The founding president of Muskies Canada, Bruce Park, died June 24 at the Dorothy Lee Hospice in Etobicoke, Ontario. He was 77.
A longtime Port Credit, Ontario, charter boat captain running his boat, the “Producer,” Park began promoting the catch and release of muskies in 1978 because he believed they were too special of a resource to catch only once. His vision spread to other anglers quickly, and by 1981, 85 percent of the muskies caught by Muskies Canada members were being released.
“He was a ‘Jack’ of all things fishing and boating, and very knowledgeable in the maintenance and repair of boats and their engines. Believe me, Bruce helped me not only find my first ‘big’ boat but helped me maintain her for many years,” said longtime friend Tim Rourke, a member of the Peel Regional Police Service and 10-year veteran of its Marine Unit. “The knowledge he bestowed on me serves me well as I continue to fish Lake Ontario and pay that knowledge forward.
“He was a devoted husband and step-father, a friend and mentor to many, including myself.”
Among his accomplishments, Park spearheaded the early campaign with the help of Muskies Canada to increase Ontario’s minimum size limit from 28 inches to 36 inches. In 1980, he initiated an outing between Muskies Canada and the US members of Muskies Inc. with members taking turns hosting the event between each country in an effort to form camaraderie between the organizations.
Park was inducted into the Muskies Canada Hall of Fame in 1998 and the Canadian Angler Hall of Fame in 2010.
Park is survived by his wife, Maryanne.