Submitted by Tim Lesmeister
One of the many programs of the Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame, based in Hayward, Wisconsin, consists of recognizing individuals, organizations and institutions who have made significant and lasting contributions to the sport and heritage of freshwater fishing. The Hall of Fame Awards Committee meets annually in August to make their selections for the following year. After much deliberation there were 11 individuals and one organization inducted into the Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame’s 2017 year class.
Dan Basore has shared his knowledge through his “Fishing History” column in Midwest Outdoors and other publications for over 30 years. He especially loves to introduce kids to fishing and has done so by hosting scout groups and school groups with a structured program. For many years Basore has been in charge of the National Fishing Lure Collector’s Club which recognizes tackle makers while they are alive so they can realize what a treasure their collections are and how much they are appreciated.
Hugh C. Becker began his personal fish-tagging program in 1953 which led to many early practices regarding catch and release of muskellunge. Becker was a catalyst in the development of Muskies, Inc. serving on the Board of Directors from 1967 through 1983. In 1976 he personally funded a three-year fish-tagging program directed by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. This study was the basis for the adoption of the catch and release program for Muskies, Inc and the adoption of utilizing the Leech Lake/Mississippi River strain of muskellunge as the brood stock for that state’s stocking program. Through the Hugh C. Becker Foundation almost a million dollars to date has been issued in the form of grants for muskellunge related research.
Clem Dippel spent many years making the BASS publication the model for success for fishing publications. When he acquired the Fishing Tackle Retailer publication he brought together a team to revamp and revise that publication into a multi-platform media vehicle dedicated to his passion which has always been fishing. Dippel has been a mentor to dozens of people in the fishing industry and his business acumen, sensible style and hard work has always equaled success. Dippel served on the Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame induction committee for 20 years and is still an advisor.
Joseph Flater is known to many as Muskie Joe. A fixture on the Chippewa and Flambeau rivers in Wisconsin Flater has been guiding over 40 years and continues to take anglers out over 80 days each summer from the popular Flater’s Resort. Flater’s dedication goes well beyond landing fish. He is just as eager to point out the antics of eagles, osprey, beavers and bears and has always been a leader in the ethics of conserving the resources. Customer’s always appreciate their trip on the river with Muskie Joe and relish his colorful fishing tales and his skills on the water.
Shaw Grigsby has been a fixture on the competitive bass scene for over 30 years. He has won nine BASS events and qualified for the Bassmaster Classic 15 times. He has won many National Elite events and has always been at the highest level of professional angling since he began fishing tournaments in 1984. His television show, One More Cast, has enjoyed two decades of top ratings making him a favorite of anglers both young and old as he shares his knowledge and expertise instructing his audience on how to be better anglers.
Gary Howie is an award winning writer, television and radio broadcaster and photographer. Howey relocated from South Dakota to Nebraska in the mid-seventies after returning from serving in the army in Vietnam. He found it difficult to find information regarding the outdoor pursuits in his area so he began publishing The Outdoorsmen publication and quickly expanded it into a regional monthly tabloid. In 1995 Howie created the award winning Outdoorsmen Productions television series which is still broadcasting. In 2009 Howie began a syndicated radio program, Outdoor Adventures which airs six days a week.
Bob Jensen began his fishing career as a guide at Camp Fish near Brainerd, MN. He later became a member of the Lindy Fishing Team and was a member of Pro-Mo’s promotional team. Jensen eventually launched his own fishing educational/promotional operation called the, Fishing the Midwest Fishing Team. A prolific free-lance writer Jensen has written hundreds of columns and feature articles which have appeared in a wide variety of publications. His television show, Fishing the Midwest with Bob Jensen has aired across the Midwest for over 20 years and has educated anglers young and old to the many virtues of the sport of fishing.
Ned Kehde has excelled as an outdoor writer providing unique insights into diverse fishing tactics for many different species. He has contributed to In-Fisherman magazine for over 20 years and his work has been featured in their sister publications, the Catfish In-Sider, the Catfish Guide and the Bass Guide. His expertise in bass fishing dates back to the 1950s, as he fished regularly with the best anglers in Missouri, Kansas and Minnesota. His approaches to fishing for catfish, white bass, crappies and largemouth bass have made him a national spokesman for the techniques he has mastered.
Steve Pennaz was named Executive Director of the North American Fishing Club in 1988 and developed and launched the North American Fisherman magazine and held the editor’s position for that publication for 15 years. Through his experience hosting the North American Fisherman television program Pennaz has fished hundreds of locations across North and Central America, Scandinavia, Iceland and South America targeting a wide variety of freshwater species. He excels at finding and catching fish on new waters, a skill that now drives his latest television series, Lake Commandos, Man vs. Lake vs. Man.
Gordon Schulter is considered by many to be the man who saved St. Croix Rods and made it what it is today. Schluter invested in the rod company in 1960 when it was struggling and because of his intuitive business practices St. Croix Rods because successful once again. He left the rod company in 1968 to pursue new business opportunities in New Mexico, but he was called back 1977 when the company who owned St. Croix rods decided to close the operation. Operating as President and General Manager Schluter realized it would require a massive effort to bring back to life the only major manufacturer of rods left in the United States. His efforts paid off and now St. Croix Rods is one of the most successful rod manufactures in the world.
Irv Snell moved to Moose Lake, near Hayward, Wisconsin in 1929, just one year after a permanent management plan was adopted for the reservoir. Over the next fifty years he earned his reputation as a successful and sought after guide at many of the Hayward area’s finest resorts as the tourism industry developed. Many seasons he spent in excess of 150 days on the water specializing in musky and walleye. Snell was especially well known for his knowledge of the West Fork of the Chippewa River. What are now the ‘quiet lakes’ were among his clientele’s favorites including Moose, Ghost and Teal. Requests for his services were often made a year in advance and included reservations for up to four consecutive weeks with the same party. Clients often spanned more than one generation and included some from Europe.
During the entire span of his guiding tenure, Snell was also the caretaker of the Moose Lake Dam, which he managed with an impeccable record for nearly fifty years for what is now Xcel Energy. He was caretaker of the dam during the flood of 1941 and worked tirelessly along with volunteers to save the dam and the reservoir. In addition to these duties Snell was a consummate woodsman including work as a commercial logger in the 1940’s, a fur trapper his entire life, a carpenter who helped construct the Moose Lake Civilian Conservation Corps Camp in the mid 1930’s, and assisted resort owners in cabin construction and maintenance. As a result of his own life experiences he could regale clients with tales of Northwood’s life that few could match.
Snell was also an early advocate of conservation efforts to protect and preserve the northern Wisconsin fishery.
DARE – Driftless Area Restoration Effort – Spearheaded by Trout Unlimited, the Driftless Area Restoration Effort (DARE), is a geographically focused, locally driven, consensus based effort to protect, restore, and enhance rivers and streams for fish and other aquatic life throughout the Driftless Area. Formed in late fall of 2005, their efforts aim to jointly address the issues of habitat degredation, loss, and alteration of coldwater streams and coolwater/warmwater rivers. Their goals are to protect, restore and enhance cold, cool, and warmwater streams for fish and other aquatic life in the Driftless Area region for future generations.