stripe decor

Click Here for

History & Stories about

Fish Decoys & Carvers

Click Here to

Check out some of the oldest Fish Decoys in the World

               Decoy Reference Material



Reference Books    Newspaper Articles    Magazine & Articles  Videos   Art   Other Papers



      Hunting & Fishing Collectibles Fish Decoy Index by   Gary Miller (11/11/11)


Reference Bibliography List as provided by  Garry Miller © May 3, 2016 - PDF

Bibliography List on Gary Miller's Works ©  2006

Ron Deiss-CEMVR-PM-A, Rock Island Dist. of Corps of Engineers - Articles Collections

Much of my research and references come from the material listed below and from the

carvers themselves as well Internet searches and by private collectors who maintain

the largest collections of fish decoys in the world.   The few museums that have realized

that fish decoys are a true folk-art that is very important to our culture by creating exhibits

and other reference materials. The Kimball family, Steven Michaan, Ben Apfebaum, Eli

Gotleb, Mark Greenig, Gary Miller and Tim Spreck seem to be the leading researchers

and prolific writers about decoys and carvers; my hat is off to them for their contribution to

the understanding of the FISH.  Some of those individuals that have helped enhance the

FISH: Brad, Scott, Art Kimball, Mark Greenig, Ben Apfelbaum, Eli Gotleb, Steven Michanm,

Anthony Hillman, Tim Spreck (, Carver), Thayne Johnson

( & (carver and webmaster), Ronald J. Fritz and Donna

Tonelli, Tim Spreck, Gary Miller. Gary Miller, John Gabriel and Ron Deiss have made major

contributions in the material that I am able to provide on this website. Many others have



Reference Books:

20 Folk Bird and Fish Patterns, by Al Streetman, A Schiffer Book for Woodcarvers, ISBN 0764307797, Paperback, 46 Pages, 1999, Retail $12.95

American Fish Decoys, Steven Michaan, 2003, Publisher, ISBN 0974872105, Hard Cover, 208 Pages, 12" x 10"

American Fish Decoy 2, SubTitle: Oscar Peterson Blue Gill Decoy, Author: Unknown, Publisher: Antique Collectors Club Ltd, Retail $27.95, Number -


Beneath the Ice, Ben Apfelbaum, Eli Gotleb, and Steven J. Michanm, 87 Pages, 68 color plates, ISBN 0525485295, May 1990, Publisher E.P. Dutton

Bud Stewart, Michigan's Legendary Lure MakerL A Biography of Elman "Bud" Stewart, Hardcover, Baron, Frank R., Raymond L. Carver, Bud Stewart,

                    Hillsdale, MI: Ferguson Communications, 1990. ISBN 9172311207 or ISBN 0917231120 (list price $70.00) First Limited Hardcover;

               8 1/2 by 11; Hardcover; 228 pages with numerous color examples of lures. Very scarce

Captain John's Fishing Tackle Price Guide, John A. Kolbeck & Russell E. Lewis, Copyright 2003, First Edition

Captain John's Fishing Tackle Price Guide, John A. Kolbeck & Russell E. Lewis, Copyright 2007, Second Edition

Carving Fish, by Jim Jensen, Fox Chapel Publishing, 1995, 110 Pages, Soft Cover, 1565230531

Carving Fish Decoys - A Traditional American Folk Art, James T. Cottle 0811710173, Retails $26.95, Hardbound

Carving Traditional Fish Decoys, with Patterns and Instructions for 17 Projects, by Anthony Hillman, Dover Book, 048627500-0, Retails $12.95

Classic Fishing Lures, Identification and Price Guide, by Russell E. Lewis, KP Books/FW Publications, 0873499336, Retails $27.99

Colleting Old Fishing Tackle 1st Edition, Kimballs, Softcover, 11 1/2" x 8 3/4", 201 pages.

