This spring, veterans in the Milwaukee area are in for a treat – they will be fishing numerous streams and rivers that hold hefty Steelhead. Kicking off on March 14 and running for six days, local fishing guides and volunteers will team up to organize the first in a series of veteran fishing outings. So far, 54 veterans from the Wounded Warrior Project and other local veteran organizations have signed up to take part in what’s promising to become an annual event.
March Steelhead Fishing
Just a couple of months ago, the whole project was no more than an idea. With good intention and gratitude, however, big things can happen. FishingBooker talked to Captain Cory Wehrman, who is one of the organizers of the event. He wants to make a donation to veterans and will give them a great fishing adventure free of charge.
‘‘We’re donating our time, knowledge, and equipment to the veterans just to help them with getting out on the river and gaining knowledge in the hopes they can retain some of the knowledge and feel confident enough to go out and share that experience with their loved ones. They can tap into that resource – it will stay close to them, and they can use it as therapy or whatever they need it for. That’s the least we can do to try and say thank you.’
How it All Started
Cory got the idea for the donation back in November. First, he talked to other guides in the area whom he has known for a couple of years, but also to other anglers he happened to meet just then. He rang a couple of buddies, one of whom has a kayak fishing guide service, and found others like him who were good candidates and who were interested in taking veterans on fishing trips. Cory also got in touch with veteran organizations to see if there was a chance to work together.
‘My first initial thought back in November was the ‘Wounded Warrior’ project. I got in touch with them to see if there’s any interest in this. In a short time, I received an email thanking for thinking of them, but there was, unfortunately, no place in their program at that time. So I started to seek locally. I wanted to donate some of my time to the veterans. To get them on the water. This was something I was really passionate about.’
‘I got a contact with the local CVSO out of Superior, Wisconsin. One of their workers got in touch, started sending out flyers to see if there was interest. There was. We started setting the date. The next day, I got a call from the ‘Wounded Warrior’ project from the Chicago area. They said it would be a great idea, and they would like to put something together.’
Veteran Fishing Outings Across Minnesota
There will be three veteran fishing outings throughout March and April. The first one will take place on March 14, and will gather anglers and veterans from the Milwaukee area. The aim is to get things off the ground. Hopefully, the event will grow and more and more guides and veterans will take part as the awareness increases.
‘In the future, I’d like to include family members, close friends, children, if the veterans need that as part of their support group. This first outing will focus primarily on veterans, but if someone needs a plus one, I’m not going to deter them. This is something I’ve discussed with veteran organizations. If some of the veterans have anxiety issues and need support, that’s fine, I want that trip to happen.’
The other two fishing outings will be two separate five-day trips. The first one will be organized in northwest Wisconsin and the last one on Minnesota’s North Shore. The exact location will depend on where the bite is.
‘The purpose of spreading it is to gain the interest of veterans and have them come in. It’s not just one group of people in one area. They can compare notes and share their experience’
There are already 15 veterans signed up for the other two outings and Cory expects that number to grow as well. ‘We’ll make do with as how many like to attend. We want to make the experience the best for the veterans, and try to accommodate everybody.’
Making a Difference
Cory has been fishing since the age of 12. He started out fishing for Steelhead and his guide service primarily targets that species. For a couple of years now, he’s been running his own business and has helped people with their fishing technique. He wants to share his passion with people curious to get out there and fish. What’s in it for him?
‘Getting to share the experience with the warriors and veterans service, that’s the best thing for me. I want to share my passion with them and give them the best trip they can have. I want to make sure they enjoy their time on the water. You can’t put a price on what they do for us and the country. This is the best way I know how to at least try to say thank you.’