stripe decor

The Fish


Ice Spearing fish decoys began with Native Americans. The decoys were used to attract fish to bring them close enough to spear them through the ice holes.

Styles of fish decoys are as numerous as the carver's imagination.

Some of the common types are, Primitive, Contemporary, Modern and whimsical. These types styles can go from a  nondescript piece of wood or bone to the   specie level that you sometimes can not  tell the difference between the specie  decoy and the real fish. You also find the  whimsical decoys from carvers like Otis  Lael, who built/carved decoys from items  that he had in his workshop.  Another  breed of carvings are what I call critters,  this is the birds, beavers, turtles, frogs,  lizards ect... well you get the idea.

You will have working and non-working  decoys. Non-working decoys are normally  designed and carved for collectors to  show.

A good working decoy is one that attracts  fish and it must swims well.  Just a note on swimming - It was explained to me last year at the NFDA show in Perham MN that a good swimming fish is one that settles in the water and slowly sinks and moves forward under its own power of sinking and design. If you have never seen one swim - buy one and try it in the bathtub.

The Great Depression has been referred  to the golden age of fish decoys and this  as I have read is because so many  decoys were being made and the carvers  like Oscar Peterson was making and  selling their decoys to supplement their  incomes.

As a collector - Collect decoys by the carver, by the style, by the age or by the region.

However you decide to collect -

just enjoy the FISH.  


Factory Fish Decoys

by Donna Tonelli

Frank Mizera:

Boundary Waters Carver

by Donna Tonelli

John Ryden:

Minnesota fish decoy carver

by Donna Tonelli

Ice Safety Info

from Minnesota DNR


All articles are copyrighted and may not be reproduced without the express permission of the author.

Click on the Links to Read the Stories

Fish Decoys:

An Art of Deceptions

by Scott Morrison

Flying Shanties

by Gary L. Miller

Featured writer for Fish Decoys Net

Folk Art Fish Decoys

Folk Art Collectibles

by Tim Spreck

About Spear Fishing
by BenzieJo Decoys

Duane Poupart Sr. Carves

Photos and audio Story


An Introduction to Vintage Michigan Fish Decoys

by Gary L. Miller


A Survey of Selected Transitional Michigan Fish Decoy Carvers

by Gary L. Miller

Simple Folk Art of


by Carol Moorman Staff Writer
Sauk Centre herald
Sauk Centre, MN

Fishing Decoys: Deceptive Collectibles

by Lar Hothem

PG from The Antiques Journal

April 1980


What is a Fish Decoy?
by Scott Kimball


by Curtis E. Grothoff

Carving out a niche in the fishing collectibles market
byNeal Bryant

Fish Decoys – Regional Characteristics
By Art and Scott Kimball


Copies, Compliments or Counterfeits?
By Art Kimball


Mikko Type Fish Decoys

by John A. Gabriel

Buying fish decoys on eBay

by John A. Gabriel

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Last updated on February 4, 2008

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