Manitou Fish Camp, Apostle Islands, Wisconsin

(Last Updated On: December 17, 2020)

Fishing has been part of life in Lake Superior’s Apostle Islands since far into the distant past. The life of those who have fished in the islands has changed over time, but one slice of that life is captured at the Manitou Island fish camp.

The fish camp on Manitou Island came into existence as logging on the island came to an end in 1938 when Hjalmer “Governor” Olson and his brother purchased the land and remaining structures for $600. Over the next 30 years the camp served as a temporary base for fishermen, mostly during the winter when individual men would come here to supplement their income.

This lovely bit of shore still houses the remains of these early enterprises.


The buildings are creatively constructed from a mix of materials, clearly designed for functionality rather than appearance. Stepping inside provides a poignant peek into the lives of the men who lived and worked here.

With the interiors of the cabins and storage buildings maintained as they would have been while in use, I have the eerie sense of having snuck in while the inhabitants are out working and I find myself watching, waiting for their return.

The National Park Service has a nice handout on the fish camp (which appears to not be available on-line). A park service volunteer is usually based at the site and can provide tours.

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