Thursday, December 18, 2014

Season’s Greetings,

We pulled rental houses out today and it went well.  The crack is still open and we bridged it.  We pulled houses over the bridge.  We hauled snow from shore to bank some of them but snow is hard to find.   We do have rentals available for this weekend so spread the word.

We will begin pulling private houses out on Friday.  We now can drive to and from your house but DO NOT go exploring.  We will be open for daily wheel houses and other daily accesses starting on Saturday.  Since there is no snow, there are no defined roads.  We left our road stakes to help, but it is definatley easier to see where to go in the daylight.  If you are not familiar with our road system, it may be better for you to come at first light so you can see where you are driving.

I do not have a lot of fishing reports yet, but from the reports I have heard, people are catching fish.  Mostly 2013 year class walleyes and bigger ones, but some slot fish as well.  I also have heard of some nice northern catches.

Remember to get your name on the pull list as soon as you come up and then make sure your house is ready to pull.  We will get you out as soon as we can.  Let the fun begin.

Dean & Renee

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Season’s Greeting’s Everyone,

We went out today to access the ice after the warm stretch.   The water has all frozen but the crack that appeared two weeks ago is back again and is 2 feet wide and open.  We filled some areas of the crack with snow and slush and will see how it freeze’s over night.

On Wednesday, we will bridge the crack & go out with 4 wheelers to check the ice again in our territory.  If we do not find any more cracks or questionable ice, we may try to pull some rentals over the bridge.  We will see how that goes and decide on further pulling then.

One thing you need to be aware of that almost all of the snow on the ice melted so banking will be a challenge.  We will probably have to haul snow from shore for rentals.  This means we cannot bank private fish houses for what we normally charge.  It also means that banking houses will take two men away from pulling other private fish houses.  We may have to bank houses during the week, rather than on the weekend, when we have people waiting to have their houses pulled.  It will be a challenge and we will appreciate your patience.  We will do our best to get everybody out fishing and make everyone happy.  See you soon.

Dean & Renee

P.S.  Things to remember:  Fishing License, Shelter License, FH Reflectors, FH Key, Bait (we no longer sell minnows but will have wax worms), Important - turn off propane before being pulled.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Ice Update as of 12/12/14

We have not gained much ice since the last report.  We still have mostly 12 inches with a range of 10 - 14".

The crack has come back together and is only a couple of inches wide at this point.  With the extremely warm temps for this weekend, we will wait to pull houses until next week.

We are open for 4 wheeler and snowmobile access.  Stay safe!!!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Ice Update 12-9-14

Sorry for the delay in sending out an updated report.  We have had access issues on our computer (I lost the password to access this blog) but Renee saved me as usual.

The ice is coming very well.  We have 12" in most places with some 10" further out and some 14" closer to shore.  We have a crack which opened up Saturday and is about 2' wide with about 2" of ice in it.  It is about 50 yards from shore.

I am still undecided about pulling houses at this time.  I was hoping to start this weekend but between the crack and the temperature forecast for this weekend (40 on Friday and 46 on Saturday) I am hesitating.  I am waiting to see if they change the forecast and also to see if the crack heals.  I will keep this updated now that Renee can post to it.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Fishing Report and Update as of 2/7/14

This has been the most stable week we have had this year.  Note, I said stable, not warm.  At least, we have not had snow or high winds so for the first week this winter, we did not have to plow all of our roads and driveways.

Fishing remains unchanged.  It has not gotten better or worse.  I think that until we get an extended warmer period, what you see is what you get.  They are seeing and getting some perch in 27 - 28' and some walleyes and northern are biting along Agate Bay Reef.  It is just not consistent in any area.  

I would like to address the new harvest quota, the DNR and the "sky is falling" attitude I hear everywhere.

Last summer, after the ice finally went out, we had a decent bite on keeper fish (18 - 20") thru about the end of June.  The larger fish also bit quite well thru the same time frame.  Once the young of the year perch reached the size where they were good forage for the walleyes, the bite slowed dramatically.  It has stayed slower all the way thru the winter.  I believe this slow bite is caused by the vast numbers of small perch and, as I said earlier, the cold fronts every other day.  The walleyes remain in the lake.  They are just not hungry.

