When Mille Lacs is rockin’, seek the island, Farm Island! No doubt about the prolificness of Mille Lacs as a walleye fishery. However, just to the north of Garrison, just off of County Road 11, sits this under utilized gem. Recent DNR surveys show above average populations of crappies, northern pike and walleye. At 2,054 acres, Farm Island is smaller and fishable when the waves of Mille Lacs are more suited for surfing than fishing.
Crappies and Bluegills
Early season panfish can be had in the shallower bays found throughout the lake. Target the more gentle sloping bays early to find the warmest water. Fan casting puddle jumpers, flu-flu jigs or a plain hook tipped with a minnow can be effective search techniques. As summer progresses the fish will slide out of the bays and seek shelter in developing weedlines in 8 to 14 feet of water.
For pike you can target them with spinner baits or throwing crankbaits to outside weed edges. You can also live bait rig them with a sucker minnow or creek minnow. Good depths can be 12 to 18 feet of water for all presentations. Bass can be had early in the day by pitching frogs shallow or a jig and a worm rigged weedless. Later in the day pitching football style jig with a craw trailer or a spider grub trailer to weed edges will put bass in the boat. Jigs with a senko worm rigged “wacky” style is also extremely productive for Farm Island bucketmouths.
Walleye have been regularly stocked in Farm Island since 2002. As a result, a healthy population of walleyes inhabits these waters. The overall structure of the lake can be complex for those new to the lake with an abundance of reefs, inside turns and underwater points. Jigs with shiners will take fish early with it becoming a rigging bite in early summer. When the temps heat up, commit to covering water with either spinner rigs or crankbaits to find active fish.
Farm Island is home to relatively unpressured fish that will reward you when you make the drive. Two state owned concrete ramps located on the north end of the lake and south end of the lake that can accommodate all sizes of boats. Get out and take a kid fishing!
LAKE OF THE WEEK provided by Leisure Outdoor Adventures (www.leisureoutdooradventures.com or (855) LOA-HOOK).