Ghost of the ice fisherman in Northern Wisconsin

The Ice Fisherman Ghost of Manitowish Waters

The ghost of an ice fisherman is said to be found on several lakes around Manitowish Waters, and he might just help you find some fish.

Manitowish Waters, WI

I tend to think the reason people go ice fishing is more about drinking beer and being left along than actually catching something. At least that’s why I would do it. But I’m not a fisherman, so maybe it really is about sitting in the freezing cold and drilling holes in ice with the hope of catching something.

If that sounds like you and you’re in the Manitowish Waters area, watch for the ghost of the ice fisherman to lead you to a good catch.

The story is recorded in the book Northern Frights by Dennis Boyer, who also brought us the legend of the Phantom Snowmobiler.

Northern Frights by Dennis Boyer

Unlike Other Ghost Fishermen

According to the account related by Boyer, ghost fisherman are “a dime a dozen” up north, but the ghost ice fisherman is unique.

“With the other ghost fishermen there’s usually more of a story,” an “old duffer” told Boyer. “A name, some history, and sometimes an incident like a drowning. Sometimes even a good physical description. But with the ice fisherman ghost there’s nothing like that. No background. Just the ghost in his hooded parka. This simplicity makes me partial to the story. I feel like I can trust that it’s not loaded down with things people thought of later.”

Also unlike other ghost stories, the ice fisherman wasn’t specific to a single location.

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“Now this wasn’t one of your rooted ghosts,” the old duffer says. “Not stuck in one place like the alleged wailing up on Papoose Creek or rumor of the headless guy down in Powell Marsh. No, the ice fisherman ghost has quite a range. My brother-in-law saw the darn thing on Circle Lily Lake, Dead Pike Lake, Birch Lake, and Big Crooked Lake. Probably some others I forgot.”

The spectral ice fisherman also brought this old duffer’s brother-in-law some good fortune.

Unlike other  men, who had marriage problems because of spending a day “fishing” but returning home with no fish, the brother-in-law always came home with fish.

Because the ghost of the ice fisherman showed him where to find them.

“He caught lots of fish. And it kept his marriage happy,” the old duffer says. “That’s right. He didn’t go everyday, all day and then come home without fish. Women distrust that. Heck, he came home early and cleaned the fish too. A stand-up guy!”

Old Guys Telling Stories

Boyer’s old duffer also has some advice for tracking down reliable ghost stories:

“You’ll find lots of these outdoorsmen ghosts. Learn to sniff them out. There’s always an old guy telling the story, right? But he’s usually telling the story about how another old guy told him the story. And the other old guy is always toothless, or missing fingers, or has some deformity. Watch out for those guys. It’s one thing to tell a story that maybe didn’t happen and then again maybe it did. It’s different for some of these guys. They like to manipulate people. Send them off on missions.”

Have you encountered a ghost fisherman or something similar? Tell us about it in the comment below or send us a message.

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