After having to cancel their entire season in 2020 due to the COVID pandemic, the East Central Minnesota chapter of “Let’s go Fishing” has announced their return for the 2021 season.
“Let’s go Fishing” provides two-hour fishing and boating trips at no cost to their guests, who include seniors, veterans, the disabled, and multi-generational families such as grandma and grandpa with the grandkids. The East Central Minnesota chapter serves people in Chisago, Isanti, Pine, and Washington Counties.
In 2019, the organization served 941 people on 146 trips on Rush Lake and Chisago Lake, including 129 veterans. They have two pontoons - one at each location, that are wheel chair accessible to allow for two wheelchairs per trip. Plus, others can transfer to a seat once on the boat. The maximum capacity per trip is eight. Guests will be provided with a life jacket, rod and reel, bait, plus water and a snack.
“To see these folks’ faces light up to be able to be on the water after not having access for years in some cases is priceless,” said a representative of the organization. “We hear from guests that the trips are a highlight in their lives and some even have pictures of the fish they catch in their room.”
In 2019, the organization featured 82 volunteers who donated over 3,000 hours for trips and support to keep the program going. However, organizers say they can always use more volunteers.
“I think the old saying is true that we as volunteers get so much out of these trips, it’s more blessed to give than receive,” said organizers. “We’d encourage anyone who enjoys fishing or just being with people to consider becoming a volunteer with us.”
To volunteer or to reserve one of their trips, which routinely take place Mondays through Thursdays, call 651-402-5960. Due to ongoing COVID mitigation requirements, all volunteers and guests will all wear masks and the boats will be thoroughly cleaned after each trip.