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Rarely is a true pioneer fully appreciated in his time.  But Dave Genz, because he so thoroughly changed the way all of us fish through the ice, has been recognized for his vision and accomplishments while still adding to them.


To put his impact into perspective:  What did Dave do to revolutionize ice fishing?


He brought mobility.  In the B.G. (Before Genz) Period, many generations of ice anglers struck a frozen pose over one hole in the ice and stayed there whether they caught a fish or not.  Some sought comfort inside permanent shacks. Which took several people (with lots of energy)to move.  But Genz built a better Fish Trap.  Borrowing the concept of a fishing boat and adapting it for use on the ice, he developed the now-famous Fish Trap instant set-up shelter.  Skidding sled, carpeted dry storage, walls that rise with the flip of the wrist.  Because, he wanted mobility, he didn’t rest until he made the right tool for the job.


He brought electronics.  In the B.G. Period, people used the depth finder on their boats all summer, and then fished blindly all winter.  Again the same innovated mind that built us a better Fish Trap brought us the Ice Box (now the Vexilar Genz Pack), an ingenious portable sonar holder that customized depth finders for the use in the same hole we fish out of.  Ice fishing became a whole new ball game.


He brought a change in ice fishing philosophy.  To understand Dave’s impact on the sport, you have to realize he is first and foremost a fisherman, someone who fishes constantly, winter, spring, summer and fall.  From boats as well as through the ice.  He knows what it means to study contour maps, to make a lifetime study of fish habits, to know good equipment when he picks it up the first time or to design it if doesn’t see what he wants.  Dave’s designs have contributed – and in many cases led directly- to the latest generation rods, lures, line, augers, live bait and even clothing.


He is the first to stress that many close friends on his Winter Fishing Systems team have contributed support and ideas along the way.  But the clear leader of the movement that modernized ice fishing is Dave Genz.


  1. Inventor of the Fish Trap and Ice Box

  2. Developer of modern ice fishing methods

  3. Designer of several lines of modern ice fishing gear (signature series ice jigs and rods)

  4. Field Staff member, In-fisherman

  5. Co-author of In-Fisherman book “Ice Fishing Secretes’

  6. Silver medalist of the 1992 World Ice Fishing Championship-Team USA

  7. Captain of Ice Team

  8. Author of ‘Bluegills” the book and DVD

  9. Co-author Pro Guide Series “Ice Fishing with Dave Genz and Jerry Carlson”

  10. Travels from Minnesota to Maine to Manitoba teaching the modern methods of ice fishing

  11. Inducted into the Minnesota Hall of Fame

  12. Wall Street Journal Feature Story

  13. Inducted in Fresh Water Hall of Fame

 

Mr. Ice Fishing, Dave Genz, Ice Fishing’s True Pioneer