Governor and Seth Feider to open state bass season on Mille Lacs

St. Paul, Minn. – On Saturday, May 27, 2017, Governor Mark Dayton will travel to Mille Lacs for the state bass fishing opener, to celebrate the start of the summer season. Governor Dayton will be joined by outdoor celebrity Ron Schara and Bassmaster Champion Seth Feider, to highlight the lake’s status as one of the 10 Best Bass Lakes in the United States for smallmouth bass, according to Bassmaster Magazine. And USA TODAY recently profiled Mille Lacs as one of the best bass fishing lakes in the country.

Bassmaster Magazine has rated Lake Mille Lacs one of best lakes for bass fishing in America,” said Governor Dayton. “I invite all bass fishing enthusiasts from Minnesota and across the country to join us for Minnesota's bass opener and the start of another terrific bass fishing season on Lake Mille Lacs.”

Governor Dayton’s visit also will highlight the family resorts and other local businesses that make Mille Lacs Lake a great community for the whole family to visit. On Friday night, the Governor will stay at McQuoid’s Inn in Isle, Minnesota. Located near the southeast corner of Mille Lacs, McQuoid’s offers a variety of accommodations and year-round activities, including guided fishing, snowmobile rental and an events center.

Over the last three years, Governor Dayton and the Minnesota Legislature have invested $4 million in economic development and tourism promotion for the Mille Lacs area.

“While anglers wait for a walleye comeback, there’s no reason to avoid Mille Lacs this summer if you like to catch fish,” said Ron Schara, host of Minnesota Bound and Minnesota fishing legend. “Mille Lacs is today ranked as one of the top ten bass lakes in the nation. In addition, Mille Lacs harbors a good population of northern pike, including many trophy size. What’s not to like about those fishing odds?” 

For the second year in a row, Grand Casino Mille Lacs and Mille Lacs Tourism will host the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year Championship the weekend of Sept. 14-17, 2017. Seth Feider, a Bloomington native, won last year’s Bassmaster Tournament, which brought significant national attention to the lake’s smallmouth bass fishing. Participants praised the size of the bass at Mille Lacs, and one participant calling it their “best smallmouth bass fishing ever.” The tournament gave a boost of more than $3 million to the Mille Lacs economy, filling more than 1,750 hotel room nights. 

“All the pros know that Mille Lacs is a special place, and one of the best lakes in America to catch a world-class bass,” said Feider. “Winning last year’s Bassmaster Tournament on Mille Lacs was a blast. I look forward to hitting the lake again in May with Governor Dayton and Ron Schara. I encourage all Minnesotans to get up there this summer; you won’t regret it.” 

Additional details on the Governor’s plans to visit Mille Lacs Lake on Saturday, May 27, 2017, will be released as the summer bass fishing opener approaches. 

Investments in the Mille Lacs Area Economy

Over the last three years, Governor Dayton and the Minnesota Legislature have invested $4 million in economic development and tourism promotion in the Mille Lacs area. Below, see how some of those investments are paying off for Mille Lacs area businesses, the community, and the economy.

  • Outreach to New Anglers – Mille Lacs has focused on recruiting not only existing anglers, but reaching out to new groups not traditionally targeted for outdoors advertising. Those efforts include placing content with El Minnesota De Hoy, a new, online Spanish-language news outlet.
  • Seeing Ice Fishing Success – Since the Tourism Council began implementing state funding in late 2016, they have already seen success in bringing more winter visitors to the Mille Lacs area. The Council reports this winter as one of the best ice fishing seasons in recent memory.
  • Bass Fishing Boost – Following on the success of last year’s Bassmaster Championship, the Mille Lacs Area Tourism Council has begun running targeted ads through social media to highlight the return of the tournament this year. The Council has already heard from many Mille Lacs area resorts that they are already seeing reservations for this year’s championship.
  • 21st Century Website Redesign – Using new state funding, the Mille Lacs Area Tourism Council redesigned and redeveloped their tourism promotion website to meet modern expectations, including a more mobile friendly experience, to highlight their #DOTHELAKE campaign. The website is designed to promote all that the Mille Lacs area has to offer – from fishing to family fun.
  • All-New Visitor Guides – State investments have also allowed the Mille Lacs Area Tourism Council to develop and print brand-new materials, including new visitor guides. These guides will help recruit more visitors to the area, and help them make the most of their Mille Lacs experience.
  • Online Outreach – State funding is supporting efforts to bring targeted advertisements to people online, where visitors increasingly go for news, entertainment, and travel planning. These efforts include website banner ads, web radio advertisements, and targeted email outreach.
  • Midwest Outdoors Campaign – The Mille Lacs Area Tourism Council is working with MidWest Outdoors to implement a comprehensive outreach effort through MidWest Outdoors, including print ads in their magazine, banner and social media advertisements online, and advertisements on their emerging television/video platform.

In addition to the state-funded efforts through the Mille Lacs Area Tourism Council, Explore Minnesota has undertaken efforts to include the Mille Lacs area in their ongoing tourism and promotion efforts. Some of those partnerships include:

  • #OnlyinMN Winter Dares – This effort from Explore Minnesota highlights unique opportunities that Minnesota winters can offer. Roughly half of this year’s video series was filmed in the Mille Lacs area, to highlight activities including ice fishing, hockey, snowshoeing, ice skating, fat tire biking, saunas, meat raffles, and unique family resorts.
  • Mille Lacs Fishing Updates – Explore Minnesota provides regular Mille Lacs fishing updates in their weekly email update, which is distributed to more than 8,700 subscribers.
  • Ongoing Promotion – Explore Minnesota continues to look for opportunities to highlight the Mille Lacs area alongside other Minnesota destinations in their tourism efforts. Some of those additional partnerships include: featuring Mille Lacs in the “Minnesota Moment” on-air segment during Minnesota Twins games; highlighting the Mille Lacs Indian Museum in partnership with MNHS and KSTP-TV; featuring Kathio State Park in the Checkpoint winter scavenger hunt; and highlighting diverse fishing opportunities across the state, including Mille Lacs Lake.

Plan Your Trip to Mille Lacs

Visit the new MilleLacs.com website to plan your trip to the Mille Lacs area, including everything from lodging, to dining, special deals and area events. For more great ideas on enjoying all the Mille Lacs area has to offer, check out the new visitor guide, or visit the Explore Minnesota website for inspiration. Explore Minnesota can help answer any questions you may have, and ensure a great time in Mille Lacs for the entire family. 

The Governor’s 70th Annual Fishing Opener

The 70th Annual Minnesota Governor’s Fishing Opener will take place in the Greater St. Cloud area, including the communities of St. Cloud, Sartell and Sauk Rapids. This year, the opener weekend will take place May 11–14, with opening fishing on Saturday, May 13, 2017. For additional information on the Governor’s Fishing Opener, click here.