Collecting Old Fishing Tackle, Art, Brad and Scott Kimball, Hard cover 11 /12" x 8 3/4" with 200 pages

Commercial Fish Decoys
, Identificatin & Value Guide, Frank R. Baron, ISBN 1574322672, 2001

Darkhouse Spearfishing - (another cover) Across North America  - by Jay A. Leitch, fro Otter Tail County, Minnesota. 1st Printing in 1992.

                                      You can order this from the following locations 1) Minnesota Darkhouse & Angling Assoiciation or

                                                                                                                           2) Michigan Darkhouse Angling Association

Duluth Fish Decoys - by Richard and Raymond Bonin © 2007, David E. Perkins: Duluth fish decoys by David E. Perkins / written by Richard and

                                          Raymond Bonin ; Beachburg, Ont. : Heliconia Press, c2007. ISBN 978-1-896980-36-2: Released in Jan. or Feb. 2008

Fish and Fowl Decoys of the Great Lakes , ISBN 0764316435, Hardcover, Donna Tonelli, Schiffer Publications, 2002, 288 Pages, Retail $62.00

Fish Carving Patterns: Over Forty-Eight Templates with Carving & Painting Instructions Retail $19.95m ISBN 096291861x, Paperback,  (No Photo)

Fish Carving, By Bob Berry, Stackpole Books , 081172767-x, Retail $19.95, 154 pages, Paperback

Fish Decoy - Carving and Painting - A Pictorial Guide, by Fred & Jo Anne Campbell - BenzieJo Decoys, ISBN 1-59971-677-1 $19.95 US

Fish Decoy Makers Past and Present, Donnald J. Peterson

Fish Decoys of the Lac Du Flambeau Ojibway, Kimball, Art and Brad, Boulder Junction Wisconsin: Aardvark Publications, Inc., 1988, 96 Pages

                                                                    ISBN 0960490671, Paperback

Fish Painting - A Guide for Carvers and Artist - Fresh and Salt-Water Gamefish, Anthony Hillman

Fishing Lure Collectibles. by Dudley Murphy & Rick Edmisten, 1995, 11 1/2" x 8 3/4", Hard cover, and Leatherbound, limited ed of 450

Folk Art Fish Decoys, Petersen, Donald J., Atglen, Pennsylvania: Schiffer Publishing, Ltd.

Starr, Robin, "Fish Decoys," in The American Sporting Collector's Handbook, Chapter 15, edited by Allan J. Liu, New York: Winchester Press, 1982.
          ISBN: 0876913257, 369 Pages

Freshwater Fish Carving, by James Fliger, 224 Pages, ISBN 0887401759

Freshwater Fish Woodcarving Patterns by Ed Walicki & Thomas Wolf $26.00.

The Heddon Legacy " A Century of Classic Lures", Limited Edition of 330, Leatherbound, Bill Roberts & Rob Pavey,  317 pages, 11 1/2" x 8 3/4"

Hook, Line & Spear: The Ice Fishing History of Lake Simcoe Robert A. Kirk

Hooked on Ice Fishing III - Game Fish - Tom Gruenwald, © 1999, Krause Publications, Softcover, 300 B&W Photos, New $16.95

Hooked on Wood / The Allure of the Fish Decoy - The Center for Art in Wood, Philadelphia - May 18 to July 21, 2012 - Dick Walters, Gene KAngas

How to Make and Authentic Working Fish Decoy - Marcel E. Meloche - 15 pages and 21 illustrations $8.00 Buy It (date unknown)

How To Paint Trout, by Curtis J. Badger, Fish Carving Basics, Stackpole Books, 0811724581, Retail $17.95, 87 Pages, Paperback

How to Paint, Fish Carving Basics, Curtis J. Badger, Stackpole Books, 0811724409, Retails $17.95, 87 Pages, Paperback

Ice Fishing Spears, Marcel Salive, ISBN 0-9637209-0-2, 1993 First Printing Copyright 1993, MarJac Publications. $90.00 Release price

Lake Champain Ice Spearing Decoys and Carver, by Bradford White, Yankee Publications, Jan. 2001, 56 Pages ISBN 0971643903, Retail $35.95

Michigan's Master Carver   Oscar W Peterson 1887-1951, Fritz, Ronald J., Boulder Junction, Wisconsin: Aardvark Publications, Inc., 1987.

Oliver's High Rollers Public Auction of Fine Fishing Tackle & Accessories - Oliver's Auction Gallery Catalogs
           Plaza One, Route One, Kennebunk, Maine 04043  Second Annual 1989 , Fifth Annual 1992, Fourth Summer 1988

Pattern Book for Carving Fish, by McGray, Revised Editions Vol #1, ISBN 1886975035

Spearing, Suckers & Carp, by Rich Faler, Paperback, Publisher Beaver Pond Pub, ISBN 1881399184, January 1998

The Fish Decoy, Kimball, Art, Brad and Scott, Boulder Junction, Wisconsin: Aardvark Publications, Inc., Vol. I, 1986

The Fish Decoy, Kimball, Art, Brad and Scott, Boulder Junction, Wisconsin: Aardvark Publications, Inc. Vol. II, 1987

The Fish Decoy, Kimbal, Art, Brad and Scott, Boulder Junction, Wisconsin: Aardvark Publications, Inc. Vol III,

The History & Collectible Fishing Tackle of Wisconsin, Robert A. Slade

Top of the Line Fishing Collectibles, Donna Tonelli, A Schiffer Book for Collectors

Warman's Sporting Collectibles by Russell E. Lewis Identification and Price Guide ISBN 13-978-0-89689-563-8 - Krause Publications  - 2007

Other Items, Papers Ect...

Winter Darkhouse Spearing in Minnesota: Characteristics and Participants. L. J. borge and J.A. Laitch, spetember 1988, Center for Environmental Studies,

          Miscellaneous Publications #2, Tri-College university, #06 Cares Hall, North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND 58105

Darkhouse Spear Fishing Across North America, Joy A. Laitch, 1992. Center for Environmental Studies,   Tri-College university, #06 Cares Hall,

         North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND 58105

Lee Valley Catalog,  Fall 1997, featuring Don Preston of Sharon Ontario, Canada, By Lee Valley & Veritas Tool Company

Lee Valley Catalog, April 2008, featuring Don Preston of Sharon Ontario, Canada, By Lee Valley & Veritas Tool Company

Ice Decoy Videos:

Video - The Art of Making Fish Decoys - Mark Greenig,  Prairie Public Broadcasting, 800-359-6900,

Video - Fish Decoys - folk art beneath the ice - Mark Greenig,  Prairie Public Broadcasting, 800-359-6900,


Magazine & Internet Articles:

Decoy Magazine References: Click to see a list of Fish Decoys in Decoy Magazine

An Introduction to Vintage Michigan Fish Decoys - Gary L. Miller - Copyright 1980 - 2004, Dec. 2004 NFLCC Magazine. Excerpts from an

                                                                                       up and coming book by Gary Miller.

A Survey of Selected Transitional Michigan Fish Decoy Carvers  - by Gary L. Miller - Copyright 1980 - 2005, First Published in December 2005

                                                                                                                  issue of the NFLCC Magazine

Antique Angler - Collectible Fishing Tackle, Literature, and Art- 1979 to 1985 by Paul Webber - Cooperstown, New York.

Antique & Collecting Magazine - January 1994, "Rediscovering Fish Decoys" by Marie Luise Proeller, Pages 28-29, 56.(

Fish Decoys: Alluring Artistry - Country Home Folk Crafts, February 1995, by David W. Toht, featuring Raymond S. Zenliski

    of Yorktown Heights, New York, Pages 6 -11

Fishing Decoys:  Deceptive Collectibles, by Lar Hothem (deceased) Page 24-25 & 49, The Antiques Journal

Fishing Decoys - Country Sampler - January 2007, Page 12, a short paragraph about prices and collectibility of decoys.

Decoy World - Dufunct Magazine -

Hooked on Decoys, by Tobin Morrison, March 1991, Saturday Evening Post.

Guthrie, Gregg, "John Snow, Expressing Native American heritage through spearfishing decoys," Decoy Magazine, January/February 1996

Hirschey, K. David, "Do you have a Swenson decoy?" John & Evelyn Swenson article, Decoy Magazine, March/April 1993.

Ice Spear Fishing an Fish Decoys - Ronald Deiss  (January 2005) for full copy email

Underwater Decoys: Fish - North American Decoys, Spring 1978, p. 14-23. by Kangas, Gene

Chautauqua Fish Decoys - Decoy Magazine, September/October 1988 by Kangas, Gene and Linda,

Delightful Deceptions,  by Ketchum, William, C. Jr., Country Home (Better Homes and Garden) February 1986 issue, Pages 83 - 87

Native American spearfishing decoys of the upper Midwestern Great Lakes states,  by Kimball, Art and Scott

                                                                               Decoy Magazine, November/December 1996.

Behold the Mighty Minnow, Decoy Magazine, July/August 1997. by Kimball, Art and Scott,

Fishing Collectibles Magazine - Brian McGrath - Houston Texas - Now online at

Fishing Spears - A brief background, Part 1, " by John Sawers, The Chronicle, Early American Indstries, Sep. 1990, p68

Hunting & Fishing Collectibles Magazine, "History and Artifacts from America's Sporting Past"

"Keeper of the spearing tradition "  - Michigan's Streamside Journal - Volume 4, Issue 1 - Early Spring 2006 issue

Kopelow, Paul, "Great Collections, 'The Allure of Fish Decoys,'" Country Living, September 1992.

Kranstover, Steve, "John Jensen, Carving realistic fish decoys," Decoy Magazine, January/February 1995.

Michigan's Streamside Journal - Volume 4, Issue 1 - Early Spring 2006 issue - "Keeper of the spearing tradition "

Minnesota Fishing Museum - O'FISH-L NEWS - Summer 2006 - ( Newsletter

Morrison, Tobin, "Wood-Be Fish", Field & Stream, June 1990.

North American Decoys, magazine 1967 - 1984 by Byron and Maureen Cheever - Editors and Publishers

Ojibwe Winter Spearfishing Decoy, John V. Snow - Artist - Wisconsin Historical Society - January 19, 2006

Ojibwe Fish Decoys - Big John Brooks

Patchwork Sucker, The - The story of a  unique fish decoy

Peterson Plugs - by Gary L. Miller, © 2000-2006, THE NFLCC Gazette, (September 2002) ( Permission Granted)

Petersen, Donald J.  “Some Contemporary Fish Decoy Makers of Michigan.”  Hunting & Fishing Collectibles Magazine,

Vol. 5, No. 6 (November-December, 2005), pp. 20-23.  (Brief sketches of Michigan carvers Tom Bachler, Larry Hill, Dick Kahle,

Harley Ragan and Bill Roberts). 

"The Spear, Commanding New Respect as a Collectible, "  Harold Dickert, Muskegon, MI, NFLCC Gazette, March 1982

Setting, Prehistory, and History of Ice Spear Fishing - by Ronald Deiss,  Oshkosh Public Museum,

                                                                                            Summer 2006, Volume XVIII, Number 2, Oshkosh Public Museum

Spearing Fish Through the Ice - by Ronald Deiss, Big River Magazine - January-February 2006 pages 16 - 19.

              Click Here to Open a PDF File of the Spearing Fish Through the Ice.

Sporting Classics, March/April 1985 - Oscar Peterson's Rare lures and fish decoys (Click Here for Additional Information)

                                (See Peterson Plugs NFLCC Magazine Article 2001)  (NFLCC)


Swanson, Donald S., "Fish Models, Plaques and Effigies," Decoy Magazine, July/August 1996

Tim Spreck - Folk Art Fish Decoys - The Purest of Utilitarian Folk Art Collectibles

Tonelli, Donna, "Fred Lexow, Minnesota Folk Artist," Decoy Magazine July/August 1989

Tonelli, Donna, "One of Minnesota's Finest Leroy Howell," Decoy Magazine, November/December 1990.

Tonelli, Donna, "Ernest Newman Minnesota's Master Tackle Maker," Decoy Magazine, March/April 1991. 

Tonelli, Donna, "John Albert Ryden - Aitkin County Carver", Decoy Magazine, May/June 1991


Tonelli, Donna, "Frank Mizera Minnesota Fish Decoy Maker," Decoy Magazine, July/August 1991.

Tonelli, Donna, "William 'Slow' Batters Minnesota's Real Harry Blancherd," Decoy Magazine, September/Oc­tober 1991.

Tonelli, Donna, Chester 'Chet' Sawyer Folk Artist of the North Woods," Decoy Magazine, July/August 1992.

Tonelli, Donna, "John Tax A Minnesota Whittler from the Shores of Lake Osakis," Decoy Magazine, March/April 1992.

Tonelli, Donna, "Ray Thompson Maker of Quality Fish­ing Tackle and Fish Decoys," Decoy Magazine, Sep­tember/October 1992.

Tonelli, Donna, "Chuck Hall Carving Out the Good Life," Decoy Magazine, January/February 1993.

Tonelli, Donna, "Copper Fish Decoys Casting Variety and Form," Decoy Magazine, November/December 1993

Tonelli, Donna, "Heddon Breaks the ice with spearfishing decoys," Decoy Magazine, January/February 1994

Tonelli, Donna, "LaCrosse river spear fishing decoys, a combination of realistic form and subtle coloration," Decoy Magazine, March/April 1995.

Tonelli, Donna, "The Lure of Frogs, Both fish and collectors take the bait," Decoy Magazine, July/August 1995.

Tonelli, Donna, "Wilbur 'Willie' Peterson, Carving out a cottage industry," Decoy Magazine, March/April 1997

Tonelli, Donna, "Last great find (John Ryden )," Decoy Magazine, November/December 1997.

Tonelli, Donna, "The Faue brothers, Making 'lucky sticks' and lures for Minnesota spear fisherman," Decoy Magazine, May/June 1998.

The National Fishing Lure Collection Club Magazine - Premier Issue January 1991

The F.F.L.C.C. Gazette - many different articles in their Gazette writes on decoys. 3907 Wedgewood Drv., Portage, MI 49002 -

Newspaper Articles:  (information provided for educational purposes only)


"Fish Decoys aren't fooling collectors," The New York Times, August 13, 1989, p.34., by Ann Barry (NYT) (885 words)

Hardin, Patty, "Carving out a niche," Jerry Matzen article, Longview, Washington,The Daily News, December 2, 1998, p. B1.

Hardin, Patty, "LB man knows the fine art of fooling fish," Jerry Matzen article, Long Beach, Washington, Chinook Observer, July 11, 1995, p. B1 & B4

Hookless Lures Still Catch Notice published February 18, 1990 - The New York Times

Weaver, John, "Fish decoy collectors are in uncharted waters," Antique Week - Central edition, January 6, 1992, page 1 cont. on page 40. 

Art - Fish Decoys: 

Kenneth Dahl - Artist of fine ice fishing and darkhouse paintings

Kathy Jakobsen, Oil Painting - about Darkhouses and fish decoys.

Bob Kurkewicz  F ish Decoys of North America Poster.

Gary Miller - 2004 - 2005 Oscar Peterson Calendars


If you have a book, article that you think should be listed here or a location where the book,

article is then email


Last Updated on May 3, 2016

© 2005 - 2012

Hosted by Concepte of Illinois