Lake Delton/Wisconsin Dells
During the 1930's Robert Zinke started to handcraft fishing lures that have been called Zinke Minnows or Zinke Lures for his own use. Each lure seems to have its' own pattern, some with an abuncance of notches to imitate scales and others with more intricate paint patterns and diving lips...eyes on Zinke's were made by impressing a .22 caliber shell casing into the wood......True folk art seems to require limited duplication, so these lures fit the definition. At some point in the 1930's Roberts brother Fred joined in on the production and 100's of these lures were produced. It is apparent that the brothers employed other painters to finish the lures, as the designs are quite varied among current collections. There are rumors that a flyrod version exists, although none have been discovered. Some Zinke's have been found in handmade boxes, crafted from old oatmeal or similar containers(see photo above). By 1941, the war effort caused production to slow and then cease. Many of these lures are found in the Wisconsin Dells area and throughout Wisconsin. They are highly collectible and a must for every Wisconsin collection!