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DL Let’s Go Fishing greets its 2,500th guest

This group from Ecumen-Emmanuel Nursing home in Detroit Lakes was greeted with balloons and flowers by Let’s Go Fishing volunteers Monday morning as they embarked on a fishing excursion on Big Detroit. The reason? One of the group’s members was the 2,500th guest to take part in a free fishing trip courtesy of the Detroit Lakes LGF chapter, which formed in 2008. VICKI GERDES/RECORD

When the Detroit Lakes Area Chapter of Let’s Go Fishing was first organized back in July 2008, the fledgling organization managed to put together 10 free fishing and boating excursions for area senior  citizen groups.

Since then, the nonprofit organization has expanded to include area veterans and youth groups as well — and last year, a total of 101 trips took place.

“It was a record-breaking year for us,” says Dave Hochhalter, who was a co-founder of the chapter along with the late Paul Sukke.

Hochhalter also served as the chapter’s president until this summer, when he was succeeded by Tim Miller.

Though he is no longer head of the organization, however, Hochhalter continues to serve as treasurer, and remains one of the organization’s biggest cheerleaders.

Hochhalter and Miller were both on hand this past Monday for the launching of a fishing expedition with a group of six residents from Ecumen-Emmanuel Nursing Home in Detroit Lakes.

That’s because the trip marked a milestone for the chapter.

“Our 2,500th guest is in this group,” Hochhalter said.

For this reason, the group was presented with balloons, flowers, a plaque, and a gift certificate for treats at the local Dairy Queen.

Though last summer was a record-breaking one for the chapter, they are hoping this one will be their biggest year yet, despite the late start.

“We have over 100 trips booked already,” Hochhalter said, “and we’ve signed up 25 new volunteers this summer alone.”    

But the organization could always use more volunteers, and “we still have some spots available for trips,” added Hochhalter’s wife Betty, who is also a dedicated LGF volunteer and coordinator of the chapter’s annual fundraiser, the Walk for Let’s Go Fishing.

The walk, now in its third year, is held every October on Detroit Lakes’ City Beach, near the Pavilion. This year’s walk is set for Oct. 5.

“It’s the only major fundraiser we do, besides our sponsorships,” Dave Hochhalter said. “If anyone is interested in putting a team together, they should contact Betty for more information.”

“We also just finished a memorial brochure — people can give gifts in honor, or in memory, of a loved one,” Betty Hochhalter added.

“None of this would be possible without our sponsors, and of course, our volunteers,” Dave Hochhalter said.

For more information, visit the web site at, or contact one of the following individuals: Tim Miller, president, at 218-844-1444; Dave Hochhalter, treasurer, at 218-847-5670; or John Fuglesten, scheduling coordinator, at 218-844-5106.

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