Muskies Canada Hall of Fame was created on the club's 20th anniversary in 1998. The first five members to be inducted are pictured below from left to right: Dr. Ed Crossman, Hedrik Wachelka, Bruce Park, Paul Gasbarino, and John Power.
Dr. Crossman scientist extraordinaire worked for The Royal Ontario Museum and dedicated his research in fisheries with a special interest in Muskies. He started working with Muskies in 1951 at Nogies Creek. He joined Muskies Canada in its beginning were he encouraged us to support his new clithrum bone research and he was a strong supporter of our catch and release philosophy. He lectured at many of our meetings and was always very enlighten and inspiring with both new and long time members on topics such as: co-existence with muskies and pike, spawning habitat, and the habits of muskies.
Hedrik has fished for muskies for over 35 years and has been a member of the Ottawa Chapter since it started. He has been the Chairman of the Chapter for many years. He has been involved in initiating many conservation projects in the Ottawa area like spawning survey with radio telemetry. He helped lobby for increased size limits on the Ottawa River and habitat rehabilitation on the Rideau River. Hedrik is a wealth of Muskie knowledge and has submitted numerous articles to the Muskie Canada Journal. This has been a very important and respected part of our journal.
Bruce Park was the founding president of Muskies Canada. In 1978 he started a movement of catch and release, as he felt Muskies were to special and fragile resource to only catch once. He spearheaded the early campaign with the help of Muskies Canada organization to increase minimum size limit from 28” to 36”. In 1980 Bruce initiated an outing between Muskies Canada and the US members of Musky Inc. We would take turns in hosting the event between each country to compete for the challenge cup. This event has fostered a great camaraderie between both organizations and still going after 25 years. He was the first member to receive a lifetime membership with Muskies Canada.
Paul Gasbarino was one of the founding members of Muskies Canada and served as president for the Toronto Chapter for 10 years. He was instrumental in the formation of many of the Muskies Canada Chapters that exist today. After the creation of many chapters, a national executive was formed and he was the first president of national. He then served on national executive for 6 years. Paul attended the first muskie symposium in the US and lectured on catch and release methods. He served on fishery management and muskies management committees for years. He was always available to speak to sport and fishing clubs all over Ontario. He spent a lot of time speaking on where and how to catch muskies along with Muskies Canada philosophy on catch and release. He was present when Ken O’Brian caught the 65lbs muskie and was able to obtain the clithrum bone for Dr. Crossman to study. Paul has been and still is one of the longest dedicated member of Muskies Canada and is a prime example of what we stand for.
John Power was an avid fisherman and was an outdoor journalist for The Toronto Star for more than 40 years. John joined Muskies Canada in its beginning and supported us with numerous articles in the Star newspaper. This enabled the aims and goals of the organization to be communicated to the public. This also helped in the growth of the membership. John also started a yearly challenge between his colleagues at the Star (Known as the Muskytears) and Muskies Canada. This event was held on John's favourite waters of Georgian Bay at the Moon River. John truly went beyond the norm to promote muskie fishing and Muskies Canada.
The second set of inductees took place in 2003 on the 25th anniversary of Muskies Canada. They are pictured below from left to right: Dr. John Casselman, Burt Myers, Ian Smith, Mark Sauder, and Jim Kelly.
With respect to science and muskellunge, Ontario has greatly benefited from the work of John, a senior scientist for the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and researcher at Queen's University. John is widely recognized as the leader in the development of using esocid cleithrum to analyse biological characteristics from age to growth. He has been a very good friend of both muskie and Muskies Canada for many years, since fishing on the St Lawrence.
Burt has been a long time proponent of "catch and release", especially through the printed media. As the long time editor of Ontario Out of Doors magazine, Bert provided anglers with muskellunge catching information and education on a regular basis. Bert was one of the key leaders throughout the Club's early years as it organized and got off the ground. He has been a very good friend and supporter, especially by promoting Muskies Canada and its conservation message.
Over the years, Ian has participated in the muskie activities of the Hamilton chapter, including various positions on the chapter's executive. Ian is best remembered for his work as Muskie Canada's president, especially in the fields of chapter expansions and muskie regulations. Wild muskellunge benefited from his tireless work in driving standards for the current muskellunge management strategy in Ontario at the turn of the century, based on natural sustainability through catch and release and sensible size limits.
Mark is a long time muskie fisherman from south-western Ontario who has worked tirelessly as "Mr Everything" on a multitude of Muskies Canada projects from constitutional matters to live release outings. He spent many years on the Kitchener-Waterloo executive, including chapter chairman, as well as many years holding various national executive positions. Mark is a strong proponent of sharing the muskie experience with others, including venues such as the World Muskie Hunt, and he is a key liaison person with other organizations such as Muskies Inc.
