Ryan Wilcke – President
Brian Buehler – Vice President
Chris Doane – Treasurer
Scott Pingel – Secretary
The Heartland Chapter of Muskies Inc. was founded in 1995. It started at a poolside seminar put on by Bob Jensen in 1994/95 at the Hanford Inn with a muskie fishing demo. After the event, the first Heartland Chapter club meeting was held at the Colony Inn in Ventura. After a couple of meetings, officers were elected and the Heartland Chapter became a member of National.
Instrumental people in founding the club were Stan and Virg Harrison, Larry Luker, Dale Arendt, Larry Svoboda, Fred Vinci, Keith Minkle, Brian Buehler, Jim Donelson, Joel Becker, Scott Yaeger, Chris McCabe, Ron Lafrenz, and Bob Staska.
The clubs first officers were:
Joel Becker – President
Chris McCabe – Vice President
Stan Harrison – Regional Vice President
Fred Vinci – Secretary
Ron Lafrenz – Treasurer
Chris McCabe was the chapter’s 2nd president up until his death in 2014.
The Heartland Chapter of Muskies Inc. has participated in many Gil Hamm tournaments and numerous club outings to various lakes in a three state area over the years. Lots of nice fish have been caught, and many great stories created.
The chapters very first tournament was to be held in August but had been moved back to April. Fishing was poor on Clear Lake, so the tournament had been held at Okoboji for several years until fishing had improved on Clear Lake. It has been held in Clear Lake since, and rightfully so with all the fish that are in the area now. It hadn’t always been that way.
The first gathering spot for monthly meetings with the Colony Inn. After a few years, the meeting place had become the Town Pump in Clear Lake for many years after that. Once Town Pump had closed, we moved our meetings to the Other Place, where we currently are today.
We have on many instances worked with the DNR to promote and protect our muskie population in Clear Lake. We assisted in aeration system cost reimbursement/support, paid for the signs that are currently posted at boat ramps that inform people about the rules and how to properly identify muskies vs pike, as well as gotten dock access at Lynne Lorenzen Park in Ventura.
We have also purchased PITT tags that DNR was unable to purchase due to lack of funding. These are implants that are inserted into the fish and allows the DNR to monitor the muskie population with scanners. We stepped in to cover the cost of this program for many years.