Author: Chris Hansen

Lake Mille Lacs — A New Beginning?

While the Minnesota Walleye Council isn’t going to officially release the new walleye regulations for Mille Lacs until next week, I was lucky enough to arrange an interview with their spokesman, Carl Marques for a sneak peek. A little background on the Mille Lacs fishery. Minnesota has more anglers per capita than any other state.  And while many of our anglers pursue bass, muskies, trout, or panfish, walleye fishing is what comes to mind for most when you mention fishing in the North Star State.  You could name off any number of walleye destinations in Minnesota, lakes like Leech, Winni, or Gull to name a few come to mind.  But none of the 10,000 lakes in our state can hold a candle to Mille Lacs when it comes to representing our iconic walleye fishing. “Mille Lacs” is French for “1,000 lakes”.  This is a pretty accurate description, since Mille Lacs sprawls over 132,000 acres–about the same size of 1,000 small lakes, and it has been estimated than when it was at its peak in the 80’s that the walleye population was as high as 1,200 per acre, which equated to a walleye population of over 15 MILLION WALLEYES!  Fast forward to the 20-teens, and the population has dwindled to less than a tenth of that number.  No one seems to know for sure who or what is to blame...

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2015–a look back

2015 — a look back It seems like I’ve got it in my head that 2015 was a terrible fishing year for me.  As a dad, a homeowner, a landlord, an employee, and an actual grownup, I sure don’t have the time to get out like I used to.  Although part of that is that I don’t NEED to catch fish like I used to.  What the heck, Wisconsin trout season just opened, and I haven’t even considered going, and probably won’t for at least a month.  The fact that favorite trout stream went to crap doesn’t help, but more on that later. And for someone who doesn’t “fish that much anymore”, I sure do fish a lot.  I was explaining to an old friend, “It’s frustrating to not get out much anymore.  I only made it out one night last week, and only one half day on the weekend.  I did go on a short trip out of town the weekend before that, but otherwise…”  Now I notice my friend has a WTF look on his face that says “You still fish more than anyone I know”. Fish smarter, not harder might be my mantra now.  I don’t do a lot of exploratory stuff anymore, and really try to focus on what I can depend on.  But I somehow still manage to add some new spots to the...

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A Product Whose Time has Come?

I had this emailed to me the other day, Sounds like these guys have done their homework–I think they’re on to something.   November 23, 2015 From the offices of Specialty Products International, Latrobe, Pennsylvania For Immediate Release: At last a truly new and unique product for the fly fishing community, and we are extending an offer to be a part of it. Our passion for fly fishing is like a flame that cannot be extinguished—in fact it grows larger each day, no matter the weather, no matter what is happening in our personal lives, there just isn’t anything as important to us as fly fishing. And since we are already established in the business world as masters of manufacturing and procuring unique, high quality goods, it is only natural that we expand our expertise into the world of fly fishing. Our organization, Specialty Products International, has dedicated a considerable amount of research to this, and after many days of research, interviews, and focus groups we have settled on a product that is a long time in coming. Obviously, we are active in all the forms of social media—Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and countless message boards. One thing we have noticed is that there seems to be something that fly fishermen love more than getting pictures of their fish–it is getting pictures of themselves with the cork grip of their...

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Bullheads

When I set the hook, I knew right away that this was no bluegill, and not a crappie either. The rest of the family was bobber fishing, and I was pitching a small tube jig to the edge of some green milfoil, a proven approach on this favorite panfish lake. A session here usually ends with at least a dozen nice sized panfish swimming in the livewell, and we usually find a pike to join them—just right for a fish fry. And a pike is just what I figured this was, at least at first, and I hoped I could get him in the boat before he claimed my jig as his own. Savannah looked away from her bobber to say, “Is it a northern, Daddy?” I was about to affirm, but something wasn’t quite right. A pike, even a small one, moves fast. This thing was fighting deep and slow. I took it easy, as I at least wanted a look at whatever it was. I said “I don’t think it’s a northern—it’s fighting like a…walleye? Or maybe it’s a…” and then it showed itself, and I chuckled as a big bullhead came to the surface. Despite all the panfishing we do, I couldn’t remember us landing one of these before. I showed the girls how to hold one to avoid the fins, and they both wanted to...

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Smallmouth Bass, Fairy Stones, and Treasure City

Most of the time if I go camping it is because of necessity, not just because camping is so much damn fun.  I may camp out because there just happens to be a campsite where I’m fishing, or maybe I spent too much money on tackle and can’t come up with the funds for a cheap motel.  Or maybe a little of both.  The fact that I’ve spent the last few months selling my girls on a camping trip tells me that I must like it at least a little bit. Like most parents, I want my kids to...

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