Anglers are simply superior because of their contemplative pastime, according to Izaak Walton. And few who fish would disagree. In fact, the habit of amplifying the sport is documented at least as long ago as 75 A.D., when Plutarch wrote that Mark Antony faked a catch to impress Cleopatra. From Bible verse to Grandpa’s latest whopper, fishing has figured in our spiritual and cultural lore, to say nothing of our cuisine, as far back as we remember, and nowhere is this truer, perhaps, than in the great north woods.
A celebration of the sport in the land of 10,000 lakes and beyond, where the fish fry is a near-holy Friday ritual, the running of smelt heralds spring, and a village of ice-fishing huts springs up on every frozen lake, this irresistible book tells the full story from trivia to sacred tradition. Eric Dregni, who has entertained countless readers with enlightening tales of Midwest marvels, here shows his considerable skills as a raconteur and cultural historian of the fun and the facts of fishing in the Great Lakes region.
Fishing contests and taxidermy, lures and earthworms, fishing scenes on beer cans, and the peculiar genre of fishing photographs: no detail is too small, reflection too deep, or bridge too far to escape his eye and ready wit, from gear madness to true grit, angling heroics to solitary pleasures, small-town festivals to sport-fishing meccas. And he has the images to prove it. Lavishly illustrated with postcards, advertisements, historical prints, and tourist snapshots, this book is an always fascinating, occasionally hilarious, and often oddly informative compendium of fishing lore destined to reel in the uninitiated and to occupy the aficionado in those long, empty hours between seasons.
About the Author
Eric Dregni is associate professor of English and journalism at Concordia University in St. Paul. He is the author of more than a dozen books including Midwest Marvels, In Cod We Trust, By the Waters of Minnetonka, and Never Trust a Thin Cook, all published by Minnesota.
"I thought I knew everything about fishing, but Eric Dregni’s research and his wonderful, quirky book set me straight. This book belongs on every angler’s bookshelf."—Chris Niskanen, former outdoors writer for the St. Paul Pioneer Press and author of The Minnesota Book of Skills
"If you’re looking for an insightful read for yourself or a knockout gift for a fishing fanatic, Let’s Go Fishing! is a spot-on choice."—Lake Time Magazine
"Eric Dregni’s photo-rich look at the history of North Woods fish fries and bonding moments on boats reeled me back to childhood summers in Minnesota."—Jess Hoffert, Midwest Living
"Let’s Go Fishing! is a quirky assortment of dubious stories and characters, strange lures and odd gastronomical inclinations. As cultural historian, Dregni delivers with a deft hand and light wit, and validates what every Midwesterner with a few rods, a net, and a tackle box knows: Fishing is what we do. Moreover, for better and at times worse, it’s who we are."—Star Tribune
"Anyone even remotely interested in the lore of fishing in the North Country... will find plenty to whet their appetite."—Villager
"A must for anglers — and just about anyone who appreciates a good fish story."—Sunday Capital
"An utter delight, from Dregni’s entertaining prose to the evocative illustrations."—Chicago Tribune
"The book is pure whimsy, full of quirks, fun facts, history of the olden days, trivia and outright lies."—Rochester Post-Bulletin
"As fun as it is informative."—Grand Forks Herald
"Sprinkled with fishing trivia and entertaining old photos, postcards, posters and even some actual facts, every page brings something worth landing and likely worth retelling." —Lake Superior Magazine
"In an effort to remind the “people of the lakes” just where their fishing quirks and traditions come from...Eric Dregni has cast an insightful line with his latest book, Let’s Go Fishing!." —Lake Minnetonka Magazine