The Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame (The Hall) is the international headquarters for education, recognition and promotion of fresh water sportfishing. Each year The Hall recognizes individuals, groups and organizations for their impact benefiting fresh water angling. Individuals and organizations are honored for outstanding achievements in fishing accomplishments regarding career success and innovation in competition, invention, science, education, conservation, communications, technology or other areas related to fresh water sportfishing. Recently the awards committee enshrined their 2015 class, seventeen individuals and one organization, to join the elite fraternity that currently occupies a place at The Hall.
Chris Armstrong – Florida
Chris Armstrong’s technical illustrations and realistic portrayals of the outdoor world influenced, educated and entertained millions of outdoor enthusiasts over a career that spanned four decades and included contributions to most of the nation’s top outdoor publications, including Bassmaster, In-Fisherman, Outdoor Life, Field & Stream and virtually every other outdoor periodical of consequence. Armstrong also produced educational materials and wildlife illustrations for many national retailers. Recently Armstrong illustrated an entire series of popular youth activity books that continue to be sold through national retailers such as Cabela’s and Bass Pro Shops.
The Bass Federation – Oklahoma
Since 1968, the independent state Bass Federations have worked together to support the grassroots growth of fishing and the growth of the entire sport fishing/outdoors industry in their states. Simply put, The Bass Federation, Inc. and their affiliated state federations do not work for any one organization in particular, although they do have several long-term relationships and partnerships in the industry. The Bass Federation today is partnered with FLW Outdoors.
Trisha Blake – Minnesota
Serving as the president of the marketing division for FLW Outdoors (FLW) since 2010, Trisha Blake has been a key contributor to the success and growth of the organization in her tenure with the organization. Blake was named senior vice president and chief marketing officer of FLW in 2004 and served as vice president of corporate affairs prior to that. Blake oversees the sponsorship, creative, interactive and communications departments as well as the marketing and strategic plans for FLW. Blake also works closely with the operations division to maximize activation and exposure for the organization and its partners. Blake has been instrumental in the development and growth of FLW Fantasy Fishing, which was launched in 2007 with a one million dollar award to the player with the top fantasy team. FLW Fantasy Fishing allows anyone, regardless of ability, to compete, follow the sport and win great prizes. This phenomenon continues to increase exposure for fishing beyond the 60 million-plus anglers that participate annually and has attracted fantasy sports competitors from 123 countries.
Darryl Choronzey – Canada
Darryl Choronzey started his outdoor writing career in the early 1970’s freelance writing for the cross-Canada Globe and Mail newspaper, the Toronto Sun and Ontario’s syndicated Inland Publishing Group. For more than 20 years Choronzey published and edited Ontario Fisherman Magazine during the 1980’s and ’90’s. A little more than a decade ago Choronzey approached the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources with a plan to improve and enhance the fishing opportunities on the Lake Huron River for steelhead. Twelve months after that meeting 50,000 eight-inch yearlings were stocked approximately 50 miles upstream of the Saugeen River for perfect imprinting. This program has been operating for the last 10 consecutive years. In 2002, Choronzey was awarded the highly coveted Canada’s Recreational Fisheries Award in recognition of improving, protecting and promoting sport fishing in Canada.
Dave Csanda â€“ Minnesota
As a veteran outdoor communicator whose career has spanned the very formative years of what today is called fishing education, Dave Csanda has fished from Alaska to Australia, Europe to South America, and all across the U.S. and Canada for everything from bass to muskies and panfish to trout. Csanda is currently putting 35 years of wit, wisdom and expertise in the outdoor sportfishing industry to good use at Lindner Media Productions, where he specializes in producing scripts for educational television fishing programs and DVDs, national TV commercials, product sales presentations, and point-of-purchase DVDs shown internationally in sporting goods stores. He frequently appears on Lindner’s Angling Edge and Fishing Edge television series, instructing anglers on the fine points of freshwater angling. In his rare spare time, Csanda is also active inâ€œLet’s Go Fishing,â€ a Minnesota-based non-profit organization that gets seniors, youth and veterans outdoors and fishing.
Kathy Fennel â€“ Kentucky
Kathy Fennel is currently president of the operations division for FLW Outdoors, a position she has held since 2010. In this capacity she oversees the day-to-day operations, making sure FLW continues to provide prestigious, well-organized fishing tournaments of which participants, fans and sponsors are proud to be a part of. Fennel has been a key figure with the organization since 1982, when it operated as Operation Bass. She has become one of the most influential people in the fishing industry overseeing and working directly with tournament directors, site solicitation, logistics, information technology, FLW Bass Fishing and FLW Walleye Fishing magazines, FLW television, angler management, and numerous other daily responsibilities.
She also works with the marketing division to ensure exposure for the organization and its tournaments, events, and partners.
Mike Gofron â€“ Illinois
Mike Gofron has a record 37 top-ten place finishes on the Professional Walleye Trail, three victories including a Championship, two Angler of the Year titles, a Top Gun and Sportsman of the Year honors. Gofron has pioneered techniques that have led to many new tackle categories. Fishing in water as shallow as six inches meant new jig designs, tougher line, more trolling motor power and rods for â€œcombatâ€ fishing. The development of lightweight spinners, jigs with plastic for walleyes, shallow running crankbaits and jerk baits were due in large part to his successes and these advancements have significantly benefited walleye anglers throughout North America.
