Well the winter passed and an early spring warm-up this year had me on the water end of February on the Mississippi River chasing walleyes. Then mid-March the inland lakes here in the metro area became ice free and game on for the spring pan-fish smackdown! Well even during these times my mind kept running to chasing big walleyes on Lake Mille Lacs. Last season was my first season guiding on it and it really amazes me every time I’m out what an amazing fishery this lake really is! Now it is one the most regulated lakes in Minnesota but for myself I catch at release 99% of the time so it was a no brainer where to head for 2020 opener!
I didn’t know what to expect pulling up to Mac Twins Bay resort at 11:15pm Friday night being this was the first time the boat had seen the waters of Lake Mille Lacs in 2020. The nice thing about this lake is there are tons of walleyes so you just got to find them and you can start the pattern! We decided to start the night at midnight on some shallow shore-line rock bars and try fishing them with slip bobbers and a leech or minnow. The water temps of the southern bays were around that 48 degrees one of the warmest water we could find so we thought it would be game on……well like fishing can be that was not the case! We caught a few however not nearly enough to keep us sticking to that area! From there we decided to slow roll rigs along the first break in 20’-22’ feet of water. Doing these we found a better group of fish willing to eat! From there we decided to run to some of our more productive areas in the past once the sun came up! Now even with colder water temps 45 degrees in one spot the fish were there and hungry! We kept following our pattern running walleye rigs tipped with leeches at around .5 to .7mph off the first breaks. The fishing was not what I call on fire but it was very consistent! In 14 hours of fishing we ended with a total of 73 Walleyes and a couple Small-Mouth Bass. The fun part of Mille-Lacs is the average size of fish, it stayed consistent with other years with fish being in that 20”-21” range! I think with this cold front that moved through it pushed a lot of these walleyes out into that 20’-22’. Once you found good schools of them it was just a matter of pulling by them. We had several double ups coming across schools we seen on the graph!
Overall it was a great 2020 fishing opener! The weather was cold like most but the mid-day snow storm we encountered really did make this one for the books! Hope all of you had a great opener and were able to get out and enjoy the lakes! Remember to try to practice selective harvest on fish to keep our Great Lakes in Minnesota full of trophy fish for the years to come! Also when going out to fish try to stop and get your gear and bait at a small local bait shop. Thanks for everyone’s support and reading these reports it does make it worthwhile and I hope it helps everyone when they go out!