WILLMAR — Let’s Go Fishing founder Joe Holm could not have put a bigger exclamation point on the summer fishing season than he did on Tuesday, when he led his seven-year-old grandson Sean Willms out on the water. Willms boated two large smallmouth bass, measuring 20-inches and 19.5 inches, along with two walleyes. The picture tells the story.
This has been one of the best summers ever for Let’s Go Fishing, which has grown from its start in 2002 to include 30 chapters across the state. Holm was on his way Thursday to Alexandria, where the Douglas County chapter is celebrating a record-breaking summer. It hosted over 2,000 people on the water this year, the first time a chapter has crested this high water mark.
Statewide, Let’s Go Fishing volunteers hosted over 20,000 guests this year. That brings the total since the start to over 90,000 people. “I view it as 90,000 stories,’’ said Holm.
The stories are heart-warming, and needed more than anyone would ever have believed possible, Holm included. Holm launched Let’s Go Fishing to give back to seniors, well aware that many aren’t able to enjoy their golden years as they deserve.
What he could not imagine or know- but is learning now- is just how many seniors are living their final years in isolation and often, depression. Let’s Go Fishing is bringing a smile to their lives that is only matched by the one worn by his grandson.
– Tom Cherveny