Joseph â€œSepâ€ Hendrickson â€“ California
Joseph â€œSepâ€ Hendrickson is an angler, tackle innovator, outdoor writer, author, photographer and an acclaimed radio show host. Around 1985, Sep and his wife Marilyn, began creating small metal ultra-light trolling blades which they utilized on local lakes and reservoirs in the Sacramento, California and Sierra Mountain areas. By 1988, demand had grown and the Hendrickson’s formed Sep’s Pro Fishing, Inc., and began manufacturing, marketing and promoting their flashers. As co-founder of California Inland Fisheries Foundation, Inc., in 1991, Sep’s dedication to enhancing fisheries and angling opportunities has been steadfast. His California Sportsmen Radio Show has been airing in Sacramento for 17 years. Sep also produces the â€œUltimate Bassâ€ show, is a book author with the title, Trolling Truths, and he is a columnist and photographer with video and social media playing an important roles in his program.
Ray Kennedy – Wisconsin
Ray Kennedy was a second generation muskie guide. If there was one truly outstanding quality about Kennedy it was his enthusiasm and willingness to please his customers. Kennedy’s guiding message was simple. He said, â€œIt was just a little hard work and some common sense.â€ Kennedy’s career highlights consist of having caught seven muskellunge over 40 pounds, the largest being a 54-inch 50-pound musky on August 6, 1956, from Lake Tomahawk. Ray was a legendary guide in the Mincoqua region and well known for teaching his many clients his fishing style which they credit for making them better anglers.
Dick Lapp â€“ Wisconsin
Through his fishing and guiding expertise, knowledge of natural resources, attention to the client’s needs and professionalism, Dick Lapp became known as one of the most credible guides in the region. During his 75-plus years of guiding, Lapp influenced multiple generations. Lapp never fished personally while guiding and was very patient when teaching the various techniques of casting, jigging, tying knots, netting fish and was very well versed in proper lure and bait choices depending on the weather conditions, time of day and season. Lapp has always been known for his gentle nature, fishing and guiding expertise and sensitivity to conservation of the natural resources.
Mike Lazarus â€“ Canada
Inducted into the Muskies Canada Hall of Fame in 2012, Mike Lazarus is perhaps the most prolific guide/producer of angling caught muskies of all-time. The numbers are staggering. He is responsible for the capture of over 9,000 total muskies in twenty-six years; more than 2,200 of which were over 50-inches; more than 300 were over 55-inches in length; 2 over 60-inches in length; more than 500 were over 40-pounds and more than 40 were over 50-pounds (all released except one). While truly a diverse angler, Mike’s knowledge and array of precision trolling tactics over such a vast amount of water are legendary within the muskie community. It may be that no other muskie fisherman in history has had knowledge over such a vast amount of muskie waters, having an intimate knowledge of the entire Great Lakes system from Sault Ste Marie to the farthest east range of Quebec.
Bob Maciulis â€“ Illinois
Since 1976, Bob Maciulis has been writing outdoor columns for the Joliet Herald-News, the Southtown Star and Chicago and suburban dailies owned by the Chicago Sun Times. Maciulis was the Illinois Editor of Midwest Outdoors from 1975 through 1979. His articles have been published in Gray’s Sporting Journal, Federation of Fly Fishers, Illinois Game and Fish, and the Badger Sportsman. Currently Maciulis produces and hosts The Outdoor Notebook Radio Show in the Chicagoland area. This weekly program is the longest running outdoor radio show and is celebrating its 32nd season of continuous broadcasting. Maciulis also produced the Outdoor Notebook Television show which aired in the Chicagoland market. Maciulis is the publisher of the Outdoor Notebook Magazine. This magazine covers the Chicagoland area, northeastern Illinois, southern Wisconsin, northwestern Indiana and Southwest Michigan. This monthly magazine is in its 33rd year and is Chicagoland’s most widely read monthly regional publication.
Mark Martin – Michigan
Mark Martin has had a stellar career in competitive angling. He was awarded the prestigious Rapala Angler of the Year award and earned his way into the championships of the Masters Walleye Circuit; Ranger, Crestliner and Lund (RCL) tournament trail and the National Walleye Trail (NWT). Martin has had 47 top-ten finishes and is a Professional Walleye Trail (PWT) Champion. Martin’s angling career has spanned the range from bringing angling education into school districts, conducting seminars, radio programs and guest hosting outdoor TV programs such as Midwest-Outdoors TV, Michigan Out-Of Doors, Discovery Outdoors and Wilderness Journal. Martin also contributes educational articles to a variety of fishing and outdoor publications, currently sharing his 30-plus years of wisdom and expertise in the outdoor industry by writing for Midwest Outdoors, Fishing Facts, and Michigan Woods N Waters News Magazine. Martin has authored three books and a number of DVDs including, 250 Walleye Tips, Year Around Walleye; Fishing the Four Seasons; Pro Walleye Tactics and Masters of Walleye.
