Presented by Yamaha Motor Corp USA and Warrior Boats Inc.


Contact: Denny Fox, 920-505-0122

Anglers Insight Marketing LLC (AIM™)


When It’s Mille Lacs In June, It’s Big Fish, Big Flies

As AIM Minnesota Qualifier Is On Deck Sunday


Same weekend, last year, this Minnesota Division AIM Weekend Walleye Series qualifier on the walleye factory that is Lake Mille Lacs was won with 35 pounds in the bag. Fan Nation, what’s it gonna be won by this time after a full 100-boat field pounds it?

“We’ve got mayflies hatching like we had last year at this time, and still our teams found where the big waldos were hiding using that go-to rig, bobbers and leeches,” said Denny Fox, AIM national tournament director. “Chances are more than a few teams will be doing the same this time, and my guess is, like the teams we talked to already, that the winner may be coming in with nearly 40.”

Eric Sherrill of Becker started pre-fishing Wednesday, and he’ll be “Mille-lacs-ing” instead of relaxing, through Saturday in his Warrior V198, pushed by a Mercury 225 Pro XS.

“We haven’t had a whole lot of time on the water this year. I’m more than excited to get that Warrior out. He’s been with the Warrior regional pro-staff the last four years. But he’ll have some ground and water to make up.

“Without being on the water yet but talking with a friend the fish are biting and 24 (inches) seemed to be the largest. I’m not sure where those bigger females are. They could be tucked into the weeds on the south end of the lake,” Sherrill said. That’s where it was won in 2022. Electronics, forward-facing sonars, may be the decider.

“Electronics will play a huge role. They were kind of sharpshooting them, picking out fish buried in the cabbage. If the mayfly hatch is serious, it takes those fish a little bit longer to migrate because it’s such a plentiful food source. I’m prepared to go to the mud if I need to, and if it takes a reaction bite to get’em to go, I’m fully prepared. I know they’re catching them on jigs and leeches, and bobbers and leeches,” he said. And, he’s first with a prediction.

“It will take just under 40 pounds to win. That’s being conservative. Last year it took 35 to win. AIM has some really heavy hitters showing up. There’s a lot of talent across this field, some of the best sticks in Minnesota, and they can be people you’ve never heard about,” Sherrill said.

One of those frothing up Mille Lacs the last several days is Dannie Burkholder of Princeton, also in a Warrior 198, powered by a 225 Yamaha, and with Garmin among the electronics scoping out the lake. He’s reporting a large mayfly hatch.

“The hatch is ridiculous. You’re going to have to switch up tactics. It’s definitely going to be a Panoptix bite,” Burkholder said.

“We’re getting a lot of 20- to 23-inchers. That’s the majority of four fish. We are plugging in some 27s and 25s. I went to some spots where we’ve won a lot of money and it’s a lot of boats and a lot of small fish,” he reported. “In fact, I’ve got one now.” Yup, we reached him on the water. But, it was a small perch, one of many he also reports are in the lake.

“You’re definitely going to need a couple of spots or sit in one and grind it out and it’s going to be a tough grind if you do,” he said. But he feels they’ve got it dialed in. At least right now.

“We just kinda cracked it the other day and hopefully it doesn’t change. We’ve got a game plan, and now we’ve just got to master it. Somebody’s going to get 32 pounds to cash a check. You’re going to see a lot of 20s and low 30s for weights.”

Cody Orth of Princeton will be with Dustin Romann, also of the Princeton contingent, under Yamaha 300 power Sunday. Romann lives on the lake and Orth has fished it all his life, except apparently the last few weeks.

“I’m assuming that with the water the bite is pretty good. The last time I was out, it was decent, but it’s still tough to find those bigger fish,” Orth said. They’ll probably start pre-fishing in the mud to see what’s there.

“We’ll put two hard days in and cover the lake, and it’ll be bobbers and leeches for them. Now with live imaging it seems kind of the best way to catch them.”

Now, here’s the fine print for this one, with local event sponsor McQuoid’s Inn in Isle. Saturday’s online rules and regs meeting will be followed by Sunday’s boat inspection at the docks of Mac’s Twin Bay Resort in Isle.

The first wave of boats leaves at 7 a.m., and the second at 7:15, and they’re due back starting at 3 p.m. We’ll find out what team will bring home that $9,000 first prize starting at 5 p.m. at McQuoid’s.

Meantime, follow all the fun on Mille Lacs and at the other AIM qualifier also taking place at

AIM’s Facebook site. Learn how you can register for the next events at

You know you want to. You know you can.

Anglers Insight Marketing LLC (AIM™) is a unique tournament organization created and owned by many of the most accomplished and recognizable professional walleye anglers, along with others who share the mission of advancing competitive walleye fishing and making it sustainable into the future. 

AIM is committed to marketing excellence on behalf of its tournament competitors, the tournament host communities, and the brands that partner with it. AIM is also committed to maintaining healthy fisheries across the nation by the development of the exclusive AIM Catch-Record-Release™ format which is integral to its dynamic events and unparalleled consumer engagement. For more information about AIM™, AIM Pro Walleye Series™, AIM Weekend Walleye Series, AIM sponsors and AIM anglers, visit

AIM Presenting Sponsors: Yamaha Motor Corporation U.S.A. and Warrior Boats inc.  

AIM Supporting Sponsors: Mercury Marine, Garmin, Navionics, Power Pole, Worldwide Marine Insurance, Off Shore Tackle, Gemini Sport Marketing, Moonshine Lures Shiver Minnow, JT Outdoors Products, McQuoids Inn, Rosemore Outdoor Gear, Outdoor Authority fish house rentals, Island Bar and Grill, Bait Box on the Rock, Oconto County WI. Odyssey battery.

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