It is with Profound sadness that
I announce the news of the death of
A Musky Fishing Legend
Tony Rizzo


I have only known Tony since 2012. Over the years until his death, Tony and I corresponded regularly about his adventures on the water and I must confide that if I am a better Musky angler for knowing him. If you have attended any of the Wausau Musky Expos, you, like me, had the opportunity to hear Tony's seminar presentations.

My good friend Rich Reinert introduced me to Tony in 2012. Tony graciously invited me into his home and allowed me to see his collection of guiding photos and shared the stories of each pictured catch.

Below is the interview article I wrote as a result my time with Tony in 2012.


Tony Rizzo…Musky Hunter Extraordinaire
By Craig Sandell © 2012

We have all heard many claims by Musky notables over the course of the years that we have been haunting the water in search of the elusive and tenacious Musky. Throughout the years though, one Musky angler stands above the rest by virtue of his time on the water, his impressive tally of fish and his many informative books; that man is Tony Rizzo.

I recently had the opportunity, and great pleasure, to meet with Tony in his home. Tony is 77 years old but took time out of his busy guiding schedule to meet with me and share the hospitality of his home.

As we descended the stairs into his basement, I was struck by the pictures of the musky catches of a lifetime which adorned his basement walls. There was scarcely a wall space that did not have a photo of Tony and his many guide clients holding some very impressive Musky. When I commented on the "wall coverings", Tony casually said that there were about 100 more photos for which there was no space.

Tony took me around the basement photo gallery stopping at almost every photo to share with me the particulars of the size and date of the catch and the name of the guide client.

I was so impressed with his recall that I had to ask him how he could recall so many of these catches.

Tony smiled and without hesitation took me over to a place where there were note books on a shelf. He took one down at random and opened it for my inspection.

Those of you who have fished the Chippewa Flowage for at least 15 years remember the day when each resort had a Musky chart that had the date of the catch, the name of the angler, the size of the catch, the bait used and the prevailing weather. As I began to page through Tony’s records, I could see that Tony had detailed each catch the same way along with the lake or river upon which the Musky was caught…Impressive!

As we began to talk about Tony’s exploits and accomplishments, Tony directed my attention to the results of the Villas County Muskie Marathon. Tony was quite proud, and rightfully so, of the success of himself and his clients in this marathon. Tony or his guide clients were ranked in the top ten catches in a substantial number of years from 1971 to 2010.

Date

Ranking

Name

Weight in pounds

Size in inches

11/15/1971

4

Bill Heoft

37

48.5

9/22/1972

4

Clenn Marcintoni

39

52.5

10/24/1972

3

Tony Rizzo

41

52

9/14/1974

5

Stan Smith

35

49

11/14/1975

3

Sam Rizzo

39

52

8/5/1977

7

Hank Levine

35

50

9/6/1978

8

Bob Hamm

33.5

50

11/11/1978

1

Ed Brown

46

54

11/18/1978

5

Web Smith

34

51.5

9/16/1981

10

Tony Rizzo

36

50

11/26/1983

8

Tony Rizzo

32.5

47.5

7/6/1984

6

Don Wendt

35

51.5

11/11/1986

5

Arlo Carney

35

50

10/13/1987

10

Dave Steiger

34.25

49.25

9/15/1988

5

Brian Fannig

38.5

52.75

10/29/1988

6

Jon Geotzke

38

50.5

11/2/1990

8

Bill Holtsman

34.5

50

10/10/1997

6

Bill Richter

31.5

48.5

11/5/1997

1

Bill Witty

38

51.5

10/31/1998

9

Jim Kenney

33

49

11/12/1998

3

Jim Seivert

39

51.5

10/11/2000

2

Bob Willoughby

37

50.5

10/26/2006

3

Kurt Savageau

33

50

10/29/2010

4

Dave Wiesheit

37

50.25

Toward the end of my visit with Tony, I asked him why his life time of Musky action on the water was not chronicled on the internet or in Musky information magazines. His answer was simple…No One Asked.

It only took me half a heartbeat to ask Tony if he would allow Musky America to reprint some of his articles on the Musky America website…a request to which he happily agreed.

So starting this November, Musky America will begin sharing with all of you selected articles of Tony Rizzo.

As usual, it is my hope that the information contained in these articles will provide the insight that we all seek as we do our best to achieve our Personal Best on the water.

Tight Lines