Huge Smallmouth from Lake Mille Lacs in MN

by | Jun 12, 2020 | fly fishing for smallmouth bass | 1 comment

jeff-currier-minnesotaFor the third morning in a row I woke up feeling great despite this week being a reunion on Lake Mille Lacs in Minnesota with some old Northland College pals.  A group that when we get together have been known to get a little wild after a good day of fishing.  But we were thrilled we took it easy last night because finally we awoke to a warm, sunny, calm day.

 

smalliesWhile most felt extra confident about the day’s fishing with the drop in wind, I wasn’t so sure.  I always find that a calm day after several high windy ones often put the fish off.  And indeed the fish were off the first half of the day but luckily in the afternoon fishing kicked in.

 

walleyeThere are eleven of us here at Mikes cottages on Mille Lacs now.  It’s one of our biggest reunions yet.  We even had a surprise guest, Matt Claybaugh.  Matt resides in Hawaii and not one of us has seen him since graduation in 1987!  Matt isn’t much of a fisherman but he hopped on Mikes boat today with me and Danny and launched a rubber minnow at his convenience while the rest of us covered the water with flies.

 

It was actually Matt who struck first.  It was at about 1 PM.  The lake was so still we were barely drifting and Matt claimed he had a nibble.  A “nibble” happens with bait and he had no bait.  Mike and I looked at each other as if “yea right Matt” but before we could question him he went tight.  Matt broke the skunk with a nice walleye.

 

flyfish-MinnesotaThis was by no means the start to fast and furious fishing.  Temps actually got hot out and the wind completely stopped.  There was more resting and beer drinking going for an hour or so before the fish hit again.

 

When the wind restarted, returning from the east (its been blowing from the west) we all got busy again.  Things began with some light taps on Clouser’s down deep.  It was hard to tell if you were bumping bottom or getting a “nibble” as Matt would say.

 

Jeff-Currier-walleyeFinally I connected to one of the light takes and landed my first fish of the day.  It too was a walleye and one of the better ones of the trip.

 

Currier-Mille-LacsAction remained steady from here on out. Steady but slow I should say.  We picked up a about five more walleyes.  I caught two while Matt’s rubber fish caught the others.  There were also a couple smallies but they were average sized.  But just as we were about to call it a day and head in for dinner I hooked a dandy.

 

The funny thing about this fish is that I’d just signaled to the guys in our other boat to come over and discuss calling it for dinner.  Just as they pulled up I went tight.  They pulled out the cameras and got these cool shots.

 

huge-smallmouthTurns out, this was one of my best smallies ever.  Mike keeps a measuring tray on his boat so we stuck this fat one in there.  The smallmouth measured 20 1/4 inches.  A beast!

 

 

 

Jeff-Currier-huge-smallmouth-bass

I’ve been an avid smallmouth bass angler my entire life.  Growing up in NH we had a lot of them but it was extremely rare to break 18”.  Even in my random visits all over the US for smallie fishing from down VA with the Mossy Creek boys to Dale Hollow in KY and even the John Day in OR, I have only barely touched 20” a few times.  And none of those few smallies were this fat.  Unless I’m forgetting a memorable fish, this is my biggest smallmouth bass ever.

 

 

Lake-Mille-Lacs-smallmouth

After another amazing dinner we went out fishing again.  Only this was a tie the boats together and anchor up.  The boys finally dunked live leeches for walleye up till dark.  I stubbornly stuck to the fly and actually picked up a couple small walleyes.  Most the guys caught a couple small walleyes too.  But Dave Kittaka ran into a beast of a smallie on a leech.  This fish was 22”!

 

It was another splendid day up here in Minnesota with great longtime friends.  While a few guys head out tomorrow, I’ll get one more full day before heading home Sunday.

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

1 Comment

  1. Matthew C Norton

    Dude!!! I left too early. Looks like it was a great day. Thanks for all the tips. I am definitely picking up that “sonar” sinking line for my 7wt. That was some slick stuff. Clearly, it pays to go deep…fast. Safe travels.

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I started fly fishing at age 7 in the lakes and ponds of New England cutting my teeth on various sunfish, bass, crappie and stocked trout. I went to Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin, where I graduated with a Naturalist Degree while I discovered new fishing opportunities for pike, muskellunge, walleyes and various salmonids found in Lake Superior and its tributaries.

From there I headed west to work a few years in the Yellowstone region to simply work as much as most people fish and fish as much as most people work. I did just that, only it lasted over 20 years working at the Jack Dennis Fly Shop in Jackson, WY where I departed in 2009. Now it’s time to work for "The Man", working for myself that is.

I pursue my love to paint fish, lecture on every aspect of fly fishing you can imagine and host a few trips to some of the most exotic places you can think of. My ultimate goal is to catch as many species of fish on fly possible from freshwater to saltwater, throughout the world. I presently have taken over 440 species from over 60 countries!

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