Mille Lacs named best bass fishing lake in the country by Bassmaster Magazine

Bassmaster Magazine on Friday named Mille Lacs the best lake in the country for bass fishing in their annual rankings of the best bass lakes in America. Ranked against 12 other lakes, Mille Lacs placed first thanks to its abundance of hearty smal...

Bassmaster Magazine on Friday named Mille Lacs the best lake in the country for bass fishing in their annual rankings of the best bass lakes in America. Ranked against 12 other lakes, Mille Lacs placed first thanks to its abundance of hearty smallmouth bass.

"With tremendous bass fishing, terrific family-owned resorts, and many other recreation choices, Mille Lacs is a great lake for the whole family to visit," said Gov. Mark Dayton in a news release. "I invite all bass fishing enthusiasts from Minnesota and across the country to come to Mille Lacs and enjoy the best bass fishing lake in America."

In announcing Mille Lacs as the best bass lake in the country, Bassmaster Magazine highlighted last year's Bassmaster Championship, saying that Mille Lacs "really shined. Each of the Top 5 anglers averaged north of 20 pounds per day" and highlighting that "there are a lot of burly fish swimming around." USA TODAY also recently profiled Mille Lacs as one of the best bass fishing lakes in the country.

"This is a fantastic and well-deserved recognition for Lake Mille Lacs and Minnesota's growing reputation as a bass fishing destination," said John Edman, director of Explore Minnesota. "In addition to bass fishing, the Mille Lacs area offers lots of ways for outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy the area's natural beauty on hiking, biking and ATV trails, watching wildlife, golfing or visiting a Minnesota state park."

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 on Mille Lacs, the weekend of Sept. 14-17. Seth Feider, a Bloomington native, won last year's Bassmaster Tournament, which brought significant national attention to the lake's smallmouth bass fishing. The tournament gave a boost of more than $3 million to the Mille Lacs economy, filling more than 1,750 hotel room nights.


Last month, Dayton celebrated the state bass fishing opener on Mille Lacs with outdoor celebrity Ron Schara and Bassmaster Champion Seth Feider. Altogether, the Dayton, Schara, and Feider caught five fish on Mille Lacs that morning. Dayton's visit also highlighted the family resorts and other local businesses that make Mille Lacs Lake a great community for the whole family to visit.

Investments in the Mille Lacs Area Economy

Over the last three years, 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.

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