25 years of fishing fun

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By Pam Reinig

Register Editor

An event that started several years ago as a joke has become an Elkader fixture. 

The Redhorse Fisheree, which celebrates its 25th year in May, was lightheartedly suggested by a small group of local people in response to a big bass fishing tournament.

“Somebody asked, “Why can’t we have something like that here?’ and we couldn’t think of a single reason not to. So here we are, 25 years later,” explained Gerry Ommen, Elkader, one of the original planners.

Also part of the original planning team were Ron and Rose Engelhardt, Dale Hein and Larry Kline. All are still involved.

The Redhorse Fisheree is Saturday, May 2, from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. More than $2,000 in prizes will be awarded, including $25 cash and $25 in raffle tickets for early registrants. Other than the “early bird” prizes, all prizes will be determined by weight.

Though several species of fish can be found in Elkader’s waterways, the fisheree is limited to redhorse, carp and sucker.

“They’re pretty plentiful here,” Ommen said, “and they’re a great resource. People pickle or can them.”

The event is popular with Northeast Iowans but, Ommen said, people have come from as far away as Cedar Rapids and Newton.

“There’s a tremendous amount of respect for the event,” Ommen said. “We’ve even had people from as far away as Alaska.”

Registration is required and the fisheree is billed as a family event. Last year’s event drew over 230 people, many of whom spent money in Elkader before and after the event.

“People ask us about the rules and we tell them there are only three—no boats, no canoes and no dynamite,” Ommen said.

Pre-registration before May 1 can be made at True Value, Olson’s Appliance, The Store and Pronto, all in downtown Elkader. Registration forms are also available at www.Elkader-Iowa.com. On-site registrations will also be accepted the day of the fisheree. Cost is $8 for adults and $4 for youth 12 and under.

The Redhorse Fisheree is hosted by the committee and sponsored by the Elkader’s Lion Club, Clayton County Pheasants Forever and local merchants.

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