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Mille Lacs Smallmouth Fishing

It’s hard not to be thinking spring with longer days and warmer temps in the forecast. Spring cleaning and organization brings the anticipation of the open water season for many here in Minnesota. We’re anticipating another great summer here on Mille Lacs. The Angler of the Year Tournament is headed back our way for September and we’re excited about the fantastic Smallmouth fishing we’ll surely see again. With spring cleaning and organization on the top of many “to do” lists people are pulling out the boat, rods, and tackle boxes. Bass gear can quickly get a little over whelming. It’s one of the largest fishing markets across the country, if not the world and all of the endless options can get a little wild. Let’s save you some space on your Mille Lacs adventure and narrow down your tackle to great things that work here in May and early June.

• Always have a great selection of TUBES I’ve fished across the north for bronze backs and if there is one thing I know, it is you need to pack some tubes. I can catch a Smallmouth any day of the year on tubes. It is a versatile bait that can be worked light or heavy, shallow or deep, and fast or slow. So don’t forget them at home! Make sure you have a good selection of colors and sizes. I use 2.5 inch to 3.5 inch regularly depending on your fish and what they want. Don’t forget to bring some bright colors that will pop in some stirred up water, the wind tends to blow in May. If we are narrowing it down to color or two, be sure you pack some watermelon and pumpkinseed.
• For those of you out there who just like to work fast, these next baits will be right up your alley. JERK BAITS. Jerks the last few seasons were my favorite tactic. It’s always turning fish on in that cold early season water. If you get a good stop and go cadence it’s almost unstoppable. Know when to put them away. The strike on these bad boys is addicting but, when they don’t want them, its useless to keep throwing just hoping for one more giant to surprise you on a pause. Last year I used a lot of the new Berkley Cutter 110’s they have great hooks and good colors. Iridescent and natural colors worked for me best.
• Another killer tactic for May is pitchin HAIR JIGS. Everything about the hair jig is short and sweet. The fish never miss them you just have to reel them along and keep it in the strike zone. They are small, light and super effective. With the hair jig less is truly more. I usually use 1/8 ounce or less so you often have to use light line and rods to work them properly. If you go to heavy you will be covered in rock slime and the fish won’t touch it. Look to black to be your best color.

Below is a list of a few other baits that can give you the upper hand in May. I will say this about bait choice. If you’re a guy that’s really good at working a certain style bait, use it. It means you have confidence in that bait and that’s sometimes all you need to keep the fish rolling in the boat.

SMALL SPINNER BAITS or BEETLE SPINS. I know what your thinking about the beetle spin but, trust me a wise Mille Lacs legend showed me this one works.

Mike Smallie