Outdoors column: In the big house

by Ron Anlauf
Contributing Columnist

There isn’t much of the season left but there are still enough walleyes biting to make a trip to Mille Lacs worth your while. The most consistent action has been long after dark though and to get in on the action you’d best be prepared to burn the midnight oil.

Ron Anlauf lost a some sleep for this nice late season walleye.

My last trip to the big pond included an overnighter with my son and son-in-law and we stayed in a Mac’s Twin Bay (1-320-676-8709) permanent house that was set up on a deep gravel hump in the south central part of the lake. We got it all started by chasing some big bluegills in the afternoon on a remote lake further north that we frankly struck out on.

It would have been a big disappointment if we didn’t have the overnighter to look forward to. After a nice dinner at Buzzie’s we headed out on the lake for about a five mile drive and ended up at one of Kevin McQuoids super nice ice fishing shacks and unloaded the gear.

When we arrived the holes were drilled and the heat was on and the place was nice and toasty.

My first bait down the hole was a Northland Buckshot Rattle Spoon tipped with a minnow head that I could see descend on the Humminbird Ice 55. It didn’t take long for a nice 16 incher to show up and take a whack at it and he ended up on the ice.

I could see a few fish come and go but wasn’t able to coax them into biting but did give me the impression that there were definitely fish in the area.

The next walleye to hook up took a little longer and ended up sucking down a shiner minnow hooked below the dorsal fin with a plain red hook on a rattle reel. The reel went off while we were engrossed watching “Two Mules for Sister Sarah” (yes, the house even has TV). In fact the rattle reels heated up and we had one going off every 20 minutes or so which made for a short but exciting night.

The final toll was six keepers (below 18 inches,) five that were too big (between 18 and 28 inches) and four or five that were too small to keep. It couldn’t have worked out any better and the action made for a memorable trip.

While the regular walleye season closes Feb. 26 Kevin will still keep houses out on the better perch holes until March 5. Mille Lacs has genuine jumbos and the lake is loaded with them right now. That doesn’t mean they’ll always bite but on most days you can expect to catch enough of them to make it fun and end up with enough for a decent fish fry.

See you on the ice, one more time.

Ron Anlauf is a contributing writer to the Outdoors page.