THE ORIGINAL: Gary Roach’s Original 1970 Guide Boat Restored *Updated

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by Bret Amundson

*Updated 6/3/20

*Read the story below or watch the video:

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This story originally ran in April of 2015:

The 1970’s.

Pant legs were wider, popular music was unlistenable and fishing was good.  The times were simpler  and the gear was minimal.   You had to work to find those secret fishing spots and work harder to remember where they were.  Boat essentials of today like GPS systems and live wells were nonexistent.  With one exception: Gary Roach’s original guide boat.

This boat, a 1970 315 Tri-hull Shell Lake Lund, would be restored and on display at the “8th Annual Fishing with the Pros” that was held recently at the Falls Ballroom in Little Falls.  Funds would be raised for the Minnesota Fishing Museum as part of the festivities and you can see pictures of the museum here. 

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Gary Roach shows off his original guide boat, complete with a tournament trophy and photo. Hear about that experience on this weekend’s MNSJ Radio Show.


“It was the first boat I ever owned on my own,” Roach explained. “Most all the guides up in Nisswa used it.”

“What’s so neat about this, is that I found it!” Roach said describing the experience of finding the 45-year-old artifact that paved the way for modern vessels.  “A guy knew where my original boat was.  It was laying in the woods up by Duluth somewhere.  He went all the way up there and found this boat, put it on a flatbed trailer and dumped it in my yard!  It had all the original signage on it, Lindy, Little Joe….(but) it didn’t have my motor, I don’t know what happened to the motor, but they replaced the motor with an original motor like the one I had, a 19-horse Johnson.”

So there it sat.  Quietly hidden by leaves and rock, surrounded by the north woods, waiting to be rediscovered.  Now restored and sea-worthy.  It’s rumored that fish in the Brainerd area suddenly started seizing up in fear and floating to the top, diagnosed with heart attacks.

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“It was in bad shape.  The transom was bad.  It was actually the first boat that I put a live well in, a storage area in, a place for the gas tank…it had a stick shift on it, and I had a trolling motor on the bow way before the things that happened with Lund many years later.”

Can we thank Mr Walleye for the boat designs you see today?

“Yeah, now they put live wells in them, they design for them.  The water pickup system-which I helped design.  They put carpet in them, they put storage areas in them.  It keeps going forever and ever and Lund’s just made them better and better. But this was the original start of the whole thing.”

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The start of fishing done the “easy” way. With all the bells and whistles that make us look good on the water.  Something tells me that Mr Walleye could launch it and have a limit of fish the old-fashioned way, while we’re still punching in coordinates to our electronics.  

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Roach went on to talk about winning the first ever Bass tournament in the state, held on Lake Minnetonka, what his thoughts are on the Mille Lacs situation and what his favorite body of water to fish is.

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