Fishing Has No Boundaries Offers Fun For All
by Chris Larsen
Fishing Has No Boundaries gives people who would not typically get a chance to spend a weekend fishing the opportunity to get out on the water with their friends. In June of 2010, I had the privilege of spending a day on the lake with four very colorful Fishing Has No Boundaries participants in Eagle River, Wisconsin. The Eagle River chapter started in 1994 and hosts about 120 anglers every year. Chapter Chairman Wil Campbell says about 175 volunteers donate everything from their time and skills to boat usage and guide services.
Eagle River guide Lon Millard is a perennial volunteer with the group. For Lon, seeing his anglers have fun is what it’s all about. “I love watching them catch fish, that’s why I do it… to see the smiles on their face.” Lon has guided the same group for several years. They make a special request for him. Wil Campbell says requests for specific guides are common during the event. “The camaraderie that they shared together became a bond.”
The goal of Fishing Has No Boundaries is to open up the outdoors for people with disabilities through fishing. It is also an opportunity for them to get together with their peers in a natural environment. “It’s more about using fishing as a vehicle to enjoy themselves and to get out and have fun with each other and get out in nature,” said Campbell.
The event is now hosted by the Wild Eagle Lodge. Wild Eagle Lodge is a four season resort in the heart of the Eagle River Chain. They offer incredible accommodations featuring full size kitchens, fireplaces, and two bathrooms in each unit. Wild Eagle Lodge’s perfect location, extensive piers, and plentiful lodging options allow participants to stay & play on the same property. This makes planning the event much more streamlined. Wil Campbell says Wild Eagle Lodge is a great fit for Fishing Has No Boundaries. “The support that they have given us in unparalleled.”
Fishing Has No Boundaries is also assisted by city and county emergency services agencies. There are emergency boats throughout the chain with medical information on every participant to aid in the event of an emergency. The event is planned down to the final detail.
This does not go unnoticed. Anglers and volunteers walk the grounds with wide smiles. Refreshments and food are plentiful. But the real excitement happens as boats are being loaded. “These guys got one or two times a year to go fishing it makes their whole year.” said Millard. Pontoons are utilized to allow groups of anglers to fish together. In fact, Campbell says the width of the doors on pontoons are made especially to accommodate wheel chairs.
Four anglers and their chaperone from Fon du Lac, Wisconsin stepped aboard the boat I was on. Foremost Outdoor TV ProStaffer Jason Oswald also tagged along. The excitement level was like nothing I’ve ever experienced on the water. Millard served as our guide and put us on a panfish honey hole. We boated over 200 fish and when the day was over 50 fish were on the stringer. It was literally non-stop action. The anglers were highly competitive and had no problems with dishing out and taking a little flak. I’ve never had a better day on the water. As you can see from the video, it was a load of fun.