Wednesday, June 18, 2014

June 14: Mille Lacs

Saturday found me waking up early to drive to Mille Lacs. I launched the boat at Isle amid spitting rain and a freshening breeze and idled out to the nearest reed patch to flip and wait for Nick to join me.

I rigged up a D Bomb and started down the edge of the reeds. I paused for raingear. Fifty yards down the line and I hadn’t had a bite. I’d expected to have a limit. Finally I hooked up, the fish managed to get tangled in something I couldn’t immediately pull it out of, I eased in, let her swim a bit, pulled again, and flipped her into the boat. One measly 2-11 was not what I had in mind, if the reeds had been on like they were when I fished them last year out of my kayak (I know, crazy to expect something like that to hold up) I’d have caught a whole bunch. I moved to some nearby docks and struck out there. Then I headed back to the launch for Nick and a few minutes in the dry truck.

Once I had Nick in tow it was time to hit up the smallmouth. I chose a bank I hadn’t fished before that was shallow and near a point and Nick landed one on his second cast with a hair jig. Then I put a little dinker in the boat on a scrounger. We fished the point with nothing to show for it and then worked our way down the calm side of the bank and blanked.

#DialedIn #not
We continued our lack of success by fishing a few windy spots and then a nice shallow largemouth area and mostly striking out. I gave up on trying new things and opted to head to old faithful – a little point with some prime sand and rock that has held fish since early May. It still held fish. Nick picked up a few on his magic hair jig and I landed a few and lost a few on a drop-shot.

We moved to a nearby bank with the rock and sand and reed mix that I’ve come to love on Mille Lacs. It is unlike almost anything I’ve seen before (though there is an area just like it a tick below the Rouses Point Bridge on Champlain). That said, I’ve come to love it because it seems to be a neat combination of semi-heavy cover and smallmouth. It held up just fine this time – we steadily hooked and landed fish as we worked our way down the bank.


The only real frustration in a somewhat slow day was how good it could have been. I was throwing a 6-inch Roboworm on a 1/0 Roboworm hook just as I usually do. That combo never loses fish. If you get a good hookset that fish is yours. ‘Twas not the case this time. I suspect that I had a slight error in my presentation, be it color or size, that combined with the postspawn blues had the fish getting the bait on the far extremity of their lips and pulling off during the battle. Next time I get up there I’ll come prepared with a little more variety and see if I can’t get them dialed in. Of course, next time I get up there I’ll be fishing offshore and it should be full on summer. Just typing that gets my juices flowing, there’s nothing like summertime smallmouth. 

Thursday, June 5, 2014

June 1: Green Lake

I did stuff pretty much all day Saturday. Some of it was productive, some of it was work (talking to Randy Haynes about ledge fishing is pretty cool though) and some of it was just fluff. Sunday was my day to fish despite the fact that I'd be dodging storms all day and that Saturday night featured 3-inches of rain (according to a guy I talked to while fishing his dock). I chose to head back to Green Lake because I thought my odds were good to find them on beds (they had been prespawn the week before) and because I just can't get enough of that terrible boat launch (what can I say, I'm apparently some sort of masochist).

They were not on beds. At least not in the numbers I expected. If I'd remembered to bring my yellow glasses that might have helped, and if the water had been a little clearer or had it been a little sunnier I think I would have been able to find some stragglers. That said, I couldn't find many beds at all. What I did find was plenty of bluegill beds and bass around them. It took me a little longer than it should have to appropriately commit to the bluegill pattern but I still managed a few decent ones with a jig.

Later, looking for spawners in another section of the lake, I broke out the frog around some bluegill and really started doing well. They were really eating the frog, too. I've had days in Vermont and elsewhere when you can get plenty of frog bites and not hook up. I've yet to see that happen in Minnesota, it seems like they always just chew it. I've been fishing my frogs on a 6:1 reel for quite a while now and I need to stop doing that. It's pretty inexcusable and I just need to bite the bullet, do a little swapping, and get a 7:1 on my frog rod.

I love fishing around bluegill up north but I feel like it doesn't play in as many tournaments as it does down south. I'd guess that is because by and large a 15 pound limit doesn't really play up north while on a lot of lakes down south catching 15 pounds by the skin of your teeth in the summer is a great way to go. Or maybe not. Regardless, I want to exploit bluegill a little more this year. I recently read a piece on FLWOutdoors.com that talked about fishing deep for bluegill bass and I think I've done it by accident on Bomo before. I want to start doing it on purpose this summer.

No photos this time because I was trying to keep my phone dry most of the morning but, I do have some video of the day, I just haven't had the chance/inclination to put it together yet (nothing too groundbreaking).