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Dean and Leah Rosset newest members of Muskies Inc. Hall of Fame

Dean Leah Rosset teamed up catch 621 muskies 30 inches or longer until they stopped fishing 2008. | For Sun-Times

Dean and Leah Rosset teamed up to catch 621 muskies 30 inches or longer until they stopped fishing in 2008. | For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: February 20, 2014 6:36AM

When Team Rosset talks about ‘‘The Golden Age,’’ they mean the prime of muskie fishing, not their years.

The plaques and years pile up for Team Rosset. There are some 55 plaques and trophies, mainly from Muskies Inc., in their house in the near northern suburbs.

Now they have one more. A big one.

On Tuesday, Dean and Leah Rosset — one of the most noted muskie-fishing couples in the country — found out they had made the Muskies Inc. Hall of Fame.

‘‘I wondered why [Hall member] Don [Dubin] kept saying, ‘You are coming to the meeting?’ ’’ Leah said. ‘‘I said, ‘We are coming if it doesn’t snow.’ It was total shock to us.’’

Their nomination was championed by Dubin and fellow Hall member Steve Statland.

Aptly enough, their honor came at the monthly meeting of the Chicagoland Muskie Hunters chapter of MI. They joined MI on Sept. 11, 1981.

‘‘Our history goes back to Buck Perry,’’ said Dean, who turned 90 in September. ‘‘He was our inspiration. We were fortuitous. Our whole fishing life was serendipity.’’

The late Perry was the father of spoonplugging and structure fishing, the basic tenets of which Team Rosset followed until they stopped fishing in 2008, when Leah caught and released her 300th muskie. As a team, they accounted for 621 muskies 30 inches or longer.

‘‘They were all memorable,’’ Dean said. ‘‘We caught so many fish, I don’t have any that stand out. One year on the Fox Chain, we caught 35 from one lake. Certain runs were almost guaranteed. Looking back, our timing was so perfect. We would hit a lake that was really starting to produce when other people didn’t know about it.’’

‘‘My first muskie that meant something was on Pewaukee,’’ Leah said. ‘‘We used to fish Nagawicka but couldn’t fish it one day [in 1983].’’

So they fished nearby Pewaukee Lake, and she caught one.

‘‘Pewaukee became our lake,’’ she said. ‘‘For a while, Pewaukee was our home. The Milwaukee guys thought we were members of their chapter.’’

‘‘Muskie Bill’’ Klancher, who had a tavern with a launch on the lake, would come down to see how many they had.

Muskie fishing slowed on Pewaukee in 1988, so they tried the Fox Chain O’Lakes. That October, they caught a muskie. The next year, they began fishing the Chain hard.

‘‘One day, we caught 11 legals [30 inches or longer],’’ Dean said. ‘‘It was our home waters until we quit fishing in 2008.’’

On Aug. 2, 1999, Leah caught a 49-incher. (It was measured in the net, so it might have been even longer.) It was her biggest and still one of the longest caught by a woman on the Chain.

That was hardly the only woman-first honor for Leah. She was the first female at-large director elected to MI.

‘‘Muskies Inc. has been good to us over the years,’’ Leah said. ‘‘It kind of took over. It really occupied our lives. The more you do, the more you get out of something.’’

Leah has served as the chairwoman of CMH’s Members Only Fish Contest and written for the club newsletter since 1983. Dean still serves as the club’s media contact and fills multiple roles nationally and on the chapter level.

‘‘Muskies Inc. can use all the ink it can get,’’ Dean said.

Spoken like a Hall of Famer.

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