Those We Honor

You’ll find more than just fishing celebrities in this list. One can make a significant impact
on the lives of many without ever being well known. It is important to honor all of
those who had a great influence on the great sport of fishing, whether famous or not.
Corporate advances tend to be much more visible to us. For it’s their products that
shape the evolution of the sport of fishing.

Kluge Manufacturing

Kluge Manufacturing

Inducted 2020

Jake Kluge has often been referred to as the father of the portable gas powered ‘ICE AUGER’.  The behind the 1960’s and 70’s KLUGE ICE AUGER as told by Jake’s son Doug.

Jake was born in 1910 in St. Paul, Minnesota and married Esther from Wheaton, Minnesota in the mid 1930’s.   The Como Park area in St. Paul was where they made their home and raised two sons, Ken and Doug.

Jake worked with his father, who created the Kluge Printing Press, which provided Jake with the ability to create new products.  He also had an extensive background in manufacturing.

Jake was a fisherman and spent many weekends ice fishing with his neighborhood pals.  In those days, ice fishing holes were made using an ice chisel that took considerable chopping.  Jake’s pals would rely on him to bring along his excellent chisel.  The problem was that by the time the last man got his hole open, the others were ready to move.

He enjoyed fishing with his pals and also with this wife and sons.  After many years without a solution to the slower cutting, he was determined to find the answer for a more efficient faster cutting ice auger.

In 1947 Jake decided to build an electric ice auger.  This project centered on the fisherman using the 6 volt car battery that he drove onto the lake.  This idea ended when he first tested this heavy tool that drained the battery before he finished the second hole.

Another 10 years went by before Jake decided to tackle the problem of making a hole in the ice by drilling instead of chopping.  In 1958 through 1960 Jake went on his own and designed all of the parts for his gas powered ice auger.  He worked with the Clinton Engine Company in Iowa to acquire the 2 cycle power he needed, worked with a local pattern shop and a St. Paul Foundry to acquire all of the castings he created.

Jake worked with parts machining companies, gear cutters, heat treaters and purchased parts suppliers throughout the twin city area that he knew from the days of his previous jobs.

By the first part of 1960, he attempted drilling his first hole.  The auger showed great promise, but wanted to freeze up and stop cutting.  By year end, he had fixed the cutting problem and was successful at getting his new auger to perform.

Early in 1961 Jake decided to show Joe of Joe’s Bait his new ice auger.  Joe drilled his first hole and was impressed that he became a big supporter of his new fishing tool.  Joe told Jake that he would sell every one of these machines that he could make starting in the fall of ‘61’.  Joe kept his promise and wanted more, and so began Kluge Mfg. of St. Paul.

As the 1960’s went along, the reputation of the Kluge Auger continued to expand and dealers across the U.S. and Canada, including Alaska, go onboard.  A friend of Jakes called one day from Juneau, Alaska and told Jake the city was using the Kluge Auger to control the glacier at the end of town.  For those of you that wonder, did Reeds of Walker, sell the Kluge Augers during those years.  The answer is yes.

By the end of ’72 – 73’ fishing season, Jake, his wife Esther and their son Doug were shipping over 400 of these machines per year.  The list of tools, powered by Jake’s successful Planetary Gear Transmission with the famous manual clutch, continued to grow throughout the years of Jakes involvement.

Different tools available:  6, 8 ½, 12 inch Ice Drill; 2 inch Ice & Frozen Ground Drill; 4 & 6 inch Wood Auger; ¾ inch Chuck for driving anything that would m make a hole; 4 & 6 inch Dirt Auger.

Jake sold the business later in ‘73’ and after 2 years of teaching the new owners how to build the augers, he and Ester moved from their St. Paul home to their lake home on Kabekona Lake outside of Walker, MN.  The KLUGE AUGER is still well known throughout the U.S. and Canada.  The most important contribution he provided to ice fishing today was his cutting head and blade design.  It is known as CHIPPER TECHNOLOGY and it is this proven design that Jakes son along with AWC have used in creating the now very successful K-DRILL.