Matt Wilkie

Matt with a big fish…

Matt Wilkie – Co-Founder, Overnight Program Coordinator

Matt Wilkie is a native Minnesotan who grew up with a love for the outdoors. While he always had a passion for open water fishing, ice fishing was something that he was not introduced to until he was a young adult. But boy was he hooked once that time came! Matt sees the inaccessibility of ice fishing for certain individuals as a missing opportunity, and he came up with the idea for the Big Fish and Fry program in order to bridge this gap.

“I certainly love catching big fish, but there is absolutely no better feeling than helping someone else bring in the big one!”


…and Pat with a Fry!

Pat Walrath – Co Founder, Day Program Coordinator

Pat Walrath (known as Captain Walleye!) is another native Minnesotan who has had a lifelong passion for fishing. Pat graduated from St. Cloud University with a degree in elementary education. Big Fish and Fry is not his first experience with kids on the hard water, as he previously volunteered with the Minnesota DNR’s Minnaqua program that specialized in taking kids ice fishing. He has also taught open water fishing camps within the city of Chisago City.

“Our lakes and wild areas are a precious resource. To be able to introduce the next generation to responsible stewardship, we can trust that they will also hold our natural resources in high regard and learn to enjoy fishing like we do.”