Reel old fishing news – Hometown Focus


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A group of fishermen display their catch at the Nelson farm near Cook, 1938. Second from the right is Victor Nelson, great-grandfather of HTF editor Tucker Nelson. Victor is holding Tucker’s grandfather, Jim.
Will Collect Pike Eggs
Sam F. Fullerton, state fish commissioner, is on his way to the Rainy River, where he will attempt to collect for the state fish hatchery at St. Paul a quantity of eggs of the yellow-bellied wall-eyed pike. If Mr. Fullerton is successful in his efforts in collecting the eggs of the Canadian pike, they will be mixed with the fry already in the Minnesota lakes.
The fish commissioner states that the mixing of Canadian species with the species of pike at the present time in Minnesota waters will be a good thing for the fish, as it will improve the species.
Mr. Fullerton has been very busy this spring collecting eggs from Gull Lake, Whitefish Lake, and Pine Lake, all in the vicinity of Brainerd. Other eggs have been collected from Battle Lake in Otter Tail County, Big Pelican Lake in Becker County, and the St. Louis River at Fond do Lac. Over 160,000,000 eggs have been collected by the force of the state fish hatchery, and these are at the present time hatching in the St. Paul hatchery.
A fishing party tries their luck at Ely Lake near Eveleth in 1897. Photo courtesy of Archives and Special Collections, Kathryn A. Martin Library, University of Minnesota Duluth.
Many of the fry will be placed in the lakes and rivers of the northern part of the state. All of the eggs collected in the lakes and rivers of this state are of the white-bellied pike. The trip that Mr. Fullerton is on at the present time will take him to international waters. The spot that the commissioner will visit is where the Rainy River enters Lake of the Woods.
At this point nets have been set out, and it is hoped that a large number of the Canadian pike will have been caught by the time Mr. Fullerton reaches the spot. —Border Budget May 22, 1909
State Fishing Regulations
The following is a digest of the Minnesota fishing laws which will be rigidly enforced hereabouts during the present year:
“No person shall sell or offer for sale any fish caught in any lake situated partly or wholly within a county in this state that has a population of 150,000 or over.
“No person shall have in possession any wall-eyed pike less than 14 inches or one pound, dressed weight; any blue pike less than 10 inches; rock bass, sunfish and bullheads less than 6 inches; black, gray, or Oswego bass less than 9 inches.
“No person shall catch, take, or have possession for any purpose whatsoever any trout, except lake trout, between the first day of September and the 15th day of April following; and black, gray, or Oswego [most likely largemouth in this context] bass between the first day of March and the 29th day of May following; and any variety of pike, muscallunge [sic.,] crappie, perch, sunfish, sturgeon, or catfish between the first day of March and the first day of May following.
“No person shall take, catch, or kill more than 25 (except perch, sunfish, pickerel, or bullheads) in any one day, nor in any manner than by angling for them with one hook and line, held in hand or attached to a rod so held and with one hook on the line.
“No person shall have in his possession any fish caught or killed in waters of this state, except as provided above; provided that suckers, pickerel, redhorse, carp, and bullheads may be taken with a spear without limit at any time, but no artificial lights shall be used in the taking of said fish during the months of May and June of each year. The catching or killing of more than 25 fish by any one person in any one day shall be deemed a wanton waste or destruction.”
Failure to observe the provisions outlined above is punishable by a fine of not less than $10 or more than $100, or imprisonment in jail for a term of not less than 10 or more than 60 days. —International Falls Press and Border Budget May 2, 1912
Fish Season Opens
The black bass fishing season opened Wednesday and a number of local nimrods are preparing to leave tomorrow for a few days of fishing and outing. Trout Lake in Itasca County is one of the best for bass in this section. Several Virginians will go to Vermilion tomorrow, and a number of others will go to the trout streams near Two Harbors. —Virginia Enterprise May 31, 1912
Fishing Season is Open Today
Summer sport now legally here. Fish beginning to run nicely.
The fishing season opens today, Friday. It is now safe to go out in daylight and heave out the fish line. One may now legally catch pike, pickerel, rock bass, crappies, and all rough fish. There is a limit to the number and also as to the size. One must be careful not to bring home a pike less than 14 inches long from the point of its nose to the fork of its tail. Twenty-five is the limit. It is too much. Half of that number should satisfy anyone. Be a sportsman, not a game hog. Leave one or two for someone else.
