Luring lunkers through the winter ice

Object of the Month: 12/2012

What is it?:

This ice fishing lure was made by carving a freshwater clam shell and was used by Native Americans living along on the St. Croix River. The back end is broken off.Ice fishing lure: This ice fishing lure carved from clam shell was used by Native Americans living near the St. Croix River 600 to 800 years ago.
Ice fishing lure: This ice fishing lure carved from clam shell was used by Native Americans living near the St. Croix River 600 to 800 years ago.Courtesy SMM


Origin:

Crites/Sheffield site near the St. Croix River, Washington County, Minn.


Age: Between 600 and 800 years old
Made by:

Oneota people


Where was it collected:

This ice fishing lure was found at the Crites/Sheffield site near the St. Croix River, Washington County, Minn., by a Science Museum of Minnesota archaeology crew in 1960.


Dimensions:

3 inches by 1 inch


What is it made of?:

Shell


Accession #: 2354-300

This ice fishing lure would have been dangled down a hole in the ice to attract curious, hungry fish. The angler would lie on the ice, look through the hole and thrust a spear at the unsuspecting fish. He’d likely have a small blanket tepee covering his head and the hole to improve his vision of what’s transpiring below the surface. It might not have been quite as comfortable as life in our ice fishing houses of today but maybe more effective.

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