Making a living in the fishing industry

Brainerd, Mn. is a small city, a little bit bigger than Fort Frances and Kenora, but it is one of the epicenters for the fishing community in North America.
Back in the 1970s, Al and Ron Lindner, two brothers from Chicago, moved to Brainerd because of its proximity to countless bodies of water with great fishing for various species of fish. The Lindners subsequently started the In-Fisherman empire that included a TV show, magazine, radio show, and professional walleye tournament circuit, among several other activities.
They were some of the first people to make a living in the fishing industry. Before In-Fisherman was built, they were fishing guides and fishing tackle inventors. Their most famous fishing tackle innovation was the Lindy rig, which still is used by walleye anglers today.
They were successful because of their innovative minds.
Earlier this year, Al Lindner’s son, Troy, told me about a fishing careers workshop they were planning in Brainerd. They were inviting people from all aspects of the fishing industry to come and tell their story–guides, individuals from the tourism, retail, and manufacturing sectors, outdoor writers, and even social media experts.
He invited me to come and speak about how I make my living as a competitive tournament angler.
In all there were 12 speakers at the workshop that took place this past weekend, each with vast experience in their field. More than 100 people attended and were treated to an incredible amount of valuable information about how to pursue a career in the fishing industry.
The resounding themes were passion, hard work, and commitment.
Many of the speakers’ stories were about hard times they went through to get where they are today, much like most successful people in any business. For the attendees, there were some good ideas shared on how to find or create a job in a field they are interested in.
For me, competitive tournament fishing is my passion and it has served me well in recent years. But it is a form of gambling and there is much that is out of my control. Tough days on the water, loss of sponsorship, and equipment failures potentially can derail my success.
I stay busy throughout the rest of the year when I’m not tournament fishing with some guiding, writing, and promotional activities to pay the bills in the off-season and to keep some cash flow going in case the tournament fishing doesn’t work out.
Fortunately, we live in an area where there is great opportunity to make a living within the fishing industry. The excellent fishing and scenery we have here in Northwestern Ontario means there are endless opportunities for those interested in the tourism, especially as a guide for those who know their way around our lakes and rivers.
People from all over the world will continue to visit us here as long as we have the fishing opportunities we do.
I started my guiding career when I was 14 years old out at Ash Rapids Camp on Lake of the Woods and have worked many days taking people fishing across the Sunset Country region. In the fall, I have guided deer hunters; in the winter, ice anglers.
Some of my friends are very successful guides, sharing their knowledge of Lake of the Woods with people from all over the world.
Owning a resort is a dream for many but with hard work, it can be a successful venture, as well. These pursuits may not be the best way to become a millionaire but you could be happy going to work every day. What is that worth?
Beyond the tourism business, there are jobs in repairing boats and motors, which always will be around thanks to all of the rocks in our waters. There are careers with natural resources as a technician, biologist, or conservation officer.
You also can make your own lures or fishing tackle, build websites, or create content for others to use on social media.
Bottom line, the opportunities are out there for people who want to work.