Monday, February 6th, 2023
Monday, February 6th, 2023

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Sportsmen Since 1967

Minnesota Pro Tip of the Week: Getting back to the start on Mille Lacs

You still can find fish at dusk and dawn, but that first hour or two after dark can be exceptional. (Photo courtesy of Rapala) Used:

By Brad Hawthorne

Years of guiding experience: 19

Favorite lake: Mille Lacs

We may be fishing different spots than we were on Mille Lacs at the beginning of the season, but the most productive technique right now is just about that same as the opener.

We’re pitching jigs and larger minnows to catch most of our fish, mostly walleyes, with some smallmouth bass mixed in. We’re in 12 to 16 feet of water, chucking colors such as chartreuse or black and pink. The bait, a large minnow, doesn’t matter as much (sucker or shiner) as much as the size, ideally three or four inches long. The jigs are 1/4- or 3/8-ounce, with an 8 to 10 foot, 10-pound fluorocarbon leader, back to a 10-pound braided line.

It’s a good time to fish right now. The water temperatures are getting colder and fish are putting on their fall feed bag. Have fun out there.

Hawthorne runs Hawthorne’s Guide Service on Lake Mille Lacs. For more information go to or call him at (651) 271-8600.

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