Katherine V a lone survivor and fishing legend

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Points North
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Katherine V a lone survivor and fishing legend

Postby Points North » Thu Apr 07, 2016 1:59 am

Great Lakes Fisheries Heritage Trail: Katherine V a lone survivor and fishing legend

Posted on February 23, 2016 by Brandon Schroeder, Michigan State University Extension, Michigan Sea Grant, and Christine Witulski, director, Besser Museum for Northeast Michigan

A new Great Lakes Fisheries Heritage Trail offers an opportunity to explore the past, present and future of the lakes through the lens of fish and fishing (see Part 1, series introduction). In this article, we visit Alpena, Michigan and the Besser Museum for Northeast Michigan to explore commercial fishing heritage of northern Lake Huron as told through the historic commercial fishing vessel, the Katherine V.

A Great Lakes gill net fish tug, the Katherine V was built in 1928 on the shores of northern Lake Huron in Rogers City by Native American builder Henry Vincent, and was fished by the Vogelheim family, who owned and operated the Katherine V from her launch until retirement in 1970. At 57 feet in length, entirely enclosed, and powered by a Kahlenberg 3-cylinder engine the tug is an example of late 19th and early 20th century Great Lakes commercial fishing vessels. Constructed of white oak, northern white cedar and cypress, the boat was eventually sheathed in steel and aluminum early in its fishing career to aide in fishing through the winter.

A 1990 research report written by Frank & Nancy Prothero nicknames her the ‘lone survivor’ calling attention to the vessel’s one-of-a-kind attributes: built locally and fished locally in Lake Huron her entire fishing career. This was unique given many other commercial boats were built in shipyards and having one or more ‘sister ships’ built from same design plans. It was also common that Great Lakes boats might change ownership or be repurposed for other industries; and so equally rare that she fished out of same Lake Huron port.

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"Two captains will sink a ship"