So far the reports have been unfavorable that the pike are running in any great numbers. But this will soon be changed no doubt as the weather grows warmer. With the pike yet spawning, its seems strange that the law should open when it does. A month later and more spawn would have matured and less damage would be done. The state game and fish men are taking spawn by the tubs full, and this proves the fact that fishing begins too soon. However, it is the law today one may go out for pike without fear of arrest. Vermilion Lake must now begin to give up its tenants. Thousands of fish will be taken out of it in the coming season. There should be some capacity to double the capacity of our hatchery at Pike River if succeeding generations are to enjoy themselves. —Tower Weekly News May 1, 1914
Fishing season opened Monday
To-day was a happy one for the Minnesota fisherman who has been preparing his rusty tackle for the season which opened Monday morning and the ban is lifted on pike, crappies, sunfish, perch, muscallonge [sic.,] catfish, and sturgeon. Angling for the first four named varieties of the finny tribe is most common in this state.
Minnesota’s northern lakes are noted for their abundance of pike and muskies, while lakes all over the state abound in sunfish and crappies. There is a limit of 25 fish on pike, muscallonge, crappies, sturgeon, and catfish, and later on, bass. The bass season opened May 28 in Minnesota.
Pickerel and rock bass or rough bass may be taken at any time and in any quantity with hook and line or with spears, the use of nets and artificial lights being prohibited. Non-residents must pay a $1 license fee for the season.
The trout season opened strong, and for a few days the strings were heavy, but with the rains and change in weather the trout ceased to bit so ravenously, according to reports of returning anglers. —International Falls Press and Border Budget May 7, 1914
At the Local Fish Hatchery
S. E. McLaughlin and wife are in camp at Pike River, where Mr. McLaughlin is in charge of the fish hatchery. They are living in a tent and are enjoying life in the open to the fullest extent.
Mr. McLaughlin says that the hatching of pike this year has been much slower than ordinarily. The 21 days necessary for the hatching has been extended another week owing to the coldness of the water and the weather.
Seventy-nine jars of pike eggs have gone through the house this year. The jars will average about a quart of eggs each. Estimating that there are 130,000 eggs in a jar, one may figure out the number of fry going down the chute into the Pike River.
The process of hatching is most interesting and well worth the trip to witness. Small fry a quarter of an inch in length may be seen tearing themselves loose from the shell of the egg from which they hatched. From start to finish, the work of nature is most interesting.
An experiment was made there on a 12-pound muskie which was caught in the nets. The spawn from this fish was kept separate and was fecundated by a male pike. The eggs were placed in a special jar and were watched with interest, but nothing came of it. Nature refused to raise a family of freaks.
Many think that the fry are killed while descending from the hatchery to the water. This is hardly probable, as they do not go from the jars to the river directly. A series of long tanks must first be negotiated by the fry, and by then he is 10 days old and able to take a few bumps himself.
A greater percentage of eggs have hatched this year than last. While development has been slow, it has been more effective and a greater number will result than formerly. The care of the hatchery requires constant vigilance and is by no means a haphazard affair. Also the knowhow must accompany it. The school children should be given a day at the hatchery as an object lesson well worth the time spent. —Tower Weekly News May 26, 1916
Fishing Season Starts
The fishing season opened Wednesday and since then, everyone who could spare the time has been out with rod and reel. Some good catches have been made, but many complain that large numbers of pike are under the lawful size and must be thrown back. Ted Pearson caught eight Wednesday morning but was forced to return seven of them to the water because they were too small. Fishing parties from the Mesaba Range towns have not been so numerous as they were other years, due largely to the sport being tabooed at Pike River Falls, the former mecca of Range fishermen. —Tower Weekly News May 3, 1918
Local Anglers on First Quest
Clear skies and an atmosphere which tempts the followers of Ike Walton to go forth in search of outdoor recreation greeted Evelethians when they awoke last Sunday morning, and many of them took advantage of the weather and enjoyed the opening day of fishing.
The road to Vermilion Lake was dotted with anglers, and it is said that the streams and lakes of the northern part of the state were black with persons in their eagerness to hook the first pike, pickerel, or trout. The hook and line season opened, and not too soon for fishermen of Eveleth and this part of the state.
