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I am heading up to lake Mille Lacs this weekend in search for some smallmouth.  Was wondering if anyone has any input on what side of the lake I should fish, what baits, what depth, what structure, etc.. 

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I haven't been there since August but I went to the Elite AOY event weight in day 2 a couple weeks ago.  It seems they were catching most of them on offshore structure (smallmouth) in 12-18 feet of water.  I read yesterday that the water is 62 degrees and that it will be ideal when it drops down into the 50's.  That could happen later this coming week as there is a big weather change coming on Wednesday.  Let me know how you do, Mille Lacs is arguably the best smallmouth fishery out there right now.

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With all the publicity from that event I hope that place doesn't get ruined. Looks to be a smallmouth treasure. Let those hogs go guys. they take a long time to grow. Get a replica!

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When I was there a Biologist from the MN DNR was on hand and he said that a 4 pound smallmouth in Mille Lacs is 12-15 years old and a 5 pounder is about 20 years old.  That is NOT a renewable resource.

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Cross post from the MN Fishing reports thread..  

 

So, me and a friend took yesterday off and took advantage of a glass-calm day on Mille Lacs. Holy crap! The hype is real. The fishing was just ridiculous. We hit about 5 different rock piles around the lake in 15-25 feet of water and fished 3" & 4" swimbaits on round jig heads (1/4oz). We would cast out, let the baits hit the bottom then slow roll them back in. The smallies and walleye were going nuts for this. We got bites on little dippers and kitechs all day. We tossed drop shots and jigs and didn't get a single bite (seriously). My buddy got one 5lber on a tube, but other than that the swimbait-on-the-bottom tatic was the winner. We caught about 14 smallies and the average weight was over 4lbs. Our "small ones" were 2lbs. We also caught about a dozen walleye, with two big ones over 23".  The bite is just bananas on that lake. We got a couple 5's but most were 4's. 

I would say that having side-scan was required for finding spots. Marking groupings of rocks, or bigger boulders was key. If we drifted off the rocks the bite would die off.. when we got on the sweet spots, boom. Having side scan with deep water rock fishing is just essential. We could drive around a spot and look for the best looking rock groupings, mark em, then slow down and work them. Most of our day was watching the side scan, "there's more rocks on the right.."  "ok some big rocks on the left".. "we're off the rocks". 

My new PB, 4lb 12oz

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