Sometime very near the first of May in Minnesota sucker spearing opens. Suckers are small fish weighing 2 to 5 pounds. The suckers leave the lakes and swim into the shallower small streams..why? To spawn, to run the gauntlet of men in hip waders with spears. If they survive they win a prize (two lucky males will fertilize one females 100,000 eggs) ..if not they are speared and thrown on shore, bleeding and flopping to be picked up by one of the lowly sucker spearing assistants without a spear..he will pick them up and put them in a gunny sack. (For you city folks, a gunny sack is a loosely woven brown sack that held oats or corn or some kind of feed. If you were ever in a gunny sack race in the summer and you had shorts on, gunny sacks would make your legs all itchy.) The suckers are gutted out and sliced in half and then they are taken out back to some old refrigerator that has been turned into a smoker..after a prescribed amount of time in the smoker they are taken out and eaten.
Oh my there is nothing better than smoked suckers. What a treat this used to be, the fish would be placed on a plate and everyone would dig in..it was a wonderful snack. The flesh of the fish was pink on the outside and white and succulent on the inside and salty..you picked out the plentiful bones as you went…and piled them on the edge of the plate. Just in case someone got a bone stuck in their throat there was usually bread with butter to help push the bone on through followed by a glass of water.
This is a very old photo, Far Guys Dad, Marvin is on the left.. we are not exactly sure who the other two boys are. ( I will guess that they are Jim and Ronald..but I may be wrong..I am sure the relatives will send me an email if I am in error.) It was a successful trip, the two oldest must have speared and the youngest got to string them on a stringer. I am just guessing that this photo would have been taken right around 1934. The smiles on their faces tell the whole story. If there was one thing that these boys liked it was sucker spearing:)