Mille Lacs Lake Ice Fishing Report-Update 1-15-2013


Our Updates and Reports encompass the entire lake and cover the East, West, North, and South shores.

This week’s Mille Lacs fishing and ice update and report are full of changes. Some good and some not so good, but the one sure thing is fishing is being caught no matter how anglers are getting on the ice. Resorts and their staff have been battling moving, shifting, and buckling ice conditions due in part to the forty-degree shift in temperature last week had seen.

Usually, this time of year for Mille Lacs, this would not be such a concern, but given the little to no snowpack the lake has, the ice is not insulated enough to endure these drastic shifts in temperature. Then on top of this, the entire lake experienced a rain-filled day last Friday, which caused many issues for both resort workers and anglers.


The Not So Good

The most significant impact seen was over the weekend when anglers who accessed Mille Lacs via Red Door Resort were rerouted off the lake via Barnacles Resort access. Four new and large cracks had formed less than a hundred feet of their access overnight on Saturday when temperatures dipped back down close to single digits. Both Red Door and Barnacles deserve a round of thanks for their efforts to ensure anglers got on and off the ice safely, and as of Monday, Red Door has reported its access is fixed, bridged, and reopened to the public.

The Good

If anything has benefited from last week’s drastic weather change, it would be the current walleye bite on Mille Lacs. Resorts, fishing guides, and anglers have been reporting that the walleyes are most certainly biting and being caught all over the lake. Reliable reports of slot fish are being shared, and even many slot fish limits are resulting. Read further below for the latest Mille Lacs Lake hot spots below. Ice is undoubtedly drivable from all corners of the lake, but not all ice is safe, and driving on ice is never safe.

“Be safe, think smart, and drive slowly” are the words of wisdom going around these days on Mille Lacs. Driving slow is always said by resorts to help preserve and keep their ice roads enacted but with minimal snow cover this year, “drive slow” means something a little bit more. Anglers are encouraged to drive ten mph or under when off the resort ice roads to see and avoid any unmarked, fresh, new cracks and openings.

Have a great week and weekend, fisherman!


Eastside of Mille Lacs


Appeldoorn’s Sunset Bay Resort:

Roads are open and in excellent condition, and the walleyes are biting. Roads are reported to be out as far as seven mile. Anglers report using set lines with shiners and rainbows on a small orange and white glow jig about a foot off the bottom in thirty-plus feet of water is what produced nice slot eater fish and bigger ones. Ask for directions out to the latest and unpressured flats, and you will find fish. Appeldoorn’s is now open to all vehicle traffic sizes but urges anglers to call ahead before they come up as conditions change daily.


Agate Bay Resort:

Roads are in better shape. We are open to wheelhouses. Fishing has slowed a little with the cold weather. Still getting big walleyes off Agate Bay Reef but just not as many. Starting to see a few more perch in deeper water, but not all are biting. It should pick up in the next few weeks.

I just completed putting satellite tv (dish network) in all of my premier fish houses. No more missing football games and watching PBS and cartoons. Some channels are HD also. Great picture all the time. TVs also have built-in DVD players for movie night on the ice. Still have a couple of premier houses left for each of the last three weekends in Feb., but they are going fast.


Mac’s Twin Bay Resort with Buzzie’s on the Bay Bar and Restaurant:

 Yes, we had some rain. Local kids are happy because school was closed due to icy secondary roads. Our lake roads are still good, just a bit of water on them. 15-17″ most places. We are driving only to Hennepin and not past. Wheeled houses and drive are welcome–as long as you keep it to 10 mph.

All rental houses are full for the weekend, but Sunday, there are some day houses open. Next weekend, we have a few openings, including a few Friday-only stays in 6, 8, or 10 hole sleepers.

We are still moving out private fish houses but won’t bank them until we get some more snow. There is a crack on the west side running through some of our specific fishing areas. We are not able to bridge it until it heals up a bit more.

Fishing reports are useful…


Fishermen’s Wharf Resort:

Ice Update – Good News! Tomorrow we will start pulling across the 2 Mile crack and have roads staked and stretching to Baby Bump, 4 Mile East, and Highway/July Bar, aka 4 Mile!


Nitti’s Hunters Point Resort:

Roads still open today. Please stop in and get a current map before heading out. It would be best if you stayed on the staked roads.


Johnsons Portside:

Johnson’s Portside reports mud and deep gravel are still the places to fish. Small spoons in gold or silver patterns tipped with heads or tails in 28-34ft.

If you want to get aggressive and pound holes during the day summertime, rattle baits like the size #5 Rip N Raps fished over the basin’s hard spots produce fish in the 20-28+ range. This is not a slot fish pattern but makes for fun mid-day action if you’re getting stir crazy still in the hard houses.

Over the weekend, we saw the fishing slow to a crawl once the cold front hit. Just in time for the weekend, I know, lol. The guys who did the best last weekend set tip-ups outside the hard houses with smaller shiners and straight #6 hooks, basically just downsizing and covering more ice during the cold front but more fish on the ice.

