Game and Fish Men Here with Nets

Fish & Game men netting walleye at the Pike river Hatchery, circa—1912.

State Fish and Game men lifting nets on the Pike River, circa 1912.


SATURDAY, MAY 14, 2016 — Today, in honor of the cold and snowy fishing opener, we are posting two items from our files. The first, a story from The Tower Weekly News, discusses the State of Minnesota’s efforts to harvest walleye spawn from the Pike River — a practice which was, locally, very controversial. The second, a 1912 photograph, depicts state Fish and Game commission workers netting walleye to collect spawn.

Game and Fish Men Here with Nets

Same Old Story to be Repeated Again

And The Robbery Is On

THE TOWER WEEKLY NEWS — Friday, April 2, 1915 — The nets, tents and camp outfit for the state Fish & Game commission has arrived as for thirty odd years and are about to set up on the same old site of yore. Pike river is again to give up its quota of pike spawn once more and forever, it seems. The State Fish & Game commission are a power and a law unto themselves and not to be swerved by Divine Intervention, it would seem. The equipment will go up the ice and be made ready in time for the annual robbery of the lake. It has been said that the spawn taken last year all spoiled in shipment. If it is true, then this should be another argument in favor of establishing a hatchery here. Tower sportsmen are watching the daily papers to see whether the $2,500 appropriation asked for the building of a hatchery here, goes through or not. Nothing but the hatching of all spawn taken here will satisfy our people. And also a just proportion of fry returned to the lake again by the commission. It has been suggested to them that they send us pike spawn from other lakes to mix with the pike family in these waters. Pike of a larger variety and a more vigorous breed might raise the standard of our own lake Vermilion variety. The tendency of growth here seems to be downward and smaller pike are caught as the years go by. Today, hundreds are taken that are undersized and these must be returned to the waters again to be caught over and over again. There seems to be no oversized ones. This condition is believed to be caused by yearly stripping and the breeding of one family of pike. Perhaps this matter could be changed could other and larger varieties be introduced into the lake.