Red Door Access Open to Walk on Traffic
Our access remains open to walk on traffic out to the first break. Please stop in the office before heading onto the lake to both pay for your parking pass and to receive the latest information on ice conditions.
Do note that a large, 100′ plus crack opened up late yesterday on the south side of the first break, exposing open water (see “What Happened Yesterday?” below for more information). As you near this crack, please exercise extreme caution and remember that ice conditions can change quickly, especially as temperatures change after sunset. The crack opening has glazed over, but is far from walkable. Anglers can currently access fishing in depths up to 16′ to 20′.
The temperatures are fluctuating slightly and ice continues to pop and shift. As a result, we recommend fishing until sundown and then heading off the lake.
Until otherwise announced, the Red Door access will continue to be open only to foot traffic and only north of the crack.
How’s the bite?
The fishing reports from yesterday and today indicate fairly consistent good success. And by good success, we mean 10 to 30 fish in a six to seven period of time.
Dead sticking seems to be the most successful technique, so you might only need a bobber and shiners or suckers to catch some fish.
Anglers have reported fishing depths all over the board; all fishable territory is currently inside of the 20′ which is about as deep is currently accessible out of the Red Door access.
What Happened Yesterday?
The temperature yesterday peaked at about 34 degrees and dropped seven degrees to about 27 by around 9pm. Around that same time the north wind really picked up.
One of our members and his guest was inside of his pop up on the south side of the first break. He heard the wind and the ice
groaning and then a 6-10 inch crack suddenly appeared right through the middle of the shelter, nearly sending a graph to the bottom of Mille Lacs. As they pulled all their gear to the lake side of the crack, the crack split wide open. Ten minutes later the opening had grown to over 100′ of open water.
Another three man group was fishing nearby. They noted the ice noise and the increase in wind speed. Watching their graphs from inside the pop up, they noticed all of a sudden that their depth was increasing. They stepped outside and observed the wide expanse of open water. Their ice sheet was shifting into deeper water. Though it was difficult to tell at the time, the crack seemed to span a really long way and we now know today that it runs almost the entirety of the north side of the lake.
Our office received a call around 9:30pm from one of the five individuals who were now stuck on the wrong side of a wide water gap. Our Ice Team went into action, quickly tracking down a flat bottom boat (Thanks, Nick!) and bringing it out to the north shore of the open water. James rowed over to the other side. He made a number of trips across the void bringing each of the five individuals back to the land side of the ice. When the whole ordeal (adventure?) concluded a couple of hours later, we were happy to have everyone safely back on shore.
Ice can be unpredictable, especially early in the hard water season. Please be cautious out there, travelling with safety equipment and never alone.