‘Al’s Musky Challenge’ raises a boatload of money for local non-profits

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) – A local fisherman is hooked to helping the community.

From July 26 to August 28 La Crosse Rotarian, Al Louis, and his fishing buddy A.J. took a trip up to Lake Vermilion in Minnesota for some musky fishing.

But the trip was about much more than a summer getaway.

It’s his unique way of raising money for local non-profits.

For the second year in a row, Louis organized ‘Al’s Musky Challenge’.

People made donations for every fish he caught.

One person even pledged $200 per fish!

And some people put Louis up to other challenges.

“There was a bunch of Cubs fans in our group, and one from out of town said ‘I’ll give you X amount per fish but if you put on a Cubs jersey, you catch a fish and you hold it up [for a photo] I’ll give you double.’ I hate the Cubs, but for charity, I’ll do anything,” he said.

Originally, his goal was to raise $10,000.

But with the help of pledges made by other Rotary members, organizations, and people in our community, he was able to raise even more.

During a check presentation on Wednesday, Louis announced that the Musky Challenge raised $46,000!

“It’s just amazing, our community, the La Crosse community. What they do and what they give for needs, to make sure that we’re in a safe place, and things are taken care of,” he said. “People just step up and make a big difference.”

Together, Louis and his fishing buddy A.J. caught nine muskies!

Which is pretty good considering it takes about 10,000 casts to catch one musky, Louis had said.

Mobile Meals, Gateway Area Council BSA, La Crosse Public Education Foundation, and the Family and Children’s Center each received $2,000.

The remaining funds were donated to New Horizons Shelter and Outreach Centers.

Louis is already planning for next year; he wants to organize a local fishing tournament.