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Minnesota Fishing Museum and Hall of Fame Names 2020 Inductees

Category: article

 4 weeks ago by Keith Worrall 

Modified Oct 25th, 2019 at 11:45 AM

Minnesota Fishing Hall of Fame


Minnesota Fishing Museum and Hall of Fame Names 2020 Inductees

Little Falls, MN – October 22, 2019 – Three individuals and two organizations will be enshrined by the Minnesota Fishing Hall of Fame in 2020.
Inductees in the Individual Legends category include one of the nation’s highest regarded multi-species anglers, TV host, media brand developer, editor and writer Steve Pennaz, TV and Stage host of the National Walleye Tour, product developer, radio host, promoter, passionate and respected multi-species angler Chip Leer and full-time freelance outdoor communicator, radio talk show host, one of Minnesota’s most celebrated and effective promoters Tim Lesmeister. Babe Winkelman Productions and Kluge Manufacturing 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.

Pennaz started his career with North American Media group after graduating from University of Minnesota School of Journalism in 1986. He served as Executive Director of the North American Fishing Club, which eventually grew to more than 550,000 members. He also oversaw the development and launch of the NAFC’s award-winning North American Fisherman magazine, and served as the publication’s editor for more than 15 years. Pennaz would go on to also oversee the organization’s television and video division, which produced 39 original half hours of national programming and dozens of videos annually, including the organization’s flagship television programs: North American Outdoors on ESPN and ESPN2, North American Fisherman and North American Hunter on ESPN2 and NBC Sports, and several series on Outdoor Channel, Fox Sports Net and Comcast.


Chip Leer has been on the forefront of sport fishing techniques, tactics, and trends working with premier manufacturers in product development while exploring cutting edge fishing with the best anglers on open water and ice. He is an industry influencer that thru experience has shaped the products we fish with and refined techniques to catch fish. Over his 30+ year career he has been the tournament director of the In-Fisherman Professional Walleye Trail, TV Host of the FLW Walleye Tour, co-host of the In-Fisherman Ice Guide TV, published in numerous regional and national publications, appeared on countless radio programs and shared his knowledge and passion for fishing thru his brand, Fishing the Wildside.


Tim Lesmeister has been a full-time freelance outdoor communicator since 1987. He has lived in Minnetonka, Minnesota since 1981, and began writing about Minnesota’s resources in 1984 for Outdoor Sports and Recreation magazine, with a series of articles, Up Your Odds. He became a regular contributor to that magazine, as well as Fishing Facts, MidWest Outdoors, Outdoor News, and Minnesota Sportsman. He has also been a regular contributor to Bassmaster, Sports Afield, and many other regional and national publications. With his partner Mark Strand, Lesmeister also published Sportsman’s Quest magazine and he also edited and designed Gary Roach’s Breaklines publication. Since his first piece on fishing was published, Lesmeister has authored more than 3,000 articles, been featured on more than 100 television segments, has broadcast 30,000-plus minutes of radio, and has spoken at more than 250 events on fishing and vacation destinations for fishing. With no plans to retire, he is one of Minnesota’s most celebrated and effective promoters of the state’s famous fishing heritage.

Babe started Babe Winkelman Productions in l980 with Good Fishing Tips on television in 1980 as part of the sports block on the 6:00 and 10:00 PM news. Produced the only fishing teaching system as a four cassette audio tape set in 1982. Started Babe Winkelman’s Good Fishing television series, the half hour series, in 1983 and produced the first How-To fishing videos series, called “The Facts of Fishing” in 1984 and went on to produce over 100 titles over the next several years. Babe Winkelman Productions trademarked “Teaching America to Fish” in 1985. Brought hunting back to television with the debut of Outdoor Secrets in 1987 and also trademarked “ Mastering the Patterns of Nature” in 1988. As of 2017, Winkelman produces an additional program, Outdoor Secrets, which with Good Fishing airs in the United States and internationally on channels such as CBS Sports, American Hero Channel and Destination America. His programs are also available globally on 25,000 hyper-local websites across the US and Roku, Apple TV, Opera TV, Amazon Fire and Netflix.

Jake Kluge has often been referred to as the father of the portable gas powered ‘ICE AUGER’. The story behind the 1960’s and 70’s KLUGE ICE AUGER as told by Jake’s son Doug. Jake was a fisherman and spent many weekends ice fishing with his neighborhood pals. In those days, ice fishing holes were made using an ice chisel that took considerable chopping. In 1947 Jake decided to build an electric ice auger. This project centered on the fisherman using the 6 volt car battery that he drove onto the lake. This idea ended when he first tested this heavy tool that drained the battery before he finished the second hole. Another 10 years went by before Jake decided to tackle the problem of making a hole in the ice by drilling instead of chopping. In 1958 through 1960 Jake designed all of the parts for his gas powered ice auger. By the first part of 1960, he attempted drilling his first hole. The auger showed great promise, but wanted to freeze up and stop cutting. By year end, he had fixed the cutting problem and was successful at getting his new auger to perform. Early in 1961 Jake decided to show Joe of Joe’s Bait his new ice auger. Joe drilled his first hole and was so impressed that he became a big supporter of his new fishing tool. Joe told Jake that he would sell every one of these machines that he could make starting in the fall of ‘61’. Joe kept his promise and wanted more, and so began Kluge Mfg. of St. Paul.

Official enshrinement coincides with the Northwest Sport show and is planned for Thursday, April 2, 2020 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel near the Minneapolis Convention Center. For details, visit www.fishinghalloffamemn.com.

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