The Let’s Go Fishing Eden Prairie Area Chapter held a dedication ceremony for its new pontoon boat on Aug. 14, ahead of the fourth annual “Cops and Bobbers” event at Lake Riley.
Eden Prairie Mayor Ron Case, City Council members Lisa Toomey and PG Narayanan, representatives from Scheels, and Let’s Go Fishing board members were in attendance.
The boat, named “Spirit of Scheels,” made its debut in June with the start of the 2023 season. The new boat was partially funded by a $50,000 donation from Scheels in November 2022.
Eden Prairie is the largest and most active of the 17 Let’s Go Fishing (LGF) chapters across Minnesota and Wisconsin.
“The mission of LGF is to bring nature’s healing and well-being to seniors, veterans, youth, and the disabled,” said Joe Oprosko, chairman of the LGF board of directors, and a member of the Eden Prairie chapter’s board, at the event. “It continues to grow like our boat tab.”
Following the dedication, LGF hosted its 4th annual “Cops and Bobbers” event, where 14 kids were invited to go fishing with Eden Prairie police officers on Lake Riley. A race to catch the most fish created a friendly competition between the two pontoon boats filled with kids.
The winning pontoon caught 74 fish, while the second pontoon caught 48. According to LGF EP chapter vice president Mike Gruidl, sunfish and crappies are the most commonly caught fish in Lake Riley.
“This is just a good community effort with the police department and the youth,” Gruidl said. “It’s just building respect. It turns out to be a great event.”
LGF took around 3,000 kids fishing in 2022. It currently runs multiple trips a day with its 140 volunteers.
“We started at 25 feet, moved to 28, and now we’re at 30,” said Oprosko. “Our commitment to service and paying it forward has never diminished; it has just continued to grow.”
Editor’s note: Photos were taken by Gillian Holte unless otherwise noted.
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