Annual fishing event helps Fox Valley community

The annual Otter Street Winter Fisheree on Lake Winnebago
The annual Otter Street Winter Fisheree on Lake Winnebago

OSHKOSH- As motorcyclists raced around Lake Winnebago Saturday, people stood along the sidelines for a glimpse of the action.

For Kurt Freiberg, watching the races has become a tradition.

"I've been doing this for about 40 years. You see how fast they're going with those motorcycles? That's got to be real thrilling," said Freiberg.

The Otter Street Fishing Club's annual event brings in an estimated 3,000 to 4,000 people each year.

Last year's event raised around $20,000 and the club uses the money to help make Lake Winnebago a better place to fish.

"A lot of our money we donate to the DNR. We take care of docks in Oshkosh. We take care of boat landings in Oshkosh and we try to give all money back to the community for the betterment of fishing," said John Nourse of the Otter Street Fishing Club.

The dedication of the club was noticed by Butch Dodd who's from Oshkosh.

"Them doing the things they do for just fishing in general on Winnebago is leaps and bounds beyond what we ever could expect out here with those guys," said Dodd.

Just a few miles down the road, the setting was much more quiet with ice fishermen scattered across the lake.

Ike Beltran and Jason Masuga said it's not always about catching fish.

"It's fun. You come out here and it's like a big family. People get stuck, people stop and pull you out and talk to you," said Beltran.

"You just get away from society, I guess, for a while. You just come out here and chill out. As you can see it's very serene out here. It's peaceful," said Masuga.

With 800 lifetime members, the goal of the Otter Street Fishing Club is to make sure Lake Winnebago continues to be a place for fishermen to enjoy.