Ron Schara: Waterdogs fishing club reels in 25th year

The Twin Cities group still is going strong, promoting fishing, getting youngsters more involved in the sport and cleaning up rivers.

In September 1982, a couple of avid anglers from around the Twin Cities, Scott Beaty and Ted Gwinn, decided the world needed another fishing club.

You know the kind, monthly meetings, a tournament or two, a members fishing trip, perhaps, and possibly an annual banquet for members and spouses.

It seems like such a nice idea, but so many small groups with such a busy agenda end up with a few doing all the busy work, which means the organization eventually fades like a ripple on the water.

So how do you explain the Waterdogs Fishing Club, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year?

With a name like Waterdogs, no less?

"The name Waterdog fit because Ted and I loved being on the water and it seemed like we often worked like a dog to try to catch a fish," Beaty explained.

If the name fit, so did the club's angling spirit. Membership is open to anglers of any stripe, but the number of members is limited to 30 and no more, which means members actually get to know each other.

Club president James Ferstenou said the club's biggest draw is the camaraderie that develops.

"Turnover is low once you get there," Ferstenou said.

In addition, each member has to participate in at least 50 percent of the club's activities

"One of our missions is to help promote fishing, to get involved in kid's programs, river cleanups and the like," Ferstenou said.

Once a month, the Waterdogs gather at the Hopkins VFW to break bread and talk fishing.

And get involved. A few years back, I was looking for somebody to help restore donated rods and reels, to clean 'em up, add new fishing line and make 'em ready to give to kids who needed fishing gear.

The Waterdogs took on the project and worked like dogs, rehabilitating thousands of rods and reels and making it possible for thousands of kids to discover the world of fishing.

In other words, the Waterdogs are anglers who really have something to brag about.

Ron Schara is at ron@mnbound.com