On August 15, the Wisconsin Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus hosted their inaugural “Learn-to-Fish” Day at Okauchee Lake in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. The Caucus partnered with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, numerous sportsmen’s groups, and community organizations to introduce attendees to fishing.
Volunteers from the Wisconsin Conservation Congress, Ducks Unlimited, the Sportsmen’s Caucus, local fishing clubs, and staff from the Department of Natural Resources provided fishing equipment and boats for the event, as well as giving attendees instructions on how to bait and cast a fishing rod.
Wisconsin Sportsmen’s Caucus Co-Chair Representative Joel Kleefisch welcomed everyone at the start of the day, expressing his excitement for the event, “There are few more satisfying or enjoyable things then seeing someone catch their first fish, or watching them harvest their first animal. This caucus brings everyone together, from both sides of the aisle, and all parts of the state, and it’s just a wonderful event to get to know the great outdoors of Wisconsin.”
Unite MKE, one of the community organization partners, helped bring in children from the Milwaukee area. Unite MKE works to help people achieve health and well-being in the most complete, holistic, and sustaining way possible. Executive director Bria Grant summed up the event, “It’s an experience that goes beyond what we represent, it brings us together as common human beings. Fishing is just that old fashioned way to get together, talk, share experiences, and share tips on life, as well as include family. And we need to make sure that our families are growing together regardless of party affiliations. I think this is a great opportunity to do that, and I believe we should have more of these experiences throughout the state.”
After a busy morning of fishing, Caucus Co-Chairs Representative Joel Kleefisch and Representative Nick Milroy provided instructions to attendees on how to properly clean their catch. Once the fish were prepped, Representative Kleefisch fried up the filets to go with the lunch provided by legislators, staff, and members of the sportsmen’s community.
“It was great having people from all corners of the state come down to this event. We had a lot of young kids that were able to catch their first fish and learn how to filet and eat fish,” said Representative Milroy. “It’s just great to be able to get together in a bipartisan fashion and introduce people to the outdoors.”
The Title Sponsor for the event was St. Croix Rods, a premier fishing rod manufacturer based in Park Falls, WI, who provided travel assistance for the Milwaukee families.
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- Facilitating voter registration at the time of hunting/fishing license purchase (5.26%)
- Addressing Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in deer populations (6.58%)
- Increasing public access to private lands (22.37%)
- Granting more fish and wildlife management authority to the states (48.68%)
- Other (17.11%)