Each year an organization called “Fishing Has No Boundaries” makes dreams come true for anglers with disabilities.
Fishing Has No Boundaries (FHNB) was established in 1988 in Wisconsin and has spread through the Midwest. Each summer numerous anglers are taken on the lake — some for the first time — to feel the wind in their face and experience the joy of reeling in “the big one.”
This is the second year the event will be held in the Lake Region.
The newly formed Chinyeh FHNB Chapter is based at the Spirit Lake Marina and the chapter’s first event was held last August.
Merlyn Greene, of Grand Forks, who was instrumental in the formation of the new chapter, said “Chinyeh” is Sioux for “older brother” or native meaning watch out for the young, sick, elders, etc.
Greene said anyone with a disability is welcome to participate in the annual fishing trip.
“Our event is for people from all walks of life. We give people with different experiences the opportunity to get together and share those experiences,” he said.
Greene said the fishing opportunity is a wonderful experience for the anglers that participate. Some arrive at the event timid and shy but leave with big smiles and fun stories.
But, the anglers aren’t the only ones to benefit from the outing.
“It’s a very enriching experience, because it lets you help others,” he explained.
This year’s event is slated for July 18-19 at the Spirit Lake Casino and Resort. Registration will be at the Marina at 8 a.m. for participants and volunteers. The event will wrap up on Sunday at 1 p.m. with an awards ceremony.
“We would like to use people’s fishing boat/pontoon for the weekend and have the owner/operator volunteer for the event, if at all possible,” Greene said.
He said they are hoping to secure 7-8 boats or pontoons and between 40 and 80 volunteers. At least three volunteers are needed for each angler.
Greene said that FHNB requires boat owners and operators to carry personal insurance on their boats or pontoons. FHNB will cover up to a $500 deductible on the policy for any damage caused at the event. He said they also ask that owners have the fuel tanks on their watercraft three-quarters full or more at the start of the event; the tanks will be filled at the end of the event.
Greene said last year’s event was a success because of the great volunteers in the Lake Region.
“Last year’s participants had a good time and everyone caught fish,” he said. “After fishing in the morning, we had bad weather and were unable to continue with the ‘on the water’ portion of the event. The safety of the participants and volunteers will always be our number one priority.”
He added, “We would like to thank all the volunteers that stayed for the whole event, as we needed their help.”
Greene also sang the praises of the Spirit Lake Casino and Marina Manager Dan Lohnes. “The chapter would like to thank the Spirit Lake Nation and the Spirit Lake Casino and Marina for all their additional support — above and beyond!”
Anyone interested in fishing in the event or volunteering their boat or services is asked to call Greene at (612) 251-8301 or e-mail: email@example.com.