"Milwaukee’s just got a lot of soul, that’s the main thing. It’s a good combination of soul and brains. They get pretty drunk at those Summerfests. A lot of happy, smart, drunk people is what I usually think of."
"The men have always started their day wondering whether a load of fish is straining the nets that they set the day before. Today their compass doesn’t point them toward any nets at all.
The boat’s rumbling 855 Cummins diesel pushes them down the muddy Kinnickinnic River and under the Hoan Bridge.
This is the moment when their eyes normally train on the open waters ahead.
But today, the 52-year-old man notices his dad, Alvin, is glancing back.
I think this is probably going to be the last time I see Milwaukee from the water, 77-year-old Alvin Anderson says.
Yeah, his son, Dan, replies glumly.
Then Milwaukee’s last working commercial fishing tug - the Alicia Rae - glides through the north gap of the Milwaukee Harbor breakwater.
And it is gone."
This is a must-read — an interesting father-son tale of a traditional fishing lifestyle, and of the fishing situation on Lake Michigan that has become so grim, not due to overfishing, but due to invasive mussels that have conquered the food web.
It’s also a nice example of online journalism, featuring a photo gallery, an audio slideshow, and some rather shocking interactive charts depicting the blitzkrieg of zebra and quagga mussels and the effect on fish populations.
(h/t the astral city)