Brandt family

Following the recent passing of longtime Mille Lacs resort owner, Jerry Brandt, Sr., his kin, Briana and Jerry Brandt, Jr., and Russell Brandt and Amanda Brandt, are on the ice hoping to continue the over four-decade tradition of operating Brandt’s Landing on the south end of the big lake. Not pictured is daughter Augusta Meyer-Brant Maruska.

Ice is in their blood

A favorite entryway to Mille Lacs winter fishing on the south rim of the big lake was Brandt’s Landing–a sliver of land just north of Cove Bay with a steep drop to plowed roads leading miles out to prime fishing flats.

Jerry Brandt owned and operated his winter fishing business from a small shack on his narrow lake frontage. He purchased the business in 1974 from his parents, Bob and Shirley Brandt, who had established the business in 1961, operating out of Cove Bay. When asked this past summer how many times he’s had smooth ice near shore from which to build his roads since he opened for business, Jerry said, “I can count on one hand how many years I had good ice.”

Jerry Brandt passed away unexpectedly on Nov. 7, just as he was about to make preparations for another winter season serving his many customers.

During the weeks that passed since Jerry’s death, those who frequented his landing were asking what was to become of this noted entrance to Mille Lacs. The answer is “mostly business as usual,” according Brandt’s children, Jerry Jr., Russell, Amanda, and Augusta (Meyer-Brandt Maruska) who have decided to keep the fish-house business going.

Now in January of 2020, Brandt’s Landing has had nice, smooth ice from which to launch wheel houses and their private fish houses. The Brandt family will be servicing the private fish-houses stored at their in-land property in South Harbor Township and will also allow lake access to wheelhouses as they have done in the past, but they will not be putting out any of their rentals as in seasons gone.

In the early going this season, Brandt’s road was limited to a short distance out from shore since because there were cropped up areas of slush during the warm weeks around the holidays.

But as of mid-January, Brandt’s had a plowed road out to Sloppy Joes (three miles out) and were allowing side-by-sides, four-wheelers, snowmobiles and single-axle wheelhouses 16-ft and under onto the lake.

All this action out of Brandt’s Landing carries on the tradition of its founders, the late Bob and Jerry Brandt.

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