Category Archives: Blog

Holiday Contests!

‘Tis the season…to turn the Big Stone Lake Area into a magical wonderland of lights! This season, the first ever Big Stone Lake Area Holiday Decorating Contest will be during the following dates:

  • Decorating & Entry Period: November 1—December 3
  • Lighting Period: through December 25
  • Judging: before December 18
  • Winners Announced: December 21

The grand prize winner will receive 10 percent off a 2016 Chamber membership!

Please read the decorating contest rules and instructions here.

Entry applications are available here, by emailing or by stopping into the Chamber office!

If you have any questions, contact the Big Stone Lake Area Chamber at 320-839-3284.

Let’s make the Big Stone Lake area merry and BRIGHT this holiday season!

Avenue of Trees!

Any business, organization or community member that would like to light up the vacant lot across from the Ortonville Community Center can do so with decorated trees!

The Avenue of Trees will be displayed in the Lighted Parade during Santa Day in Ortonville December 5! Following the parade, they will be lit in the former Kaye lot (across from the Community Center), where people can vote for a favorite tree from December 5 to December 18. There will be a ballot box in the former Kaye lot to submit your vote.

In the spirit of the season of giving, the DRC and Chamber Director will donate $100 to a charity of choice by the group/person who decorated the public-voted favorite tree!

A challenge to the surrounding communities has been issued! Decorate a tree from your community and have it represented in our Lighted Parade December 5! Your community’s tree will be on display in the Avenue of Trees, too!

For more details and to get involved in the Avenue of Trees, contact the Big Stone Lake Area Chamber at 320-839-3284 or at!

Residential Holiday Decorating Contest!

A holiday decorating contest for Ortonville and Big Stone City residents is also in the works! Nominations will be taken for the contest.

  • Nomination Period: November 30—December 16
  • Lighting Period: December 17—December 25
  • Judging: December 17—December 18
  • Winners Announced: December 21

First place receives $50 in Chamber Bucks; 2nd place will get $35 in Chamber Bucks; and 3rd place will receive $15 in Chamber Bucks!

Please click here for more details!

Lighted Parade!

Main Street Ortonville will be lit up with a Lighted Parade at 5 p.m. December 5 for Santa Day!

The parade route will start at the corner by Investors Advisory Management Group and will proceed to the former Kaye lot (across from the community center).

If anyone wants to have an entry in the Lighted Parade, contact the Big Stone Lake Area Chamber at 320-839-3284 or at! by December 3!

Shopping the Bump & Loving It!

The old adage “shop local” has lost some of its once-held charm, but a new slogan is revitalizing the same sentiment in the area.

The Ortonville Economic Development Authority and the Big Stone Lake Area Chamber of Commerce staff announce the creation of MNBump bags. These drawstring bags sport the slogan “Shopping the Bump and loving it!” The bag has a center compartment that creates versatility of use: from the mom on the go to the kid going to basketball practice to the shopper getting those great holiday deals. There is also a side pocket and water bottle holder for additional storage.

The MNBump bags are for sale for $15 at the EDA and Chamber offices. The entire sale will be given to the Chamber’s Downtown Revitalization Committee. The funds will be used by the DRC to expand the festivals, events and projects like planters and seating areas; watch the Chamber website for all upcoming DRC activities!

Inspired by the sale of the bags, the DRC is starting a Busted! campaign November 19 at the Snowflake Lighting Ceremony in Ortonville. Two times a week for five weeks, those spotted shopping Ortonville with the MNBump bags will be “busted” and will receive $20 in Chamber Bucks. The Busted! campaign will run from November 19 to December 24.

Big Stone Lake: the Midwest’s new winter perch hot spot!

By Mike Frisch

Big Stone Lake, on the Minnesota and South Dakota border, has long had a reputation as a top-notch walleye fishery. Because of the lake’s walleye fishing opportunities, this 26-mile long, 12,610-acre border water lake is a top open-water fishing destination and has hosted many walleye tournaments sponsored by some of the country’s top tournament circuits.

While the walleye has long been king, Big Stone also has a booming perch fishery that now offers anglers another top-notch open-water fishing opportunity. News of the good perch fishing is drawing more and more summer and fall anglers, but winter is the time when the perch fishing really takes center stage!

Artie Arndt is an Ortonville, Minn. native (Ortonville is at the foot of the lake, which is also the headwaters of the Minnesota River) who has fished the lake since childhood and has a good handle on fishing the lake during all seasons. Recognizing the great perch fishing opportunities available, Arndt started renting fish houses and guiding anglers on Big Stone though his bait shop in Ortonville two winters ago. Most of his rental service and guide business is geared towards the lake’s numerous perch.

