Happy Hooker Charters

Happy Hooker Charters – Fish Dynasty of Lake Superior

Four of our six specially equipped charter boats

The Fish Dynasty of Lake Superior

My dad, Don Dahl was an avid angler to say the least. He would rather fish than sleep. Braving, the frigid weather of the north shore, to stand in a half frozen river fishing for steelhead, or traveling to Canada in search of giant sized brook trout. Lake Superior had a special attraction to him. In the late 60’s when the lake trout started reappearing along the south shore, he would trailer his boat to Cornucopia Wisconsin to catch some of the newly stocked lake trout. He built planer boards from 2×6’s with crude releases made from clothes pins, from which he would drag his own hand made rapalaas, carved from cedar and covered with aluminum foil. He learned of the boards from his father who used them in Norway as a boy, and from his own navy experience. As the trout population expanded in the Duluth area he experimented with down rigging, using a WW II mortar as a model he made a mold to cast downrigger weights and referred to them as “Bombs”. His first downriggers were manual. Soon he added a motor (rear window motors from ford station wagons). He machined the spools and pulleys on a lath in his basement. In 1976 he bought the Happy Hooker, a 30 foot Marinette, along with his younger brother Ray Dahl, started the first charter fishing business in Duluth. It wasn’t long before the boat was rigged with 5 of his electric downriggers. In his last year of fishing he won top prizes in all three fishing contests on Western Lake Superior. He passed away too early at age 63 and left the “Happy Hooker” to his sons Peter and Jon Dahl who carried on the tradition. Thirty years later the business is thriving with two of his grandsons joining the fleet, and two great granddaughters working as mates. Today the equipment and lures are not homemade but the Dahl’s are still innovators of new equipment and fishing techniques, using underwater cameras to better their insights to the habits of fish. The fishing has also improved over those early days. In fact the MN DNR has stopped stocking lake trout and considers the fishery restored to pre lamprey days leaving the Dahl brothers and their families a fish dynasty to pursue what they love to do best FISH.

Happy Hooker Charters now 6 boat Fish Dynasty.

Dave Dahl
Captain Dave

Captain Marty Running
Captain Marty Running

Captain Peter Dahl
Captain Peter Dahl

Jon Dahl
Captain Jon

Don Nelson
Captain Don NELSON

In 2015 we added 2 more boats and two more family members to our fleet. We are now the largest charter fishing fleet on Lake Superior..

Make you own down rigger camera mount for GoPro or Sony action cameras

Make your own down rigger camera mount for Sony or GoPro cameras

2014 camera mount_edited-1



  • Drill a 1/4 in hole thru torpedo weight.
  • Insert a 1/4 by 3″ bolt from the bottom
  • put a  washer on the bolt.
  • Cut a piece of 1/8 by 3/4 aluminum flatbar to length (about 3 1/2 inches)
  • Drill two 1/4 inch holes in bar.   (make sure you  have adequate clearance for camera.
  • put bar over washer – screw on coupling.
  • Drill a hole in a 1/4 x 20 thumbscrew – put a locking nut on and screw it onto the coupling.
  • Install camera using the tripod mount.
  • Tighten everything – attach to cable and you are ready to record.

Flooding in Duluth and muddy waters on Lake Superior promp a move to Knife River Marina

The heavy rains created muddy waters near Duluth Superior.   The flood prompted us to relocate the “Hooker Too”  temporarily to Knife River.   Mud and debris was there too, but not bad enough to hurt the fishing. Lately we have been catching some  Big Lakers.   Downriggers and leadcore are taking some trout in the 10 … Read more