Six anglers picked for Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame

10 11 Fishing Hall
(Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame)

The Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame has chosen six individuals to receive recognition with their induction into the 2022 class of Hall of Famers.

From competitive angling backgrounds, to communicators, inventors and conservationists, the Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame had an eclectic group of nominees to choose from and it is highlighted by this year’s recipients.

Steve Heiting (Wisconsin)

Steve Heiting is the managing editor of Musky Hunter magazine, and has held that position for over 25 years. Previous to that he was the editor of Wisconsin Outdoor Journal magazine.

Although his home is northern Wisconsin, Heiting is a well-traveled angler. He and his guests have caught nearly 2,000 muskies from waters in six states and Ontario. He guided from 1988 through the 1999 seasons and continues to hold his guiding license.

Heiting is co-owner of the University of Esox Musky Schools, which began in 1996. More than 1,500 students have attended these schools since their inception and have boated approximately 3,000 muskies.

Heiting has written two musky fishing books. His first, Musky Mastery: The Techniques of Top Guides, is now available in a 25th anniversary edition. The Complete Guide to Musky Hunting, which he co-authored with Jim Saric, is in its second edition.

Heiting has written, edited or contributed to 25 books about musky fishing, and written more than 500 magazine articles. He has produced five musky fishing DVDs. His fishing tactics have been featured in articles in In-Fisherman, Field & Stream, Outdoor Life, Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World, and Wisconsin Outdoor News magazines. He is also a contributing writer to Wisconsin Outdoor News, providing vital musky information to the readers of the state’s largest outdoor publication. His articles and photographs have appeared in more than 24 magazines and newspapers covering the outdoor sports.

Each spring, Heiting conducts seminars for sport shows and fishing clubs throughout the Midwest, and he has presented more than 300 in his career. Every August he serves as the master of ceremonies for the National Championship Musky Open, the largest musky tournament in the world, which annually draws more than 1,300 anglers to Eagle River, Wisconsin. Since 2018, Heiting has been the lead presenter at the first-ever college musky fishing course ever conducted, at Nicolet College in Rhinelander, Wisconsin.

Steve Jones (Michigan)

Captain Steve Jones has been guiding clients for over 45 years on the Great Lakes from beginners to tournament anglers. He is known to readily share his knowledge and experience including techniques and hot spots, as doing so fulfills his true passion of helping others succeed in their fishing endeavors. Steve has been featured on many TV shows, magazine and newspaper articles and even hosted a “fishing hotline” all in an effort to promote the sport.

Always intrigued by fishing, Jones started at an early age teaching himself to become the most proficient angler he could. In 1973 he hosted a media trip in which multiple national articles were published. This was the start of countless additional articles and stories that Jones has either been featured in or written himself. With a dream of having a career in the angling industry, Jones received his USCG Captains license in 1976 in order to become a fishing guide on the Great Lakes. He quickly added additional charter boats and captains to his fleet to take even more people fishing as interest gained for his services and expertise.

Around the lakes, Jones has been known as the go-to expert for fishing information as he openly shares fishing reports and even his favorite fishing lures with all. With a large demand of anglers seeking his advice to catch fish, he catered to their needs by opening up a fishing tackle retail store which only stocked products that were hand selected by Jones himself including tackle from his own lure-manufacturing company. Having this retail store location allowed him to reach out to many anglers, often those brand new to the sport, by serving as a place to visit for fishing advice and gear to help them increase their angling knowledge and fishing enjoyment.

In addition to fishing, public speaking is another one of Jones’ strengths and using these skills he has been the headline seminar speaker at countless sport shows, fishing clubs and tournaments. Throughout his career Jones has been featured and even hosted many regional and national TV shows from In-Fisherman, Babe Winkleman and Michigan Out of Doors just to name a few. As a regional fishing ambassador, he served as an In-Fisherman staff advisor for the area. Always involved and looking to strengthen the fishing community, he was a charter member of Muskies Inc. and the Lake St. Clair Walleye Association.

Over the years, Jones has had the opportunity to guide tens of thousands of clients on the Great Lakes and has left a large footprint within the angling community. He has truly been a mentor to not only new anglers but even fishing guides who inspire to also have a career helping others enjoy fishing.

Tom Keenan (Wisconsin)

Tom Keenan is a professional angler who grew up on the beautiful shores of Little Bay de Noc in Upper Michigan so his passion for fishing started at a young age.

