappies being caught in the bay. The best reports for the dinner plates have been during the evening hours using slip bobbers and crappie minnows. If you are fishing during the day, you will want to use the smallest jig in your tackle box and sight fish them if you can. Gold tungsten jigs tipped with a single spike or small plastic are working best, and if you can find some weeds even better. Perch fishing has been a little slow but that should pick up with the warm sunny weather and the same goes with the Tullibee.  If you are planning on coming up to fish I know that Chapman’s and Hunter Windfield’s do have roads built about 100 yards into Isle Bay, but if you choose to leave from here snowmobiles would highly be suggested. Along with having snowmobiles make sure you add an extension to your auger.

Its getting to be that time of year and hopefully this gets everybody in the mood of planning their summer vacations. We are eagerly looking forward to this summer too, and can’t wait to put the boats in the water. In the meantime as we think about the open water we will still be ice fishing and snowmobiling because like everyone else we will be missing winter time when the highs this summer are 90+ degrees. I would still plan on there being enough snow this weekend to snowmobile, and would highly recommend that every tries to get up one more time before its to late. We will be monitoring the trails all week and will give an update later this week so stay tuned. Like always be safe on all your outdoor adventures and we hope to see you on the trails.JB

3/07/14 NAIFC Qualifier Weekend, Snowmobile Trails and Fishing Report

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

Snowmobile Trails and Fishing Report 3/3/14

It is finally March it should start to warm up at anytime. March is always a fun time for me, Baseball spring season, Spring Snow Goose hunting, Turkey Hunting, Enjoying a warm day on the snowmobile, and chasing some Perch and Tullibee on the big pond.  This weekend is the last NAIFC qualifier tournament for the season, the Championship will be held here again in December. The good news for the anglers this weekend is that there are no ice houses on the lake, and the weather should be nice and warm! Hopefully everybody can find some good numbers of Bluegill and Crappie in the bay. The other nice thing about March is all the boat and sport shows that will be happening around the state and area.  I know I have already started to get ready for the upcoming summer, going through my summer rods, and going through the tackle that I may need for the upcoming season. I still have my winter stuff ready to go perch fishing but I like to plan ahead and set goals for the upcoming summer.

If you are a person that is living in the now, we still have great Snowmobile trail conditions. The groomers have been already this week, and the pressure on the trails was very minimal over this past weekend. The Red Top, 2 trail and Kathio are in very good condition right now. The Soo-line still is a little bumpy but that should be flattened out by this weekend. We do have some warm weather coming in for the weekend and that should help make the trails even better. We also have plenty of guides and snowmobiles available for this upcoming weekend.

Fishing has been a little slow around the lake. Perch and Tullibee are being found, but are not to aggressive right now. The best success for these fish have been in 30-35 feet of water in any of the basins or the edges of the mud flats. If you choose to travel on the lake snowmobiles are the suggested method of travel. Most resorts are not plowing any more roads and there will be limited travel on these roads. If you are choosing to take your truck out on the ice call ahead to see if your resort still has their road open. This weekend the NAIFC qualifier will be held in Isle bay. There have been some limited reports of panfish in the bay right now, with lots of anglers seeing crappies and bluegills just not much coming through the holes. Hopefully the panfish will bite this weekend for everybody coming up to fish the qualifier.

Winter is far from over, even with the warm weather moving in we will have plenty of snow for snowmobiles. I have yet to put the ice fishing stuff away and probably will try to get out after some perch a couple more times before the ice is gone for good. It has been a fun winter so far and we are looking forward to warmer days ahead. As always be safe on your outdoor adventures and we hope to see you on the trail.

2/27/14 Still Plenty of Snow, Snowmobile Trails and Fishing Report

It took us a couple days but we finally got all cleaned up from that last snowfall we had. We have some huge piles starting to form around the parking lot right now and I have to be creative on how I move the snow. The nice thing about all this snow is that we can plan on snowmobiling for the next month hopefully but we do live in Minnesota and the weather could turn for the warmer at any second.

Snowmobiling has been great on the area trails. We have a very good base of snow and the groomers have been out on the trails all week. The weird thing about all the trails is the lack of snowmobilers out enjoying them. You could ride right now all day and only see a handful of other sleds enjoying the trails. Most of our guides are finding many areas that they are the first people to travel on after groomers, which makes for awesome riding. The reports coming in from the Red Top and Kathio loops are Very good to Excellent conditions, while the 2 and 7 are good-very good and do have some bumpy spots, those should be flat by the weekend. The ditches in the area had gotten groomed last night and they are so deep with snow you ride even with the road beds.  The soo-line has been groomed and again does have some bumoy spots and a couple of drifts in the open areas but those should all be taken care of before this upcoming weekend. We have had some great guided trips this past week, especially with the trails being in such great condition, we still have openings for guided snowmobile trips this weekend as well as snowmobiles for rent. So hopefully you can get up and enjoy the trails while you can, there are not many years that they are in this great of condition.

