Safe to assume that fishing guides are responsible for plenty of ‘my best fishing trip ever’ moments. It’s not a stretch, either, to assume that professional guide Dale Stroschein has personally hosted a few of those bests. But it’s quite different when that proclamation comes from another legend.
Venerated fishing writer Robert Montgomery recently made such a public statement. In his new book ‘Why We Fish,’ Montgomery dedicates a chapter to a fabled trip with Stroschein on Lake Michigan where they scooped dozens of smallmouth bass over five-clicks apiece. It stands as Montgomery’s best fishing trip ever.
And now, the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame in Hayward, Wis., is recognizing Frabill prostaff Dale Stroschein’s greater contributions to fishing.
Stroschein was born and raised on the same property where he and his wife Karyn now operate Sand Bay Beach Resort and Wacky Walleye Guide Service. His family purchased the resort in 1961; Stroschein took the reins in 1998. “It was always my parents’ dream for me to take over the resort,” says Stroschein.
Today, based out of the resort, Stroschein guides some 300 trips a year, including ice and openwater. Rain or shine, he dedicates himself to catching fish. “I need to produce every day, whether it’s calm, rough, snowing or blowing. My customers expect that. My job is putting fish in the boat and on the ice.” Those fish species include walleyes and whitefish through the ice and walleyes and smallmouth bass on the open waves.
Earlier in his ongoing 28-year guiding career, Stroschein gained recognition as a touring professional walleye angler. It began in 1985, competing in the Masters Walleye Circuit (MWC). Shooting pool at a bar owned by his friend’s sister, Stroschein would look out the window and see the mighty trucks and trailers piloted by contemporaries like Gary Parsons and Keith Kavajecz.
He thought, “Maybe I can do that,” and that he did.
Since 1985, Stroschein has racked up some pretty big numbers. He’s qualified 12 times for national championships in the MWC, Professional Walleye Trail (PWT) and Cabela’s NAWA, including six top ten finishes. From 1992-94, Stroschein held the PWT’s big fish record of 11.36 lbs., and claims a similar mark for his 10.56 lb. walleye caught at a Cabela’s NAWA event in 1994.
Perhaps Stroschein’s most proud catch, however, was his record walleye taken through the ice. On March 21, 1995, he iced a 13.76 lb. walleye. For years, it stood as the largest ever caught by hook and line through the ice, as certified by the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame.
Now there are plenty of great fisherman, but what put Stroschein on the Hall’s shortlist is his passion to teach. Stroschein reminisces about committing, finally, to his first speaking engagement. “I took a call from the Green Bay Sportsman’s Club to speak and turned it down. Well, my Dad overheard the conversation. He said ‘son, if you really want this to be your career, you better call them back.’”
“I reconsidered, and well, the rest is history.”
Since, Stroschein has given hundreds of seminars at fishing clubs, sport shows and retail engagements.
Stroschein has also been a prominent contributor to outdoors publications, including In-Fisherman, North American Fisherman, Outdoor Life, Field & Stream, Sports Afield, Midwest Outdoors, Outdoor Notebook, Game & Fish Publications, even a piece on ice fishing published by mainstream Coastal Living.
His television credits include In-Fisherman, Midwest Outdoors, John Gillespie’s Waters & Woods, The Next Bite, Bass Pro Shops programming, Ron Schara’s Minnesota Bound, Kent Hrbek Outdoors, Hank Parker’s Outdoor Magazine and North American Fisherman.
These days, Stroschein’s preference is teaching one on one in the boat, on the ice, and at fishing schools he hosts at the resort. “I want people to know that fishing is more than pulling a crankbait around the bay, like I started. It’s much, much more than that.”