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Miller takes reins as president of Let’s Go Fishing

Dave Hochhalter, left, past president of the Detroit Lakes Area Chapter of Let’s Go Fishing, recently passed on the president’s rod and reel to the new man at the helm, Tim Miller, who has been with the organization since 2009. Submitted Photo

For the first time since it was founded in 2008, the Detroit Lakes chapter of Let’s Go Fishing has a new president.

Tim Miller took over the reins from chapter founder Dave Hochhalter last month.

Though he grew up in Kindred, N.D., and spent 33 years as a police officer in Thief River Falls, Miller’s ties to Detroit Lakes run deep.

“My family used to come here on weekends during the summer when I was growing up,” he explained.

So when it came time for him to retire from law enforcement, Tim and his wife Jane decided to make Detroit Lakes their permanent home in 2006.

After a few years, Miller said, he came to the realization that he had a lot of free time in the summer, in between his grandkids’ visits on the weekends.

“I started volunteering with Let’s Go Fishing in 2009,” he said.

At first, the free fishing and boating trips on area lakes mainly catered to the elderly.

“It was a chance to take them and have some fun fishing, or just getting them outside on the lakes,” Miller said.

Gradually, the group’s focus broadened to encompass area youth and veterans’ groups as well.

“We’re doing more and more trips,” he said.

And Miller is in the forefront of the chapter volunteering to guide those trips, Hochhalter noted, which is undoubtedly a big part of the reason why Miller was chosen to succeed him as president.

“Tim has served on the local Detroit Lakes Area Chapter Board of Directors for several years, and has been very active with trips, on the LGF Walk, and at other events promoting Let’s Go Fishing,” Hochhalter said, adding, “Each summer he has been one of the top trip volunteers, going on a number of LGF trips.”

Besides the satisfaction of helping to make the days of area elderly, youth and veterans more enjoyable through these free trips, Miller said, it’s the love of fishing itself that keeps him coming back for more.

“Fishing is something I’ve always done,” he said, adding that he loves “being out on the water, seeing all the wildlife and talking with other people.”

Last year, the Detroit Lakes chapter of LGF had a record season, making 101 trips out on area lakes.

“Last year was record setting for us, because of the help of all the nice weather,” Miller noted. “Very few of our trips were cancelled — it was a beautiful summer.”

Though he would like to see the number of trips completed each summer continue to increase, Miller said he’s realistic about the fact that this year’s shortened spring may make that feat an impossible dream, at least for this season.

Still, he added, “We’ve already got 40 trips booked for this year.”

Besides the weather, one of the main limitations on booking trips each season is the number of volunteers available, Miller noted.

“We’re still looking for more volunteers,” he said. “Even if they can only go on a couple of trips a summer, that’s fine. It doesn’t have to be a large commitment.”

There will be a training session and appreciation dinner for past, current and prospective LGF volunteers held on Thursday, May 9 at 6 p.m.

The event will be held at 29182 State Highway 34, Deteroit Lakes.

The evening will include a short training session, chapter activities update, volunteer recognition and meal.

If you are planning to attend, please RSVP by calling 218-844-5106 or 218-846-1444 no later than Monday, May 6. 

Though the Walk for LGF is the group’s only formal fundraiser, Miller added, “our donors are really coming through for us. They’ve been particularly excellent for the last couple of years. They are really what make all of this possible.”

As has been the case for the past couple of years, Holiday Inn will continue to donate slip space for the LGF pontoon this summer as well, and At Ease Dock & Lift will also be providing the pontoon lift free of charge for the third straight year.

And also for the third straight year, the local chapter is once again planning a “Walk for Let’s Go Fishing” to be held on the first Saturday in October.

For more information on how to volunteer with Let’s Go Fishing, or to book a trip this summer, please contact John Fuglesten at 218-844-5106, or Tim Miller at 218-846-1444.

Follow Detroit Lakes Newspapers reporter Vicki Gerdes on Twitter at @VickiLGerdes.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454