LAKE MILLE LACS (WCCO) — The best ice fishing in Minnesota? WCCO viewers’ pick is Lake Mille Lacs.

With its blowing snow and fields of jagged ice, Lake Mille Lacs almost looks like another planet in the heart of winter.

“You think you know it all, but you turn around the next day, and by golly, you seen something that you’ve never seen in your life,” Russ Brandt said.

If anyone should know this lake, it would be the Brandt family.

Between Jerry, his father Bob, and his boys Jerry Jr. and Russ, the Brandts have been renting ice houses on Mille Lacs for more than 50 years.

“Everyone thinks it’s just a job, but it’s more than a job,” Russ said.

But hooking the biggest walleye is only part of that experience.

“It’s not so much about fishing,” Russ explained. “It’s more just about getting away from home and enjoying the scenery out here, and the gossip.”

“Big” Bob Johnson and his friends have been ice-fishing together on Mille Lacs for the last 15 years.

“What’s the secret? Having fun. And that’s what we do,” Johnson said.

Oh, and Matt Brickman was out for about four hours and caught … nothing.


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