2017 Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame Inductees Announced


One of the many programs of the Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame, based in Hayward, Wis., consists of recognizing individuals, organizations and institutions that have made significant, 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 2017 class of the Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame.

Dan Basore
He has shared his knowledge through his monthly “Fishing History” articles in MidWest Outdoors magazine and other publications for over 30 years. He 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 still alive so they can realize what a treasure their collections are and how much they were and are appreciated.

Hugh C. Becker
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 DNR. 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 $1 million to date has been issued in the form of grants for muskie-related research.

Clem Dippel
He spent many years making the B.A.S.S. publication the model for success. When he acquired Fishing Tackle Retailer 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 industry. His business acumen, sensible style and hard work have always equaled success. Dippel served on the Induction Committee for the Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame for 20 years and is still an advisor.

Joseph Flater
Known to many as “Muskie Joe,” Flater has been 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. His 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. Customers always appreciate their trip on the river with Muskie Joe and relish his colorful fishing tales and skills on the water.

Shaw Grigsby
Grigsby has been on the competitive bass scene for over 30 years and has won nine B.A.S.S. events and has 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 back 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. He always has shared his knowledge and expertise instructing his audience on how to be better anglers.

Gary Howey
Howey is an award-winning writer, television and radio broadcaster and photographer. He 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 and quickly expanded it into a regional monthly tabloid. In 1995, Howey created the award-winning Outdoorsmen Productions LLC television production and public relations company. In 2009, Howey began a syndicated radio program, Outdoor Adventures, which airs six days a week.

You can be among the first to get the latest info on where to go, what to use and how to use it!

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Bob Jensen
Jensen began his fishing career as a guide at Camp Fish near Brainerd, Minn. 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, Fishing the Midwest Fishing Team. A prolific freelance writer, Jensen has written hundreds of columns and feature articles that have appeared in a wide variety of publications including MidWest Outdoors. His television show, Fishing the Midwest with Bob Jensen, has aired across the region and country for over 20 years and has educated anglers on the many virtues of the sport.

Ned Kehde
He 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. Kehde’s 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
Pennaz was named executive director of the North American Fishing Club in 1988, and developed and launched North American Fisherman magazine where he has been the editor there 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 and Man vs. Lake vs. Man.

Gordon Schulter
This rod expert 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 became successful once again. He left the rod company in 1968 to pursue new business opportunities in New Mexico, but he was called back in 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
Snell moved to Moose Lake near Hayward, Wis. in 1929, just one year after a permanent management plan was adopted for the reservoir. Over the next 50 years, he earned his reputation as a successful and sought-after guide at many of the Hayward area’s finest resorts as tourism increased. Many seasons he spent in excess of 150 days on the water, specializing in muskies and walleyes. Snell was well known for his knowledge of the West Fork of the Chippewa River. What are now the “quiet lakes,” these 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 even 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 50 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, Snell was a consummate woodsman including work as a commercial logger in the 1940s, a fur trapper his entire life, a carpenter, who helped construct the Moose Lake Civilian Conservation Corps Camp in the mid-1930s and assisted resort owners in cabin construction and maintenance. As a result of his own life experiences, he could regale clients with tales of the 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 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 degradation, loss and alteration of coldwater streams and coolwater and 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.