Monday, February 21, 2011

Fisherman I Need Your Help!

If your reading this somewhere online, I could definitely use your help! Not just fisherman, but anyone with a passion for teaching, helping, fishing, and the great outdoors!

Back in 2008 I helped start the Hooked on Fishing Park down in East Peoria at the old Dixons Ponds. Since then we have completely renovated the entire facility and have hosted more than 3000 kids and seniors fishing free of charge! For the first 3 years I helped with renovation and was in charge of making sure the ponds were well stocked with Fish.

However starting in January of 2011, I am now completely in charge of running the entire facility from start to finish from A to Z and I need some serious help! In all phases of running the fishing park I need help from everyone I know and many people I have yet to meet. I need to raise enough funds to keep the park rolling and get everything started for this upcoming season.

Here is a brief video that showcases the renovated fishing park and describes a bit about our mission.

Before any kids even reach the ponds on May 3rd (150 middle school kids from East Peoria grade school are coming for a field trip) I need to pay for 1/2 the property taxes, and a handful of other monthly expenses. In the next few paragraphs I am going to lay out all the information for what is needed to run the fishing park this year and hope that I can get the right people to fill in with some much needed help and expertise.

First thing I need help with is that on Saturday evening, March 12 we are having a fundraising dinner at the Metamora Fields golf course. Their new banquet facility is showcasing many of their menu items for this dinner and all funds raised will go towards our 2011 operating expenses at the fishing park. There is plenty of room for up to 400 people for this event and I really hope to be able to get at least 300 people to make the evening a great success! More info is available at this link- Dinner Info

The cost is $75 per ticket or $500 for a table of eight. We will be having appetizers starting at 5:30 pm and the dinner starts at 6:30. Just give me a call at 309-303-5691 or shoot me an email to or visit our website at to purchase tickets either by mailing a check or with a credit card online. We are a 501 c-3 not for profit organization and all donations and dinner tickets are tax deductible.

Next I could also use some items from local businesses or individuals for a small auction and raffle and door prizes to help raise funds at the event. I already have some amazing guided fishing trips to world class fishing properties, catering packages for large groups, fishing gear, Matthews Solo Cam bows, car care packages, and such for some items to raffle and give away, but I definitely could use more items if anyone knows anyone willing to help with this sort of thing.

Moving along past the dinner is other items I could really use help with. I would love to start a fishing program at the park for the high school bass fishing teams. The park is the perfect place to practice fundamentals of fishing. A new casting course with a fishing boat on the big pond would just be awesome to host practices and have casting competitions/tournaments. I would love for someone to step up and coordinate the high school fishing team program, create the casting course of some sort and line up whatever the coaches would need to successfully teach their teams rock solid fundamentals. We have open water year round, plus we have a bunch of bass too.

With the same theme as the high school bass fishing program, I would love for someone to coordinate a boy scout/girl scout/cub scout program for the park. There is so much potential down there for those groups to get together and learn all sorts of outdoor related activities and badges. I just need someone familiar with those organizations to create and coordinate that program.

I would love to have a handful of organized fishing derbies this summer. They could be themed like father/son or mother/daughter or just general fishing derbies with prizes, etc. If anyone or any business would like to coordinate or sponsor a fishing derby that would be great!

Last year we had tons of nursing homes coming down on pretty much a weekly basis to grill lunch, do some fishing, and just hang out together outside. Those groups are great for the park and are usually pretty self sufficient. If someone would want to help coordinate them or just come hang out with them any help would be greatly appreciated!

We are open to all groups of any shape or size to use the fishing park, I just need volunteers to help coordinate and staff various events. We have a great core of existing volunteers, but if we are going to expand or even just carry the same capacity as last year we are going to need a bunch more help!

I have put together a needs list for pretty much everything I can think of for the fishing park for this upcoming season. Any help with any of these items specifically would help out tremendously. I really visualize this fishing park as a great way to not only teach the sport of fishing, but to bring the entire community together outdoors. The list of needs for 2011 is basically the following:

Needs Per Month during our 6 month fishing season:
70 doz night crawlers per month
300 bottles of water per month
30 bags of ice per month
100 lbs of hamburgers per month
200 hot dogs per month
200 hamburger and hot dog buns per month
Bunch of plastic dinnerware and paper goods
3 bags of charcoal per month
1 bottle of lighter fluid per month
$500 fish stocking per month
$60 fish food per month
$130 per month for Porta Jon Services
Landscaping and Grounds Maintenance Volunteers
Fishing Instructor Volunteers
Any sort of Volunteers
Lots of kids, seniors, groups wanting to catch some fish!

Needs Per Month Annually:
$510 per month for property taxes
$185 per month for Cilco Bill
$280 per month for various Insurance Bills
$33 per month for garbage services
$55 per month for website services

Physical Items Needed:
Small quiet generator
Used freezers and fridges
3 big coolers
2 used push mowers
1 weed eater
20 gallons of Fuel
More fishing equipment
Tackle, Line, Bobbers
Prizes for kids/events
Casting Course/Platforms/Ideas?
High School Fishing Program Coordinator(s)
Boy Scout/Girl Scout Program Coordinator(s)
Any other program coordination ideas
Fundraising Ideas
General Ideas for Using the Park to further Outdoor Education and Experiences?

If you haven't been down to see the new renovated fishing park, please take the time to drive by and check it out! We have worked very hard to create a world class fishing and outdoor facility and are excited about getting the community involved in utilizing this place to its fullest potential!

I need your help to make this happen! Events I have planned to help the fishing park raise support this year are the fundraising dinner Saturday March 12th (I hope to see you all there), a big fishing tournament fundraiser at Otter Creek Preserve for donors and volunteers (you don't want to miss this), a golf outing later this summer at the new Metamora Golf Course (I could use some help with that one for sure, I am not a golfer), and a few fishing days/cookouts with Chef Todd at the park this summer.

Please stay tuned for more updates about the park and please help out anyway you possibly can. I am trying to coordinate everything in my spare time and could use as much help as possible!

Here are a couple more Youtube videos about the fishing park:

Here are a couple articles published in newspapers and magazines about the fishing park:

Peoria Journal Star

Pond Boss Magazine

Article From Lighthouse Academy Kids

More Articles

Thanks for taking the time to read all the way down to the end. I know it is quite a bit of information jam-packed into one blog post. Here is one last link and bit of information to help support the fishing park.

Link to Online Donations and Purchase Dinner Tickets

Or send Check to
Hooked On Fishing Park
8913 N Prairie Point
Peoria, IL 61615

Please specify how many tickets or what specifically you would like to sponsor or donate. Physical items please contact me ahead of time to arrange pick up/delivery.


  1. Nate - have you loked into the grants offered through the FishAmerica Foundation?


  2. Hi Nate,
    It sounds like you have your work cut out for you. Many of the things you are trying to accomplish are things I was doing while at Wildlife Prairie State Park. I think that my company ACE Entertainment & Event Management would be a good fit for many of the things you are doing. We should get together and share some ideas.

    Scott E. Carlson
    ACE Entertainment & Event Management
    Ace Your Events with us!
    (309) 208-3500

  3. wondering if you could shoot me an email. Have a question concerning fundraising.