In case you haven’t heard, Duane Horstman and Russell “Smity” Smith have been inducted into the Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame as Legendary Fishing Guides! This is a huge honor in which those considered are persons who have gained by their expertise and professionalism, a status of credibility and immortality judged so by their customers and/or their peers.
I've had the opportunity to meet Duane Horstman and to tape an Illinois Outdoors TV show with him in 2010. Duane and I fished for walleyes and I was amazed that he was able to drive out on a huge body of water, like Trout Lake and without use of a GPS find his spots almost instantly. He was an excellant angler and a fun guy to fish with. I'm glad to say that we were friends.
Duane moved to Boulder Junction area in 1973 and, with his family, built a successful resort and guide business. Duane was a pioneer in the area of deep-water vertical presentation. When Duane began guiding, most muskies were killed, but as he often said, “We didn’t know any better.” He embraced catch and release and promoted and taught careful fish handling. Duane was also an early proponent of “quick strike” rigs when using live suckers for muskies. He was well respected by his fellow guides, was a teacher, a pioneer in techniques, a friend to his many loyal clients and a man who deeply respected and cared for the resources which provided his livelihood. Duane gave back much more than he took.
As a young adult Russ spent just about every weekend he could in northern Wisconsin. The local fishing shops started paying attention as they noted his catches and the stories about the fish he caught on his handsome lures. The lures sold well and a new business was sprouted – The Smity Bait! Very few musky tackle boxes in the Northwoods of Wisconsin are absent a “Smity.” Russ has spent his entire adult life dedicated to the promotion and teaching of sport fishing. Russ is a fixture in and around the lakes and rivers of Minocqua in northeastern Wisconsin. He is one of the area’s most sought after guides. Russ’ favorite fish is the muskellunge, but he is equally adept at luring walleye, bass and panfish in to the boat for his clients. Russ is truly a guide for all seasons and all species.
In addition to Duane and Russ, there are other Legendary Guides in the Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame who have ties to the Boulder Junction area. Since 1980, 72 guides from all over the United States have been inducted of which 12 have guided in the Boulder Junction area. And there are also two Legendary Anglers who have fished the Boulder Junction area. We are extremely proud of these gentlemen. It also should be noted that both Duane and Russ were nominated and inducted into the Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame in the same year. In most cases, a guide is nominated and it then takes several years for induction.
The Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame will be presenting Russ with his award on Saturday, June 2 in Minocqua at the Minocqua Park Complex on Hwy 70 West. The public is invited to attend this presentation at 11:00am. A private reception will follow.
A ceremony and remembrance for Duane, who passed away in 2011, will be held the same day, Saturday June 2, in Boulder Junction. At 5:00pm the public is invited to attend Duane’s presentation and reception at Gooch’s A-1 Bar & Grill. Please join us to celebrate these exceptional achievements.
For more information, contact the Boulder Junction Chamber of Commerce. 715-385-2400.