Crazy Like an Angler

Posted by MNAngler On August - 8 - 2010

Date: 8/7/2010
Time: 8:00am – 5:00pm
Body of water: Lake Mille Lacs
Location: Isle, MN
Weather Conditions: overcast, windy

It appears, that since I’ve become a true avid angler, I’ve lost my mind. Because no one in their right mind would willingly get up at 5:15am in the morning, let alone on a Saturday. But that’s indeed what I did.

I got a call from Mark Friday and he asked if I wanted to go back to Lake Mille Lacs with him. I had been itching to get back since the Minnesota DNR relaxed their walleye restrictions on the lake, so I somehow mustered the will to get up before the early bird even saw a worm. But even I wasn’t the crazy one.

Mark and I had arranged to meet at 5:45am for the 1 1/2 hour drive to the lake. I told him that I would turn on the front porch light (which he can see from his house) if I got up any earlier. At 5:30, I turned on the light, I went to get my shoes, and by the time I got back to the door, Mark’s truck and boat were at the foot of my driveway. It was like he was in the truck just waiting.

By the time we got on the lake, it was 8am. We started at our productive spot from last time outside of Father Hennepin Park. We lindy rigged for about two hours, but all I got was a small perch and the little guy to the left.

We then motored out to the Graveyard where we saw 5 other boats. We lindy rigged for a little while and we kept pulling in small perch. We weren’t seeing any of the other boats catching fish either, so about 15 minutes later, we headed out to a place called “4 Mile” where there is gravel bottom. This was 4 miles out from our boat launch, so Mark recommended I put on my rain gear for the ride. I thought that was overkill, but it wasn’t. I was as wet as if I had been standing out in a steady rainstorm. Fortunately, the weather was warm enough and the wind blowing enough that I was pretty much dried off after about 5 minutes.

We started lindy rigging again and Mark was seeing groups of fish on his fish finder in various places while we were drifting. We had put out a drift sock to prevent us from drifting too fast. It really worked because there was another boat near us and during the 3 or 4 passes we made, they would always drift passed us and have to motor back sooner than we did.

It turned out that the slower drifting paid off because Mark caught two walleye, one about 16″ and the other 19″ within about 15 minutes of arriving at 4 Mile. The conditions were perfect because the sky was overcast and the wind was blowing enough to make 1-2 ft swells. I was getting bites, but I couldn’t pull any of them in. This went on for about 3 hours. The bites ranged from a tap, to a tick, to one bite that I didn’t even feel, but happen to see the rod tip bow twice in quick succession. Each time I felt a bite, the hook would come back vacated of my leech. On one good tap, the leech came back half eaten! I just didn’t wait long enough.

By about 1:30pm, Mark’s fish were the only ones we caught, so we decided to switch species and go after smallmouth bass for a while. It took about 10 minutes to get from 4 Mile to the shallow rocks we hit last time. Going back, we were headed into the wind and we hit the waves hard. Every few seconds I would get doused with water. If it was like I was in a steady rainstorm on the way out, this time it was like I had been standing in a downpour. I was soaked. But again, it didn’t take long for me to dry off.

At the rock pile, I alternated between my spinning reel with a bubble gum fluke and my baitcaster with the green pumpkin jig and pig that I had so much success with last weekend. Unfortunately, the luck from last weekend did not carry over. Mark threw a beetle spinner, chartreuse spinnerbait and a few other lures, but neither of us could even get a nibble. We also worked some of Mark’s other favorite smallmouth spots and even tried a shore that had a ton of grass that was about 3-5 ft deep, but nothing bit.

At about 3:30, we decided to try for walleye one last time before we had to go. We went back to Father Hennepin Park, but tried out further where I caught my 19″ last time. I remembered after I got back from my last trip, that I should have tried casting an orange flat fish that my father-in-law likes for walleye. I was able to try it this time, but it would either hydroplane across the surface or not go very deep. I think the flat fish is designed more for trolling than casting. I gave up after a few casts.

We lindy rigged for about an hour with more bites but no fish in the boat, so we decided it was time to call it a day. On the way back to the boat launch, I asked Mark if we could try casting for smallies at the entrance of the channel to the boat launch. He said we could cast for 5 minutes. About 4 minutes in, Mark dropped a white pearl super fluke at the edge of some grass and the surface exploded. But nothing was at the end of the line to reel in, not even his lure. Only a muskie or northern would have cut the line so quickly. Needless to say, we kept casting.

I tossed my bubble gum fluke for a few casts, switched to my green pumpkin jig and pig, and also tried tossing my chartreuse scum frog into the grass that Mark got his hit, but I didn’t even feel a tick. A little closer to the channel entrance, Mark hooked into a nice sized smallie with his white pearl fluke, but lost it before it got to the boat. By now a half hour had passed and two charter pontoons were headed for the channel, so we had to get going or we would have been in their way.

Overall another disappointing outing on Mille Lacs, but with it’s world class fishery reputation, I’ll never pass at an opportunity to fish it. If I get to fish it again this year, we will likely be driving on it.

3 Responses to “Crazy Like an Angler”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Outdoor Blogger, cathleen mackay. cathleen mackay said: Crazy Like an Angler | Journal of a Minnesota Angler: I had been itching to get back since the Minnesota DNR relax… […]

  2. BP says:

    I was really rooting for yeah to come out of this trip with some BP Derby Fish.

    • MNAngler says:

      Thanx for rooting for me. I couldn’t believe we didn’t even get a smallie nibble.

      I’m very jealous of all the fish you guys are catching in the derby this year. I’m headed to a metro lake this weekend and the Gunflint Trail in a couple of weeks. Hopefully, I’ll come up with something in one of those trips. And I’m going back to some lakes where I was shore bound and bringing my float tube this time.

      I never expected to win the derby, but hope to at least get on the board.

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