November 2017
Mora Ice Stick
Harlan Altman
Mora, MN
Harlan Altman (1894 – 1975) was a carpenter and craftsman who owned a cabinet shop in Mora, Minnesota. 

Sometime in the 1940s he created his ice stick and began offering them to the public in 1950. These sticks were sold in several local bait stores with one particular shop stating they paid Harlan $1.50 an ice stick and sold them for $2.50 each.

The Mora Ice Stick featured one end with a metal spike in it that was used to “jab” into the ice to secure the pole in a standing position. The pole included a homemade wooden reel that was open to the air to help keep it free from ice buildup. Another unique feature was an arm on the pole which made it possible to set the line directly over the fishing hole. This arm also helped in preventing the stick from being lost under the ice in case a huge fish was able to tip the pole over when running with the line.

I have to admit, this was quite a clever design. I am not sure if this was ever patented or how many were sold. I used to see a few from time to time at auction sales in Minnesota in the 1980s and 90s…so I believe they were quite popular at least locally. However, it later years, they are getting harder and harder to find.