The DNR and the band have agreed on a very low harvest quota for next year in an effort to protect the larger spawning fish and the fewer smaller fish that will enter the 14 - 18' range.  They say, however, that we probably can keep the same slot regulations as what we had last year.  People have reacted as if the "sky is falling" and I do not understand this.

To me, we are better off than we have been for a few years.  The DNR finally has addressed the problem of juvenile survival of walleyes.  They have shown an appreciation of the problem and are putting time and resources to work to solve the problem.  They are asking for outside help which I think is huge.  When have they ever admitted that they may not have all the answers.  I doubt that the solution will be easy but I have confidence that the DNR can solve it, now that they are facing the issue.

In addition, I believe that there are more walleyes out there than most people think there are.  The band had almost no harvest last spring and the harvest last summer was low, especially if you discount the DNR's "hooking mortality" numbers which I do.  I think that is the most wild guess there is related to Mille Lacs.  This winter, we have not hurt the population any.  So for a whole year we have not taken a lot of walleyes, at least compared to past years.  We have taken very few of the walleyes over 20" so basically, all of them are still out there.  Why do we not see them or get them to bite?  A LOT OF FORAGE.

So many people believe the bite is dependent on the number of walleyes in the lake when really, forage availability is a much bigger factor.  The walleyes do not have to concentrate on the rock piles looking for food.  It is almost everywhere in the lake.  For the same reason, the remaining walleyes may not have concentrated in the few areas where the DNR sets their test nets.  Why should they?  There is food everywhere.

So... are we worse off now because we have a fantastic hatch of little perch which should protect our larger than normal, healthier than normal walleye hatch from last spring and let them grow bigger, as well as, hopefully give us a perch population to catch is 3 - 4 years?  Or were we better off a few years ago when the walleyes bit like crazy because they were starving and when you caught one, their mouths were all torn up from multiple catch & releases?

Are we better off now that we are a high priority for the DNR and everyone is watching them so they have some pressure to succeed?  Or were we better off when no one other than Mille Lacs people seemed to care?

Mille Lacs has always had ups and downs, generally in a five to seven year cycle.  This is because we are a natural reproduction lake with no walleye stocking.  I think this is an unusually low low but we have had some years with pretty low harvests.  I think the high forage will impact the bite for a little while but the large walleyes will bite again.  It will be a lot of catch & release and that is not a bad thing.  If you want to have a lot of fun and help the lake, take a few hours each weekend and go catch northerns and smallmouth bass.  Keep anything that is legal and cook it up.  You will be surprised how good they taste and how much fun it is.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

January 30, 2014

It has  been a while since I have updated this, but there has been little change. The wind blows and it is cold. What's new?

Seriously, we now have most of the roads we usually plow. All of our rentals and most of the private houses have been out for 2-3 weeks. The roads are in good shape except they are getting way narrower than usual. The winds and drifting snow are taking their toll. Lake Street, in particular, is very narrow in a couple spots. I hope the wind and snow stop or we will have trouble getting houses off. Lake Street can not get too much narrower.

The winds and drifting snow are also giving some houses problems with rising water. You may have to block the house higher or move if the water is too bad. Be sure to keep an eye on your water level both before and after you drill your holes.

Fishing has been a challenge this year. We have seen some nice walleyes, just not consistently. It has been very difficult to find a pattern. We have seen walleyes caught shallower on the reef during the low light periods and also in 24-25' during the same time. The abundance of forage(little perch) does not help. Neither do the constant cold fronts coming thru every other day.

We are finally starting to see a little perch action in 27-28'. Some of them are nicer sized, along with lots of young-of-the-year perch. We moved some rentals out deeper to try to get more action. We plow spots for wheel houses in the better areas and we are open for them, along with portables.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Sorry- I forgot this.

Sorry, I forgot to address portable and wheel houses. We are open for any of them as of now. We restricted them last weekend, but we are completely open for them now. Our access fee for vehicles and portables is $ 10 per vehicle per Calendar Day, not per 24 hour period or $25 for Friday- Sunday.

For wheel houses on a daily basis, we require that you leave a driver's license with us to ensure that the house does not get left on the lake. The access fee is $15 per Calender Day or $40 for Friday-Sunday. For that, we will plow you a driveway to get your house off the road and we would strongly recommend that you stay on the driveways we plow. It is not a good time to go exploring off road.

We have portable toilets on the lake and a very nice heated shower/toilet facility on shore which is open 24 hours per day. We also have a café on shore with excellent meals.