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2006 N 1st Ave Ste 205 , Anoka, MN 55303

(763) 786-1000

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Out and About Twin Cities-Fishing for Seniors and Veterans


With Mother’s Day and the State fishing opener right around the corner, it must be time for an Out and About Twin Cities on two of our greatest Minnesota pastimes!  This month a focus on senior-friendly and veteran options for wetting a line or going hunting.  

Fisherman by misty lake
1 Shore fishing can be a great way to enjoy fishing for everyone!
Fishing is a great family sport!
2 You can still get out there and fish with your grandkids and children--seize the day!
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Shore fishing can be a great way to catch your lunkers this year.

There are several ways to enjoy fishing without having to struggle into that old fishing boat--which can be a challenge for some seniors.  Pontoons are generally a much better option with the ability to step straight off the dock onto a flat surface.  If you aren’t fortunate enough to have a friend or family member with a pontoon you can find them for rent at various locations around the metro.  For instance, Captain Shawn’s rentals in Chisago City have nice pontoons available for six or 10 passengers, half or full day.   If you rent a boat make sure it’s accessible for your situation.  If you are wheelchair-bound, the boat will need a wider access gate and a ramp to make access safer.  In rougher water, you may want to have tie-downs available for the wheelchair.  

Shore Fishing

Fishing from shore can also be a good choice for seniors with mobility issues. We found this vintage shoreline guide from 1992. The guide is still remarkably accurate today.  According to the guide, few metro areas in the country have as much wheelchair access to good fishing as the Twin Cities. Fishing piers paved paths, and lots of water give anglers with any type of disability plenty of opportunities to go fishing. Each of the 23 lakes and rivers listed in this guide is rated on the following scale for people with physical disabilities:

  1. Excellent-Wheelchairs have complete and easy access to the water's edge. A fishing pier or deck is available.
  2. Fair-Hard, level grass or dirt bank leading to the water's edge. Depending on their ability, some wheelchair users may need help getting to the water.
  3. Poor-Steep or uneven shoreline is difficult to traverse in wheelchairs.
  4. Remember this is a 1992 guide so the pricing and rules of fishing may have changed!  For instance, in 1992 the cost of the fishing license was about half of 2021. 

Veteran’s Outdoors–Band of Brothers 

Comfort Keepers RN, Ole Nettestad told me about Band of Brothers, a group he volunteers and heads out on the water.  This nonprofit group hosts events that provide veterans and active duty service members with the opportunity to experience the physical, emotional, and social benefits of recreational therapy.  They provide these opportunities through a wide range of activities that include hunting and fishing in many formats.  If you are interested check out the upcoming events and sign up.  Pretty simple process and they will confirm your reservation.   

According to Ole, Vets are responsible for licenses and getting to the event, often there is an opportunity to carpool.  Event leaders may have food and socializing options figured out to encourage fellowship.  These tend to be very memorable trips!

Veterans On The Water

In 2016 Veterans on the Water was started by Steve Gillaspie (Vietnam Veteran) from Arlington, MN. The goal is to create a FREE fishing experience of excitement, fun, and laughter for Veterans.  All of their boats have been rebuilt specifically to accommodate special needs plus custom designs and features of red, white, and blue!  They own all the boats used on their fishing trips. The fleet includes 16′ Lund boats, pontoons with wheelchair accessibility, and an Ice House!   Offering several single-day fishing trips and some extended weekend fishing trips with no cost to Vets. Check out their Calendar page to get details on upcoming trips. To join one of the trips sign up on the Trip Sign Up page.

Veterans on the water have accessibility accommodations for veterans that want to fish!  If you sign up be sure to let them know you will need special accommodations for your trip in the comments section.  Veterans on the Water has two wheelchair-accessible buses to transport any Veteran to any fishing trip.  Once you are at the boat they have a lift to help Veterans in wheelchairs and mobility concerns transport from land to the Pontoon.  Their pontoons have built-in toilets that can be used during fishing trips.  I see their calendar starts to get busy in June, so let them know if you’re interested!  


We only get one summer in Minnesota!  Now is the time to get out there and enjoy it with your favorite seniors and veterans!

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