The Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame recently announced its latest class of inductees. Included in this elite group is Hoosier Outdoor Writers’ past president and current board of directors member, Captain Mike Schoonveld.
The Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame is the international headquarters for education, recognition and promotion of fresh water sportfishing. Based in Hayward, WI in its famous four-story tall musky-shaped museum, the FWFHOF annually selects for enshrinement persons, organizations and institutions who have made significant and lasting contributions to the sport and heritage of fresh water fishing.
Schoonveld, who has lived most of his life in rural northwest Indiana, is a life-long fisherman. In his younger years, nothing was as important to Schoonveld as fishing and the outdoors, so he attended Purdue University to study Wildlife Science. This led to a thirty-eight year career with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
Probably nothing captured his love of fishing more than the introduction of salmon, steelhead and other trout into the Great Lakes. Schoonveld’s bio on his blog-site (www.brothernature.info) reads, “I started fishing for Lake Michigan salmon in 1969 and finally caught one in 1972.” He’s caught many more since then, launching his first Lake Michigan boat in 1979, becoming a U.S. Coast Guard licensed captain in 1997, then starting a successful charter fishing business in 1998 which he still operates. He has helped thousands of anglers of all ages experience the thrill of catching salmon and trout on his charterboat, and he has volunteered his services for many youth fishing outings over the years.
Most inductees into the Hall of Fame have proven excellence in one facet of fishing. For instance, Curt Gowdy and Virgil Ward were pioneer TV fishermen. Hall of Famer Roland Martin is one of the most successful professional bass fishermen, ever. The Hall has inducted legendary fishing guides, noted fisheries biologists, fishing tackle innovators and others. Schoonveld drew the attention of the induction committee in numerous categories.
Already mentioned was his career as a biologist with the Indiana DNR and his nearly 20-year career as a fishing captain/guide on Lake Michigan. In 1986, Schoonveld started a career as an outdoor journalist. Since then his by-line has appeared in more than 40 different state, regional and national publications. He’s been on the editorial staff of several magazines and still pens regular columns and feature stories for a variety of print publications and on-line media outlets. He has written thousands of fishing articles which have reached millions of fishermen, young and old. His stories have undoubtedly influenced and inspired many young fishermen.
Besides Schoonveld’s long association with the Hoosier Outdoor Writers (HOW), he’s also a past-president and current board of directors member of the Association of Great Lakes Outdoor Writers (AGLOW), sits on the board of directors of the National Association of Charterboat Operators (NACO) and on the board of supervisors of the Newton County (Indiana) Soil and Water Conservation District.