“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near McFarland in Dane County, Wisconsin — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)

All about nets

All about nets Marker image. Click for full size.
By William J. Toman, October 16, 2011
1. All about nets Marker
Inscription. Nets were the heroes of rough-fish removal. Seine nets made high-volume carp fishing possible. They were used under harsh conditions and needed constant care. To extend net lifespans, Fish Camp crews tried to avoid dragging the heavy seines over rough lake bottoms. Most of the equipment associated with nets--barges, winches, floats--was simple and durable. Crew members aspired to become "netmen" capable of repairing seines. Netmen were highly skilled and got a higher salary. [Caption for main photo:] 1930s winch used to pull in seine nets. All photos courtesy of Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Barge Pulling in Seine
[Left photo in middle tier]

Seine nets stretched thousands of feet long and about 10-50 feet deep. Softball-sized floats of cork (later styrofoam) spaced every couple of feet suspended the heavy nets in water.

Net Reels
[Middle photo in middle tier]

At Lake Kegonsa a net reel held seines when not in use. Here, they could dry and be inspected for damage. Netmen often had to patch holes, some caused by carp dorsal spines.

Corks & Mud Pans
[Right photo in middle tier]

Mud pans, made of two pie tins bolted together, acted like skis on the bottom of the seine. The pans helped the net move smoothly along muddy lake bottoms.
The Net House image. Click for full size.
By William J. Toman, October 16, 2011
2. The Net House
The marker is just around the right corner of the Net House. Lake Kegonsa is in the background.
Without them, heavy nets could dig into a soft lakebed.

Pulling Engine
[Left photo in bottom tier]

A pulling engine was a motorized winch for hauling in nets from barges or from shore. Above is an improved 1950s model, much lighter than the large winch pictured at top.

Net Repair & Storage
[Right photo in bottom tier]

A crew repairs a fyke net at Nevin Hatchery in 1959. Repairing nets was a critical skill for a good "netman." Winter and bad-weather days were good times to fix equipment.

Know More about the Net House

The Net House, built in 1937 by the WPA, still stands today. It held seine nets and other equipment. Bins in the Net House held nets of various mesh sizes. A 3½-inch opening was best for catching large carp in normal water conditions. At smaller mesh sizes, the net created resistance in the water and was hard to pull--plus, too many desirable sport fish would be caught with the carp.
Erected by Dane County Parks.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Works Progress Administration (WPA) projects marker series.
Location. 42° 58.958′ N, 89° 15.879′ W. Marker is near McFarland, Wisconsin, in Dane County. Marker is on Fish Camp Road 0.3 miles east of County Highway AB, on the right when traveling east. Touch for map. The marker is on the Net House in Fish Camp Park. Marker is at or near this postal address: 3383 Fish Camp Road, Mc Farland WI 53558, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Too many carp (a few steps from this marker); How to catch 30,000 carp (within shouting distance of this marker); Carp for sale (within shouting distance of this marker); Working at Fish Camp (within shouting distance of this marker); Seasons of Fish Camp (within shouting distance of this marker); Fish Camp Launch (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Village of McFarland (approx. 2.4 miles away); Robert Marion La Follette, Sr. (approx. 2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in McFarland.
Categories. Industry & Commerce
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on October 16, 2011, by William J. Toman of Green Lake, Wisconsin. This page has been viewed 316 times since then and 17 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on October 16, 2011, by William J. Toman of Green Lake, Wisconsin.
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