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Continued: Muskie man: Gil Hamm helped start muskie fever

  • Article by: DOUG SMITH , Star Tribune
  • Last update: April 2, 2013 - 8:04 PM

Getting it done

By all accounts, Hamm was persistent, dedicated and knew how to make things happen.

“Gil was this short guy, but when he walked into a room, he had a booming voice and a smile and energy that just sucked people in,’’ said Frank Schneider’s son, John, 54, of Roseville. “He was not shy about asking people for favors.’’

George Selcke, 69, of Minnetonka, has been active with Muskies Inc. since 1970 and knew Hamm, Schneider and other early leaders.

“Hamm was a kind gentleman; everyone liked him,’’ he said. “But he was a good, solid businessman, honest as the day is long. He’d surround himself with people who could get the job done.’’

“He thought Minnesota could be a world-class muskie fishery, which it now is. That’s his legacy.’’

The group’s thinking evolved. “Originally it was a good ol’ boys club,’’ Selcke said. But members realized they needed to get women and children involved to help muskie fishing flourish.

The nonprofit group continues to focus on conservation, research and youth.

“Protecting and expanding resources is the biggest issue,’’ said Shawn Kellett, vice president of the Twin Cities chapter. “We want to add more opportunity.’’

The group continues to struggle politically with spearers, who want spearing restrictions on northerns lifted from lakes. Kellett said the group also would like to boost the minimum size that a muskie could be kept (now 48 inches) to 55 inches.

“We’re seeing lots of pressure from out-of-state anglers who want to come here to kill a trophy,’’ he said.

Meanwhile, Selkes said Hamm would be tickled to see how his group, and muskie fishing, has flourished.

In 1981, Hamm reflected on Muskies Inc.’s efforts and its catch-and-release mentality.

“I think we’ve done something for all of fishing. Not just for muskies, but for all fish,’’ he said. “If we don’t put back some of what we catch, fishermen will be out of business.’’

 

Doug Smith • doug.smith@startribune.com

 



 

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  • Hamm’s love of angling was apparent in his St. Paul office.

  • Gil Hamm made the muskie life’s work.

  • Gil Hamm, founder of Muskies Inc., left, with Frank Schneider Jr., a conservationist and early supporter of the group. Both from St. Paul, they played an instrumental role in creating a world-class muskie fishery in Minnesota.

  • Hamm stocked lakes with muskies from a Muskies Inc. hatchery.

  • muskie expo

    George’s Minnesota Muskie Expo runs Friday through Sunday at Gangelhoff Center at Concordia University in St. Paul. The show is named after its founder, George Wahl of Golden Valley, who died of cancer in 2008.

    Hours: 2-9 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday; 10 a.m. to

    4 p.m. Sunday

    Cost: $10, or $17 for three-day pass. Parking is free.

    Information: www.mnmuskie

    expo.com.

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