March 5, 2007

Fishing runs in the blood for young Howard Lake fish house winner

The fish house of a lifetime for 16-year-old Patrick Barth

By Jennifer Gallus
Staff Writer

When asked if 16-year-old Patrick Barth of Howard Lake would sell his newly won fish house in order to purchase a car, he replied, “No way, cars will come and go – this fish house I’ll have my whole life.”

Six days after Barth turned 16, he won the grand prize at the Howard Lake fishing derby, the most expensive fish house the derby has ever given away.

“I was fishing during the drawing. My cousin came up to me and told me I won the fish house,” Barth said.

“I didn’t believe him, but I decided to wander over to the drawing area anyway. I could hear my mom from a mile away. All my family was yelling and screaming so then I knew I won. It was pretty surreal. I can’t believe it – still,” he laughed.

“It’ll get used (the fish house). I’ve been fishing since I can’t remember – forever I guess,” Barth said.

In fact, Barth attended his first fishing contest with his dad Chris when he was only one month old.

“They all had jiggle sticks in their hands before they could walk,” laughed Barth’s mom Kathy Johnson about her children.

Fishing is in the blood

“The Barth family are big fishermen,” Johnson said.

“A lot of fishing goes on in this family. We go to northern Minnesota a lot and always have lots of fish to eat. Patrick has won fishing contests also. He won a contest at my work for the biggest sunfish three years in a row,” said Patrick’s grandpa Dale Barth.

For Patrick’s eighth birthday an ice fishing birthday party with 11 of his schoolmates took place on the ice.

“It was his golden birthday. It took five fish houses to accommodate the group. We had hot dogs, buffet style, on the tailgate of our truck,” Kathy laughed.

Grandpa Dale just purchased a new fish house last year. It is parked right next to Patrick’s house on Howard Lake.

“I had to work for 40 years to get that fish house, and he (Patrick) gets one for free at the age of 16,” Dale laughed.

Retrofitting the fish house

Patrick’s step dad Jerod Johnson and his grandpa Dale spent two days “putzing around” in the fish house while Patrick was in school.

“We installed a radio and speakers. Uncle Scott Barth made special stainless steel inserts for the ice holes and Dale modified pails (that fit into the inserts). We remodeled a few things to adapt for different needs,” Jerod said.

“Grandma Renee Barth is currently making curtains for it,” Dale said.

The fish house came with a TV antenna and shelf. Rather than have a TV on that shelf, Patrick would like to purchase and place a water camera on it so he could see under the water.

Already put to use

“We already took it (the fish house) up to Hackensack. We caught more than 200 fish out of it that weekend. My step dad caught a seven and 10 pound northern. We slept overnight in it,” Patrick said.

Patrick keeps a guest log in the fish house. It records who has fished in it, when, and what they caught.

It’s the most expensive thing I own,” Patrick said.

“Now all he needs is a car,” Kathy said.

“If I won a vehicle, I’d never enter another drawing for the rest of my life,” laughed Patrick.

Future conservationist

Patrick already has his sights set on Bemidji State to pursue a degree in biology in order to attain a job in the conservation field.

Some day he would like to work either in Minnesota or Montana.

In April, Patrick will be going to state in FFA for the fish and wildlife competition.

Besides fishing, Patrick is an avid deer and duck hunter.

“This year, he shot two deer, got his limit at the youth duck hunt along with his brother Taylor, got the biggest walleye of the Barth family this winter, got his driver’s license, and won a fish house,” Kathy said.

“We’re thinking about taking him to Vegas,” Jerod laughed.

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