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Mason County Memories


"You can't depend on your eyes if your imagination is out of focus" ~ Mark Twain


History Columns are arranged by year of publication in the Ludington Daily News



david k petersen

History Column 264 Dave Petersen We'll take a look at some cold weather pictures taken in the Leland Michigan area in the 1920's and 1930's today in recognition of the storm we are to have been blessed with this New Years. It would take a hearty soul to venture out into Lake Michigan in the weather we see in these pictures. They did not let it stop them though, it had to be done. Hard to imagine someone standing back and saying "you want me to do what! That's not in my contract!" Whether it was the life they chose or whether the life chose them the nets had to be put out and they had to be brought in regardless of anything else. During the height of the depression they had work and they had food from their labors. If you have any stories or photographs that you would like to share with our readers please feel free to contact me at 757-3240, davep@blackcreekpress.com or mail in care of the Ludington Daily news Po Box 340 Ludington Mi. Pic1 Fish Tugs Nu-Deal and Irene along with 2 others. At times the ice between Leland and Manitou Island would fill the lake and harbor blocking passage of the mail and raising havoc with the fishing boats as they attempted to get out early in the year to set their nets. An easterly wind might carry off the ice one night and a shifting wind from the northwest could carry miles of ice fields into the bay, blocking the harbor and preventing the fishing fleet from reaching their nets the next. While the fish did not spoil during these early spring days the nets would sustain damage if the fishermen were unable to return to pull them Pic2 Fishing boats were generally pulled out of the water for the winter at the end of December each year. There were some occasions when the weather was unseasonably warm and the harbor remained open into January where they could continue to put out their nets. The catch was not generally as good but those fishermen who went out felt that they were at least able to harvest some small catches that would have gone uncaught otherwise. Pic3 During the winter layover the fishermen were busy with repairing nets and getting ready for the spring fishing season and the annual ice harvest. In November 1928 notice was given to all fishermen that in the next year's season that the fish harvest must be stored in ice immediately after being caught. Notice was given this early so that the fishermen would have ample time to put up the needed ice during their winter ice harvest for the following season. Pic4 They would prepare often weeks in advance for the annual event of ice fishing or spearing in Leelanau Lake as well. They would prepare their coops and secure supplies of minnows in anticipation of the first cold snap that would allow them to venture out onto the ice to enjoy the sport. Pic5 Ice fields and bergs crowd into shore driven by the wind in this circa 1925 view of Lake Michigan outside of Leland. Pic6 Old Mother Nature gives fish-town a good dusting and a hint of what is yet to come. The fish-boats are still tied to their docks in readiness for the next trip out to the lake to set or pull a few more nets before being laid up for the winter.

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