Northwoods Spotlight - Rhinelander native wins NCAA fishing national title - Mar 26Submitted: 03/26/2014
Story By Joe Dufek

- Without a doubt, fishing is one of the more popular sports in the Northwoods.

But imagine representing a college and winning a national championship.

A Rhinelander native and his teammate did just that.

For Chris Burgan, a local fishing club was how he began his journey into compeditive fishing.

"I got my start when I was 16, with the Hodag bass masters," Burgan explains. "I've been fishing since I could hold a rod in my hands. I've always been a competitive person."

"We started out fishing crappies," Chris' father Roy adds. "Then we got on a lake which had a lot of bass. He got hooked on bass fishing. I used to beat him once in awhile. Now I can't touch him."

Earlier this month, Burgan, and his fishing partner Austin Felix represented Minnesota and won college fishing's national championship. They knocked off the 2-time defending national champs Louisiana-Monroe to take the title.

"It was pretty crazy," Chris admits. "I was trying to keep my composure on the stage."

The team won a boat - which could go the University of Minnesota. They also earned a spot in the Forest Wood Cup tournament. That's considered the Masters tourney of bass-fishing.

"I have a chance to fish with some of the pros I've looked up to," Chris explains. "I shook Kevin VanDam's hand once. He's a Midwestern guy."

UW-Stevens Point also competed at the National Championships held in Seneca, South Carolina. The Pointers finished 27th out of 50 teams.

Text Size: + Increase | Decrease -
| Print Story | Email Story
Sponsored in part by HodagSports.com


EAGLE RIVER - Many of us already put out the scary decorations and pumpkins for some Halloween spirit. But if you're looking to take it up a notch, dress like a zombie and grab your running shoes this Saturday.

+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - A Marathon County man who drove to Rhinelander to meet up with a 15-year-old girl for sex told police he nearly turned around.

Instead, Dustin Zernicke pulled into the Shopko parking lot Friday night and found officers waiting for him.

The 35-year-old Zernicke made his initial appearance in Oneida County Court Monday afternoon.  Undercover officers posted an ad on Craigslist pretending to be a 15-year-old girl.  The post said "Mom sent me [to] Rhinelander for the weekend and I have nothing to do."

+ Read More

WAUSAU - This fall Wausau's Woodson Art Museum will bring together artists from all over the world. 

The Birds in Art exhibit gives artists an opportunity to share a piece of themselves with their audience.

+ Read More

Play Video

MERRILL - The Merrill Fire Department sees the need for more, younger EMTs to get into the business. Like other area departments, it wants to ensure its staff will stay strong for years into the future.

People like Dylan Schielke can help make that happen.

+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - We likely won't find out who Rhinelander's next police chief will be until early next year.  But the city is already working to replace Chief Mike Steffes.

Newswatch 12 learned earlier this month Chief Steffes is leaving Rhinelander to take a job with the Department of Justice.

Steffes beat out 34 other candidates to win the chief job in 2007.  Police and Fire Commission President Todd McEldowney expects to see dozens of new applicants this time.

+ Read More

MINOCQUA - The Minocqua Town Board always knew it would need to replace Supervisor Bryan Jennings eventually. But the Board didn't think it happen so soon.

Jennings died September 8, two days after he was struck by lightning while walking his dog.

Town Chairman Mark Hartzheim says the Town is now accepting letters of interest from anyone wanting to fill Jennings's seat.

+ Read More

Play Video

WISCONSIN - This year marks the third highest bear harvest in state history.

The totals cement Wisconsin's title as the best state in the U.S. for bear harvests with 4,643 registered.

But it wasn't all good news for bear hunters. 

This year also marked the highest number of hunting dog deaths.

+ Read More
+ More General News

Click Here