Consolidated Musky Club: From fellowship to conservation
By City Times staff
WISCONSIN RAPIDS – A local group originally formed for social interaction now works to support area conservation in local waters.
“Consolidated Musky Club started in the 60s, so it has been around a long time,” said Club President Don Kempen. “We kept the name Consolidated because of that being the mill here in Wisconsin Rapids, so we wanted tradition…”
“It was a bunch of guys from the mill that decided to start the club,” added Chuck Schauer, a member of the board of directors.
Schauer said that while the club may have had more of a fellowship purpose when it was first formed; it now has a mission to stock area waters.
“Later on they did some things, like they put the fishing pier down on the other side of the hospital, and a few other things like that,” Schauer explained.
The club has also been active in supporting military veterans and providing college grants. The club meets twice a year, holds two banquets, and hosts tournaments.
“The opening day of fishing season we have a tournament,” added Kempen. “Then, in June, we have tournament that lasts from midnight on Thursday until 1 p.m. on Sunday… Our club is really unique and different because most clubs that have tournaments, they have a restriction on hours and restriction on water. Our club is open to all of the hours between midnight on Thursday and 1 p.m. on Sunday, and you can fish any body of water in the state of Wisconsin.”
But, their work is heavily focused on conservation.
Kempen said that by 1980 the musky numbers in the area had dwindled, so in 1984 for club began releasing fish.
This year, the club has released over a thousand fish, working first with another club to release 300 near Mosinee.
“The first stocking was in April and that was in Mosinee flowage,” Kempen said. “The second one was the 17th of September, and that one involved 730 fish.”
For the second stocking, the club worked with the Wisconsin DNR to provide resources for the state department to gather information on musky, with a chip implanted in each fish.
“It will tell you what day the fish was planted, where it was planted, how big it was at the time,” Kempen explained.
“They are going into that process now, so they can keep track of the movements of the fish, how much they are growing on a yearly basis. It’s going to eventually bring a lot of information about how they travel, where they go.”
According to Kempen and Schauer the fish are knocked out with a chemical during the chipping process and a syringe is used to inject the chip under the fish’s skin.
“It’s just like a grain of rice,” Schauer said. “It is that small.”
Since 1984, the club has released 108,000 musky into area waters.