Ever since the immense, nine-foot sturgeon was speared in 1948 on Lake Lida, various reports of unusually large fish have continued.
We just learned of another, and it may be one of the more recent accounts.
Pamela Hovland was fishing with her late father, Berton, when a fish swam just below the surface past the side of their boat, about 30 years ago. “It was just inches below the water,” recalled Pamela. “I felt that, if it hit the side of the boat, we’d sink,” she remembers.
The name she chose for the mystery fish was “Walter.” It is a reference to the 1981 film “On Golden Pond” with yet another father/daughter fishing story. For those who recall the movie, “Walter” was the nemesis of Henry Fonda’s character.
A seasonal resident, Pamela visited the Historic City Hall in Pelican to view the replica of the famous 1948 sturgeon. The original mount of the 102 pound fish was displayed at the old “Perry’s Supper Club” for decades.
“The story of our Walter lives on and on in our family. And the now enshrined sturgeon in the old City Hall is likely to be Walter’s relative,” said Pamela, who has brought her grandchildren in to view the sturgeon replica, created by local taxidermist Curt Markgraf and wood display case by Ben Sytsma.
The Hovlands are closely tied to Pelican Rapids, and the Lake Lida area–where they enjoy summer visits “up at the lake.”
The Hovland story recalls an 1882 account, printed in the local newspaper at the time, when two rowers, Quiggle and Blaisdell, reported a “log” floating near their boat. “When they were about to touch it with an oar, they discovered it to be a monstrous snake,” according to the published account. “They described it as being fully as long as the boat.”