“I started the rental business as the perch boom started,” Arndt offered when asked about his new business. “It goes hand-in-hand with our bait shop and is enjoyable for me because I like helping others catch fish,” he went on.

Arndt and the guides who work for him are a hard-working bunch who are constantly on the move searching for the best bite. “Much of the winter perch fishing occurs on the south end of the lake,” Arndt offered when asked about where anglers should start their perch search. “Rocky ledge and the islands are popular areas for finding perch, though anglers are advised to stay on the move as the bite often moves from day to day and even during the course of the same day.” he added. “If you want to stay on the fish, you have to be willing to move,” Arndt advised.

The key to catching perch on Big Stone is usually finding them. Once found, a variety of traditional jigging spoons and lures tipped with spikes will often catch fish. When the bite is tough, downsizing to tiny tungsten jigs still tipped with spikes is often the key to putting some fish in the pail.

While the perch is king during the winter on Big Stone, the walleyes are another good option as well. “The north end of the lake holds lots of walleyes during the winter months,” Arndt offered when asked about finding those fish. “The late afternoon bite is good, though anglers willing to fish after dark into the night are often rewarded for their efforts,” Arndt went on.

Perch and walleyes are the top winter draws on Big Stone though other species, most notably bluegills and crappies, are present in the lake as well. “We are very excited about a growing population of crappies and bluegills in the lake,” Arndt stated. “The lake’s bluegills are big and seem to be growing in numbers, while the crappie population is really booming now as well,” he continued. “The area by the islands is also good for these fish, though I’ll bet there are some unknown hot spots for both bluegills and crappies that we don’t know about because these fish don’t get much pressure,” he concluded.

If these top winter fishing opportunities are of interest, anglers can talk to Arndt himself or one of his guides by stopping at Artie’s Bait and Tackle in Ortonville. The friendly employees there are always ready to lend a hand in helping visiting anglers get dialed in to the top fish-producing areas and they have a full supply of bait and tackle. Anglers and hunters wanting up-to-the minute fishing and hunting reports or those interested in guided fishing or a rental fish house can also call the bait shop at 320-839-2480.

In addition to fine fishing, the Big Stone area also has fine dining and a variety of lodging options for the out-of-town angler as well. Information about the entire Big Stone Lake area, including food and lodging details, can be found by visiting the Big Stone Lake Area Chamber at

Mike Frisch is a western Minnesota fishing guide and co-host of the popular Fishing the Midwest television series. Learn more by visiting or following Fishing the Midwest on Facebook.

Harvest Madness!

Great ghosts, goblins and ghouls…it’s almost time for Halloween! And that means it’s also time for Harvest Madness in Ortonville!

Harvest Madness / Treat Street will be from 4 to 6 p.m. Friday, October 30! Before starting on the Treat Street route, pick up a treat bag from Ortonville Area Health Services starting at 3 p.m.!

There will be trick or treating in downtown Ortonville at participating businesses. Just look for the Harvest Madness pumpkins in a business’ window! Kids can also get treats by walking through the Trunk or Treat vehicles set up in the Lower parking lot!

Additional activities in store for this year’s Harvest Madness include Halloween Bingo, $5 Trick or Treat Photos and Hay Rides! Proceeds from the photos will go to future Downtown Revitalization Committee projects and events! Also look for special activities in the empty lots on Main Street!

For a full Harvest Madness poster, click here!

More details can be found on the Harvest Madness Facebook event page here!

Halloween Bingo:

Pick up cards at Artie’s Bait & Tackle (748 2nd St SE), collect all 12 stamps from businesses listed on card and return the card to GoFasters Powersports & Marine (209 1st St NW)! Drawing for prizes will be at 6 p.m. at GoFasters. Must be present to win!

Congratulations to the winners of Halloween Bingo: Aliyah Ash, Dante Warner, Braxton Raffety, Scarlett Hoefs and Isabelle Haukos!


Upcoming Events

A list of our upcoming events in the Big Stone Lake area!

October 28: Harvest Madness in Ortonville (watch for details)

December 3: Santa Day in Ortonville (watch for details)

Make sure to check out our calendar for a full list activities!


Calling All Photographers!

We need your help in showing off the Big Stone Lake area!

Explore Southern Minnesota is looking to refresh the Southern Minnesota travel guide with photos of area landmarks, landscapes, festivals, attractions, etc.

Click here for more details! The deadline to submit photos is October 1!

If you have any questions, contact the Chamber by calling 320-839-3284, by sending an email to or by stopping in to the office!

All About Fishing!

