Lagoona Guide Service
Mille Lacs Lake
Smallmouth Bass Fishing

Fishing the Best Bass Lake in the Country

  A recent Bassmaster poll ranked Mille Lacs Lake as the best bass fishery in the country, and rightfully so.  The fast action and potential for trophy fish upwards of seven pounds has turned this well kept secret, into a bucket list smallmouth bass destination.     Lagoona Guide Service has over a decades experience providing catch and release smallmouth bass fishing on the legendary waters of Lake Mille Lacs.  Capt. Ryan Kelly welcomes fisherman and families of all ages and ability to experience this world class fishery.  

  Planning on a do-it-yourself vacation?  A day of guided fishing is an excellent way to put yourself ahead of the learning curve.  This has been a very popular choice for out of state clients. 

All smallmouth bass trips are catch and release.

  Instructional trips available for learning new equipment and techniques including

  • seasonal patterns and locations

  • electronics and mapping

  • boat control

  • in-depth techniques and proper equipment setup

  • general tips and tricks

Capt. Ryan Kelly is happy to teach!

Best Time to Fish Lake Mille Lacs Smallmouth Bass

Pre-spawn (Opener - Memorial Day)

   Smallmouth season kicks off on Mille Lacs Lake mid May with inland fishing opener.  Conditions can vary at this time but on a typical season we are targeting pre-spawn smallies in 45-55 degree water temps.  

  Pre-spawn smallmouth can be a little tricky to track down, daily weather trends can have a dramatic effect on smallmouth location at this time. Some of the best areas include shallow protected bays, rock to sand transitions, and deeper structures adjacent to spawning sites.  This is prime time for jerk baits, with swimbaits and hair jigs being a couple of other top choices.  

Spawn (Memorial Day - Fathers Day)

  By late may, spawn is in full swing. This is a favorite time for many smallmouth anglers on Mille Lacs.  Big smallmouth are easy targets on shallow, clear water beds.  Warm bays and shallow shoreline reefs are excellent starting points when water temps hit 60. 

  Two of Mille Lacs Lake's best techniques for bedded smallmouth include the drop shot, and the Ned rig.  Although bedded smallmouth are not picky, bait selection is still important to maximize success and efficiency.

Post Spawn (Fathers Day - July 4)

  Post-spawn smallmouth will make an immediate transition from spawning areas to summer haunts. These fish are hungry and aggressive, readily taking a variety of different presentations.  Go-to bait selections include ned rigs, hair jigs, and swimbaits.

  This is also a favorite time of year for topwater fisherman!

Summer (July 4th - Labor Day)

Smiling fisherman holding a big smallmouth bass with fall colors in the background.
Mille Lacs smallmouth with a ned rig, held over side of boat.

  July and August are popular months for smallmouth, mid summer weather is typically mild and stable.  Fish behavior starts to become predictable, following daily patterns. 

  Summer smallmouth spend a lot of time around main lake reefs, however there are always smaller schools that'll deviate closer to the shorelines and shallows; especially towards late August. 

  The best techniques in my boat have been Ned rigs, jig worms, tubes, drop shots, spy baits, and occasionally topwater at dawn and dusk. 

Fall (Labor Day - Late October)

  Fall smallmouth fishing on Mille Lacs can be absolutely incredible. 

This period is quickly becoming the busiest season for Lagoona Guide Service.  Late season smallmouth binge feed in September and October attempting to bulk up for the long winter.  Top techniques at this time include dragging tubes and swimbaits over rock and gravel transitions.