Big Smallies Anticipated for Bass Pro Tour Season Finale at Mille Lacs Lake - Major League Fishing
Big Smallies Anticipated for Bass Pro Tour Season Finale at Mille Lacs Lake
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Big Smallies Anticipated for Bass Pro Tour Season Finale at Mille Lacs Lake

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January 25, 2022 • Dave Landahl • Bass Pro Tour

ONAMIA, Minn. – If bass fishing is your game, then you know the name Mille Lacs Lake. This well-known fishery produces trophy-sized members of every species that swim in its expansive waters. One Bass Pro Tour angler thinks the bass will be in transition and ready to eat during Stage Seven of the Bass Pro Tour. Smallmouth are the dominant big bass here, but largemouth could be in play with the Bass Pro Tour format. 

“I’ve done well on Mille Lacs a couple of times in September,” said James Elam, an Oklahoma-based pro with three wins already in his young career. Elam competes on the MLF Bass Pro Tour with 12 Top 10s and 26 Top 20s.

“I believe the bass will be transitioning throughout the lake from shallow, mid-depth, and deep. An angler just needs to figure out which program is going on,” he said. “I can also see the largemouth deal playing a role here because of our format. I will check that bite out for sure. But, I believe smallmouth will be the primary fish targeted. I believe we could see smallmouth in excess of 6 pounds caught.”

About the Fishery

Mille Lacs Lake is located just an hour-and-a-half to two hours from the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area. The lake is large with approximately 132,000 surface acres and covers 207 square miles. It’s also Minnesota’s second-largest inland lake after Red Lake.

Although it’s a large lake, the maximum depth is only 42 feet. Deeper rock reefs, shallow reefs, milfoil, islands, weedlines, points, and mudflats are all available for anglers to fish. There are also several marinas, launch ramps, and bait shops around the lake.

Elam says that there will be a couple of added obstacles for hooking and landing bass on Mille Lacs.

“There does seem to be a lot of fishing pressure on the lake,” Elam said. “So, that can play into fishing being a little more difficult. Also, contending with zebra mussels fraying your line. You have to be diligent and keep an eye on that, especially if you are using typical smallmouth gear like drop-shots on the rockpiles. Any rocks you are fishing will have tons of mussels on them. This tournament should be a really fun event. Lots of quality bass to be caught. ”