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Image of fish statues.

Fish Kitsch

Finned monuments are familiar sights for
travelers on Minnesota's fishing thoroughfares.

Photography by Chelsea Jackson

Around the state, statues made from wood, wire, steel, concrete, plaster, and fiberglass take on the forms of walleye, northern, muskie, trout, and panfish. Individually, these roadside attractions represent a source of local pride. Collectively, they point to the importance of the $3 billion anglers spend in Minnesota each year.

image of a map

Find Minnesota's monuments

View an interactive map of fish statues around the state.

Titanic totems of walleye grace destinations such as Isle, Garrison, Baudette, Kabetogama, and Rush City. But sculptures of the state fish aren't the most common. There are more than 35 fiberglass sunfish in the city of Detroit Lakes alone. Billy Bluegill welcomes anglers to the city of Orr and the legendary panfish waters of Pelican Lake.

In 1957 Art Lyons caught Minnesota's 54-pound state-record muskie from Lake Winnibigoshish.

Fittingly, Lyons' hometown of Bena, on the south shore of Winni, features the state's largest monument to the mighty muskie. Built in 1958, the 65-foot-long Big Muskie Drive-In, as it was known then, allowed visitors to dine inside the belly of the behemoth. Super-sized statues of the fish of 10,000 casts also appear on the east side of Mille Lacs and in the towns of Deer River and Nevis.

Though southeastern Minnesota has few natural lakes, this trout-fishing paradise isn't lacking a monument to fish. The city of Preston honors the region's hundreds of miles of coldwater streams with a 19-foot-long fiberglass brown trout.

Around the state these lunker-sized landmarks lure anglers to stay and fish, so here is a sampling—our tribute to Minnesota's distinct brand of kitsch.

Sample photo slide show.

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