North Shore Commercial Fishing Museum Fisherman picking netsLake Superior shorelineFish CratesFisherman in a skiff
Commercial Fishing on Lake Superior
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Virtual Tour: Lake Superior

Commercial fishing began on Lake Erie and Ontario in the 1820's and spread westward in the late 1880's to Lake Superior.

Lake Superior is the largest and the deepest of the Great Lakes. In area, it is the largest lake in the world, and in total volume is second only to Lake Baikal in Russia. It holds about ten percent of the world's freshwater, and contains three quadrillion gallons. It remains the cleanest of the Great Lakes.

rough lake

Even for those accustomed to ocean fishing, Lake Superior was dangerously unpredictable and rough in stormy weather. Stormy weather was often simply an inconvenience to fishermen. It could also mean death or great loss of property. Northwesters, the most feared of winds, occur most often in the early spring and late fall. Creating heavy waves and strong gusty winds that blow away from the shore, Northwesters were responsible for most storm-related deaths.

Northeasters blew the length of the shoreline knocking down nets, docks and fish houses. While deaths were rarely caused by Northeasters, property damage was usually severe. Northeasters are most common in the fall.

next: The Steamships


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PO Box 2312 • 7136 Highway 61 • Tofte, Minnesota 55615
phone: (218) 663-7050

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