It’s been a week since I shared the boat with my Pops (Moondog), bro (outdoorguy), and buddy (Koz) out on the walleye factory they call Mille Lacs. A balmy friday morning around 40 degrees with a light wind greeted us as we ventured out about a mile from the boat landing.
Cruising around a rocky structure area looking at Moondog’s Humminbird 998, we were having trouble finding fish. It had been a while since any of us had been out fishing, so we knew were going to have to find fish with the electronics if we were going to have any chance. Fishing reports were saying that the walleyes were shallow, but most of them were trolling at night. Since we were going to be fishing in the middle of the day with a bright sun, we had too look a little deeper.
The wind picked up to near 10 mph and gave us a good drifting speed with the drift sock hanging over the edge of the boat. For the first drift, we followed the shallow edge of the drop off where we marked a few fish, but mustered only one light bite.
A couple other fishless drifts caused us to go back to the drawing boards (Humminbird 998). We decided that since the sun was getting higher and brighter, that the fish might be out a little deeper off the main structure. 5 minutes of driving around and we found some pods of fish near bottom. 18-25 feet seemed to be the key depths these fish were holding in.
We headed into the wind to start a drift that would direct the boat to drift down the deep edge of the structure and wouldn’t ya know it, Moondog pops his biggest Smallmouth Bass in his young 56 years. This was a tank of a smallmouth and is the second largest I’ve ever seen. My buddy Koz holds that record with a 23 incher up on Namakan Lake back in high school.
Each time I look back at old photos taken with the disposable cameras, it makes me wish I had a digital camera to take more photos with. Trying to make 27 pictures last a week long fishing trip used to be a tough thing to do. Only one photo of a bruiser like Koz’s doesn’t seem to do it justice…..anyways, back to Mille Lacs.
Moondog gets everyone jacked up with his big catch and suddenly that bitter wind doesn’t feel so cold.
We found our spot to stay on since we were marking fish on the Humminbird and getting occasional bites/lost fish. This wasn’t a fast and furious day of fishing, but we had our window of about 1.5 hours where we caught 5 great fish, and missed numerous others. A pair of 27″ walleyes (which may have been a couple of pounds difference in weight), 2 big smallmouth bass over 20″ (Moondog’s two biggest ever), and a solid 18″ smallie.
Big minnows were the ticket for us, and as much as getting back up to Mille Lacs again this year would be great, it will probably have to wait until next season…the ice season.
Get your flasher batteries charged, your ice reels re-lined, and the auger running, because it’s coming up fast!
Enjoy the pics from our trip and leave a comment to share your thoughts:
My name is Brad Bolton, a husband and father of four. I live in Minnesota and I enjoy spending time in the outdoors and also spending time with my family. If there is water nearby, I want to fish it.