How To Ice Fish Mille Lacs – Simple Tactics That Catch Walleyes and Perch

Do you want to learn about how to ice fish for walleyes and perch on Lake Mille Lacs? If this is you, then you have come to the right place! Ice Fishing Mille Lacs provides straightforward tips and tricks, along with the best Mille Lacs ice fishing reports designed to help make any ice fishing trip to Mille lacs successful.

Making Your Mille Lacs Ice Fishing Trip Successful

Confidence, Focus, and Do Not Become Overwhelmed

The first tips for new or first-time Mille Lacs ice anglers include:

  • Maintaining confidence
  • Keep focused
  • Remain mobile
  • Fall back on the info and data gathered prior

For the most part, ice fishing on Mille Lacs is relatively straightforward. Research where the fish are biting prior, ask locals for precise info before going out, use detailed lake maps and electronics to locate the fish once on the lake.

What often happens to new or first-time Mille Lacs ice anglers is that they tend to become overwhelmed once they go from solid land to ice. Excitement mixed with overwhelmedness leads into an almost “Deer in the Headlights” type feeling. Then the question is asked, “Well, where should we go,” followed by driving around for an hour only settle on fishing next to the shantytown or cluster of ice shacks that seems promising.

Being prepared and gaining as much knowledge as possible before a Mille Lacs ice fishing adventure is the key to a successful trip.

Tips to Help Ice Anglers Before Venturing Out On the Ice

  • Anglers, both experienced and new, who have a well-planned trip have a higher chance of success. Anglers heading up to the lake should set aside a few days before their trip to form a solid game plan specifically for ice fishing. A good Mille Lacs ice fishing pre-trip game plane includes:
    • Reviewing the internet for recent fishing and lake conditions reports.
    • Stock tackle box with the best walleye lures/jigs/tackle.
    • Studying a detailed lake map of Mille Lacs.
  • Stop at a local bait and tackle shop on the way up. They are more than willing to share the latest reports and details on what the Mille Lacs walleyes are biting on.
  • Once at your resort, be sure to talk with resort staff members. They will provide the best info on where the fish are biting, down to the exact ice road to take. If the resort staff member behind the desk or in the office does not have or know this info, ask them who does. With common sense and a diplomatic approach, flagging down a staff member in a resort truck is also an option.
Intimidating vast areas of Mille Lacs Lake during ice fishing.

Once they drive off the shoreline and on to the ice, their enthusiasm can turn into intimidation and even frustration rather quickly. Determining where to drill their first hole becomes a hurdle and the tactics behind which lure or jig to use are widdled down to the first thing they see in their tackle box. This is known as the Mille Lacs Ice Angler blues.


Has this happened to you? Ice Fishing Mille Lacs wants to help those who have fell victim to the Mille Lacs Ice Angler blues. The two key aspects anglers face when fishing a lake such as Mille Lacs include where to fish and what lure/bait should be used. We break these two topics down and go over both of them to help Mille Lacs anglers increase their odds of catching walleyes, even a trophy Mille Lacs walleye.

Mille Lacs Ice Fishing Presentation – Best Lures and Baits

In this section, besides teaching anglers how to ice fish Mille Lacs, we plan to go over the Mille Lacs Lake ice fishing basics for rigging and jigging for walleyes and perch. The best overall presentation for winter ice walleyes and perch on Mille Lace Lake is a simple brightly colored or glow hook tipped with a fathead minnow under an adjustable slip bobber. This type of presentation is simple, easy to set up, effortless to will attract almost any game fish swimming in Mille Lacs. Drop it down the hole and set it 1-2’ off the bottom and wait. If they’re hungry and feeding fish within the area, it will not take long until your bobber is gone. Bright colors or glow in the dark jigs have always produced both day and night.


Arguably the best presentation on Mille Lacs would be the single-colored hook under two split shot weights. Do the same as you would with the lead jig explained above, and you do have an excellent presentation that will get you fish.


If you are looking to target walleye or perch, you can get a little more specific and change to a jig & spoon presentation. You can either use a whole minnow or parts of it. Using elements of a minnow, such as the head, are commonly used because with a jig & spoon presentation, you would not use a bobber as you would with the regular lead jig setup. Most do not even use a bobber because a jig & spoon requires the angler to jig the presentation and bounce it off the bottom to attract fish.


Bouncing on the bottom will create two scenarios, noise, and commotion. Shaking off the bottom mimics a fish in distress, and you bring up bottom debris and the jig being struck on the bottom creates noise and vibration, all these signal to fish that there could be an easy meal for them waiting. Adding in parts of a minnow add sent to the area, which is undoubtedly a bonus to bring in hungry fish.


