Early last week the fishing community lost a legendary angler and communicator when Ron Lindner passed away at his home in Brainerd, MN at the age of 86. Those of you who are long time fishing fans probably know that Lindner, along with his brother Al, started the In-Fisherman empire in the 70’s, having success in all types of media, including the In-Fisherman magazine, TV program, as well as numerous books and videos. In the late 90’s, they sold In-Fisherman and a few years later started Lindner Media that is still going strong today.
I write a monthly column for Bassmaster.com and last week I submitted a column about Ron and my relationship with him. He had a big influence on my life and career choice and offered me plenty of direction over the years. I met him for the first time when I was ten years old at the Kenora Bass International, a tournament that he won that year with his son Billy. It was also the first bass tournament that I competed in. I talk about that and some of my other interactions with him in that column.
Northwest Ontario was a special place for Ron, evident by all the time he spent fishing up on Rainy Lake and Lake of the Woods, usually to compete in our bass tournaments. He competed in the KBI, Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship and Bassin’ for Bucks many times. He was still coming up here into his 80’s, which is pretty amazing. He often fished with one of his sons, Dan or Billy when he competed, but he made a lot of friends up here and fished tournaments with Kenora angler Mike Causyn as well as long-time guide Al Meline from Nestor Falls, years ago.
Through all of the tournament competition was how he met most of his friends up here. He was close with Ted Stewner, John Guzej, Phil Killeen and the Keszler family. They all used to stay at the Rainbow Motel in Fort Frances when they would be in town for the Canadian Bass Championships. Ron would have fished it for around 20 consecutive years. He had several top ten finishes in the FFCBC over the years fishing in the north arm of Rainy lake. There are a few spots there that I know he liked to fish and they’ll always remind me of him.
Some of the best stories that come to mind are from some of Ron’s mishaps up here. One year after the KBI he called on his way home and told me that he lost a rod and reel over the side of the boat when they were leaving a spot. He gave me the rough whereabouts and said “it’s in about eight feet of water so you should be able to dive down and get it. Oh, and I told Aaron Causyn where it is also”. This was no ordinary rod and reel, but a Shimano Stella, the most expensive reel you could buy at the time and a custom made Thorne Bros. rod that he was known for using. Aaron called the next day and said he’d found it on his first dive.
His motor was known to find a few rocks on Lake of the Woods and Rainy Lake but he never seemed to be too worried about it. He was up here to fish so that’s what he was going to do. If he hit a rock, he’d get it fixed and get back out there. He fished the KBI for around ten years and one of the memories I have of him from the KBI was he really liked the Chip Truck French fries. They used to have a fry truck set up down at the KBI tent during the tournament and I can remember seeing him and the rest of the Lindner crew eating salt and vinegar French fries after the weigh-in. No idea why I remember that but I’m sure if Al, James or Billy see this, they’ll laugh.
In addition to the tournaments, the Lindner family has had a long history of promoting fishing in NW Ontario to their core audience across the midwest United States. Ron wasn’t always the one in front of the camera on their shows up here but he had a hand in creating the content and making it happen.
If you ever got to visit with him while he was in Sunset Country then you probably saw his love for the region. He lived a great life and will be missed by many.