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Bullfrog Fish Farms new owners

Keep­ing it reel: Bullfrog Fish Farm’s new owners hope patrons continue to enjoy the business’ scenic Dunn County property and, as the slogan says, eat their product

posted June 26, 2017 8:15 a.m. (CDT)

http://www.thecountrytoday.com/Farm/Country-Options/2017/06/26/lt-div-class-libPageBodyLinebreak-gt-Keep-ing-it-reel-lt-div-gt.html

by / Pamela Pow­ers, Leader-Tele­gram | pamela.pow­ers@ecpc.com

MENOMONIE — Jeremiah Fredrickson read an Eau Claire Leader-Telegram article about Herby Radmann selling his fish farm and was hooked.

Jeremiah and his wife, Jordan, of Elk Mound and two friends, Matthew and Jamie Poore of Portage, earlier this month bought Bullfrog Fish Farm in Menomonie. Matthew Poore has a degree in fish and wildlife management.

The farm will now be Jeremiah’s Bullfrog Fish Farm but continue as a trout fishing pond with musical entertainment, a chance to grill trout and a provider of retail product lines.

It also will retain the slogan “Eat My Fish.”

Herby Radmann started the fish farm in March 1994 after discovering in the late 1980s the plentiful and pure water resources under what was then a farm field.

For about a year he scouted for a new owner to move the fish farm into the future.

I didn’t know I had the dream to be a fish farmer, but lo and behold, I did,” Jeremiah, 40, said, smiling.

Educational hook

As an agriculture teacher in the Elk Mound school district, he wants to see the educational component of the fish farm continue.

We’d like to expand school tours, nursing home tours, youth groups and incorporate more education here,” he said.

The family already has cut some trails in the nearly 22-acre farm to allow people to hike and have identified trees along the paths.

Trout caught in the pond will continue to be cleaned and grilled for customers.

The new owners plan to expand the smoked, fresh and pickled trout retail markets they serve, as well as the markets for trout spread and “hobo” spice. They will start attending area farmers markets and encourage more grocery stores and restaurants to carry the products.

When her husband first came home with the newspaper article, Jordan said she thought it was sad the fish farm might close.

Then Jeremiah asked her what she would think of buying it.

I hesitated,” she said. “It sounded like fun, but it was like, can it feed our family?”

They bought the fish farm June 9 and wanted it open for Father’s Day weekend. The first week was overwhelming, learning the system and getting it ready for visitors, Jeremiah said.

It’s exciting,” he said.

With a laugh Jordan added: “ ‘Adventure’ is a good word.”

Natural appeal

They believe there is much potential for growth at the farm.

In the future they may add a few campsites so people could come spend the weekend fishing.

We’d love to keep it as natural as possible and just a great place to bring a family for their first fishing trips,” said Jordan, 37, who is a Mary Kay consultant and has a college degree in biology and education.

If your family has never fished before, your odds are pretty good you’re going to hook something and have that experience,” Jeremiah said.

All trout caught must be kept. The average trout is about 1 pound, and the fish cost $8 per live-pound weight.

The Fredricksons, who have one son, Malachi, 3, believe the fish farm offers an opportunity to teach people about the entire food chain as well as about water resources.

The farm produced about 15,000 pounds of live-weight fish a year when Radmann owned it.

In 2000 a social area was added to the farm to allow for people to have a meal there, listen to music and enjoy the pond. Music is still offered Sunday afternoons.

Memorable visit

Jeremiah only visited the fish farm once in 2001 before he saw the newspaper article about it being offered for sale. He and Jordan met many times with Radmann before purchasing the business.

The word ‘potential’ kept coming up,” Jeremiah said. “There is a lot of potential for different avenues.”

Production manager David Sundal is staying on at the fish farm and has been vital to teaching the Fredricksons about the operation.

Radmann is also mentoring where needed, Jordan said.

Sundal, who was smoking fish, said he is excited there are new owners.

The new energy is great,” he said. “I’m glad to see it is going to keep going. These are great people.”

Radmann, who has always maintained the fish farm was magical, has said in retirement he plans to continue to be a small farm advocate.

Jeremiah said his favorite part of the farm is being around the pond.

I enjoy the serenity of the pond and watching the fish jump,” he said. “I enjoy walking around and talking with people while they are fishing.”

About 200 people visited the fish farm last weekend to meet the new owners.

I enjoy seeing how excited the community is that we are up and running again,” Jordan said.

 

 

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