Trout nets made by a Duluth craftsman combine function and natural beauty.
Mike Dvorak (photography)
Years ago, Lloyd Hautajarvi saw a trout landing net his brother had made in high school shop class and thought it was neat. He put a net bag on the frame and, as an avid trout fisherman, used it for several years. Then, he says, “I decided I wanted to make a nicer one. I started working on coming up with my own designs and ideas and patterns.”
Over time, his craft of making trout fishing nets with handles made of highly figured North American hardwood grew into a small business, and he now makes and sells the nets to anglers all over the world.
Hautajarvi had always appreciated figured wood with its unique and spectacular grain patterns. The first time he cut into ash burl—a knotty tree growth—he was “gobsmacked” at the intricate figures, geometric patterns, and whorls in the wood.
He’s been at it now for 38 years and still calls it a fun hobby, some- times losing himself in his Duluth workshop for daylong stretches in the winter. In warmer weather, he’s often out on a trout stream, landing fish in one of his own nets.