August 01, 2018

The Michigan Outdoor Writer’s Association announced the annual Michigan Outdoor Hall of Fame inductees for 2018 as well as the state writing awards and Woods-N-Water News writers did very well. The MOWA conference took place June 16 in Bay City.

The Michigan Outdoor Hall of Fame paid tribute to two new inductees. Mark Martin of Twin Lake and Kevin VanDam from Kalamazoo.

Michigan Outdoor Hall of Fame Winners (Top) Mark Martin and Kevin VanDam

Mark Martin had been known to walleye anglers nationwide as “The Original Champ” as he was the very first champion of the In-Fisherman Professional Walleye Trail back in 1990. He has remained active in many tournament circuits to this day and holds several winter ice angling events where he teaches anglers advanced fishing techniques. The Mark Martin Vacation Fishing School has several stops around Michigan and is growing in popularity. Mark is also one of Michigan’s most highly sought after seminar speakers in the state and can often be found at fishing or boat shows around Michigan.

Kevin VanDam from Kalamazoo is simply the best competitive bass angler on the planet. In a bass nation where most top anglers come from southern states, VanDam has blown away the field with four Bassmaster Classic titles and is the all-time leading money winner in bass fishing with over $6 million dollars in tournament winnings. He has won 25 Bassmaster tournaments and has seven Toyota Angler of the Year titles on the Bassmaster series and one FLW angler of the year title. Affectionately known as “KVD,” he also helped develop Major League Fishing which is a very popular made for TV tournament for top anglers. KVD is also very popular on the speaking circuit nationally, and is part of many television shows across the country. Congratulations to both well deserving inductees for 2018.

MOWA also announced the annual writing awards for 2018. Woods-N-Water News writers again did very well in the competition. In the five categories judged WNW News writers placed in 3 of the 5 categories and completely swept the Paquin award category. The C.A. Paquin award highlights the best contribution to conservation. First place went to Jonathan Schechter and his article entitled, Valley of the Giants. Second place went to Tom Carney for a great article on Michigan’s Pigeon River Country. Richard P. Smith captured the third place award with his article on Isle Royal Moose Doomed.

The James H. Hall award recognizes non-consumptive activities and Tom Carney again took 2nd place honors in the state with an article titled Dodging the Rain in Western New York. The MOWA photo award saw Jonathan Schechter take third place with a great picture of a Pileated woodpecker hugging a tree in the northern Lower Peninsula.

Congratulations go out to all WNW News writers for the recognition of being the best in the state. Also congrats to the two newest Michigan Outdoor Hall of Famers Kevin VanDam and Mark Martin. There is no question they changed the angling world and will continue to do so for years to come.

To nominate a Michigan icon for the Michigan Outdoor Hall of fame, log on to and download a nomination application. Directions of where to send the nomination are on the site. The Hall of Fame is physically located at the Carl T. Johnson Hunting and Fishing Center in Cadillac, Michigan and a section on the website also hosts inductees.