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Fall River Rod and Gun Club will be celebrating two milestones as it kicks off 2019.

Jan. 5, the club will host its 30th annual Fall River Fisheree along Lazy Lake in Fall River. Fishing begins around 6 a.m. with a raffle drawing at 5:30 p.m. This year’s event will also honor the Rod and Gun Club’s 50th anniversary.

Ian Jenkins, club board member, said the fisheree brings the community together every year for a day of fun on the lake. Fishermen wage a friendly competition to see who bags the biggest catch and can win prizes for doing so.

“Every fisheree is just kind of special on its own,” Jenkins said.

To honor the event’s 30th anniversary, the club will raffle off special tip-ups engraved to commemorate the special occasion. Jenkins said the tip-ups are typically a popular item and should garner even more interest this year.

“A lot of times people will use them on the ice for fishing or, like me, I have a couple hanging on the walls,” Jenkins said. “We usually do that to commemorate our milestones.”

Jenkins said the fisheree is a free, family-friendly event. He said it is usually well-attended and heavily supported by the Fall River community. The event began as a small ice fishing get-together and has grown through the decades.

Mild temperatures in recent weeks have done little to increase ice coverage on local lakes. However, in the past, a low amount of ice hasn’t deterred fishermen from participating.

“We’ve had years with real good participation even in those years where the ice isn’t so good,” Jenkins said. “I can remember one year, probably in the past ten years, where we had no ice and the lake was just peppered with people and boats.”

Fishermen can fish anywhere on Lazy Lake. Food, beverages and raffle drawings will be held at the shelter on the southeast corner of the lake on Sleepy Hollow Road.

“If they catch something they think is big enough for a prize, there is no entry fee for that,” Jenkins said. “They can bring it up and have it measured and try to win a prize.”

Through the years, the Rod and Gun Club has used proceeds from the event to fund local scholarships, and has given back to the Fall River Lake Association, local EMS and fire departments, athletic events and Columbus Community Hospital. Money from the fisheree also funds the club’s annual youth shooting event.

“(The fisheree) is a fundraiser, but as a non-profit, we try to give as much back as we can,” Jenkins said. “Of course, a lot of that comes from our sponsors and donors. There are a lot of businesses in the community that are a big part of this as well.”

For more information on the fisheree and the Rod and Gun Club, contact Jenkins at 608-345-0489.

Follow Kevin Damask on Twitter @kdamask or contact him at 608-963-7323.