By Rick Fowler, a Great Lakes Energy Cooperative member

1958…the earliest memories of being on the ice would probably spark the flames of many of us who had dads, granddads, uncles, etc., who led us on our first journeys onto the hard water.

I was 6 when my dad and grandfather included me in their plans, which involved spearing sturgeon from their fishing shanty on Mullett Lake. My grandparents lived in Indian River, Michigan, and since the lake was only a couple of miles away, we had ample time, a place to get to quickly if we needed to warm up (meaning me), and we could get home and eat.

My dad and grandfather had speared a sturgeon before and loved to talk about their experiences to anyone who would listen. This morning had been slow, and we had seen nothing swimming by in the clearcut hole of the shanty. Dad and Grandpa decided to visit another shack nearby to talk to them, no doubt about how they had speared their sturgeons, and it had taken at least 20 minutes to land the monsters (every year, the pounds, length, and battle times seemed to get longer).

While they were gone, they instructed me to watch for any fish that swam by and to holler if it was really big. Now, I had never seen a sturgeon before and therefore could not envision how massive they were. Within minutes of their departure, I got down on my hands and knees to get a clearer picture of the world below me. At that exact moment, the dinosaur fish decided to make his presence known and swam by the hole without a care in the world.

Little did that fish know that up above, a 6-year-old kid screamed at the top of his lungs, busted down the thin-skinned door to escape the monster, and ran to his father. They never let me forget that moment!

About the Author

Rick taught high school English in Boyne City for 34 years. For the past 25 years, he has been an outdoor freelance writer.