preserving and maintaining a world-class

trophy smallmouth bass fishery​

Smallmouth Bass art supplied courtesy of © Jon Q Wright / JQ Licensing www.jqlicensing.com

Honorary Board Members

2018 Free the Fighter Team Big Bass Challenge

Our Mission:

B.A.S.S. FANS IMPRESSED with the #1 bass fishery in the nation

​Open Division

Saturday, October 6th


High School Division

Sunday, October 7th


We've known it all along, and now the world does, too. Mille Lacs continues to shine as the #1 smallmouth lake in the nation. MLSA is only four years old as an organization, but we've accomplished much to draw attention to preserve and protect this fishery. 

* In less than four years we have been able to work with the MN DNR in reducing the number of smallmouth bass from 6 under 18” (2015) to 3 fish under 17” (2018).
That’s a 50% reduction in harvestable bass.
* Got the spring catch and release season for smallmouth bass restored in 2017.
* Launched a comprehensive marketing and angler education initiative to promote Mille Lacs as a world-class trophy smallmouth bass fishery through roadside billboards, Facebook, print media in local newspapers, and our website and social and electronic media.  Our message is simple: Free the Fighter.
* We exhibited at the NW Minneapolis Sport show for two years and gave seminars to inform the general angling public the challenges Mille Lacs faces from over-harvest. Our goal has been to create angler awareness of our issues to preserve and protect this wonderful fishery.

​* MLSA suggested to the MN DNR last year that the #1 Smallmouth Lake in the nation deserves lake management discussion and decisions to be based on sound scientific data -- not speculation or political agendas.  
* MLSA volunteers are assisting the MN DNR in conducting a comprehensive smallmouth bass population study on Mille Lacs.   When completed we will have scientific data that will tell us: -- Total population of smallmouth bass; Size distribution of the population; Growth rates of smallmouth bass; Geographical distribution. We expect results of the study in 2018. 
* Working with our sponsor Scheels, we’ve promoted catch and release of the trophy size fish by offering a free life-size print for releasing any 21” or longer trophy smallmouth bass back to the lake. Discount pricing for 17” up to 20 15/16”.
* Working with our sponsor Frabill, we are providing aerated weigh-in bags to tournament organizations on Mille Lacs.  These bags assure fish transferred from the boats’ live wells to the weigh-in stage are handled with utmost care and returned to the lake in good condition.
          Now that the bass anglers everywhere are aware that Mille Lacs is the best smallmouth bass lake in the nation, we must continue to protect this resource so that our children and their children can enjoy a very special trophy smallmouth bass fishing experience.

The Alliance is dedicated to rebuilding, preserving and maintaining Mille Lacs as a world class trophy smallmouth bass fishery.


Our work will include: educating fishermen, local businesses and visitors to the lake about the benefits of catch and release and advocating with conservation officials about sound fish management practices. 


We believe a healthy trophy smallmouth bass fishery contributes to the economic vitality of the Mille Lacs Lake area through tourism and overall property values and a robust community. Plus, taking care of a precious natural resource is just the right thing to do.​


The Mille Lacs Smallmouth Alliance is a 501(c)(3)  charitable non-profit organization, recognized under IRC 401(a).

A huge thank you to Izatys, our volunteers, attendees and corporate partners for making our third annual Bronzeback Blowout a tremendous success.

Through this special fundraising event we are poised and ready to begin the work ahead for 2018. That means the mission for the MLSA, to preserve and protect this world-class trophy fishery will continue. Thank you from all of us at MLSA.                              - Jim DaRosa, President