Minnesota is the land of 10,000 lakes, and home of some of the best fishing in the world. And last week, one of Minnesota’s best lakes was put in the spotlight. Located about 20 miles south of Stern Rubber’s Aitkin location is Mille Las Lake, which played host last weekend to the Bass Pro Shops, Bassmaster Angler of the Year Championship. The Bassmaster series which started in 2006 is a circuit of professional fisherman that compete all season long, to get the opportunity to hopefully make the final event, and earn enough points to be able to return to the series the next year. Only 50 of the 111 fishermen who compete even get the chance to battle it out for the $100,000 point’s leader payout.
The fishing at the event was some of the best in tournament history, which is no surprise to the locals of the Milles Lacs area. After day one, the fishermen produced 23 limits of small mouth bass all weighing in at 20 pounds or more per limit, and the points leaders were in a tight locked battle, that took three more days of fishing to determine the champion. In the end Gerald Swindle, the point’s leader coming into the Mille Lacs tournament, was crowned the champion and took home the $100,000 prize.
Although the tournament is exciting, the praise for the lake and the area from the competitors is even more impressive. Mille Lacs, which has had its issues over the years, due to the reduced walleye population, is looking to rebound, by showing the rest of the country that there is more than just walleye fishing in the Mille Lacs area, and by bringing in the Bassmasters, they are doing just that. Some of the best praise came from Michigan native and Bass Anglers Sportsman Society all-time money winner, Kevin VanDam. "I have been to great smallmouth bass lakes in Michigan ... to Lake Champlain ... to Lake St. Clair. No place has as many big ones as Mille Lacs. The bass are crazy big in this lake," said VanDam. Having fishing greats like Kevin, brings Mille Lacs into the national spotlight, and is exactly what the area is looking for.
So the next time you’re in Stern Rubber’s back yard, whether you’re a professional angler or just recreational, try your luck on Mille Lacs and see if you can out fish the Bassmasters.