Mille Lacs buzz continues with return of Bassmaster championship
Much like the reported bite on Lake Mille Lacs these days, news involving the lake’s most popular inhabitants remains brisk, too.
In a news release Monday, Feb. 6, it was announced that the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year Championship will return to Mille Lacs Sept. 14-17 — the first time the season-ending derby will be held at the same venue in consecutive years.
The event was held on Mille Lacs for the first time in 2016 and regarded as a huge success, with competitors lauding what had long been reported as one of the top smallmouth bass fisheries in the country.
Also Monday, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources said in a release that the Mille Lacs Fisheries Advisory Committee will meet Feb. 15. At the meeting, DNR staff will provide a report from January’s Fisheries Technical Committee meeting and preliminary results of last summer’s hooking mortality study, according to the DNR release. The 2016 open-water season was catch-and-release for walleyes on the lake, but with mortality concerns, that season ended prematurely and anglers were not allowed to target walleyes the rest of the open-water season.
Last week, the DNR announced that the bass limit on Mille Lacs will go from four to three when the harvest season opens Saturday, May 27, saying it wants to embrace the fact that the lake has become a national smallmouth destination and protect that resource.
According to a release on the Bassmaster website, the overwhelming success of the 2016 Angler of the Year Championship on Mille Lacs made the decision to return in 2017 an easy one: Over three days of competition, the 50 anglers caught 729 bass weighing 2,878 pounds — an average of about 4 pounds a fish — according to the release. Minnesota’s Seth Feider totaled over 76 pounds for the win.
Bassmaster also announced that its Elite Series Classic Bracket event, scheduled the week after the Angler of the Year Championship, will also be held in Minnesota — Sept. 19-22 on Lake Pokegama near Grand Rapids. It will be the first Bassmaster tournament ever on the lake, according to the release.
The Wednesday, Feb. 15 Mille Lacs advisory committee meeting is scheduled from 5:30-8:30 p.m. at McQuoid’s Inn, 1325 State Highway 47 in Isle. The public is invited to observe the meeting, and 15 minutes at the end of the meeting will be reserved for public comment and questions, the DNR release said.
For more information about the committee and DNR’s management of Mille Lacs, visit the Mille Lacs management page.