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

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Minnesota Pro Tip of the Week: Winter bite has returned at Mille Lacs

By Brad Hawthorne
The winter bite has been downright tough overall the last several years, thanks to an abundance of bait fish that has kept walleye bellies full.

Well, I think we’ve finally ate all of the forage down. That is the biomass of adult walleyes have eaten down the bait where common tactics are working, and they have been working well thus far this winter. The fish coming up have been fat, healthy and biting.

By common tactics, I mean I’ve been working the first break out from Garrison Sports in 12 to 18 feet of water. A 1/8-ounce Northland Coffin Spoon has been doing the trick on the jigging rod. If they aren’t biting by slamming the jig off the bottom, then a steady jigging motion – making sure the jig is moving – seems to be triggering strikes. A set rod with a plain hook and minnow set about a foot off the bottom of the lake seems to picking up all the slack.

This is the best bite we’ve had in several years. Hopefully the weather forecast earlier this week doesn’t make a mess of the ice conditions.

Hawthorne is a fishing guide on Lake Mille Lacs and surrounding waters. He can be reached at or (651) 271-8600.

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