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SPICER COMMUNITY SPORTSMEN'S CLUB

The Spicer Community Sportsmen's Club was formed January 4, 1946. Guy Saulsbury was elected president; A. E. Thompson, vice president; Norman Melges, secretary; and Albert Pederson, treasurer. By the end of the year there were 286 members, each one paying one dollar per year for membership.

In April they held a carnival, the proceeds to be used to buy an electric fish screen to be installed at the outlet of Lake Calhoun. $3,300 was cleared that evening so the screen was ordered the next day.

In October of 1946, the Spicer Sportsmen's Club called a countywide meeting of the sportsmen's groups, which culminated in the formation of the Kandiyohi County Conservation Club, consisting of the Izaak Walton Leagues at Willmar and New London and Sportsmen's Clubs at Blomkest and Spicer. In 1947 the Spicer club joined the Minnesota Protective League.

During the following years, many projects were completed, among them: the buying of a second fish screen, rescuing 18,000 large northern pike from Alvig's Slough and putting them in Green Lake, raising fingerlings and placing them in the surrounding lakes, raising pheasants and releasing them, purchasing a pump for $500, being the first club in the state to rescue fish through artificial creation of flowing water.

The club, besides its many projects, has helped the community in many other ways by cooperating with other groups to further the cause of conservation. Tree planting projects included 450 evergreens planted by the outlet of Lake Calhoun. Engel Alvig was weed inspector and feared thistles, so he sprayed and killed many of the trees; more trees were planted on 3-4 acres southwest of Lake Calhoun.

Rudolph (Dutch) Doty was elected treasurer in 1950 and has held that position for more than 40 years.

Names of officers from a copy of the 1953 banquet will still be familiar to many Spicer residents: Leonard Miller, president; Howard Johanson, vice president; Ray Kastel, secretary; Rudolph Doty, treasurer; and directors: Clyde Hawes, Elmer Carlson, Bert Jacobson, Walter Wilson, and Nels Miller.

No meetings have been held for the past eight years, but members still give $400 a year to the Future Farmers of America for raising pheasants. Current officers are: president, Greg Melges; treasurer, Rudolph (Dutch) Doty; and directors, Jim Saulsbury and Leonard Miller.

In January 1947, Guy Saulsbury, in his colorful way, recalled the first year of the Sportsmen's Club. Here are some excerpts from his report:

"January 4 (1946) arrived, and it was 18 below zero. It took hours to heat the Town Hall; however, the turnout was indeed a surprise ... 86 paid members were secured within the first hour of the meeting."

"That first month a lot of criticism was thrown at us by the local WCTU club, saying that we had arranged to form a drinking club. The local skeptics said, * 'They'll do a lot of talking and that's all.'...But, we were not going to be a drinking club. We might do a lot of talking, but we were going to get some action."

"March rolled around, and we decided to do something about a rearing pond. We secured the territory and found a likely looking pond on the Miller farm. Leonard Miller, an enthusiastic member, hauled several loads of manure on the ice. When the time came, our local wardens placed 200,000 walleye pike fry in the pond. We .worked to remove buried barb wire and posts so that the pond could be seined in the fall. We hauled 20 gallons of water from an ideal pike lake 10 miles away, to provide the proper bacteria to start the action on the fertilizer, in order to provide food for the fry. We watched that pond and cared for it all summer. We had high hopes when fall rolled around and time came to seine it. When the long seine gradually came out on the bank, you can imagine the expression on our faces. The seine was full. Yes, full, but not a walleyed pike. It was literally full of lizards, more lizards than most of us had seen in a lifetime, more lizards than we had dreamed existed in Minnesota."

In April's rain  -- "The flood gates were opened between Nest and Green Lakes. The water rushed on into Lake Calhoun and out over the dam. It took our snow fence with it (erected two days before by 26 members). Eight hours later the wardens called and said,' The walleyes are going!' Twenty-five of us worked for three days seining walleyes and carrying them in tubs from the river below the dam to a quiet spot back on the lake. Walleyes -- Walleyes, not one-pounders or two-pounders; they averaged six pounds, and many of them were so large that only two would fit into an average wash tub. Some of them weighed 14 and 15 pounds, and every one was full of spawn."

"In August a hurried call came in. Could we provide guides and get fish for Don McNeil of radio fame and a party of friends? We could and we did. That is, we got fish for all but Sam Cowling. Personally, I don't think Sam should be allowed on a lake. He's a hoodoo. For the first time in four years, I got skunked; I was guiding Sam. Boats ahead of me were getting fish; boats behind us were catching them. We fished early, we fished late, we trolled, we casted, and we still-fished. No fish! I'll never again take Sam fishing."

"December came, and with it came cold weather and thicker ice. Word came in that one of the shallow sloughs which act as a spawning ground for Green Lake was freezing out. Twenty of us worked for four days catching yearling northern pike and moving them to the safety of Green Lake. We moved over 6,000 northern pike from 10 to 14 inches long. We caught them in dip nets, scoop shovels, and our bare hands. Did you ever handle a slippery northern pike with your bare hands in below zero weather? It's no fun. But we did it, and [that year there were] 6,000 additional game fish waiting to be caught in Green Lake."