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Ice fishing decoy used to catch Northern Pike

Ice fishing decoy used to catch Northern Pike

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Description (Brief)
Carved, wooden ice fishing decoy in the shape of a silver gray fish for catching Northern Pike, was made by the donor, Bruce Dixon, a spear fisherman from Minnesota. Fish decoys are used in ice fishing in which a fisherman cuts a hole into the ice of a frozen lake, lowers the decoy into the hole on a string to attract the fish and then spears the fish when it comes to the surface of the water. While spearing fish is illegal in most states, some of the northern most states, such as Minnesota and Wisconsin allow this form of fishing to continue. Fish decoys are usually hand carved from a strong wood, such as white pine but which is still soft enough to carve. The fins are usually made from aluminum and an exact amount of molten lead, specific to each fish, is added for ballast to allow the decoy to sink but still maintain a horizontal float pattern. According to the Smithsonian’s American Art Museum, carved fish are one of the earliest forms of American folk art which traces the practice back to 1,000 A.D. when hunters in the Bering Sea first used small bone or ivory decoys for ice fishing.
Location
Currently not on view
Object Name
ice fishing decoy
decoy, ice fishing
maker
Dixon, Bruce
Dixon, Bruce
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
metal (overall material)
plastic (overall material)
Measurements
overall: 5.6 cm x 7.4 cm x 21.5 cm; 2 7/32 in x 2 29/32 in x 8 15/32 in
ID Number
1995.0361.02
catalog number
1995.0361.02
accession number
1995.0361
subject
Sports
Ice Fishing
recreational
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Sport and Leisure
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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