ISLE, Minn. (KMSP) - Gov. Mark Dayton visited Lake Mille Lacs on Saturday to go bass fishing and help promote tourism after an early end to walleye season. The recent ban on walleye fishing has had a damaging effect on an area that’s dependent on tourism.
Businesses near Mille Lacs have depended on walleye fishing for a lot of their income throughout the years. While it’s one of the top destinations for bass fishing, most business owners in the area don’t think it will bring in tourism money like walleye fishing.
"I would say about 80 percent if not more (is walleye)," said George Nitti, of Nitti's Hunters Point Resort.
Nitti now hopes bass, northern pike and musky fishing will get him through until the walleye population recovers. Gov. Dayton is pushing hard for bass fishing in Mille Lacs.
“Do the lake. It’s a fabulous lake. It’s one of the iconic lakes in Minnesota," Dayton said. "It’s beautiful weather and there are all sorts of fish to be caught."
Dayton is proposing a financial aid package that would pump up to $20 million into Mille Lacs businesses and tourism. He's calling for a special session to vote on a package in the coming weeks.
“Optimistic we'll get a special session soon." Dayton said.
Dayton wants to turn to new tactics and get Mille Lacs back to where it once was.