Those We Honor

You’ll find more than just fishing celebrities in this list. One can make a significant impact
on the lives of many without ever being well known. It is important to honor all of
those who had a great influence on the great sport of fishing, whether famous or not.
Corporate advances tend to be much more visible to us. For it’s their products that
shape the evolution of the sport of fishing.

Dick Sternberg

Dick Sternberg

Inducted 2000

Dick Sternberg has been a die-hard angler since he was a kid, so it’s not surprising that his passion led him to pursue an education in the natural resources field. After graduating from the University of Minnesota in 1965 with a degree in Fisheries and Wildlife Management, he began his career with the Minnesota DNR and was soon appointed Area Fisheries Manager for much of southeastern Minnesota, an area that included his home town of Rochester. For seven years, he conducted fisheries studies on the Mississippi River and managed the area’s trout streams while spending any spare time honing his river-fishing skills.

In 1974, Dick was promoted to Senior Fisheries Biologist and transferred to the St. Paul Office of the Minnesota DNR. In addition to his research work, he served as the department liaison with many sportfishing organizations, and when anglers phoned in with a fishing question, Dick was usually given the call. As a biologist that could “speak the fisherman’s language,” he was often invited to meetings of fishing groups to explain department programs in terms the members could understand.

Editors of fishing magazines, such as In-Fisherman and Fins & Feathers, recognized Dick’s communication skills and began asking him to write fishing articles with a biological slant. He wrote on topics such as predator-prey relationships, how walleye spawning activity relates to fishing success and the cold water habits of big northern pike.

In 1981, Dick decided he could have more impact on the sport of fishing by becoming a full-time writer. He resigned from the Minnesota DNR and began development of the Hunting & Fishing Library book series, which set a new standard for hunting and fishing books by combining factual text with hundreds of how-to photos. From 1981 to 1997, Dick authored or co-authored 24 books in the series.

The Hunting & Fishing Library books received hundreds of rave reviews by newspaper columnists from all over the country and have won several national and regional awards. The most prestigious award came in 1988, when The Outdoor Writer’s Association of America voted Trout the Best Outdoor Book of the Year.
Former President George H.W. Bush, an avid fisherman, is also a fan of Dick’s books. He wrote to Dick several times during his presidency and once said, “I love those marvelous fishing books. They are now in my personal office at Camp David, the place I use to ‘think’ fishing after my homework is done.” Dick’s next project was to develop a series of fishing books for The North American Fishing Club of Minnetonka, Minnesota. The books cover the entire gamut of freshwater fish and fishing tactics. In total, Dick Sternberg’s books have sold an estimated 10 million copies, making him one of the country’s top fishing authors and educators.

Dick is also a contributing writer for Outdoor Life and has written for numerous other outdoor magazines including Field & Stream, In Fisherman, Walleye Insider and North American Fisherman. In recognition of his many contributions to the sport of fishing, he was inducted into the Fishing Hall of Fame of Minnesota in 2000. He is one of the 20 original inductees.

In recent years, Dick has devoted most of his time to conservation efforts. He was instrumental in establishing the Minnesota DNR Fishing Roundtable, which has given the state’s anglers more voice in fish management decisions. He also helped establish the state’s Accelerated Walleye Program, which has added millions of dollars to Minnesota’s walleye stocking program.

In 2007 Outdoor Life selected Dick as one of the prestigious OL 25, “People Who Have Changed the Face of Hunting and Fishing.” In 2008, Dick was inducted into the National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame.