Bear Creek Tweedler

Bear Creek Tweedler

Bear Creek Bait Company - Kaleva, Michigan

Bear Creek Tweedler 
Bear Creek Tweedler

This little guy (and his buddies) is a product of the Bear Creek Bait Company of Kaleva, Michigan. It was one of three lures produced by this company from the 1940's until the 1970's as well as a line of fish decoys called "Ice King." The Bear Creek Tweedler was originally a wood bait and supposedly was made in plastic as well, although the collector who provided these has never seen one in plastic. The Tweedler came in two sizes, one measuring 2" in length and have a double-treble on the tail, and one measuring 2 1/4" with a double-treble on the belly. Both sizes are shown in the picture. The lure is unmarked so there is no clear way to identify it save for its distinctive features such as the metal lip. It has raised nail eyes, i.e., a nail was put into the lure where the eye is located and then material is used to build up around the nail to make the eye.

Luckey's book indicates the lure came in 'six unlisted finishes' but the collector has only been able to identify five, including dark green frog, spotted brown frog and green scale which are shown. Also known is a yellow frog with brown spots and a brown scale. Prices for Tweedlers run from $30 to $50.  (Additional note:  these price estimates are from the original 1997 article.)


Bear Creek Tweedler Kaleva, Michigan

Tweedler in Red Head, White in Box

Update 9/26/2010: This Tweedler pictured above was found in the color Red Head, White which is therefore the sixth (6th) known color! According to the owner, the box is marked "T-20" on the end. (Special thanks to Chuck for providing the picture and information!)

Bear Creek Sucker Minnows Fishing Lures

3 1/2" Bear Creek Sucker Minnows

As stated earlier, Bear Creek made two other lures as well, the Coho King and the Sucker Minnow. The Sucker Minnow was a plastic lure and and in 3 1/2" and 2-1/2" lengths. Unlike the Tweedler, it is marked "SUCKER MINNOW" on the front blade but does not bear the company name.

 Bear Creek Sucker Minnow

2 1/2" Bear Creek Sucker Minnow (picture courtesy of Glen Brewton)


My Bait Shop Updates:

Since this original Lure Lore was first published in 1997 we know quite a bit more about this company and lure.  Most of this can be attributed to the research of Robert Slade in his Encylodpedia of Old Fishing Lures Made in North America Volumes.  Here are some additional facts about the company and their baits:

  • The company was organized by brothers Reino "Walter" Wiitala, Elmer Wiitala and a friend Leo Mannilla.
  • They had quite a bit of success in the ice decoy field.  They only had three lures that were produced.  The aforementioned Tweedler, Sucker Minnow and Coho King.
  • The patent for for the Tweedler was issued on January 18, 1949.  It is Patent Number 2,459,401.  You can see the patent here.
  • The Tweedler Colors are reported as:
    • Brown Frog, Green Frog, Silver Scale, Black Scale, Orange with Black Spots, Red and White (rare) and a supposed seventh color (maybe green scale picture below).
  • The Sucker Minnow Colors were:
    • Natural Sucker, Goldfish-Yellow Scale with an uncatalogued Yellow Scale known of.
  • The company was sold in 1983 and the new owner, K & E Tackle Company of Hastings, Michigan still makes ice decoys but not fishing lures.

    Below are some images of a couple of Tweedlers and a vintage ad (thanks to Langs Auction for use of one of the images).

    Tweedler Orange with Black Spots

    Tweedler Orange with Black Spots

     Tweedler Green Scale

    Tweedler in Green Scale (the mystery 7th color?)

    1949 Bear Creek Tweedler Ad

    1949 Bear Creek Tweedler Ad (notice 6 colors)


    If anybody has additional information or paperwork such as early advertisements they would share it would be greatly appreciated.



    Test Your Knowledge:  Bear Creek Tweedlers FAQ's:

    Where were the Bear Creek Tweedler fishing lures made?
    The Bear Creek Tweedlers were made in Kaleva, Michigan by the Bear Creek Bait Company starting in the very late 1940's.

    How many colors were available of the Bear Creek Tweedler Fishing Lures?
    All material and information points to six standard colors of the Tweedlers being made.  However there appears that a seventh or maybe even an eighth Tweedler color might exist. 

    Where can I find more information on the Tweedler fishing lures?
    You can find more information on our website My Bait Shop where we have a full page dedicated to the Bear Creek Tweedler fishing lure.

    Related Articles / Pages:

    Lure Lore:  More great Lure Lore articles on My Bait Shop featuring in depth lure reviews and historical data.  An ever-growing section started in 1997 and continued on today at My Bait Shop.

    Lures For Sale:  See what we have in stock at My Bait Shop for vintage lures.  Our ever changing inventory makes this worth repeat visits.

    Unknown Lure

    Rolling Plug Bait

    OK - these aren't exactly 'unknown' as the owner believes these are called a "Rolling Plug Bait" but knows nothing more about them. They are made of wood, measure 3 1/2" in length, and have a raised eye.


    If you have any further information on any of the items displayed on this page which you'd like to share, please send your comments to me and I'll update the page accordingly. Contributions of interesting items and/or unknowns are encouraged.

    (Originally Published on on October 12, 1997 - Vol. 2, No. 20)
    Moved to My Bait Shop in 2020 and updated as applicable

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