Keenan fished his first tournament in 1989. He teamed up with his brother Mark and took second place at their first Masters Walleye Circuit (MWC) Event. This competition inspired him to get a college degree and land a job in the fishing industry. Keenan has fished tournaments for over 30

years and has accumulated various titles along the way. He has won Team of the Year twice with the MWC, was a three-time RCL/FLW Angler of the Year and won the National Walleye Trail (NWT) Angler of the Year title in 2019. He surpassed a major milestone  in 2016 having made over one million dollars in career earnings. His career milestone win came in 2003 when he won the RCL Championship and earned 300,000 dollars for this single event.  He is the all-time  career earner on the RCL tour and currently is second for earnings on the NWT Trail.

Keenan worked for Gander Mountain for over  27 years and was a store manager for one of the highest volume stores in the company for 20-plus years. He continues to perform seminars and speaking events throughout the Midwest and has always been willing to instruct anglers of all skill levels.

Dave Kumlein (Montana)

Dave Kumlein was born and raised in Janesville, WI and attended McAllister College in Minnesota graduating with a degree in political science. He moved to Montana full time after graduating in 1973 and fell into guiding on the rivers of southwestern Montana and began outfitting fly anglers in 1976.

Kumlein opened Montana Troutfitters in 1978 and ran it until 1998 when he sold the store to devote his time to family and working for the Whirling Disease Foundation, which he helped build from the ground up, and became Executive Director in 2001.

By 2007 the Whirling Disease Foundation had merged with Trout Unlimited (TU) and Kumlein spent the remainder of his career with TU in various capacities until retiring in the fall of 2020. During that time Kumlein spent countless hours volunteering with a number of causes, including various fly fishing programs for veterans, and he helped found the Warrior and Quiet Waters Foundation in 2007.

John Prochnow (Iowa)

John Prochnow earned his Chemistry degree from the University of Nebraska and used the knowledge gleaned to improve fishing for millions of anglers over the years.

For the past 35 years, Prochnow has served as one of the world’s leading inventors, lure designers, and technical liaisons with the outdoor press and professionals in the fishing industry.

His global impact on angling and anglers is substantial and on-going.

Prochnow is one of the original inventors and is now the R&D team lead for Berkley Power Baits, Berkley Gulp and Berkley MaxScent, products used for decades by millions of anglers worldwide in both freshwater and saltwater applications.

Prochnow holds multiple patents for fish attractant delivery systems for baits and lures.

In his travels around the globe he has taught anglers about the use and importance of fish attractants and lures and how fish react to various chemo-receptive stimuli and baits.

Previous experience includes a lifetime study of all types of fishing and fishing techniques. He has fished the PWT as a co-angler and worked with many of the legendary anglers of the past and present to develop new and innovative baits and lures.

As an avid angler and innovator Prochnow was named to Outdoor Life Top 25 most influential in Hunting and Fishing in the December/January 2008 issue of Outdoor Life Magazine.

In addition, he has aided in the development and scale up of multi-million-dollar manufacturing processes and research facilities to produce and study fishing baits and lures, including the development of a full-scale carp bait research and manufacturing facility in Holland.

His contributions of time and product to the various outdoor groups such as Boy Scouts, Ducks Unlimited, Coastal Conservation Association and various other local youth fishing events are unprecedented. He enjoys sharing his knowledge with anglers of all ages by way of radio talk shows, magazine and video interviews as well as social media. He has also been known to walk around fishing areas handing out baits to young anglers and explaining how to use them to catch fish. What really drives Prochnow is to see people having more fun in the outdoors with the products he helped to develop.

Chris Wood (Virginia)

Chris Wood has become a giant in the fisheries conservation field leading the conversion of Trout Unlimited (TU) from a seven million dollar annual budget organization with 32 staff when he started 20 years ago, to a 78 million powerhouse with 260 staff members. Wood and TU thrived even amid the Covid-19 pandemic, leading the successful effort to convince the Trump administration to deny a permit to build a potentially destructive mine in the world-class salmon-producing Bristol Bay region of Alaska, and helping to get the Great American Outdoors Act passed into law, all while garnering another solid year of growth within TU.

Wood connects people to fishing and conservation as few others do. He has testified 11 times in Congress. He has been quoted dozens of times in many major newspapers including the Washington Post, New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.

Wood has authored over 50 op-ed pieces published in newspapers and magazines of all types, has co-authored three books and has written countless blogs extolling fishing and fisheries conservation projects.

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