Dark house days are here
Sitting in the dark waiting for a monster to appear -- that is dark house spearing. That trusty spear is at your side, you dance a wood spearing decoy in the hole, you let your sucker minnow work and you wait, and wait. Patience is a virtue and d...
Sitting in the dark waiting for a monster to appear -- that is dark house spearing.
That trusty spear is at your side, you dance a wood spearing decoy in the hole, you let your sucker minnow work and you wait, and wait. Patience is a virtue and dark house spearing is a good teacher.
The stove might be the only sound you hear as you sit and wait. You stare down into a spear hole for hours on end and you see things, you reflect on life and you make plans. You might have a little coffee along, or a lunch bucket with cookies and sandwiches.
Spearing is not as sociable a sport as angling. You are hunting so making noise is not a part of the picture.
A northern pike can slide into the hole and just stare at one of your decoys or it can hit one of them like a ton of bricks. Many a drowsy, day-dreaming dark house resident has had a big wake-up call.
Northern pike are predators and Minnesota has so many that they are not stocked. The females tend to be larger than the males and while the average size in Minnesota has fallen, they can grow larger than any game fish in Minnesota other than the sturgeon, muskie and catfish. The state record is a 45-pounder that came out of Basswood Lake in the Arrowhead Country in 1929.
There are some crazy stories connected with dark house spearing.
A relative of mine had stopped to visit his uncle one evening to see how he was doing. His uncle had been sitting in the dark house since mid-morning without seeing a single northern. His uncle had to go home and milk his cows so he invited Milton to take his place. Five minutes later, a 25-pound northern came into the hole.
I knew a guy who came down to his spear house after being away from it for a few days and found a muskrat had built a house inside his spear house. Being a very practical man, he let the muskrat share his spear hole for the rest of the winter. The muskrat never let the hole freeze shut.
A friend of mine once speared a nice-sized northern that fell off the spear as he was pulling it out of the hole. He was pretty upset about it and was outside telling a friend about it when they looked down and noticed something under the ice. It was the northern he had speared a few moments before. They chopped a hole in the ice and up popped the northern. That was doing it the hard way.