Reports as of this AM is the fishing is picking back up, last night after the cold front had a day to settle in, the fishing picked back up. Still, small spoons and set lines, less traffic on the ice helped as well.


Westside of Mille Lacs


Rocky Reef Resort:

What to do, what to do? It has been a snowless winter so far. This weekend was frigid, and without any snow on the ice, it was a bear to keep up with ice fracturing. There were over five cracks that opened up this weekend with the cold weather. I am sure everyone was on ice alert on the lake. We were able to bridge most of them and let them heal up overnight. We need some snow to keep it settled down, not to mention that we need snow for banking up the houses.

There is still a sound bite, even with the cold weather. It was a slower bite this weekend than it has been, but there were still fish being caught. Most of them were fish over 21 inches, and there were a few more northern caught also. The perch bite seems to be out in 29 to 30 ft. of water on wax worms or a whole minnow, but it is still slow on that front. The perch bite will only get better as we move farther into the season.

We have over 20 inches of ice now, and without much snow on the ice, we should put even more ice down this week. We have plenty of ice for vehicle traffic and wheelhouses. I hope that we can get some snow this week or be hauling it out from shore to bank up the houses. The little bit of snow that was out there is now hard as concrete, and you can’t use that. It should be an exciting season if we don’t get snow soon.


North End of Mille Lacs


Barnacle Bills Resort:

25-30 feet of water on the mud flats’ deeper edges using large shiners with a green glow or #2 colored hooks under a dead stick or rattle reel.


Red Door Resort:

Cold! No snow on the ice. If you have a house that wasn’t blocked up before the rain Friday, it most likely is frozen in. New banking is now non-existent until the next snow/wind that will drift a little around the houses.

As predicted, the ice reacted to the 40 degrees plus temp fall. Thank you to everyone for your patience this weekend as we worked to keep the access safe and open. We got everybody off and on until late Saturday night when we had to close it down until early this (Sunday) morning. Bridging three cracks at once was a chess match and forced us to have all wheelhouses leave the lake today via Barnacles. THANK YOU to Barnacles for allowing that to happen. We hope to be down to one bridge and one crack by Monday morning.

Fishing reports were all over the board. “Good,” “GREAT!”, “a little slow” and “NOTHING!” Some had to keep the lines out of the water to get some sleep, and others had quiet nights. They say, “that’s fishing!”


South End of Mille Lacs


Wilderness Warmth:

We will be staking our road in the morning past Spirit Island, approximately 1 1/2 miles to the mud.  This will open up all the structures to the north and the east of Spirit Island to vehicle traffic.  We have two small cracks by Mazominee Point, which are bridged but should be healed by the weekend.  There are not any other cracks past Mazominee Point at this time. 

Fishing report:  Wednesday night through Saturday morning, fishing was excellent in 26-29 water.  The bite has slowed down in the 20-24′ of water range. The last couple of days with the cold weather has slowed the bite.  Remember to be safe, be smart, and drive slow.


Jerry Brandt’s Ice Fishing:

Ice & Fishing Report... On average, we have about 18 inches of ice, and our roads are staked out to Sloppy’s (3 miles out). There are people past where we don’t have the roads marked at this time. We have two bridges near the shoreline, one where the ice heaved up last week and a recent one from a crack that opened up on Saturday. Fishing was pretty good up until the cold front came through. According to the DNR Creel Clerk that was here yesterday, fishing slowed down around the entire lake at that point. However, we’re confident the bite will pick up again for the weekend!! All of our rentals are currently booked for Saturday night; we do have some availability for Friday night and Sunday night, so give us a call if you want to get out there and catch “Da Big One”!!


Lyback’s Resort:

Today things were pretty quiet out there, both traffic-wise and the bite.  The barometer was hovering around 30.5, and it showed with the fishing—everything tight to the bottom and not biting. We spent the day cleaning up the roads from the weekend, getting houses ready to move to new spots. I’m hoping we will get some snow out there soon for new banking on the houses; it’s pretty slim pickings out there.  Some snow would help the ice to settle down also. We are dropping vehicle and wheelhouse restrictions we had earlier but still encouraging anglers to keep the speed under ten mph.


Hunter Winfield’s Resort:

The cold caused some issues on the roads out there. If you come through the access, stop at the office first. And STAY 10 MPH or less.


Chapman’s Mille Lacs Resort & Guide Service:

Roads are open, but PLEASE drive slow, and it helps keep the roads in good shape. It’s pretty wet & slippery so bring your cleats.

Travel during daylight hours, drive slow and pay attention are some recommended safety precautions at all times but particularly when a significant temp change comes in as predicted tonight. Ice conditions can change at any given time. Just BE SMART and BE SAFE!


Video Updates and Reports from Area Mille Lacs Guides


Brad Hawthorne – Hooked On the IceHawthorne Outdoors



Tony Roach – Roach’s Guide Service Video Update