Fishing Big Stone Lake

by:  Mike Frisch

Big Stone Lake on the Minnesota/South Dakota border is a very popular spring walleye fishing destination.  Why?  First, because the water is a border water, it opens to the legal taking of game fish like walleyes earlier than the traditional Minnesota inland game season.  The season opens this year on April 23.

Second, the lake is full of walleyes of all sizes, so not only can early spring anglers scratch their early season fishing itch, but the odds of finding some cooperative walleyes is pretty good!

Opening day walleyes are often in the spawning mode so fishing shoreline rocks is a popular method as these fish pull up right tight to the shorelines at this time.  When saying tight to shore, I mean landing your jig right at the spot where water meets rocks!

Artie Arndt from Artie’s Bait & Tackle grew up fishing Big Stone and is one of the “sticks to beat” in any Big Stone walleye fishing competition as he has an impressive resume’ when it comes to Big Stone tournament and walleye league events.  “Landing that jig tight to shore is key during early season,” Arndt offered, when asked how to catch spring Big Stone walleyes.  “If you land the jig a couple feet out from shore, you’re often too far from the fish,” he continued.

Small jigs tipped with small minnows is the key at this time of the year.  The always popular 1/16-ounce Fire-Ball Jig tipped with a fathead get lots of play when pitching to shallow Big Stone walleyes.  “Give me a few 1/16-ounce parakeet-colored Fire-Balls and a scoop of fatheads and I’m in business,” Arndt offered when asked about his bait preferences on opening day.

Most Big Stone experts like Arndt favor fishing mid-lake and north and tight to shore for early season Big Stone success.  As the water warms, however, the bite gets better to the south along and around the lake’s islands and the fish head deeper as well.  “By mid-May, and maybe earlier this year, I like to be fishing further south around the islands,” Arndt continued.  “During low light or when the wind blows, I still get tight to the rocks, but during mid-day fishing deeper and even into the basin pulling spinners or crankbaits starts to produce big catches too,” he went on.

When Arndt refers to “the basin” he is talking about the 12- to 16-foot depths – some of Big Stone’s deepest waters – out from the shore.  Big Stone had an unusually early ice out this year – March 15 – so Arndt feels that may be a wild card.  “Typically that basin bite really goes mid-May, but who knows maybe we will see it in late April and early May this year,” he concluded.

Big Stone’s booming walleye fishery has been noticed by the competitive angling crowd too, as the always popular Cabela’s Masters Walleye Circuit makes another stop in Ortonville (the lake’s headwaters) on April 29-30.  In addition to several local tournaments, the AIM Weekend Walleye Series is also holding a Big Stone event, May 22, this year.

Walleyes are the main Big Stone draw during spring and summer, but the lake also has a good population of big bluegills and crappies as well as an emerging largemouth bass population.  During winter, Big Stone’s perch attract anglers from all across the Midwest.

To learn more about all things Big Stone, visit the Big Stone Lake Area Chamber of Commerce at

Click here for a list of lodging options in the Big Stone Lake area.

The latest fishing report can be found on Artie’s Bait & Tackle on Facebook!

Link to DNR Fishing

Check out our latest “Fishing” Blog Posts below:

Cabela’s MWC Masters Walleye Circuit – a Few Photos!

A few photos from Saturday (for more pictures check out MWC Facebook Page)

National Travel & Tourism Highlights in the Big Stone Lake Area

May 2 through 10 was National Travel and Tourism Week! Every day, we posted a feature of the Big Stone Lake Area! Check out the links we posted & visit the Big Stone Lake area soon!

Day 1: Today’s feature: our area lakes! Beautiful Big Stone Lake in  Ortonville/Big Stone City and Toqua Lake in Graceville are sure to be a great place for picnics, fishing or just chilling in a boat or on the shoreline!

Day 2: Have you ever wondered where to find out facts about the Big Stone Lake area? The Big Stone County Museum has the answers (and lots of other cool things, too!)! The Museum is today’s feature for National Travel & Tourism Week!

Day 3: Take a walk or take a drive, and you are guaranteed to see some sort of wildlife in our Big Stone National Wildlife Refuge!

Day 4: Every fall, the Meander: Upper Minnesota River Art Crawl comes through the Big Stone Lake area! But with so much local talent, art and culture can be seen every day, too!

Day 5: While you’re out and about, taking in nature or the local art scene, stop in to any of our shops! We have everything from hardware to specialty!

Day 6: FORE! Get out on the green with the Big Stone Lake area’s two golf courses: one in Ortonville and one in Graceville! Both offer challenging courses with food and carts available! There’s even something called FootGolf at the Ortonville Golf Course!