Ice fishing is coming to a close for many of the resorts in the area as they are busy pulling houses. I know that some have all their houses already pulled for the season, it seems like it just started yesterday. If you are planning on coming up fishing it will be best to trailer some sort of tracked vehicle with you. There are roads open but getting of the roads is the hard part with numerous deep drifts around the lake, make sure you are watching where you are going. Perch and Tullibee action continues to be hit and miss around the lake. The best reports I have heard have been on the deep breaks around Hennipen Island and Big Point. Most anglers are finding their bigger perch with jigging spoons tipped with a minnow head. Tullibee continues to be good around the lakes mud flats with jigging spoons tipped with euro larvae being your best bet for this silvery cousin to the trout. It seems like you will have the whole lake to yourselves right now if you head out fishing. Make sure you bring a shovel and an auger extension with you as well.

It looks like this weekend will be another cold one but the sun should be out all weekend. It will be another fun weekend to do some winter activities as we all know warm weather will be soon to follow. This weekend there are still some smaller fishing contests happening around the lake and the following weekend will be the NAIFC qualifier in Isle Bay. If you do head up this weekend be safe on all your outdoor adventures and we hope to see you on the trails.JB

 

We Have SNOW! Fishing and Snowmobile Trails Report 2/23/14

Have you ever wondered how they predict weather? I sometimes swear they just throws darts at a map and that’s how they decide which way the snow storm is going to go. We received almost a foot of snow along with some big winds that really played havoc on our trails and ice roads. It took a good amount of time for me to just clean out the snow we had on our parking lot, I am starting to have to be creative on where I am putting all this snow. It looks like we will have plenty of snow to last well through March, which is a good sign for all the snowmobilers out there. This past weekend was busy even with all the snow, and the fishing tournaments in the area still had really good turn outs. It was fun to have a good busy weekend. Hopefully people are looking to get good use out of their snowmobiles before the trails close April 1st.

Snowmobile trails have been groomed, but after this weekends heavy use they are a little bumpy. The Soo line, Red Top and Kathio loops are in Fair condition right now. The road ditches are very hard to travel right now with many people getting stuck and they are very bumpy, I would wait until the groomers can get in there before traveling on the ditches. Many of the road approaches and driveways on these ditches have very big berms and snow piles so please use caution while traveling on them, I would stick to the main trails.  The groomers will hit the trails hard this week and by this weekend they should be in pristine condition. This new 10 inches of snow will add to our already nice  base of snow. In some spots we will have over 24″ of snow as a base which if the current weather holds up we will be riding right up until the trails close. We will continue to rent snowmobiles through March and will have plenty of trail guides to show you the best riding. Many of our guest have really liked having a guide show them the trails. They are able to get the most use of their rental time and get to travel greater distances with our guides.  The other great thing about having a guide is that you should have to worry about getting lost or damaging your rental sled, they also know the best places to grab a bite to eat.

Fishing is coming to a stand still on the lake. Many of  the main roads are still snow covered and hard to travel on, all the resorts are trying hard to open the roads up and get to people that have been in their ice houses for a couple days now. Hopefully they will have a majority of the roads open today, some resorts are not even allowing traffic on the roads yet. Please call ahead to see what the conditions of the roads are before you travel up here. Snowmobile travel would be advised on the lake otherwise you will be limited to the roads to fish. Just a friendly reminder the Walleye and Northern Pike Season closes today and you have until March 3rd to remove your ice house from the lake. Perch action has been spotty right now around the lake. The best action has been in the deep basins and off the edges of some of the mid lake mud flats. I have seen some good catches of tullibee coming in right now, and that should continue to pick up along with the perch. Drilling holes and keeping mobile will get the most fish in your bucket.

It is hard to imagine that we haven’t even hit our snowiest month yet! I have some snow piles around the parking lot that are almost 12 feet tall right now, as well as some drifts that are almost up to our second floor rooms. I know it will be really good for our snowmobiles to have another great snowy month in March. I hope everybody will get a chance to enjoy their snowmobiles for another month. We will continue to keep our plow on the truck and the snowblower filled with gas. As always be safe on all your outdoor adventures and we hope to see you on the trail. I will try to update the snowmobile trails report throughout the week!JB

Tournament Time on the Lake, Snowmobile Trails, Fishing and Ice Report 2/18/14

We are nearing the end of the fishing season for Walleye and Pike, and that usually means that the big tournaments start on the lake. This weekend two of the largest ice fishing tournaments will be held on the lake, on our side of the lake will be the Perch Extravaganza and on the Garrison side of the lake will be the Fishing for Ducks tournament. Both of the these tournaments will offer prizes to the largest fish but the best prizes are held in the drawings! You have an opportunity to not only win fishing gear, but ATV’s, Ice Castles and even a new truck! These tournaments are a big draw to our area and a lot of people go to them for more of a social gathering. Tickets and Buttons for both of these events will be available the day of the tournaments and you must be present to win at them as well. We still have lodging available for this upcoming weekend.

