One of the best parts about the Minnesota Governor’s Fishing Opener is that the host city or county invites you into areas that would otherwise not be as easily accessible to the general public.
Enter, a tour of the Lund Boat Factory in New York Mills.
Lund Boats are a favorite in my family. My earliest memories include casting the line of my Zebco whale rod and reel combo over the side of my Mom’s old, hand-me-down aluminum boat. When I wasn’t fishing, I was laying on the casting deck reading while she “trolled for Northerns.” Even today, no trip home is complete without a “ride around the lake” in that boat. Suffice it to say, I jumped at the opportunities to see how these nostalgia-inducing vessels come to life.
A bit of history:
Howard Lund, founder, and namesake built his first boat out of galvanized steel in 1939 in Albert Lea.
His love of the water brought him to work at the Mare Island Navy Shipyards in California though later returned to open a sheet metal shop and furnace dealership.
Marrying his love of boats and sheet metal, Lund built himself a duck boat in 1947 and drove around with it on the top of his car.
A salesman for Inland Marine Corporation saw the boat and asked him if he would build more. The salesman left him with an order for 50 of his duck boats, and the Lund Boat Company was born.
By 1957, Lund employed up to 15 employees. In 1961, Howard reincorporated the company to Lund Metal Craft, Inc. 1961 and expanded in the fiberglass fishing boat market.
The company continued to grow, and in 1972 Lund opened a manufacturing facility in Steinbach, Manitoba.
Since, Lund has become a subsidiary of Brunswick Boat Group, the largest maker of pleasure boats in the world. Today, Lund is the community’s largest employer with up to 525 at peak.
The tour allowed visitors to see behind the curtain.
We were able to see the rolls of aluminum ready to be cut and shaped, where rivets filled every bin, the incredible technological enhancements implemented to keep anglers safe, and the crazy testing these boats have to endure before they are ever allowed to go home with the collector.
If I weren’t already willed a love of Lund Boats before the tour, I certainly would have been after.
It’s of no surprise that the place carried the moniker of “The World’s Finest Fishing Boats”.
All that magic, nestled right in Minnesota’s Northwoods, who knew?!
If you grew up like me, I would love to know – what is your earliest angler memory?
This post was sponsored by Visit Ottertail County but all opinions are my own.