Our Commitment to Excellent Fisheries


A Priority Program that Started at “Day One”

Back in 1968, the fishing on Lake Vermilion was lousy. In those days, almost every boat on Lake Vermilion carried two guys and their fishing tackle. The fishermen were probably staying in one of the 30 or so resorts on Vermilion, and if the fishing didn’t improve, life would be pretty tough.

In January 1968, the columns of the Cook News-Herald began to carry stories about a bunch of resorters who had decided to do something. They set up shop as the “Sportsmen’s Club of Lake Vermilion” and got to work. By the time the club held its first annual meeting in August, membership had grown to 1700 and the Vermilion Sportsman newsletter had been launched.

One of the group’s first concerns was to build up the walleye population. The fish hatchery in Pike Bay had been closed in 1946 and no eggs were being harvested or walleyes stocked in Lake Vermilion. By 1968, fishermen and their resort hosts were feeling the effects. The newly formed SCLV met with Conservation Commissioner Jarle Leirfallom, who assigned a team of biologists to figure out why the fishing was so poor. The persistent efforts of the SCLV board and the support of a few legislators helped convince the Department of Fisheries to reopen the hatchery, which it did in 1972.

A Priority Program that Continues

Our founders had their hands full with their own businesses and families. The easy course would have been to disband once the biologists were on the job and the hatchery fight was won. Instead, they decided to continue working to improve the lake and its fishing.

The members of the Vermilion Lake Association continue that important work today. Sometimes the fisheries effort is direct support for and advice to the Tower DNR team. Sometimes it carries a different name, like rough fish removal, cormorant management, water quality protection, or even aquatic invasive species prevention — the VLA’s other priority program.

For More Information or to Volunteer

For more information about the VLA’s fisheries improvement work or to give us a hand as a volunteer, please contact Board Member Terry Grosshauser.

Your Financial Support or In-Kind Donation Can Make a Difference

If you or your organization would consider a financial gift supporting our fisheries work or an in-kind donation of products or services, please contact Board Member Terry Grosshauser or any other board member for a confidential discussion.