• GUESTS

    If You  want access  to member only forums on FM, You will need to Sign-in or  Sign-Up now .

    This box will disappear once you are signed in as a member.

  • WE CREATE LONG TERM, MEANINGFUL RELATIONSHIPS IN HERE ... PLEASE JOIN US.

    You know what we all love...

    RECEIVE THE GIFTS MEMBERS SHARE WITH YOU HERE...THEN...CREATE SOMETHING TO ENCHANT OTHERS THAT YOU WANT TO SHARE
    When you enchant people, you fill them with delight and yourself in return. Have Fun!!!

Sign in to follow this  
LABS4ME

Article on spearing in Sunday's paper

Recommended Posts

LABS4ME

There is a nice article by Chris Niskenan in the St. Paul paper about spearing today... anybody else read it?

It's refreshing to see articles like that and forums like this to help keep the sport of spearing alive. It seems to be making a slight comeback and should be well past the days when no journalist would touch the subject with a 10 foot pole due to the pressures of some fishing orginizations and their zealot for no harvesting of pike.

I see the future as being bright and increasing the size of the fraternity of those we call sprearers!

Good Luck!

Ken

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
shamalex72

I just checked it out, nice article. I agree, it seems to be making a comeback.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Fish Toys
Can I find the article online?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
shamalex72

Yes, thats where I read it. St. Paul Pioneer Press.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
bassNspear

this is a great artical, and i to believe that the sport is coming back in a strong way!!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Fish Toys
Good article about decoys. Looks like he should have used an Icesaw grin.giflooking at his ice block. Did you go through the slide show? Nice decoys and 1 big one! I put a comment on there. \:\)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
bassNspear

sell one

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Scott M

Fish decoys: art of attraction

Fish are not the only creatures lured to these hand-carved decoys.

BY CHRIS NISKANEN

Outdoors Editor

St. Paul Pioneer Press

CROSSLAKE, Minn. - Once Kirk Schnitker settled into his fish house on Cross Lake, he opened a large, multilayered toolbox that contained dozens of hand-carved fish decoys, including some that looked nothing like fish.

One was shaped like a small brown animal with metal fins; Schnitker called it "The Beave." Another was shaped like a saucer-sized manta ray. And another looked like a large, patriotic-themed grasshopper.

He had carved all the decoys in his box.

Schnitker tied the grasshopper lure to a string and lowered it into the ice hole. When he tugged the string, the decoy's small, insectlike wings flapped. The fire-engine-red and white lure danced colorfully under the water.

"Some people call it a whitefish decoy, but it doesn't swim worth a [PoorWordUsage]," said Schnitker of Spring Lake Park.

Still, it wasn't long before a curious whitefish cruised under the ice to check out the decoy. Schnitker grabbed his iron spear, but the whitefish streaked away just as Schniker flung his weapon.

"They're always moving, so you have to be fast," he sighed.

Darkhouse spearing with fish-luring decoys is a time-honored sport in Minnesota, and some folk-art decoys carved by the old masters are worth hundreds, even thousands, of dollars. Schnitker is among a cadre of new carvers and anglers keeping the craft alive.

"I don't know why darkhouse spearing and decoy carving have experienced a resurgence, but it probably has to do with people's interest in nostalgic sporting art," Schnitker said. "I also like using a well-made, handmade lure. The things I make are one of a kind."

Some of Minnesota's best-known contemporary carvers recently gathered at Schnitker's cabin on Cross Lake for their annual Whitefish Chain Open, a competition to see whose decoys could lure the biggest fish.

It wasn't your typical artists' retreat. On the first night, Schnitker prepared three enormous meatloaves of seasoned bear meat. And throughout the weekend, there was a lot of snowmobiling, spearfishing and evening imbibing.

The carvers who showed up have created some of the most eclectic and beautiful fish decoys around.

Thayne Johnson, an unemployed Web site designer living in Minneapolis, is known for his cartoonish and inventive decoys. He showed a decoy without fins that nonetheless swims in a wiggling action.

His creations sell for $50 to $300.

"It drives the pike crazy," said Johnson of his squirmy fish, which recently won first-place in the experimental decoy category at the World Decoy Championships in Michigan. "It's all about how it is weighted. It's a trade secret."

Tim Spreck of Stillwater said he is probably the only person in the world who makes a full-time living buying and selling fish decoys. He not only operates a Web site (fishdecoy.net) but also carves offbeat and folksy decoys.

One of his decoys looks like a polka-dotted character from the movie "Finding Nemo."

