Lions Club and Genoa National Fish Hatchery hold Fishability event
In its seventh year running, the Genoa National Fish Hatchery and Great River Road Interpretive Center in conjunction with the Lions of District 27 D2, held a Fishability event for children with mobility challenges and other disabilities.
Originally trying to finds ways to be more integrated with the community, fish hatchery manager Doug Aloisi said, “We approached DairyLand Power to see if they were interested in supporting limited access fishing events and they provided a fishing dock.” Aloisi stated at that time Lion Club member Duane Froh had approached the hatchery and asked if they would be interested in supporting the Lion’s limited access fishing event. “We agreed and that kicked it off.” Aloisi said.
Dan Wolfe, Fishability Day event chair and member of the Stoddard Lions Club, was pleased with the event turn out. “We try to get the word out to schools that have children with limited mobility challenges and disabilities, where normally they wouldn’t be able to fish in the Mississippi or any other big body of water, and we provide them with a chance to fish in a controlled environment and a guarantee to catch fish.”
Aloisi noted, although the event is limited by space available at the fishery, they are able to have thirty kids participate.
Tackle boxes, fishing poles, and bait were provided to each child, and an impressive all-terrain track wheel chair was made available for those children having mobility challenges. The event saw some kids catching trout up to eighteen inches long.
In addition to fishing, the Lions held a light lunch for the participants, and children received an event t-shirt and ribbon recognizing their involvement.
The fishery located in Genoa, Wisconsin on the Mississippi river, raises rainbow trout for recreational fishing opportunities for Army bases in the area like Ft. McCoy. Aloisi said, “We have a surplus that we are able to make available for this event.”
The Lions of District 27-D2, has 49 Lions Clubs and 9 Lioness Clubs that have a combined membership of 1800 thorough out the Southwest Wisconsin counties of La Crosse, Monroe, Juneau, Vernon, Crawford, Richland and Sauk.
When asked what he hoped for the kids to get out of the event, Wolfe said, “I just want the kids to enjoy fishing.”
Lead story and Aloisi/Wolfe photos by DriftlessNow.com
Additional photos provided by Wisconsin Lions District 27-D2