Minnesota’s Mille Lacs is a place we dream about for its legendary smallmouth bass fishing. Jason Dudek knows this water inside and out and filled us in on some of what makes Mille Lacs a fish factory.
What makes Mille Lacs such a great smallmouth bass fishery and travel destination?
Mille Lacs is a great smallmouth for a number reasons, it has large rocky flats all over the lake and deep water with rock and boulder humps and reefs, there is a ton of bait and crawfish all over the lake helping to produce the giant smallmouth Mille Lacs is known for. You can always catch fish a number of different ways from shallow to deep most of the year.
As far as travel goes there are tons of little lakes all around Mille Lacs if the wind is too bad to get on the lake. If you like the fall foliage the fall is a great time to visit as well. It is also a great place to antique and there are a a lot of small towns with antiques stores all around the lake.
Let’s start with summertime smallmouth fishing since this is a popular travel time. I am going to give you a typical Minnesota July day. Walk me through a day on the lake with you.
A typical summer day for me would be to start off on a shallow, 6 to 8 feet, flat with rocks and boulders and start with a “Walk the Dog” bait like a Duo Realis Pencil 110. If that doesn’t work, I start throwing a spinnerbait, jerk bait or swimbait to cover water. If the coverage baits don’t pan out, I start with a tube, drop shot or hair jig. If the shallow 6 to 8 feet does not work out I find the drop off from one of the flats and concentrate on the 10 to 12 feet and deeper until I find the fish. The key is rocks and bait, if you do not have this then you need to move.
If you could pick only one month to fish the lake, which month would that be?
It would be October. You may not catch as many as in the spring and summer but you can catch 5,6 and 7 pound smallmouth.
When I think of this lake, I think of smallmouth and walleye but I recently saw an article about its largemouth. How would you describe the largemouth fishery on the lake?
The largemouth fishing is really good. The southern side of the lake has a bunch of shallow bays teaming with big largemouth. If you like heavy cover fishing and big tackle these bays are filled with largemouth. Frogs and flipping gear can be deadly. Pre-fishing for a tournament years ago, I caught 27 pounds for 5.
You have some very impressive electronics on your boat. What are the important aspects to look for when reading your electronics on the lake?
Without a doubt it’s my Lowrance side scan and it’s ability to find rocks and boulders that the smallmouth relate to and live by.
The lake is a relatively shallow lake, what does this mean for weather conditions that anglers who aren’t as familiar with fishing the lake should be aware of?
Weather is a huge factor and this shallow lake can get dangerous. 10 mph winds will cause it to be pretty choppy and if you see 20 mph or more it can easily have 3-5 ft. waves. I suggest to keep an eye on the wind conditions and which direction its coming from.
Any recommendations for where travelers from the Northeast should stay on the lake?
Are there other lakes in Minnesota that you suggest fishing travelers consider for a fishing trip?
Lake Minnetonka is one of the best bass lakes in Minnesota and is nationally well known. You can fish shallow, deep, dirty and clear water…the possibilities are endless.
I really appreciate your time and information on Mille Lacs. You are sponsored by a number of companies. What can you tell us about the companies that sponsor you?
FastWax.com is a great company that makes a great wax that not waxes but cleans at the same time.
Bass Cat Boats, great boat and awesome boat for the rough water common on Mille Lacs.
Mercury Marine, what can I say these engines are built to last and I have been running one for 16 years.
Power Pole Shallow Water Anchors, these shallow water anchors are a must for any fisherman not just bass fisherman.
Gamma Fishing Line, this line is my link between to lure and fish and have been using it since 2005.
BioSpawn Lures, makers of the 4.5 Plasma Tail which is a great bait rigged on the drop shot for those Mille Lacs Smallmouth.
Lowrance, my eyes under the water.
Atturo Tires, great tires that I have been traveling with all over the country for the last two years.
HUK Gear, without a doubt clothing that protects yourself from the damaging exposure of the sun.
BTuff, great clothing for the cowboy in you.
Hobie Polarized, they make the ability to see fish in the water easy with the awesome polarized sunglasses that Hobie makes.
Towtector, protects your boat or whatever you tow behind you.
Lyback’s Marine, located in Isle Minnesota, and a great place to get your marine needs when up visiting Mille Lacs. It’s also a Bass Cat and Yarcraft dealer.
Rod Armor, makers of Gore Tex camo rod covers
Bass Utopia, bass fishing’s social media hub.
That’s an impressive group of sponsors for a very impressive angler. Thank you Jason for the great insight on a remarkable smallmouth destination. Please check out Jason at JasonDudek.com or any of his social media outlets.