Jim is a Toronto-based angler who has dedicated many years to Muskies Canada. Jim has held many chapter executive positions as well as national positions including that of Muskies Canada president. He has been a key organizer and volunteer for many outreach events over the years such as fishing, sportsman and outdoor shows. Jim has made a huge contribution to get countless kids involved with fishing. He was a founder of, and has spent countless hours since then organizing and running the annual Crossman Family outing. He is a key member of many of our major joint projects with the MNR.
The third set of inductees took place in 2010. They are pictured below from left to right: Dave (Mr "B") Boxall, Jim Hutchings, Christine Finter, Steven Kerr, Maurice Martin. Inset: Angelo Didomizio
When talk turns to contributing directly to the resource one enjoys, Mr B has stepped up many times. He has been Muskies Canada leader on the Lake Simcoe Muskie Restoration Project since it started, working with the Ontario MNR, Sir Sandford Fleming College and our other partners. He is a top fund raiser, has held many executive positions including Toronto chapter chairman, and has organized and run many outings, booths at fishing and sportsman shows and other events. He is a passionate speaker on muskie conservation whenever the opportunity presents itself.
Jim represents a balanced approach to muskie fishing over the long term, by being heavily involved in the conservation of the fisheries as well as a committed angler with releases up to 60 inches to his credit. He has held many positions, from chapter chairman to release journal editor. Jim continues to be involved in netting programs, disease monitoring and fisheries councils. He was the 2009 winner of the Paul Gasbarino distinguished service award in recognition of his significant contributions for many years.
Management and administration of club operations, such as finance and outreach activities, are critical for club success. Christine has been our financial watchdog, treasurer and administrative expert over many years as both a chapter and national executive. She has also done exemplary work for many years organizing and running family fishing events, annual outings and booths at fishing shows. Christine is the first woman inducted into our Hall of Fame.
Steve is a long term fisheries administrator with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, where he has coordinated fisheries activities for over 25 years. With regard to muskellunge, he has worked to integrate science into management, formalized the log program, created release brochures and other material and organized meetings. Steve championed the current muskellunge regulatory set, helping enable the current management policy in Ontario.
Maurice was a key builder of the Montreal chapter, providing a catch and release voice to muskellunge fishermen in the Province of Quebec. He provided long term service to the chapter and helped build its profile. He held many positions from chapter chairman to event coordinator, sometimes in trying times, over the years. An all round bon vivant fishing personality with a 50 inch release pin to his credit, he is the muskie master of ceremonies.
Angelo has actively participated in club activities for 30 years and is known as a "member's member". He has held numerous executive positions with a variety of chapters, gets out to many events across Eastern Canada, and is a strong supporter of kids and family fishing. He is a champion of catch and release and participates in numerous important initiatives such as the Kawartha Lakes Pike Invasion Project.
L-R- Andy Pappas, Vince Giuliani, Mike Lazarus, Ian Young
Ian has not only been involved as a muskie angler on his home waters of Lake Nipissing but has been involved in Muskies Canada activities around the Toronto area for more than 25 years. As a long serving president of MCI (2009-2012)he was noted for his management skills, linking, and visiting a greatly expanded and diversely active club from NW Ontario to New Brunswick. He will also be noted for initiating many personal recognition awards related to honouring conservation through to personal achievement.
Over many continuous years Andy has been involved in multiple capacities with the Hamilton chapter of Muskies Canada. His activities were diverse from active inspiration of muskie fishing and conservation to journal/magazine articles as well as work on muskellunge restoration on the Spanish river and subsequently Lake Simcoe . A strong proponent of careful release and adequate regulation , Andy is especially noted for his concern and efforts with respect to muskellunge populations at their northern range on his favorite waters.
As a muskie chaser from south western Ontario , Vince has championed muskie fishing as an entry to exploring the natural world. He has spent many years working with the Kitchener Waterloo chapter in a range of capacities and activities as well as the national level of Muskies Canada. His actions included work on items from Constitutional matters through to active involvement in fund raising programs like the all muskellunge Odyssey shows.
Mike is a Montreal based muskie angler who has garnered world renown for his muskellunge angling achievements. He is a long time member of MCI who was a participating builder of the Montreal chapter, journal contributor, involved in local projects, and also promoting all aspects of catch and release in Quebec in the early 1990s. As an innovator, Mike pioneered big fish release and aspects of handling large specimens and muskie conservation from a professional guiding perspective.
The idea of the Odyssey came from two creative, determined leaders, Chuck Boyd from K-W Chapter, and Joe Inrig, from Hamilton. After a lot of planning and preparation, Joe and Chuck brought together a group of volunteers from the K-W and Hamilton chapters and held the first Odyssey in 2001. Since then we’ve held the Odyssey every second year and it’s been a hit ever since since.
The funds raised by the Odyssey have enabled us to do a lot of very important research and conservation and restoration work including: