Fish Tugs of the Greatest Lake
Built by Burger Boat Co. in 1948 for E.W. Bodin Son, Bayfield, WI. The 42 ft. x 12 ft. all steel vesssel was equipped with a 45-54 Kahlenberg oil engine and was possibly the only 42 ft. Burger boat to be built entirely of one-quarter inch steel. In the spring of 1986 William Bodin sold the boat to Clayton Furness, Michigan City, IN. In 1997 Furness sold her to Eric Nelson, Sheboygan, WI. The original Kahlenberg engine is still in the boat.
Photos: top, William G, July, 1981; middle, the Bodin dock and fish house on Madeline Island, taken from a 1960s postcard, with the William G. barely visible; bottom, Bodin smoke shack, 1970s. Mike Bodin, son of William, recalls:
Near the old green Chevy truck is the old beach boat tracks where the old wooden boats used to be dry docked over the winter months long ago. On the dock is William G. Bodin on his way back to the boat and fish house with the buckets that had the fish guts in them that were fed to the seagull’s on the beach at that time… The hoist, fish house and dock are all gone now, as are a good number of the old buildings near the road that were also used for the fishing that was done from this good old fish camp on Madeline Island. It was started by Bud’s father before WWII and taken over by Bud after his father retired from the business.
The hoist was used to pull the boat up for painting or if a serious storm was known to be on the way. It was also used for winter storage for quite some time. There used to be an Ice House on the beach side (the building behind the Smoke Shack) of the road where they would cut large 100-150 lb blocks of ice from out near the dock and drag them inside. They would separate them with snow and then cover the whole mass of them with sawdust for insulation. There was a large ice grinder in the fish house that was used to grind up the ice for use in the boxes of fish.
Behind the old truck in front of the Smoke Shack is some of the outdoors net reels. There were others inside the long twine shed building. The Smoke House was on the other side of the road near the twine shed…that was where we smoked the fish that we sold in the Smoke Shack along with pop, gifts and ice. I used to sell worms and minnows for bait there, too. I helped my Dad during the summer’s when I was old enough to handle a fish cleaning knife and be useful to him. Otherwise I used to do much of the Smoke Shack sales operation while he was out lifting or setting nets or driving the old green truck to the ferry boat at LaPointe to drop off the fish boxes destined for Bodin’s Fisheries in Bayfield.