Let’s Go Fishing Launches it’s 20th Season

SPICER — Let’s Go Fishing volunteer Glen Lotthammer piloted our pontoon boat within casting distance of a dock in the belief that a fish or two might be lurking in its shade.LetsGoFishing2022

This was last Monday, and Lotthammer and his volunteer deckhands were joined on Green Lake by seven fourth-grade students from the Willmar Public Schools.

With a few deft casts, student Braylon Burwell managed to drop his slip bobber and leech rig right at the dock’s edge and BAM, down went the bobber.

Burwell soon pulled in a hefty, largemouth bass, gave it a kiss and came home with all of the bragging rights. He caught the biggest, and only, fish in our afternoon excursion with Let’s Go Fishing.

But every one of Burwell’s classmates on that pontoon reached shore wearing smiles as big as the one he had flashed when volunteer Dennis Forcier helped net the big bass.

Lotthammer and Forcier were among the many volunteers who hosted fourth-grade students from the Kennedy and Roosevelt Elementary Schools on outings on Green Lake in Spicer to start the 2022 season for the Willmar chapter of Let’s Go Fishing this past week. Four pontoons were kept busy. If all went as planned, some 220 students will have participated in the outings offered Monday, Tuesday and Thursday.

It marked the start of the 20th season for the Willmar chapter, the first and founding chapter for the non-profit organization that now includes 17 chapters across the state and into Wisconsin.

“This has become really huge, every year,” said Rick Reimer of Let’s Go Fishing’s tradition of starting its season by hosting elementary students. Reimer serves as the chapter’s president.

Read the full article here at the West Central Tribune…

Eden Prairie and Beyond Reel in Memories

Three generations of Bill Block made fishing memories together.From his wheelchair, Bill Block felt a tug on his fishing rod just below the surface of misty Lake Riley in Eden Prairie. Along with his bright yellow life jacket, Block brought on board another life-saving element — his oxygen tank — as he battled the fish thrashing left and right.

Then Block, a U.S. Navy veteran, broke into a knowing smile as he reeled in his ferocious opponent: a sunfish no bigger than his hand.

Block was 80 at the time and residing in an assisted living facility in Burnsville when he made that memorable trip in 2017. His sponsor was the Eden Prairie chapter of Let’s Go Fishing (LGF), a volunteer-run nonprofit with 17 affiliates across Minnesota and Wisconsin. The organization provides free fishing trips to seniors, hospice patients, youth and families.

Last year, the chapter provided 320 trips to more than 4,100 people.

“Can you imagine being in an assisted living facility and [having] the chance to go fishing?” said Block’s son, also named Bill Block. The elder Block’s grandson also made the Lake Riley expedition, the fifth in the line of Bill Blocks.

“Get outside in the water and the sun and the pontoon boat and it’s all set up for someone in a wheelchair. That was key,” said his son.

Having grown up fishing on lakes in McLeod and Kandiyohi counties, Block seized the opportunity to relive the joy of his youth with his family alongside him. Like so many seniors whom LGF serves, Block continued to regale facility staff with tales of the trip until he died in 2020.

Read the full article here at the Star Tribune

Let’s Go Fishing Says ‘Thank You’ to United States Veterans

“Thank you for your service.”

A lot of us say it. To the camouflaged young soldier we pass in the airport, or maybe the older gentleman in the black World War II service cap you see when you visit your grandmother in the nursing home. And we mean it. We might even buy their coffee or offer to let them go to the front of the line at the grocery store.

After all, they have risked or are currently risking life and limb to keep us and countless others around the world free and safe.

Let's Go Fishing - Mercury Marine

But there are a few who go well beyond a cup of coffee or a kind word to honor our United States veterans. The volunteers who give their time and energy to the Let’s Go Fishing (LGF) organization are among those who go the extra mile to honor our veterans, as well as serve the elderly and handicapped in their communities.  Full story at Mercury Mercury Dockline Blog…

Cops-N-Bobbers Event with Eden Prairie Let’s Go Fishing

Camden BawekNineteen Eden Prairie Safety Camp graduates, four Eden Prairie police officers and four Let’s Go Fishing-Eden Prairie Chapter crewmen participated in a first-ever Cops-N-Bobbers fishing excursion last Thursday on Lake Riley.

Mayor Ron Case delivered Eden Prairie pins to the youth as well as perfect summer weather. After splitting the crew between two Let’s Go Fishing pontoons, the captains ushered their respective boats to their favorite fishing spots.

Sgts. Brent Dupont and John Wilson were on one boat, patrolmen Jayden DeVibiss and Spencer Barrie on the other. The kids came with various degrees of fishing experience.

“I caught a sunny once,” said one third-grader.

“I caught a northern this big,” said a friend, while extending his third-grade arms as wide as he could.

Read the full story at Eden Prairie News…

Seniors Enjoy Mix of Elements on Wall Lake

Blue skies and sunshine made it a perfect day to be on the water.

With the assistance of Let’s Go Fishing, four senior citizens from Fergus Falls went boating Wednesday afternoon on Wall Lake.  They toured the shoreline of the entire lake before returning.

Three volunteer members and two Let’s Go Fishing volunteers — Arlin Schalekamp and Will Lindquist – set off on the cruise from a dock at Elk’s Point. The point is located on the eastern shore of the 726.67 acre lake, located three miles East of the city.

Dan Karst, who has acted as president of the Otter Tail County chapter of Let’s Go Fishing for the last 12 years, watched the group as their foray around Wall Lake began at 1pm. Sitting on the deck of a big Crestliner pontoon pushed by a Mercury outboard, the seniors and their aides, all in lifejackets, basking under a warm June sun.

Read the full story on The Daily Journal…


Want to spend some time on the water this summer?

Boating, fishing and water recreation are a huge part of life for people in the Detroit Lakes area.

But what about those who do not have ready access to the water, either due to decreased mobility, or a lack of someone to take them there?

“This will be our 12th season,” says Dave Hochhalter, one of the chapter’s founders, and its current treasurer.

The start of the 2019 fishing season may still be a few weeks away, but LGF already has over 80 trips scheduled, Hochhalter added; technology advancements on the chapter’s website, detroitlakes.lgfws.com, have made it easier than ever to do so.

Once a group is registered with the local LGF chapter’s scheduler, Betty Hochhalter, anyone in that group can go to the website and schedule a date and time from the list of available slots, he added.

“It’s just a matter of a couple clicks to schedule a trip,” Hochhalter continued. “Our volunteers can also see what trips are out there, put their name down and they’re booked for that day.”

Read the full article here at Detroit Lakes Tribune…

Let’s Go Fishing – Bemidji has served more than 5,000

Let’s Go Fishing Bemidji was formed in 2005. Thanks to donations and grants we are able to offer this program in the Bemidji area. Since our inception, we have purchased and worn out our first pontoon and then purchased a second one.

This program offers seniors, handicapped, veterans and youth the opportunity to get back out on the water to fish or just enjoy a boat ride at no charge. Fishing trips and cruises are scheduled five days per week June through August, providing all equipment needed on our handicapped-accessible 26-foot pontoon. Most trips last 2-3 hours. All this is at no charge to the participant. Since inception, we have taken out over 5,000 people on the pontoon.

The mission of Let’s Go Fishing is to serve older adults, youth, veterans and disabled. Whether they are part of a housing community or still living in their residences, older adults benefit greatly from joining with others and taking a trip on the Let’s Go Fishing pontoon. We have had families taking out senior family members. Seniors doing what they remember doing and thought they would never be able to do it again. We have had individuals with serious health issues who find a reason to smile for the first time in months. Read the full story at Bemidji Pioneer…