Day 7: Who could forget about food?! The Big Stone Lake area features a variety of eating establishments from supper clubs to fast food to pizza places! There’s even a 1950s diner! Check them out here!

Day 8: At the end of a long day of exploring the Big Stone Lake area, where do you want to rest your head? There’s everything from bed & breakfasts and hotels to cabins and camping! Click here to see all the options!

Day 9: And finally, all summer long, there are many family-fun festivals and fairs to enjoy! Celebrate Clinton Days, Big Stone City’s 130th Celebration, the Big Stone County Fair, Graceville’s Toquatennial Days and Ortonville’s Cornfest…all are great fun!

Thanks for following along each day for a feature of the Big Stone Lake area during National Travel & Tourism Week!

The Winners are…

Congratulations to these Sports & Leisure Show Raffle winners:

Ken Adelman of Bellingham for winning the groceries for a year from Hartman’s Supervalu Foods;

Eric Banken of Ortonville for winning the gas grill from Ortonville Hardware;

Carol Gerber of Odessa for winning the gas for a year from S&D OneStop / Cenex;

and Brody Vangsness of Ortonville for winning the pizza for six month from S & D OneStop / Cenex!


Just for Kix at the Sports & Leisure Show

2015 Sports & Leisure Show – March 21-22

Our annual Sports & Leisure Show will be March 21 & 22nd at the Ortonville School.

Event Poster:  Sports & Leisure Show poster

Scavenger Hunt Poster:  Scavenger Hunt poster

Here are some pictures from last year’s show:

2014 Sports Show 27

Pheasants Forever Chapter 43 – March 28th

Always a great time at the Pheasants Forever Banquet!

Where:  Sioux Historic Pavilion – 1079 Lake Shore Drive (Hwy 7), Ortonville

When:   Saturday – March 28, 2015

Time:     5:00 p.m. Doors Open
6:30 p.m. Dinner

There will be no tickets after March 26, 2015 OR
at the door Banquet night!

Contact Person:
Greg Peterson
215 SE 2nd Street, Ortonville
Phone:  320-760-5080

All Ringneck members present at the Bankquet will be entered in for a drawing for a gun donated by Mike Munsterman Farms.

Click here for the PDF form 2015 Pheasants Forever Ticket Form

Sign-up… support a great organization and have some fun!

Congratulations Johnson & Roggenbuck!

Congratulations to the newest Chamber member, Johnson &  Roggenbuck CPA!

We recently celebrated a Chamber After 5 event for the new partnership in Ortonville – Amy Roggenbuck has been employed with Blair Johnson for the last six years.  She is a C.P.A. and has a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the University of South Dakota.  She also has a Masters of Professional Accountancy degree from the University of South Dakota.

Few pictures from the event:

77th Annual Cornfest – Aug 14-16

Mark your calendar for our annual Cornfest Event – three days of fun for the whole family at Ortonville’s Lakeside Park!

Here a just a few pictures from 2014:


Here is a quick view of Cornfest activities (from previous years) and a bit about Ortonville

36th Annual Arctic Open Golf Tournament – Feb 14

Clinton Community Service Club – CCSC is hosting the 36th Annual Arctic Open Golf Tournament February 14! Tickets are available from CCSC members, Amanda’s Shear Impressions, Bonnie’s Hometown Grocery, Short Stop, The Limit and The Penguin Bar.


Be sure to tune in to Fox Sports North Saturday at 11 a.m.!! Coming up on this week’s episode of Fishing The Midwest, Artie Arndt SCHOOLS Mike Frisch on Big Stone Lake!Visit for a listing of stations & times … Continue reading

Explore Minnesota Tourism Statewide Scavenger Hunt!

Bundle up this winter and participate in the Explore Minnesota Tourism statewide scavenger hunt called Checkpoint MN! Travelers can “check in” at 12 checkpoint signs located at iconic Minnesota winter destinations, including the Big Stone Refuge and Wetland Management District in Odessa! The contest runs until March 5 with $50,000+ in prizes. Learn more at! #OnlyinMN

Rental House Catch


Arties Bait & Tackle in Ortonville shared a pictures of a recent catch from one of their rental houses on Big Stone Lake.  Nice!

Keep up with the latest from Artie’s Bait & Tackle Facebook Page!



BSLA Chamber Newsletters

Find out What’s Shakin’ in the Big Stone Lake area!  Check out the latest issue of our newsletter—it’s all covered!

What’s Shakin’ July Newsletter

What’s Shakin’ newsletter 2-29

What’s Shakin’ newsletter 2-15

What’s Shakin’ newsletter 2-1

What’s Shakin’ newsletter 1-18

What’s Shakin’ newsletter 1-4