LAKE WINNEBAGO, Wis. (WBAY) - It's the opportunity to have your name forever linked with Lake Winnebago and become a destination for anglers -- while helping the lake's walleye population in the process.
"I have my own reef and I can say, well, I fished on my reef today and I caught that," George Miller, Walleyes for Tomorrow's Lake Winnebago reef chairman, said.
On the north end of Lake Winnebago is reef number 5. It's clearly marked by the fish finder.
"Which is probably about a one- or two-foot wide hole we put the stones through and about 1,000 feet long," Miller said.
Knowing better habitat would lead to more fish, Walleyes for Tomorrow launched its reef project in 1997.
"Most of the lake is like a desert -- there's no place for a small fish to hide -- so we figured that habitat reefs will give them a place to hide, plus it'll give different creatures like crabs and different organisms in the water a place to grow," Miller explained.
And after 20 years of work and roughly a million dollars, there are a lot of reefs in the lake.
Specifically, Miller said, "128 habitat reefs and 13 spawning reefs."
In an effort to recoup some of the cost of building the reefs, and to put toward future projects, Walleyes For Tomorrow is selling naming rights for the reefs.
Depending on the reef, it costs either $1,000 or $2,000.
Out of 141 Lake Winnebago reefs, 45 remain without a name.
"Most of them are going to people that were involved in fishing. It's just a memory for the family to say we have a reef in their memory and they can go when they're out there fishing, kind of speak to God and up to their relatives and say, 'Well, how you doing up there? Give me a little help. I need a couple fish today,'" Miller laughed.
Walleyes for Tomorrow can be contacted through an online form at http://walleyesfortomorrow.org/contact-us.