The crew of the Blue Heron, the University of Minnesota Duluth’s large-lake research boat, went out on their maiden voyage of 2013 hoping to catch some giant non-native fish in the world’s largest freshwater lake. If you saw the Blue Heron leave port Monday morning, you might have noticed the boat was sporting a giant Dardevle fishing lure made by first mate John Simenson.
OK, we’re kidding about the fishing part, but the lure was real. Simenson made it out of steel frame and cloth and spent $12 of his own money to buy an authentic Dardevle lure to copy. But the lure never actually cast into the lake. The crew didn’t have a large enough fishing rod. The lure is 14 feet long, and the hooks stretch another 8 feet.
Simenson said he made it for fun but also to draw attention to the oversized problem of invasive species in the lake and the Blue Heron’s role in invasive species research. Seeing it was April Fools’ Day, the timing seemed right to show it off. The lure now will go on display at UMD’s Large Lakes Observatory office.
Monday was the Blue Heron’s first run of the season. The first day trip was used to check out the boat’s operational capabilities ahead of upcoming voyages to conduct aquatic research.