IN LOVING MEMORY OF
the wonderful things you do for our local community
The Outdoorsman by Ralph Carlson (Grand Rapids Herald-Review)
Any angler that fishes Winnie especially early in the fishing season knows about Bowen Lodge. The Gap leading out to Winnie and Bowen Flats have traditionally been great spots for the fishing opener. Bowen Lodge sits majestically on the bank in front of the flats and the final buoy indicating to anglers they are out of the gap.
Bowen Lodge is unique in that it faces Winnie and their boat landing is snuggled into Bowen Bay on Big Cutfoot Sioux. Bowen Bay has long been an anglers haven during a cold and windy day. It also offers good fishing. When Bob Heig purchased Bowens in 1982 and started his first season in 1983, he discovered just the good fishing was. In fact just in front of the boat slips on Bowen Bay was Bob’s favorite spot to fish and became known as Bob’s Bar. Having a fishing hole named after oneself is a great honor. Bob rarely missed a day of fishing. He would not see the 2009 opener as he passed away in late 2008 at the age of 90, but not before leaving a great legacy as an outdoorsman. His final year of deer hunting he shot two deer and the walleyes were too numerous to count. The day Bob passed he had a bag of minnows ready to go if the ice proved thick enough.
Another character long identified with Bowen Lodge was fishing guide Eldy St.Peter. Eldy lived at Bowen Lodge and was one of the first great guides on Winnie. Eldy started guiding at the age of 14. His love for fishing and enthusiasm to teach others to fish was a labor of love. Still a young man Eldy St.Peter passed away at age 49.
Aside from being friends Bob Heig and Eldy St.Peter shared a common bond, a love of fishing. Friends and guest from the lodge have donated funds for both Eldy and Bob as memorials. As the memorial funds grew, Bob’s son Bill looked for a charitable organization that could benefit from the donation and preserve the legacy of two men who loved fishing.
The perfect organization in the eyes of many was the Itasca County Chapter of Lets Go Fishing With Seniors (LGF). LGF was created to enrich the lives of people 55 and older through free fishing and boating excursions. Founded in 2002 in Willmar, Minn., LGF now has 27 chapters.