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May 13, 2023 @ 9:00 amMay 15, 2023 @ 12:00 pm

Well, the 2023 Optimist Club of Menomonee Falls Kids Catch and Release Fishing Derby is in the books, and WOW, what a fantastic event it was!  This year’s fishing derby took place the morning of Saturday, May 13th at the Mill Pond.  The weather turned out decent.  While it looked like it wanted to rain early, other than maybe a drop or two, the rain stayed away.  The temperature was cool, but certainly not has cold as we have seen in the past.  And while the sun did not come out much, overcast skies provided for some perfect fishing weather.  Hundreds of people enjoyed the derby, including the 123 kids who registered to fish, many parents, grandparents, and other family and friends who joined!  The fish were biting!  Between 10:00 AM and noon, at least 43 kids caught fish, for a total of at least 99 fish caught.

Some of the highlights of the fish caught were an 11.5” Large Mouth Bass, an 11” Rainbow Trout, multiple Trouts measuring in at over 10 inches, an 11” Catfish, and a 14.5” Sucker Fish.  We also had an 8-year-old who caught 12 fish and a 13-year-old who caught 15 fish!

During registration, each child received a t-shirt and a grab bag with several different give-a-aways, including items from the DNR, candy, coupons, fishing tackle, etc.  In addition, representatives from the Germantown Fleet Farm store joined us and handed out items for the kids.  Thank you, Fleet Farm!  The Neighborhood Watch did a great job keeping any hunger away.  They sold coffee, donuts, hotdogs, and other treats from the concession stand.  Jerry Mislang did an excellent job emceeing the event using the sound equipment Danny Shepherd set-up and ran throughout the event.  In case you missed it, Jerry had many “fish” jokes throughout the morning, which really kept the crowd entertained.  Jon Cline took photos throughout the derby!  Door prizes were given throughout the morning to all kids who registered, and there was a trophy presentation at the end.  And maybe most importantly, the fishing derby allowed for quality time for families in our community to bond with one another and create very special memories.  The morning was an absolute success filled with so many smiles!

New this year, we had a 50 / 50 raffle at the fishing derby in honor of the club’s 50th anniversary!  Ticket sales totaled $296, sending a lucky winner home with $148 and bringing in $148 to the club to help cover some of the costs of the derby.

Sue Carny and I would like to thank each and everyone who helped make this event possibly.  A huge thank you goes out to Jerry Mislang, Danny Shepherd, Larry Hebbring, Kathie Jensen, Kathy Matthiessen, Kirsten Sperl, Joanne Wanner, Lance Newman, Greg Mattson, Tom Walkner, Annie Jurczyk, Steve Miller, Larry Podolske, Bob Wenzel, Jon Cline, Fred Blanke, Mitch Rea, Del Kreuser, Stuart Reichl, Tim Newman, and Kim Wenzel.

We would also like to thank our sponsors and others who contributed to the derby, including The Optimist Club of Menomonee Falls, The Village of Menomonee Falls, The Menomonee Falls Police Department, the Menomonee Falls Neighborhood Watch, RB Enterprises of Menomonee Falls, Krueger’s Entertainment Center, Fleet Farm in Germantown, Cops and Kids Foundation, Sandy Spring Farm, the DNR, and Tru Turn.

We would also like to thank the Menomonee Falls CE & Rec, The Falls Neighbors Magazine, and the Menomonee Falls School District* who helped get the word out for the derby.

We sure hope we did not miss anyone, as there are so many who made this 2023 Kids Fishing Derby possible!  THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!  We look forward to seeing everyone at the 2024 Optimist Club of Menomonee Falls Kids Fishing Derby next May!


photos by Jon Cline





The event is truly a community event with the Village of Menomonee Falls supplying the permits for the event and money for stocking Mill Pond with fish; the Menomonee Falls Neighborhood Watch operating the concession stand; The Menomonee Falls Police Department supplying security and the public address system; the Wisconsin DNR and a local fish hatchery stocking trout, bluegills and bass in the pond and the Optimist Club of Menomonee Falls running the event.

Fishing Derby Chair: Sue Carney

Fishing Derby Co-chair: Dustin Koehler


May 13, 2023 @ 9:00 am
May 15, 2023 @ 12:00 pm
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Mill Pond Park
W164N9021 Water Street
Menomonee Falls, WI 53051 United States
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