Board Members

Big Fish Lake Association Board Member Contact Information

Mark Backes, President: P.O. Box 502 Cold Spring, MN  56320. Lake home: 27877 Hidden Cove Rd, 612-845-8479

Mark grew up on a farm in Cold Spring  and has enjoyed Big Fish Lake as a kid taking swimming lessons at the ‘main beach’ off of Hwy 50 – a memorable  swimming beach for many local residents over the years.  For the past 18 years Mark & Peg have been land owners on the lake with the goal of giving back time and talent to assure the continued quality and enjoyment of BFL continues for their children and grand kids.  Mark has a focus on spreading the message that all persons using the lake need to take an active interest and responsibility in understanding the variables that impact water quality which include the family and friends we all share our properties with.

Kit Ferber, BFLA Membership Chair/Past President: 27715 Hidden Cove Rd Cold Spring, MN 56320, 320-249-4800


Kit Ferber ~ Kit grew up on White Earth Lake north of Detroit Lakes in Waubun, MN. She was always a lake gal and knew that having another cabin closer to home in St. Cloud was very important.  Thanks to Sally Watson, Kit’s longtime friend, Kit was able to purchase property on Big Fish Lake in 2003.  Upon retirement, Kit is a now a full-time resident on the lake. You could never get the lake out of the girl!  In the past, Kit served on the Board as your vice-president for one year.  Presently she serves on the Stearns County Aquatic Invasive Species Panel and attends as many conferences as possible to keep up to date on our battles of keeping our clean lake.  She has three married daughters and three grandchildren – so far. She is grateful to be a part of Big Fish Lake and is striving to keep the lake AIS free and beautiful for her grandchildren and other future generations to come for all!!

Matt Peters, Treasurer 320-685-4507

matt peters

Matthew (Matt) Peters has lived on the south side of Big Fish lake his whole life. He has also been a long time member of the Big Fish Lake Association board, service as Vice President, President, and is currently Treasure. Matt also publishes the Big Fish Lake Association newsletter and is one of the longest serving Secchi disc readers on Big Fish lake. Besides serving on the board, Matt has been trained by the DNR to identify invasive vegetation, and is a great resource if you have any questions about invasive vegetation.

Bill Unger: 27101 Hidden Cove Road, Cold Spring, MN 56320, 320-249-7166

Bill Unger spent summers on Big Fish Lake from early childhood until he moved away for many years to pursue his career and raise his family in Puerto Rico, Arizona, Massachusetts and Colorado. He and his wife Sarah have been married for 35 years and have two kids, a grandchild and another on the way. Since retiring they recently bought a place on the East side of the Lake and have been enjoying getting reacquainted with the Lake life and wonderful people who share the love of this lake.

Doug Adamek: 17386 Harbor Road Cold Spring, MN  56320, 320-492-2010

doug adamek

Doug Adamek ~ Jackie and Doug have been on big fish lake for 30 years. They have been involved In a variety of association volunteer committees as it relates to the enhancement and protection of the water. They have also been most active in a variety of collaborative events to help people become more acquainted with other property owners.  They are both retired and live year round on the lake.  Their two married daughters and six grandchildren have enjoyed the many gifts of Big Fish Lake and plan to continue this great family gathering for generations to come.

Nancy Van Erp


Megan Johnson

Megan and Ken purchased their home on the east side of Big Fish Lake in 2016. Megan grew up on Little Rock Lake near Rice, MN and has seen first-hand what can happen to lakes with poor water quality. Megan and Ken were drawn to Big Fish Lake because of the high water clarity and absence of invasive species. After growing up on a lake it was a dream of hers to raise her own family on a lake and is passionate about keeping Big Fish Lake clean for future generations to enjoy. Currently a stay at home mom, Megan formerly worked at the State Capitol serving as a policy advisor at the Minnesota State Senate. Megan has a bachelors degree in political science from the University of Minnesota and attended Hamline University for her masters in public administration. Although fairly new to the Big Fish Lake community, she is excited to represent her neighbors on the lake association board. 

John Ronning

     John Ronning and Gail have had a cabin on Big Fish Lake for 15 years.  They built a permanent home three years ago.  John and his sons, brother and friends use the lake for enjoying fishing, wakeboarding, scuba diving, skiing or just for cruising.

     John, besides serving on the BFLA Board, has been trained by the DNR to identify invasive species.  He is very active in the area, giving demonstrations at different events, serving the booth at the State Fair, being active in the University of Minnesota AIS programs and checking out different lakes for the DNR.

Hailey Bayer

Hailey and her husband, Noah, have lived on the east side of Big Fish Lake since 2012. They have 3 children and enjoy being on and in the lake as much as possible.  She graduated from the College of St. Benedict and majored in political science.  She updates the BFLA website and welcomes any suggestions/additions to the site.

Allen Schmitz, Advisor: 27846 Sundance Lane Cold Spring, MN 56320, 320-685-7468

allen s

Allen Schmitz ~ Allen moved to Big Fish Lake with his parents at the young age of 6 in 1967. Allen started helping out with the Big Fish Lake Sportsman Club (Later to be named Big Fish Lake Association) when he was a young teen. He enjoyed taking time off from school to sein walleye fingerlings to be transported into Big Fish Lake. In the 1980’s he became active as a board member and volunteered a significant amount of time towards the outlet project at the southwest side of the lake. Allen enjoyed the project so much that he later pursued a career in the field of civil engineering. In June of 2016 he’ll start his 25th year at the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) in the water resources area specializing in roadway drainage, storm water management and environmental permitting. It’s a very rewarding career serving the public. In 1977 Allen began volunteering to read lake levels on Big Fish Lake for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MnDNR). Allen has collected thousands of lake level reading over the years. The end result of the data can be seen in the form of a graph on the MnDNR Lake Finder Web Page under water levels. In 1986 Allen met his wonderful wife Sherri Duggan. They married in 1988 and built their first home on the southwest side of the lake. In 1993 they moved to the northwest side of the lake where they currently reside. Allen & Sherri raised three children while enjoying life living on the lake. Early in the 1990’s Allen started serving on the Collegeville Township Planning Board.  He was interested in providing input towards development around Big Fish Lake. He still serves on the Board. Allen has enjoyed serving on the Big Lake Association Board over the years. He’s met lots of wonderful people and made many friends.

Jim Sand, Past-President/Advisor: 22736 Jessica Lane Cold Spring, MN 56320, 320-685-3084


Jim Sand~ Married to Rose Sand. Has 6 children and 8 grand kids with one on the way.  Was born in St. Cloud.  His Grandparents had a cabin on Big Fish Lake—they bought property in 1947 and as kids he spent most weekends out here during the summer.  Taught Special Education for 34 years in Wells, MN. Graduate of St. Cloud Tech, St. Cloud State University and Masters from Mankato State. Was a volunteer Medic (EMT) for 25 years for town of Wells, MN. Retired and moved to Big Fish in 2007.