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Let's Go Fishing reels in more clients

the Detroit Lakes chapter of Let's Go Fishing takes seniors and kids out on the lakes and helps them catch fish -- and tell stories. The group is organizing a walk for Oct. 1 to raise funds for the program.

Since it was founded in 2008, the Detroit Lakes Area Chapter of Let's Go Fishing has served several hundred lakes area residents each summer.

The nonprofit organization provides free pontoon rides and fishing excursions not only for seniors and challenged adults at area care facilities -- for whom the organization was originally chartered -- but also for kids and veterans.

Last year more than 670 area residents had the opportunity to enjoy Let's Go Fishing excursions, and the hope is to hit 800 this summer, according to a press release issued by the Detroit Lakes Area LGF Chapter.

"We've done about 50 trips so far this summer, and we have many more scheduled," said Chapter Vice President Tim Miller. "We will still schedule trips throughout September.

"Last year we did about 75 trips through the end of the season, so we're right about on track."

Despite the occasional weather setback, LGF trips have been much easier to schedule this season, because the chapter's pontoon has had a permanent summer home: on the dock of the Detroit Lakes Holiday Inn.

The local hotel has provided a boat slip for the pontoon all summer long, free of charge.

"It's been a great program for us," said Holiday Inn manager Jeff Jasperson.

The lift that allows the pontoon to move easily into and out of its dock slip was also donated to the chapter this summer, courtesy of At Ease Dock & Lift of Detroit Lakes and lift manufacturer Pier Pleasure.

"It's really made things convenient for us," Miller said.

Because they are strictly a nonprofit organization, however, more assistance is always needed: Trips are organized and facilitated entirely through volunteer efforts, Miller noted.

In addition, maintenance and operational costs for the pontoon are paid for entirely through donations.

To help support the chapter and its volunteers, board members have organized the first-ever Walk for Let's Go Fishing.

Set to begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 1, at the Detroit Lakes City Beach, the walk will raise funds for both the local chapter and the Minnesota LGF organization as a whole, which currently includes 28 chapters statewide.

For more information about the walk, call Betty Hochhalter at 218-847-5670.

To schedule a pontoon ride or fishing trip for your group via LGF, contact John Fuglesten at 218-844-5106.

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