Bob Nasby â€“ Minnesota
Bob Nasby has been a lifelong ambassador for fishing. Known the last 40 years as owner of a rod-making shop, guide and fly casting instructor, he has fished and taught others about fishing for bass, walleyes, muskies, northern pike and panfish. An expert fly caster, Nasby is without peer as a casting instructor, fly tier and as a fishing innovator. This would include developing new patterns to take bonefish in the Keys, steelhead on the northern shore, and, by belly boat, trout along Minnesota’s Gunflint Trail. Perhaps most importantly, Bob’s enthusiasm for fishing and his ability to lead others toward lives in which fishing plays an important role, are his greatest qualities.
Jim Owens â€“ Washington
For more than twenty-five years, Jim Owens has been instrumental in introducing the sport of fishing to children. The charity that he founded, â€œCatch a Special Thrillâ€ Foundation (C.A.S.T.), was inspired by his deep desire to join volunteers who love to fish with special needs populations for a day of fishing in the outdoors. In 2011 Owens further expanded the mission of the foundation by establishing the â€œTake A Warrior Fishing Program.â€ This program was designed to support military personnel and their families, specifically targeting persons assigned to Warrior Transition Commands. Owen served as President of the Washington State BASS Federation for 10 years and has twice been named the BASS National Federation Man of the Year for his work with Youth, Conservation, and warm water fishing issues in Washington State. He was instrumental in the development of the Washington State Warm Water Enhancement Stamp. He was appointed to the Washington State Youth Sportfishing committee which developed the first youth fishing outreach program, consequently affecting youth throughout the state. Owens was also a member of the Inland Fish Program Advisory Group for over 20 years.
Gordon Pyzer â€“ Canada
Forty-two times National Communications Award winning writer, multiple National Magazine Gold and Silver Medal Winner, recipient of the 2014 Canadian Magazine Cover Award and Canadian Angler Hall of Fame inductee, Gord Pyzer, is widely regarded as Canada’s most scientific angler. Known in fishing circles as â€œDoctor Pyzer,â€ he has a Master’s degree in Resource Management and worked for over thirty years as a senior manager with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, including Policy Advisor to the Assistant Deputy Minister for Northern Ontario. Pyzer is the Fishing Editor of Outdoor Canada Magazine and the Field Editor of In-Fisherman Magazine and Television. Pyzer is the Co-Host of the Real Fishing Radio Show currently in its 29th consecutive year of national syndication across Canada and the host of Fish Talk with the Doc, on the Outdoor Journal Radio Show. Pyzer’s On The Water Online blog for Outdoor Canada Magazine is eagerly read by tens of thousands of anglers and his bi-weekly blog for Northern Ontario Tourism is regarded as aâ€œmust readâ€ for anyone planning a fishing trip in the province. A two-time recipient of the Northern Ontario Tourist Outfitter’s (NOTO) President’s Cup and winner of the Northwestern Ontario Tourist Outfitter Association’s (NWOTA) Conservation Award, Pyzer was named by The Fishing News as,â€œone of Canada’s most influential people.â€ In 2009, Pyzer was the third (and first living) person to be inducted into the Canadian Angler Hall of Fame.
Bill Rice â€“ Oregon
Bill Rice was instrumental in helping the fishing industry grow by promoting it on the west coast through writing and also nationally through his television exposure. He spent nearly 50 years in the fishing industry. Rice was the Editor of Western Outdoor News and Editor of Western Bass newspaper and magazine. Through his writing skills he created strong recognition for bass fishing in the western region of the United States. In 1973 he was instrumental in establishing Western Bass as a monthly supplement to Western Outdoor News and established a weekly television show that aired on the the Nashville Network from 1984 through 1990. He traveled throughout North America from Mexico to Alaska filming outdoor fishing and hunting adventures to promote fishing through that television show. In 1988, Rice returned to work for Western Outdoor News and their newest bass tournament arm (now called WON Bass). He continued to work for them until 2003, when he retired, but he still does occasional writing for WON.
Tom Zenanko â€“ Minnesota
For over 35 years Tom Zenanko has dedicated his life to teaching people to fish, from his television series the Sportsman’s Journal, shown on 43 markets in the 1980’s to his bestselling video tapes series, Tom Zenanko’s Fishing Tips and Secrets. Zenanko authored four successful books on fishing and published a weekly hunting and fishing magazine, The Sportsman’s Press He has performed over 1200 seminars in 28 states and in 1992, Zenanko won the Professional Walleye Trail’s Western Walleye Championship. Zenanko currently hosts and produces â€œIce Fishing Today Television,â€ the first web-based fishing program sponsored by his current employer Vexilar.
Wade Bourne – Tennessee; Clem Dippel – Wisconsin; Dr. Michael Dombeck – Wisconsin; Dr. James Gammon – Indiana; Elmer Guerri – Indiana; Dr. Todd Larson – Ohio; Tim Lesmeister – Minnesota; David Rainer – Alabama; Sharon Rushton – Missouri; Wendy Williamson – Wisconsin; Gregg Wollner – Wisconsin and Forrest Wood – Arkansas.\