Let's Go Fishing Bemidji was formed in 2005. Thanks to donations and grants we are able to offer this program in the Bemidji area. Since our inception, we have purchased and worn out our first pontoon and then purchased a second one.

This program offers seniors, handicapped, veterans and youth the opportunity to get back out on the water to fish or just enjoy a boat ride at no charge. Fishing trips and cruises are scheduled five days per week June through August, providing all equipment needed on our handicapped-accessible 26-foot pontoon. Most trips last 2-3 hours. All this is at no charge to the participant. Since inception, we have taken out over 5,000 people on the pontoon.

The mission of Let's Go Fishing is to serve older adults, youth, veterans and disabled. Whether they are part of a housing community or still living in their residences, older adults benefit greatly from joining with others and taking a trip on the Let's Go Fishing pontoon. We have had families taking out senior family members. Seniors doing what they remember doing and thought they would never be able to do it again. We have had individuals with serious health issues who find a reason to smile for the first time in months.

Thanks to generous area businesses and foundations, Let's Go Fishing has been able to fund this organization. The pontoon is specifically built to accommodate several wheelchairs at a time and thanks to the floating dock in front of the Tourist Information Center it matches the height of the pontoon almost exactly. In order to provide stability, our pontoon has a third tube in the center of the boat. The pontoon also is used for several area events including Take-A-Kid Fishing, Fishing Has No Boundaries, Knights of Columbus Walleye Tournament, Lake Bemidji Dragon Boat Festival, Boys and Girls Club and others.

A strong volunteer base is the core strength of Let's Go Fishing. Volunteers contribute time and expertise to help create memories for program participants. All volunteers are well-trained individuals who have a passion for fishing and boating and a caring heart for the people they serve. We believe in the power of volunteerism to transform communities.

To use our service, volunteer or just learn more about this program, visit the Let's Go Fishing Bemidji web site: bemidji.lgfws.com, email us: lgfbemidji@hotmail.com, or call (218) 766-6336.

Terry Matson

Bemidji