Snowmobile trails in the area remain excellent. This past weekend the trails were packed with people which was really nice to see, hopefully that trend continues into march. Everybody I talked to said the trails were in excellent condition despite how busy they were. We have a great base on the trails and the off chute trails such as the Red Top and Kathio State Park are even better. This weeks 4 inches of snow along with the warm weather will make the trails even better, we will not be losing any of our snow base with the warmer temps expected. We still have plenty of snowmobiles to be rented along with guides that can take you to some of those secret snowmobiling spots. It looks like this weekend should be a great weekend to ride and the trails will be groomed regularly throughout the week.

Fishing reports over the past weekend were the best we have heard in a month. Its been a slower ice fishing season then years past but people started to catch fish over the weekend, maybe it was the full moon that helped out. Anglers found most of there walleyes in deeper water 28-32 feet of water during the day and at night the deeper water has been better. During the day keeping mobile and using jigging spoons tipped with minnow heads are your best bet to finding these fish. During the low light and ovenight periods a dead stick with a full rainbow minnow or shiner are working best. Some decent Perch have also started to show up in the past week, with many of the walleye techniques working for the perch. These next couple of warm days should hopefully keep the fishing good. Roads have been plowed out to some of the further destinations on the lake, but if you choose to go off road the best method for travel is snowmobile or some sort of tracked vehicle. The ice is very thick in some spots, so you may need to make sure you bring along your auger extension.

The fishing season is coming to a close on Sunday but that doesn’t mean our season is done yet. You can still get out and find some Perch or Tullibee, maybe even rent a snowmobile and explore are expansive collection of trails. Winter is far from over for us and usually in March we still get some good snow falls, so it should be a good time to get out and hit the trails in the upcoming weeks, especially since we will have warmer weather. Many people have loved going on the guided snowmobile tours and they can make your rental snowmobile go a lot further and see a lot more since you don’t have to worry about getting lost. Hopefully everybody coming up to fish the tournaments wins something and as always be safe on your outdoor adventures and we hope to see you on the trails.JB

 

2/11/14 Snowmobile Trails, Ice and Fishing Report

I remember the first time I ever got to drive a snowmobile, it was a 1970 Arctic Cat Panther. We had just moved to Minnesota and this vintage cat was left with the house, I worked so hard to get that sled running and was so proud to get it running. After getting stuck numerous times in the deeper snow I lost interest in driving that sled and proceeded to save up for a newer more advanced sled later on. That more “advanced” sled I got now is pushing 20 years and is no where near what the sleds now days are capable of. The advancements of today almost make most of the sleds look like sleek jet fighters and something out of star wars. Most of the time driving them you almost feel like your flying as you float across the new powder that covers a trail. This weekend in Isle, you can come enjoy a working history of the snowmobile and enjoy riding along with these sleds during the 10th annual vintage snowmobile ride. This is a free event and every sled is welcome to join the ride, the vintage show starts at 10:00 am on Saturday, with the ride starting at Noon. It is a 26 mile round trip ride, with a campfire and food to top everything off.  If you don’t have your own sled and would like to attend the ride we have a couple of them to rent so that you can enjoy the festivities. It looks like it will be a great weekend to ride with warmer temps moving in and a little bit of new snow right before the weekend.

Snowmobiling continues to be great on the local trails. The Mille Lacs Lake Drift Skippers have been busy grooming the trails, and with warmer temps coming our way it should make for a great weekend of sledding. We still have some sleds available for the weekend and if you are uncomfortable reading a map of the trails we have guides waiting to take you out. Our guides can take you to some of the secret little trails and know where the best riding is making your snowmobile adventure even more memorable. Right now we are offering 10% off our guided snowmobile package if you mention this blog. There is not to many weekend remaining this winter to get out and hit the trails before we know it we will be pulling out the ATV’s and boats for this upcoming summer.

Fishing pressure remains fairly low and fishing reports coming in sound a little slow. Hopefully this upcoming weekends warm weather picks up the fishing a little bit. There have been a couple good reports coming in still here in there and anglers willing to put in a little extra work have found a few more fish. The best bite for walleye and perch has been out on the deep gravel bars and mud flats. The best depth has been 28-32 feet of water during the day, and 14-20 feet during the low-light and overnight hours. Smaller gold, silver or perch colored jigging spoons tipped with a minnow head are working best. Pike action has actually been good over the past week with lots of big pike being pulled through the ice. If you are looking for a true trophy this is the year, with numerous 40″+ pike being caught, I even heard reports of a 46″ pike being pulled through the ice this year. Most anglers are finding these fish in the shallow bays and rock piles around the lake, and the best way to fish is a big sucker and a tip up. Currently we are running a 10%  off discount on our guide trips, the only catch is that you have to keep all the keeper pike you catch, our guides are very good at getting all the bones out. The bite is a little tough right now but I am remaining optimistic as we head into the final weeks  of walleye fishing.

It is hard to believe that we are already into the middle of the month. There are 2 weekends left of game fishing as the season closes on February 23rd, and three weekends left of having an Ice house on the lake, with all houses required to be off the lake by March 3rd.  Hopefully everybody will have a chance to get out and enjoy the warming weather and get there fix of winter in before we head into the spring time. Only 48 more days until the official start of spring. I will for sure get out fishing and snowmobiling  a couple more times and I hope to see everybody on the ice or trails. As always be safe on all your outdoor adventures. JB