Winter Ice Fishing
Mille Lacs is Minnesota’s second largest lake and covers 132,000 acres or over 200 square miles. It is a relatively shallow lake with much of the lake ranging from 20 - 35 feet in depth. It is a world-class fishing lake for walleye, muskies, northern pike, smallmouth bass and perch with many trophies of each species caught annually.
Anglers primarily target walleyes and jumbo perch during the winter. The numbers of northern pike caught during the winter are also increasing, and many are trophy quality.
Walleye are generally found shallower early in the season, move deeper during the middle of the season, and return to the shallows later in the season. The walleye bite over shallow water is best during low-light periods like early morning, late afternoon and throughout the night. Fishermen target walleyes with a jigging spoon tipped with a minnow head or hook/bobber rigs. Walleye can also be found all winter over the deeper mid-lake mud flats. Jigging spoons work well there also.
Jumbo perch are another winter favorite. They generally bite best a little later in the season over deeper mud and gravel/mud transition areas. They can also bite well, but be harder to find out in the deeper 32 - 36 foot no-man’s land where there is not much structure or depth changes for long distances. Tactics include small jigging spoons or jigs tipped with either a small minnow head, a wax worm, or eurolarvae, also work well. You want to go small for perch in terms of bobber size and bait. Spring bobbers are popular for perch.
It is something of an over-simplification but generally we target walleyes early in the season with our rental fish houses located near shallow rock reefs. We stay a little deeper, not on the top of the reef, because we try to get midday action, as well as the low light bite. As the season progresses, we generally move the houses deeper. By mid-season we will be in the 23 - 28 foot range targeting walleyes and perch. Later in the season we move deeper yet, around 28 - 32 feet and target jumbo perch, although walleyes are also caught deep. A suspended line during the night can catch some nice sized walleyes over deeper water.
The trick with rental houses is to move them often and try to stay on fish. If you see a resort that only moves the houses once or twice during the season, watch out.
We do our best to put you on fish. If you are not catching fish and we have an empty house, we will move you to another house to help you, although this is not always possible. If you need help with your technique or tackle choice, we will help you there also.
We rent Vexilar sonars and underwater cameras; they will generally improve your chances. Bait is not sold at the resort, but there are bait shops nearby. We do sell ice, snacks, beverages, some tackle, etc.