Let’s Go Fishing kicks off the 2017 season – Southernminn.com

Fishing is one of Minnesotans’ favorite pastimes, and the Let’s Go Fishing organization is making sure everyone is able to get out and take part in the beloved activity.

Thursday was a picture perfect day for the season kick-off event when Let’s Go Fishing volunteers took dozens of Special Olympic athletes fishing on the crystal clear water of Cedar Lake. Some focused on catching fish while others just enjoyed being out on the calm lake.

The kick-off was more than a fishing trip. It was a celebration. Two groups from area Special Olympics programs went out on excursions with volunteers, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Between outings a luncheon of brats, hotdogs, potato salad, chips and brownies was served.

Let’s Go Fishing is a volunteer, non-profit organization serving seniors, veterans and disabled people who may not otherwise have access to getting outdoors to experience the sense of well-being nature brings. With a pontoon docked at Cedar Lake in Scott County throughout the summer months, they give a fun fishing experience to over 1,000 people each year.

Renee Christianson, board member of the Scott County chapter of Let’s Go Fishing, said they have 125 volunteers who help out with the 12 fishing trips they take each week, Monday through Friday. Their goal is simple: Connect people with nature.

“It’s really about healing people by bringing them outside, on the water, to be with nature,” she stated. “It’s for those who don’t have the opportunity to do this kind of thing.”

Let’s Go Fishing is a non-profit organization funded through donations and grants. There are 28 chapters statewide, and the Scott County group is proud to serve so many groups and individuals from the area, which includes New Prague, Belle Plaine, Le Center, Le Sueur, Lonsdale, Northfield, Faribault, and Shakopee. Christianson said many of the groups they take fishing are from area senior care facilities, nursing homes and those with disabilities who are no longer able to maintain a boat and get on the water. Whatever their reasons, the experience is one that puts smiles on the faces of all who participate.

“I caught two fish – a crappie and a sunny,” stated Eva Johnson of New Prague, one of the anglers participating in Thursday morning’s fishing excursion. She said she had never been on a Let’s Go Fishing trip before and had a great time on the boat.

Jeff Schmokel of Prior Lake was also happy for the chance to get out and fish.

“We caught 10 to 20 fish,” he said. “It was fun.”

Let’s Go Fishing offers the experience to groups as well as individuals. To schedule a trip or learn more, go to scottcounty.lgfws.com.