"People collect Tim Spreck's decoys because they have a unique style," Schnitker said. "He has a good gift for the art."

Other Minnesota carvers have their niches, too. Bob Johnson, a high school art teacher in Brainerd, is known for his exquisitely painted decoys. Gary Hull of Baudette is known for his realistic fish that looked like they just jumped out of the water.

Mention Otis Lael of Pine River, and many of today's carvers nod in appreciation. Lael died several years ago but not before carving hundreds of otherworldly decoys.

"They can be crude and maybe they don't swim that well, but there's a lot to like about them," Johnson said.

Lael's decoys are often jointed or have large teeth and disproportionate heads.

Lael has reached nearly folk-hero status among today's carvers because he never speared fish himself, having fallen through the ice as a youngster and refusing to ever walk on a frozen lake. One of his sunfish decoys made in 2000 features a Copenhagen tobacco tin embedded in the side. It's listed for $95 on Spreck's Web site.

Schnitker, an attorney, said he carves decoys for relaxation and for the thrill of seeing a fish rush into his spear hole to snatch one of his creations. His decoys often have distinctive flame or wave patterns on their flanks.

He says he doesn't make enough money selling them to offset the hours he spends carving and painting them, but he hopes someday collectors will clamor for them.

"For now, I'm told I should keep my day job," he joked.

The fish on Cross Lake, it turned out, were curious and attracted to all sorts of odd-looking decoys.

One of Schnitker's flame-decorated lures brought in a northern pike. The Beave and the manta ray each drew in whitefish that weighed more than 3 pounds.

Schnitker missed all three whitefish, and the northern pike was too small to spear.

"I've never been known as the most accurate spearer," he said. "But I have some nice decoys."

**********************************************

Great article. Figured I'd put it up since the links tend to break after a couple weeks when the story is removed.

I saw a guy at the Ice Show who had been carving for a little over a year. Heck of a talent. If you saw the decoys you'd have remembered them. Amazing touch with paint. He also wasn't too excited about the protected slot on Lake of the Woods (where he was from and ran a resort), so he had an interesting cartoon on the side of a few of his decoys.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
Sign in to follow this  

Announcements



  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

    • huntnfish
      I upgraded my electronics this year to a Humminbird Helix 10. I love it so far with the exception of not being able to split the screen into 4 separate screens. The max that you can do is 3. I would really like to be able to have the map, sonar, down imaging, and side imaging on the screen at the same time while trolling. I emailed tech support and they said it's not something that is an option at this time. Right now when I'm fishing I switch back and forth between map, sonar, and DI and sonar, DI, and SI. Is there anyone else that thinks this should be an option? I don't know see why you can't customize the screen to show whichever features you prefer instead of only using the preloaded options that Humminbird decided on. I have thought about emailing the company weekly asking if they have that ability yet but wanted to see if anyone else thinks it should be an option. 
    • FishinCT
      Awesome fish. Still some freak crappies in the vermillion river, but don't know if 5 lbs has been approached since.  Not world record news but North Dakota had a state record walleye caught recently. 15lb 13oz. Broke record that stood since 1959. Still a few pounds off Minnesota record 😏
    • Rick
      It clears like that every spring. Nice catch. Any size to the striper?
    • Mitch K
      The water in Cannon lake is the clearest I've ever seen it. You can see the bottom in 5ft easily. Caught a few perch and a striped bass. Also saw some big bass around the fishing pier by the beach.
    • LoonASea
      Dang ,,, Another nice day to be out on the water on Fish Lake  ,,, Too bad the fish didn't think it was nice enough to eat what we offered !! Might have to switch bodies of water!!!
    • mrpike1973
      Lake Sylvia is great for bass also lake Francis near Kimball is good too a little smaller but great action! The Mississippi sounds fun I should try it myself.
    • delcecchi
      My beach be west for sure.  
    • leech~~
      Update.  Minnesota American Legion and other volunteers succeeded Thursday, May 17, 2018, in cutting the giant North Long Lake bog into three sections. The bog came to rest on the beach of an American Legion camp. The plan is to move the middle section to open up the beach, then relocate the other two back to the bog’s original position on the lake north of Brainerd, Minn. (Forum News Service)
    • leech~~
      This Freak?   Jam Ferg poses with his fish after TWRA officials certified its weight.
    • guideman
      The Minnesota record is almost that big, it's over 5lbs and it was caught in the Vermillion river in southern Minnesota back in the late 50's I believe.   "Ace"