Fishing Hall of Fame to induct two men

GARRISON – Fisheries biologist Gene Van Eeckhout of Jamestown and Dean Hildebrand, former North Dakota Game and Fish Department director, have been approved for inclusion into the North Dakota Fishing Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame Board of Directors recently took that action at a meeting in Garrison. Both inductees have made lifelong contributions to the sport of fishing. Their nominations were approved by unanimous vote.

Van Eeckhout was nominated by 2013 Hall-of-Famers Louis Gauckler of Cayuga and David Paulson of Hankinson. Van Eeckhout served as southeast district supervisor with the NDG&F fisheries division since 1976. He recently retired.

Van Eeckhout was recognized for his unselfish dedication to improving fisheries and for assisting individual fishing and wildlife clubs in his district. In addition, he was well respected for his ability to communicate with landowners, sportsmen and others with concerns pertaining to area lakes while always demonstrating professionalism and leadership.

Hildebrand served as Game and Fish director from 1996 until his retirement in 2005. He passed away at age 70 on Sept. 10, 2008. Hildebrand was instrumental in improving fishing opportunities in the state, including initiating the “Save Our Lakes” program. He was nominated by Clark Williams, president of the Lake Region Anglers Association. In the nomination Williams noted that Hildebrand “was a true leader in North Dakota and never failed to take the opportunity to make fishing and the outdoors better for others.”

Both men will be inducted into the N.D. Fishing Hall of Fame during a ceremony at the Garrison City Auditorium July 17. Induction will be held prior to the rules meeting for the Governor’s Cup Walleye Derby. The N.D. Fishing Hall of Fame is located at North Country Marine and Motorsports in Garrison.