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.

Joe Fladebo

Joe Fladebo

Inducted 2000

In 1937, Joe and Evelyn Fladebo started a small tackle production operation out of the basement of their home along the shore of Mille Lacs Lake in Isle, MN. Named Mille Lacs Manufacturing, the company started with three part time employees. “During the war our firm manufactured egg beaters”, said Joe.

Yet fishing tackle was the prime focus of Mille Lacs Manufacturing and the most popular baits and accessories that were shipped out the door were under the name “Little Joe”. The company owned the Little Joe fishing tackle brand and quickly became famous for its Red Devil, Little Joe, and Mity Grip Spinners; Canadian Jig Fly, Lazy Dazy Lures, True-Spin Spinners, and a wide assortment of other lures and accessories. In October of 1944, Mille Lacs Manufacturing moved out the Fladebo’s home and into a larger facility.

In 1955, Joe and Evelyn’s son Jim was brought into the corporation. A nearby plating shop was established to meet the metal finishing requirements of the rapidly growing tackle manufacturer. Jim Fladebo eventually purchased the plating shop and ran both the shop and the tackle company for years to come. In 1973 the Ray-O-Vac battery company purchased both the plating shop and Mille Lacs Manufacturing. Ray-O-Vac also purchased Lindy Tackle and the three companies formed Ray-O-Vac’s Fishing Tackle Division. In 1978, Ray-O-Vac sold the Fishing Tackle Division and in 1980 the company known as Lindy-Little Joe was moved to Brainerd by new owner and fellow Fishing Hall of Fame of Minnesota inductee, Nick Adams.