Must-have Ice Fishing Tackle for Mille Lacs Lake Walleyes and Perch

Here is a very nice tool offered by Amazon. A pair of ice fishing plyers great for trimming fishing line, crimping split-shot weights, and many other things anglers find the need to use a tool like this for

Easy and Simple Locations on Mille Lacs to Ice Fish

Learning how to ice fish Mille Lacs involves learning the main locations that hold active, aggressive, feeding fish. Finding the best location can be easy depending upon the current walleye population and perch in Mille Lacs. Any location on the lake can produce both walleyes and perch. The most reliable and best source for the latest Mille Lacs fishing report, besides Ice Fishing Mille Lacs, of course, is asking the staff at the resort an angler is going out. Another source is to stop in at the local Mille Lacs bait shop and to ask them what the current lures and bait are, along with the best locations to target in the area you plan to fish.


Ice Fishing Mille Lacs offers free and online resources to help anglers plan their next ice fishing trip out in detail. Be sure to check out our free Navionics Hotmap with sonar mapping included and our free downloadable depth contour map that lists all the traditional locations, structures, and areas famous to the lake.

Free Navionics Mille Lacs Ice Fishing Map
Best Free Mille Lacs Ice Fishing Topo Map

Simple and Easy Locations – Shallow Areas Are Vastly Overlooked as The Ice Season Grows Long

When searching for the best areas on Mille Lacs to ice fish, the best and easiest structures to target during early and later winter are shallow rocky areas 10-15’ deep. Walleyes and perch can be caught all winter long in shallower areas over rocks. These areas are also not hard to get to and in some cases, are within walking distance of shore.

Top Five Simple Locations Angler New to Mille Lacs Can Easily Target and Learn

2018 Top Five Early Ice Mille Lacs Fishing Spots

Appeldoorn’s Sunset Bay Resort is a great location to access the lake, and the staff there will offer genuine and honest information. Simply ask them when stopping in to pay for an ice road pass. Doe Island reef is an excellent starting point and is very easy to access. This area has produced some of the largest walleye and perch we have seen from Mille Lacs. Just to the north is Big Point and is also a great location to target. These areas are known for hold large schools of perch and walleyes but also trophy-class walleyes.

James Holst and Cal Svihel From In-Depth Outdoors Talk About Targeting Shallow Near Shore Area Structure for Walleyes on Mille Lacs

Pick Up the Same Slender Spoon Jig Used by James and Cal in the Above Video From Amazon

Custom Jigs And Spins Slender Spoon Jig

Best Resorts Near Shallow Mille Lacs Near Shore Structure

Other resorts that cater to locations easy to get to and produce shallow walleyes and perch include. These resorts offer Mille Lacs ice roads that go near or close by good shallow areas with significant fishable structures that hold large amounts of baitfish, shallow rocks with vegetation nearby, and proven to have active walleyes perch year-round.

Areas that are known to hold large amounts of baitfish are more likely to have feeding fish within them or nearby. The only chance an angler takes with fishing areas that contain tons of food is their presentations becoming lost within everything that is going on. Also, walleyes and perch in these areas tend to weigh more, are fatter, and not longer, which also poses an issue as these fish tend to be not as hungry as fish out on mid-lake sources.

Targeting Mille Lacs Mid-Lake Structures – Mud Flats, Gravel Bars, Humps, and Reefs

Chase Parson from The Next Bite Shares Tips and Tricks for Targeting Gravel on Mille Lacs Lake.

When it comes to venturing out to mid-lake sand, gravel, or mud flats in the 20′ – 35’ depth range, things can become a little more tricky as far as locating and catching Mille Lacs walleyes and perch. We feel the best areas to discover, and the target is for mud flats in the middle westside, just outside of the center of the lake. For gravel flats, gravel bars, and reefs in the lake’s lower center area, closer to the south than the center. Be advised, though, these areas are among the last regions to freeze over on Mille Lacs and are subject to uncertain ice thicknesses and conditions

Middle Center Mille lacs Mud Flats are to the Left.

The Gravel Locations are Middle Lower on the Right.

Mid-Lake Mille Lacs Mud Flats Gravel Flats Bars Reefs

When learning how to ice fish Mille Lacs, a good area to graduate to from the shallow locations is mid-lake mud flats. For those looking to venture out to Mille Lacs’ mud flats, resorts like Terry’s Boat Harbor or Randy Rentals on Mille Lacs Lake on the west side are good resorts to call and go out of. Both Terry and Randy have an excellent track record of getting their guests on good schools of actively feeding walleyes, perch, and even tullibee. There is no doubt they will get on the latest and hottest fish action.


On the westside, resorts such as Nitti’s hunter’s Point Resort and Dickies on Mille Lacs at Liberty Bay both provide ice roads to mud flats deep in the center of Mille Lacs. There have been uncertain ice conditions years where these resorts are able to have roads out to mud flats that are closer to the westside, but due to cracks and ice heaves, westside resorts are unable to get their ice roads to these areas.

Jason Mitchel Shares His Secretes on Ice Fishing Big and Aggressive Walleyes on the Mud Flats of

Mille Lacs Lake.

Pick the Same Clam Rattlin’ Blade Jigging Spoon Used By Jason Mitchel in the Above Video From Amazon

CLAM Rattlin’ Blade Spoon Glow Rainbow Tiger (3/8 Oz)

Ice fishing mid-lake structures like mud flats, gravel bars, and gravel flats are a risk/reward situation. For anglers who know the lake and have fished these areas, catching fish is more of a reward than a risk. Anglers who are new to Mille Lacs that are unfamiliar with these areas and how to fish them weigh in the risk versus reward.


Although we encourage everyone to fish all areas, corners, and structures of Mille Lacs, so they can learn and get to know them, the mid-lake deep structures can have an angler walking away with one of the best days of walleye fishing they have ever had, or these areas have a higher chance of being void of fish altogether. 

Jon Thelen Provides Jigging Spoon Tips On How to Ice Fish Mille Lacs Mud Flats for Walleyes

Pick Up The Same Lindy Rattl’n Flyer Spoon Used By Jon Thelen In His Above Video From Amazon

Lindy Rattl’N Flyer Spoon Hybrid Ice Fishing Lure Jigging Spoon

More commonly, these areas will hold walleyes and perch that can be seen on electronics and underwater cameras, but no matter what an angler does to entice them to bite, they never do. These scenarios can be very tough for anyone new to Mille Lacs, especially if they are out on these areas in a fish house rental for two or three days and never get a single fish to bite. Sticking to shallower areas on a good structure known to be holding good fish is a much safer bet for new to Mille Lacs ice anglers.

New Mille Lacs Angler Tip

If you are renting an ice fishing house from a resort and your party goes a day without catching any fish, especially not getting bites, it certainly does not hurt to ask the resort team if you could be moved to another house. For various reasons, during the weekend, the resort might say “No” because the house other houses are reserved or occupied. If you receive an answer like this, ask if they could move the house you are currently into better waters.

In most cases, the major resorts and rental outfitters want to make their guests happy. If their guest is happy, they come back or decide to stay longer in the future. There is no guarantee with any resort that will catch fish during your trip. This does not mean that you are required to pay hundreds of dollars and be forced to fish in a house placed in a stale area of Mille Lacs. 

How To Ice Fish Mille Lacs Wrap Up and Conclusion

In closing, anglers who make an effort to fish Mille Lacs Lave have roughly a 100% chance of success and catching walleyes and perch over anglers who do not go to at all. If an angler is not fishing Mille Lacs, they are not learning and gaining knowledge. A trip resulting in no fish caught is still a good trip due to the knowledge gained. Statistically, an angler’s chances of getting skunked on Mille Lacs are so low that it’s practically impossible. The lake is full of nice, fat, aggressive perch and walleyes right now. Fishing trips to Lake Mille Lacs, where anglers are catching fifteen to twenty fish, are amazingly common nowadays due to year classes’ size.


The only downside for anglers is Mille Lacs Lake is still in a rehabilitation period, and the Minnesota DNR has imposed strict guidelines and slot limits on walleyes. During the summer months, anglers are unable to keep walleyes right now during most years. During the winter months, anglers can keep one walleye. More or less, Mille Lacs right now is pretty much a catch and release lake, but it is a long way on its journey to a full recovery, and in the next few years, we expect to lighten up of the current restrictions and slot limit.


The above information was created to help anglers learn how to ice fish Mille Lacs. We also created this article to help alleviate some of the frustrations many new anglers to Mille Lacs have when fishing the lake for the first time. We hope this helps anyone who reads it and for those visiting Mille Lacs very soon. If any angler has any further Mille Lacs questions, please leave a comment below, or join our Mille Lacs Lake Forums and ask your question over there. Our Ice Fishing Mille Lacs Pro-Team is here to help anglers, and we love answering any questions anglers have about Mille Lacs Lake and catching walleyes and perch. Good Luck!