Another Veterans for Fishing Family Day coming up

President of Veterans for Fishing Chris McAleer at Lillydale Lake. Picture: CALLUM LUDWIG

By Callum Ludwig

Veterans for Fishing is hosting another family day at Lillydale Lake, inviting veterans, first responders and their families for an outing full of fun.

Since forming in 2022, Veterans for Fishing has been a fantastic success, hosting both individual and family events and a much-needed social outing for those taking part.

President of Veterans for Fishing and Vice President of the Mt Evelyn RSL Chris McAleer said the event is a great opportunity for veterans, first responders, partners and children to intermingle and create a bit of a community.

“It might help them realise that they’re not the only ones that might be going through a bit of a tough time or it can help get them out and about and socialising as well,” he said.

“We open it up to all veterans across the state and Lillydale Lake is perfect for it because the children,if they get a little bit bored with the fishing stuff, have got an excellent playground, they’ve got great toilet facilities, they’ve got barbecue facilities if anyone wants to do their own barbecue or mums and dads can go for a walk with the kids right around the whole lake.”

The event will begin at 10am on Saturday 15 June and will run into the late afternoon, with a free barbecue lunch provided to the veterans and first responders at 12pm.

Mr McAleer said while it might not be for everybody, fishing can be a great way to get out in nature and be around the water.

“It’s quite therapeutic to just get out, it’s not about catching fish, it’s about getting out and about and if you can get a mate to come with you or make new friends, then the job’s done,” he said.

“We’ll have rigging tutorials, so for those that don’t know how to fish or it’s a bit, you know, out of their league, they can go and talk to one of their guys, they can show them how to rig up, how to fish for the species that are in here with bait and we’re going to have a couple of guys also teaching people how to fish with lures as well.”

With hundreds of veterans getting involved with the group since it started, support has come from everywhere for Veterans for Fishing with gear having been provided by Shimano, monetary donations from Mt Evelyn Community Bank, Veterans Coffee Company and the Ministry of Chocolate and the backing of Lilydale and Monbulk RSLs, while they have also partnered with Aussie Veterans Social Programs to run their fishing events.

Mr McAleer said Veterans for Fishing is about fostering good mental health and wellbeing, using fishing as a tool.

“Whether it’s a veteran or first responder, a male or a female, the stress and that anxiety that they take home at the end of each day or at the end of their service, the families have to deal with that too, and it can create an intense atmosphere at home,” he said.

“So to be able to just to let go of that stress at work and then be able to go home and on a weekend or an evening to be able to go and do something as a family can be good for everyone,”

“You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars on equipment you can buy the basic stuff for under a hundred dollars and we’ll give the kids the tools to go out and know how to fish and you can just go along and you can create your own memories together.”

To get free tickets for the event, visit: