In a world obsessed with technology, the throwback pastime of fishing is hooking young people in new and encouraging ways. High school and college fishing teams are attracting more students than ever, and generational shifts in attitudes about the value of harvesting firsthand some of the fish, fowl and meat a person eats are hopeful signs that downward outdoors-participation trends among youth might be reversed. Here then, are profiles of four young and kind-of-young Minnesota anglers who will appear at the Northwest Sportshow (northwestsportshow.com), which opens Thursday at the Minneapolis Convention Center.
Trevor Lo, 24, Woodbury
Snapshot: Competing for the University of Minnesota, Trevor won the 2015 National Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship. His parents emigrated to Minnesota from Thailand when they were children, and Trevor grew up fishing with his dad, Cha; mom, Anne; and brother, Tyler. A graduate of Woodbury High School, where he kicked field goals for the football team, Trevor, as the nation’s top collegiate bass angler, won the use for a year of a new pickup and fully rigged bass boat, and competed in bass tournaments nationwide. Having graduated college, he now is a 3M sales analyst, and will be married in June. Too busy these days to fish many tournaments, he nonetheless is often on the water with his family, casting for bass.
Quote: “I enjoyed every day fishing on the national circuit. I put 53,000 miles on that truck in 2015. But it was tough being away from my family for six months. I definitely think youth fishing programs sponsored by the fishing industry are paying off.’’
At the Northwest Sportshow: He will discuss “finesse bass tactics’’ at 2 p.m. Saturday, with an emphasis on how to catch bass in Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Chad Smith, 23, Eden Prairie
Snapshot: A bass fishing pro who has already competed this year in Florida and Louisiana, winning checks both times, Chad grew up fishing with his dad and grandfather. At a young age he became obsessed with catching bass, and for the past four years he’s fished nationally on the Bassmaster Open tournament trail, and also on the FLW Tour as a co-angler. A Winona resident the past four years, where he regularly fished the Mississippi, he’ll compete in a tourney on the big river this summer, hoping his knowledge of its bass haunts pays off. He’s shooting for a top-five finish in the Open series and a spot on the Bassmaster Elite circuit.
Quote: “Tournament fishing is challenging because constant learning is required to compete on new bodies of water. It rounds me out as an angler, and it’s been my dream for a long time to compete at the highest level.’’
At the Northwest Sportshow: In seminars at 3 p.m. Thursday and Sunday, Chad will discuss how to “simplify for more bass fishing success,’’ and also how to target river bass.
Jenny Anderson, 29, Blaine
Snapshot: Arriving from Korea with her parents when she was 3, Jenny and her family were at first too busy getting settled in Minnesota to camp, fish, hunt or hike. Not until years later, when Jenny worked as a TV news reporter in Eau Claire, Wis., did she began exploring the region’s outdoor activities — interests that grew exponentially when she met Nick, her husband-to-be and an active outdoorsman. Now the two regularly ice fish, bird hunt and paddle. Media savvy, Jenny is a travel and outdoor writer, blogger and social media influencer. Her website, girlof10000lakes.com, and online posts are intended, she says, to “evoke inspiration and wonder through the beauty of the great outdoors.’’
Quote: “My favorite type of fishing is for lake trout in the boundary waters. We’re expecting our first child soon, a boy, and it was on a boundary waters trip last fall that I found out I was pregnant.’’
At the Northwest Sportshow: A member of Women Anglers of Minnesota, Jenny will blog and post the show’s attractions, particularly those interesting to women and youth. Her intent, she says, is to make the outdoors more accessible to more people.
John Hoyer, 39, Orono
Snapshot: Born in Brainerd, John moved when he was in elementary school to Calgary, Alberta. His dad is a Lutheran minister who led a church in that Canadian province before returning to Litchfield, Minn., in 2013. In true Lutheran fashion, John says, he’s not a self-promoter. But he’s handy with a fishing rod: He was co-angler of the year on the Cabela’s National Walleye Tour in 2015, and he and a partner won the big three-day muskie tournament on Lake Vermilion last fall — boating, among other muskies, a 51½-incher. A union carpenter, John makes about “two-thirds’’ of his living as a fishing pro, he says, thanks to sponsor support, tournament winnings and guiding.
Quote: “I’m passionate about all types of fishing, winter or summer. I love competing and fishing in tournaments. But I also enjoy teaching other anglers about fishing and helping them catch fish of their own.’’
At the Northwest Sportshow: In seminars at 5 p.m. Thursday and 11 a.m. Sunday, John will discuss “all things for spring walleye.’’ Focus will be on Minnesota lakes and rivers, as well as on Great Lakes walleye fishing.