For Immediate Release

Minnesota Fishing Hall of Fame

Minnesota Fishing Hall of Fame Names 2018 Inductees

Little Falls, MN— December 20, 2017—Three individuals and two organizations will be enshrined by The Fishing Hall of Fame of Minnesota in 2018.

Inductees in the Individual Legends category include outdoor writer, photographer and filmmaker Mark Strand, one of North America’s most recognizable faces, and voices, in fishing today, Director of Field Promotions for Rapala USA, Mark Fisher, plus legendary Rainy Lake guide, Billy Dougherty. The Gapen Company and Minn Kota will join the ranks of Legendary Organizations.

The Hall of Fame annually recognizes up to three individuals and two groups or organizations that have made a major impact on Minnesota’s sport fishing industry.  The Hall stands to recognize all passionate fishing promoters, whether they have made a difference through education, legislation, guiding, manufacturing, media promotions or other means.

Individuals must be a state resident, have lived in Minnesota for a minimum of 25 years, be at least 50 years of age, and have made meritorious contributions to the sport of fishing. Businesses and organizations may also be nominated, provided they are registered in Minnesota and have made similar noteworthy contributions to fishing. Nominations are accepted from the general public, and the list is reduced to the top ten by current Hall members, after which finalists are voted on for induction.

Mark Strand has written for nearly every outdoor magazine, including many years as a regular contributor to In-Fisherman, Fishing Facts, and other publications. He’s amassed thousands of freelance magazine credits; developed, produced and hosted two nationally-syndicated radio programs and five podcasts. He has authored or co-authored 13 books.

His decades-long drive for offering the best as a tournament angler, TV-personality, and radio host, Mark Fisher, has brought incredible success both personally and for those he represents.  “Exposure is the best preparation for opportunity! Whatever your strong suit is, whether it’s painting lures, writing stories, giving seminars or engineering boats, put those skills to use,” he says.”

William “Billy” Dougherty’s career as a legendary guide on Rainy Lake includes his youthful 1965-1975 stint at his grandparents’ Kettle Falls Hotel, plus his work at Rainy Lake Houseboats from 1985 to the present. Billy’s multi-species angling expertise has been featured by In-Fisherman TV, Babe Winkelman’s Good Fishing, and Backroads with Ron and Raven. Billy Dougherty proudly notes that 2018 marks the centennial of his Williams/Dougherty family’s deep involvement with fishing-related tourism on Rainy Lake.

Among the Legendary Organizations, Minn Kota® established in 1934 has served as an industry leader in the trolling category.  The company has led the way in product innovation and cutting-edge technology from day one, when O.G. Schmidt first strapped a propeller to a starter motor from a Model A. Since the company has continued to lead the way in innovation with trolling motor accessories, GPS-enabled motors, battery chargers, and electro-mechanical shallow water anchors. The Gapen Tackle Company, a Minnesota firm for 62 years, got its main start when Don Gapen, created the Muddler Fly in 1936. This fly has become the largest-selling Trout fly in the world.

Official enshrinement coincides with the Northwest Sport show and is planned for Friday, March 23, 2018 near the Minneapolis Convention Center. For details, visit

For Media contact or for more candidate information please contact Brenda Perlowski at 320.616.2011 or


About The Hall and The Museum

The Fishing Hall of Fame of Minnesota promotes angling in the Land of 10,000 Lakes and honors those individuals and organizations who have contributed so much to our fishing legacy. As a non-profit outreach organization, we’re dedicated to teaching Minnesotans about our state’s fishing history and preserving its future.

Tackle Box

How The Museum Came About…

The idea of a fishing museum began in 1990. Al Baert, of Sartell, MN, was researching one of his “old lures”, a 1912 Surf Oreno, manufactured by the South Bend Bait Company. Looking at the 4″ wooden lure in his hand, he realized it was not the value or dollar amount that was so meaningful, but rather the wonderful stories and memories it represented – a piece from a past era.

Al soon contacted his long-time friend, Morry Sauve, of St. Cloud, MN, and they began to lay the foundation for the Minnesota Fishing Museum. Flyers requesting donations of old fishing memorabilia were printed and mailed to friends. Items from all across Minnesota flowed in like a river; people realized it was better to donate items to the museum rather than keep them stored in garages or basements. Housed in a museum the pieces could be appreciated for their history instead of just collecting dust. For the donors, it was a chance to give recognition to significant people in their lives who enjoyed fishing, who share a part in Minnesota’s great fishing history.

By 1995 Al’s basement took on the look of a 1940’s tackle shop. Items occupied every square inch of available space. It was now time to locate a permanent home for the artifacts; one that could not only serve as a showcase for the items but that could also be an education center for future fishing generations.

In 1998, the Little Falls City Council unanimously welcomed the Minnesota Fishing Museum and donated space in the north end of the historic Cass Gilbert Depot building. After six months the museum outgrew its space and moved to the current site at 304 West Broadway, Little Falls, MN.

In 2006 a remodeling project created over 10,000 square feet to display thousands of donated artifacts. When you stop in for a visit you will view well-known manufactures: Pflueger, Evinrude, Hedden, Martin, South Bend and Creak Chub, and others. You can also catch a glimpse of the not-so-well-known: Frog Skin Bait, Jim Dandy, Spoony Fish and Leaping Lena, just to name a few. Click here to learn about becoming a member.

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