For the season opener on Lake Okeechobee, the contribution will go to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, which will use the money to purchase fish feeders and an aeration system. The feeders will complement underwater structures called Reef Balls – purchased through a past FLW Outdoors donation – to create an inviting habitat for the lake’s bass and other game fish.
The fish feeders will be mounted in two locations: one at a concrete fishing pier that will be built in Lake Okeechobee at the mouth of the Kissimmee River, and the other at the Okeechobee Agricivic Center Pond, which will be used as a permanent place for children’s fishing events throughout the year. The purpose of the feeders is to attract a higher concentration of fish to improve fishing conditions in targeted areas. The aeration system, which will also be installed at the Agricivic Center Pond, will help keep the pond’s water clean and improve fishing conditions.
“Our goal at the FishAmerica Foundation is to set up ways for anglers to give back to the communities and waters that they fish,” said Johanna Laderman, managing director of the FishAmerica Foundation. “FLW Outdoors has been a committed sponsor to the conservation efforts on all lakes that host its tournaments. FLW Outdoors contributions really exemplify what we are about and show how anglers can give back and create great fishing on the lakes year-round.”
In 2000, FLW Outdoors announced its partnership with the FishAmerica Foundation, and since then, FLW Outdoors has directly donated approximately $200,000 and helped to generate more than $1 million for local conservation projects. The first donation made in 2000 went to the conservation commission for Reef Balls, and subsequent annual donations have helped introduce the next generation of anglers to the sport.
“FLW Outdoors’ intention in partnering with FishAmerica is to have a positive impact on the fisheries and host cities where our tournaments are held,” said Charlie Hoover, president and CEO of FLW Outdoors. “FLW Outdoors wants to leave the host lake of our tournaments in better condition than when we arrive for both the current and next generation of anglers. This effort on Lake Okeechobee introduces kids and first-time anglers to the sport by increasing their odds of catching a fish, hopefully their first of many.”
Named after the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, Forrest L. Wood, FLW Outdoors is the industry’s premier provider of sport-fishing tournaments, including the Wal-Mart FLW Tour, the world’s most lucrative bass-fishing circuit; the EverStart Series, known as the gateway to the FLW Tour; the Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League for weekend anglers; the Wal-Mart Texas Tournament Trail; the Wal-Mart RCL Walleye Tour, the world’s most lucrative walleye-fishing circuit; and the Wal-Mart RCL Walleye League for weekend anglers.
Wal-Mart serves as the title sponsor of FLW Outdoors as it has since 1997.