Minnesota Nation raising funds for Mille Lacs smallmouth

Minneapolis, Minn.—The Minnesota B.A.S.S. Nation has started a fund-raising effort to promote catch and release of smallmouth bass at Mille Lacs.

Last December the Minnesota Nation started discussions with the Mille Lacs Smallmouth Bass Alliance (MLSBA) on how to promote catch-and-release practices of Mille Lacs smallmouth due to the decline in the lake’s walleye fishery. Since walleye anglers usually catch and keep their catch, the feeling among the Mille Lacs bass fishing community is that those anglers will start keeping more smallmouth because they have less walleye to harvest.

“What is going on up there is really a catch-and-kill culture so we are trying to show there is a value to catch and release,” said Mickey Goetting, Minnesota Nation conservation director. “We kind of want selective harvest and not catch-and-kill everything.”  

 The MLSBA recently raised funds for the proposed catch-and-release awareness program through a banquet fundraiser, while the Minnesota Nation has set up a GoFundMe page online to receive donations for the program. The funds will be used to promote catch and release via billboards, signs and posters at Mille Lacs area boat ramps, tackle shops and resorts. The partner groups also plan on educating the local community through local newspaper ads and articles.

Goetting suggested that the awareness program is to promote mostly the release of trophy smallmouth bass. “Maybe the next time someone catches a 20-inch smallmouth they will give it a second thought and maybe take a photo and release it,” he said. “Then they can take the photo to the taxidermist to have a replica mount made of it.”

To make an online donation to the Minnesota Nation Mille Lacs fundraiser, visit https://www.gofundme.com/mnbassnation