The first trip to Mille Lacs for the season is in the books.
Mike, Dusty, Brandon and myself all spent the day on the big pond yesterday and found some awesome results. Our morning started by fishing a spot that some friends had done well at on the weekend. The fish were there, but they just didn't want to bite. Knowing that we only had one day to get in on the action, we quickly packed up our gear and headed elsewhere. My theory on this huge lake is that there is always fish biting somewhere.
Our second spot of the day proved to be another bust as we scored only one jumbo perch and several smaller ones. It was now almost noon, and we had to make a drastic decision as to what our afternoon was going to bring us. With half of the day already gone, and only two walleyes in the pail, we knew we had to change up gears quite a bit and decided to put about 10 miles between us and anybody else on the water. We hit the "MUD." We were the first individuals on this particular mud flat for the year, and it was obvious right from the start that we were going to have a good afternoon of fishing.
The fish started coming through the hole and everybody got in on the action. Before today the biggest walleye Mike had ever caught through the ice was 22" and he broke this record several times before the day was over. Not only that, but he also caught his largest ever at over 27". Brandon also scored his largest ever and landed more than one fish over 25". Dusty and myself caught several nice ones as well, but we were able to find a few more fish in the slot for dinner. The trouble when you get on a bite like this is finding fish small enough to bring home for dinner. On Mille Lacs this winter, everything from 20 - 28" must be released. Our trouble was finding fish under 20", which is a great problem to have any time on the water.
We found the fish we were looking for, but it definitely wasn't with ease, or luck. We put about 40 - 50 miles on our fourwheelers and crossed some areas that no sane person would probably go. This early in the season if you get out that many miles, you really have to trust yourself and the ice and know where you can and cannot go. We found ice sheets as high as 10 ft in the air, and cracks of open water as wide as 5 ft. If you are not paying attention when under these conditions, you will be one of the people we all hear about on the news. We packed up and headed out 25 minutes before dark just for this very reason, and it definitely made our drive back to solid land a whole lot safer.
We ended our day trip with several walleyes over 24". Everyone caught a few large ones, with our biggest fish of the day being in the 27 1/2" range. We kept a total of 11 walleyes and 2 jumbo's for our fish fry. With the first Mille Lacs trips in the books, I am already looking forward to the next time I get to hit the water. They're biting, get up there and get on them. Fish On!
WHAT A DAY!!