The fact that all lines of fishing tackle will be much higher this year than any other season did not seem to affect the enthusiasm of people who went out to catch a “mess” of fish. —Eveleth News May 9, 1918
Pike Planted on Range
Virginia, Minn., May 20.—(Special to The Herald.)—Forty-two cans of pike fry from the fish hatchery in Duluth arrived Tuesday and were planted in the following Range lakes: Big Sturgeon, Little Sturgeon, Sand, Dewey, Welcome, Day, Perch, and Clear. —Duluth Herald May 20, 1920
Installing River Lights
Tower, Minn., May 11.—(Special to The Herald.)—The work of installing the electric lights along the river front is progressing rapidly. Poles are set and the wiring is being done and it is probably that the lights will be in readiness for the opening of the fishing season, which starts Sunday. Scores of reservations of boats have been made, and most of the boat liveries are already taxed for rowboats and canoes with which to supply the demand. —Duluth Herald May 11, 1921
Fishin’ with Dixie Carroll
Tips from real guides
“Striking at the right time is another point,” said Charley Riley as we started work on the piping hot grub, fit for a king; at least, it tasted so after a day’s work at casting. “With the plugs they don’t strike soon enough, and with the natural bait they strike too soon. Unless a fish hooks itself by accident when it hits the artificial plug, the majority of fisherman are not ready to strike at the right time.
“You’ve got to strike ’em the minute they hit the plug or they throw it out. I think where the falldown comes is in not practicing the transfer of the rod from the right to the left hand. Just before the plug hits the water, the reel should be stopped and while the rod is being swung from the right to the left, begin the retrieve of the plug by a backward move of the rod. This takes up the slack at the start, gives your lure the right position and still you have enough space to swing the rod farther back to strike your fish quickly if you get a strike, while with the live minnows they never give the fish a chance to swallow the bait.
“The bass, pike, pickerel or walleye generally takes but a small hold on the live bait and striking at that time before he gets a chance to take it away for a short run just pulls the bait out of his mouth. I say, let ’em swallow it. They ought to at least have that pleasure, anyway; then give a quick, sharp strike with a wrist movement. But quite a few of the boys seem to think they got to pump the fish clean out of the water. At least, that’s the way it looks to me when I see them give a long, swinging sweep of the arm to the strike.” —Duluth Herald May 19, 1922
Local Happenings
Mr. and Mrs. Elmer Larson spent the week end at Birch Lake fishing.
C. H. Simonds, Ernest Luoma, Oscar Luoma, and Ed Takala spent the week end fishing at Lake Kabetogama.
W. J. Davey, grandson, Davey Ross, Kenneth Culley, William Kaiser, Jr., and Joseph Orehek spent the week end at Ash River fishing.
L. S. Seaman accompanied a group of his club boys to Lake Vermilion, where they enjoyed fishing on Saturday and Sunday.
Mr. and Mrs. Paul Barfknecht and children, Ryllis and Glenn, and Mr. and Mrs. Tony Sadar and son, Jimmie, spent Sunday fishing at Lake Vermilion. —Eveleth Clarion May 21, 1942
Outdoors in the Arrowhead
Although Tuesday, the opening day of the pike season, saw many hundreds of anglers out on their favorite lakes, the coming week end will probably attract a record war time crowd of fishermen throughout this fishing paradise. As usual on opening day, resorts will be taxed to capacity, and getting a boat will be the exception rather than the rule. Those who have made plans to get out this week end should phone, write, or call boat liveries and resorts and have some assurance of picking up a worthy craft.
With meat on the scarcity list, men, women, and children are not only looking to an outing with considerable satisfaction, but have an eye to tasting something besides some of the bologna, wieners, and lunch meats which have made up so much of the meat diet in recent weeks. And when it comes to walleyed pike, fried in favorite fashion, it just can’t be beat—in the home or out in the open country by the shore of a lake.
Fishermen who take along their families have an added responsibility— that of looking out for the safety of the women and children. Every possible precaution should be taken to keep the kids from falling overboard, and no chances whatever should be taken with the weather. If a wind is coming up, hit for the shore or the nearest island and stay there until the blow is over. Fishing is fun—but let’s keep it in that class.
Lest you forget
Get your fishing license as soon as possible and remember the following daily and possession limits now in effect: walleyed pike, 8 per day, 12 in possession; saugers (or sand pike), 8 per day, 12 in possession; great northern pike, 8 per day, 12 in possession; muskellunge, 2 per day, 2 in possession; rock bass, 15 per day, 30 in possession; crappies, 15 per day, 25 in possession; sunfish or bluegill, 15 per day, 30 in possession. —Eveleth News-Clarion May 17, 1945

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