There is no doubt that things get tougher on the water as we enter mid summer, but one lake that has been producing great fishing for smallmouth bass has been Lake Mille Lacs. This popular fishery is within an easy drive of the cities and features world-class smallies. Now that the walleyes have slowed, it’s smallmouth time !
Recently I have been on Mille Lacs and have found excellent bass numbers by staying close to shore and fishing fairly shallow water. Here are some exciting ways to trigger these amazing fighters.
Troll until you find them
The first thing I do is break out some crankbaits and start experimenting on depths. I start trolling forward in 7 feet of water and then gradually move out to 11 and then on to 15 feet. A few passes will tell you the proper depth. There are so many smallmouth in this lake it doesn’t take long to score. Don’t stop trolling until you find the fish.
Tube or Worm Them
Once I catch the first smallmouth bass by trolling, I back off the big motor and switch to the electric motor. I will then fan cast the same area with tube jigs or power worms on a plain jig head. There are always more smallies on a spot and catching the first one trolling clues you in on a good area. Oftentimes two or three smallies will follow the one that was caught right up to the boat giving you an indication on how aggressive these fish are. After I catch a couple more I resume trolling until I find them again.
Mille Lacs has had some bad publicity recently because of the walleye issues but now this lake has turned into a top midwestern smallmouth destination. How these fish became so prolific is anyone’s guess but it isn’t uncommon to have a 40 fish morning. There are not too many lakes you can say that about. Mille Lacs has the good sized fish as well as the numbers of fish so catching smallmouth bass on this lake is a no-brainer.
When on Lake Mille Lacs you have a shot at both walleyes and smallmouth at the same time. After a morning of chasing walleyes on the midlake mudflats you can switch gears and catch smallies in the afternoon. Not a bad way to spend a day. It all boils down to Mother Nature and the weather allowing you to get around on the big pond.