Let’s Go Fishing Otter Tail County made their first voyage of the season Tuesday afternoon from a dock at Elk’s Point on Wall Lake. The organization takes seniors in the area, on special cruises during the summer months.
Lyle Hoxtell, a local volunteer, said the organization has been around for about 13 years, but Lyle has been with the organization for about 10 of those.
“A lot of people have been involved throughout the years, and it takes a pretty good amount of people to both operate it, and be here, if they go fishing. To be along and help them put worms on their hooks and take the fish off. Most of the trips we have done have just been sightseeing around the lake,” said Hoxtell.
Hoxtell also mentioned that they try to go out to the north side of the lake so the seniors can get a little longer travel time.
“It’s amazing the number of people you get that have lived on the lake in the past, or lived near the lake and know a lot of the history, which is fun to hear about. And for the other people on the ride to hear about. So it’s a neat experience. You see the faces light up, and the smiles that come, the eyes twinkle, they react so well to the atmosphere of just being on the boat and out in the fresh air, and then being able to see something different for them.
“Fergus Falls has one pontoon and Alexandria has at least two or three. We’re lucky that it’s here on Elks Point, and we don’t have to haul it all over. It makes it much easier to be able to come down, put the lift down and move it around so the people can get on easily.” Hoxtell said.
The local chapter of the organization was started when current president, Dan Karst, was approached by the founder of the organization, Joe Holm, about starting a chapter in Fergus Falls. Karst agreed to take the project on and get it going back in 2007. It was primarily funded through the generosity of local residents to be able to get the dock and the pontoon.
“We had to raise all the money ourselves, and through the donations, and then some advertising on the side, we cover our expenses from year to year. The volunteers make the whole effort work. It’s a pretty unique opportunity to give back to your community, you know, brighten the day of some of our elderly getting them back out on the lake where they originally came from. These are the people that taught us to fish once upon a time. It’s just about giving back,” said Karst.
Tuesday was the first event for the organization since 2019 with the COVID-19 pandemic. The pontoon will also be featured in this year’s Summerfest parade as well so people can see it.
Let’s Go Fishing is a statewide program that enriches the lives of people 55 and older through free fishing and boating excursions. The organization has chapters throughout Minnesota. If you would like to help fund the great work they are doing, or become a volunteer visit them at: ottertail.lgfws.com.