Darkhouse group pitches in to replace spearer's shack

When word spread that George Pavlica's spearing and fishing shack had burned on Trout Lake near Coleraine, a few other spearers decided to take action.

When word spread that George Pavlica's spearing and fishing shack had burned on Trout Lake near Coleraine, a few other spearers decided to take action.

Pavlica, who lives in Bovey, is 87. His shack burned on Jan. 10 while he was at home having lunch. The day was windy, and part of his wood stove's stovepipe had blown off. He suspects a backdraft blew sparks into the shack.

Members of the Itasca Darkhouse and Winter Angling Association thought Pavlica should have a new shack.

"I've known the guy for multiple years," said Bob Lawson of Coleraine. "I've been helping him out. When I heard this, I felt so bad I had a hard time sleeping that night."

Lawson called Bill McLaughlin of Grand Rapids, another member of the Itasca Darkhouse and Winter Angling Association.


"I figured we got the money in our account. Let's just build the guy one," McLaughlin said.

Over the past weekend, McLaughlin and his sons Patrick "Beaver" McLaughlin of Bovey and Mike McLaughlin of Grand Rapids bought the materials and built the new house. The new shack is 4 by 6 feet with an opening in the floor that's 18 inches by 2 feet. The inside of the shack is painted black, the outside blue.

The new shack was delivered and set up on Trout Lake on Monday, Bill McLaughlin said. Pavlica met several members of the Itasca Darkhouse and Winter Angling Association on the lake.

"I think the world of them," Pavlica said. "They pulled it out to the lake and even chopped a hole for me. I thanked them many times. I asked them how much I owed them. They said, 'Nothing.' It's a beautiful house they built. They're carpenters."

Pavlica managed to salvage his spear from the old house but lost seven spearing decoys in the fire.

"One fellow gave me four brand-new decoys," Pavlica said.

The decoys were donated by KMDA Fishing Tackle in Bovey, Lawson said.

His wood stove could still be used so it's back on the job in the new house, and Pavlica is back to spearing again.


Big Jig contest coming soon

Duluth's Big Jig Ice Fishing Contest is scheduled for noon to 3 p.m. Feb. 11 at Pike Lake. The event is sponsored by the University of Minnesota Duluth athletic department. It's the largest one-day fundraising event for the school's athletic department, according to a news release from contest organizers.

The Big Jig draws ice anglers throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin and a few from Canada, according to sponsors. All UMD athletes work at the event, from serving food to cleaning up.

The contest will offer more than $60,000 in prizes for anglers who catch the 100 largest fish. Among prizes are a 2006 Scion XB snowmobile; a Yamaha Grizzly 350 ATV; a houseboat vacation package; a 14-foot Lund boat, motor and trailer; and $1,000 in cash (for the 100th largest fish).

A Honda TRX 250 Recon ES ATV will be given away as a door prize.

For more information, call 788-2544.

Boulder barrier created on Knife

Fisheries crews with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources have moved boulders near the Second Falls on the Knife River to benefit steelhead and brown trout in leaping the falls, said Don Schreiner, DNR Lake Superior area fisheries supervisor at French River.


The work was completed in August.

Two large boulders found upstream were carried by a backhoe and placed a few feet from the base of the falls, Schreiner said. The boulders help create a deeper pool and the deeper water allows spawning trout to more easily propel themselves from the water and leap the falls as they move upstream.

A concrete and stone weir, or barrier, had been built below the falls for the same purpose by the DNR more than 20 years ago, Schreiner said. It had been broken and carried away years ago by ice or by "wear and tear," he said.

Members of the Lake Superior Steelhead Association had urged the DNR to replace the weir with a new barrier to benefit trout.

"The goal was to replace what was there before but in a much more ecological manner," Schreiner said.

The boulders should increase the depth of the pool by 1-2 feet, he said. Steelhead migrate upstream in the spring. Brown trout make their spawning run in the fall.

"We felt that the pool needed to have the water table elevated to help in jumping there," said Jeff Somrock, president of the Lake Superior Steelhead Association. "Hopefully, it will help with the upstream migration."

What To Read Next
Get Local


Must Reads