Approximately 110 anglers with disabilities participated in the 31st annual Fishing Has No Boundaries Hayward Event on the Chippewa Flowage Friday and Saturday, May 18-19.
Participants enjoyed a warm and sunny Friday. On Saturday a cold front came roaring through at mid-day with wind gusts up to 30 mph and a sudden temperature drop of 25 degrees. Some boats came back to shore at Lake Chippewa Campground earlier than scheduled.
Everyone got off the lake safe and sound, if a little bit wet. One boater, Mark Kauffman, said the anglers “did real well” catching fish. “They caught just about every species that is out there,” he said.
Anglers registered northerns up to 32 inches, a few walleyes up to 23 inches, some largemouth bass, crappies up to 12¼ inches plus numerous panfish. Volunteers in the Don Lessard Memorial fish cleaning tent quickly filleted the fish for the anglers to take home.
Numerous door prizes and fishing prizes were given away to participants.
Long-time guide Robb Champion of Beloit was presented with the Ray Larsen Memorial Guide’s Award, and long-time volunteer Jenny Overman of Hayward received the Kingfisher Award for exemplifying the spirit of Fishing Has No Boundaries.
Champion, who was accompanied by his dog “Moose,” is one of the Rock Valley Volunteers group. He’s helped with 29 of the 31 FHNB events starting when he was 12 years old along with his dad and brother.
Rock River Valley Volunteers presented a $3,000 donation to the FHNB organization.
The Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission (GLIFWC) provided a communications command post trailer and several wardens during the event.
In a FHNB fundraiser, Harold Burton won an autographed Green Bay Packers football and Mary Annala won a trip to Las Vegas.
Northern pike: First, Ron Brzozowski, Muskego, 32 inches; second, John Stapleton, 27 inches (tie broken by coin flip); third, Gabe Hoogesteger, 27 inches.
Walleye: First, Gary Schwingle, 23¾ inches; second, Rachel Burkhardt, 20 inches; third, Carla Peterson (Cable), 18 inches.
Largemouth Bass: First, Caleb Schultz, 17 inches (tie broken by coin flip); second, Richard Wicklund, 17 inches; third, Curtis Gregory, 13¾ inches.
Crappie: First, Lee Thurber, 12¼ inches; second, Tom Brunson, 12 inches; third, Debra Richards, 12 inches.
Panfish: First, Brian Schneider, 10 inches; second, Cara Smerud, 9¼ inches (tie broken by coin flip); third, Harry Heffner, 9¼ inches.
Perch: First, Becky Weber, 11 inches; second, Bill Raimondo, 10 inches (tie broken by coin flip); third, Patricia Lawrence, 10 inches.