Renowned artist Glenn Wolff appreciates the significance and the ageless tradition of ice fishing. One of his classic works says it all: an authentic vintage stick tip-up in the foreground, flag fully tripped. The title of the piece is “How the Midwest Was Won”.

As Wolff implies in his artwork’s title, the stick tip-up has been around since the Europeans established themselves as year-round residents of the Midwest. The ingenious, cobbled together fish-catching device was the mainstay of pioneers that endured the harsh winters with bellies full of fillets.

Visually, the Stick Tip-Up of today doesn’t look far removed from one that might have trotted to the lake in a saddlebag with second cousin Zebadiah at the reins. Functionally, they’re still easy to use, no matter the skill level of the angler; fold up tight for easy storage; and are highly affordable. (Although Frabill suspects that many of the early models were built by kids as punishment for playing hooky.)

But just because the Stick Tip-Up is so rudimentary doesn’t mean it has to be junky, and Frabill’s proving that with the introduction of their ‘back to the future’ Stick Tip-Up series.

The basic, price-conscious 1720 Stick Tip-Up has an extra long spool shaft and a 32-inch long flag arm, perfect for fishing in deep snow. The long shaft and arm have a better chance of being spied by snowmobilers, too, so they don’t carve your device up into chopsticks. The upgraded 1722 Stick Tip-Up maintains the same merits but comes fashioned with an aluminum spool that resists corrosion and rotates freely.

The higher-end Finger Lakes Stick Tip-Up is made from the finest hardwood and all its components are fastened with aluminum and stainless steel hardware. The Finger Lakes is also available in a “ready-to-fish” package that includes line, line markers and depth finder. And the new Lake Champlain Premium Stick Tip-Up, King of the Stick Forest, sports a premium hardwood plank for on-the-ice support, as well a builtin ruler, stainless steel and aluminum components, and the ready-to-fish package with line, line markersand depth finder.

Ye old stick tip-ups have proven their worthiness for decades. And what’s old is new, especially when the
creators at Frabill get their paws on it.