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  • Writer's picturePortage County Historical Society

Carrie Frost & the Fly Tackle Capital of the World

Carrie Frost (1868 - 1937)

Carrie Frost was born in La Crosse in 1868. Her family moved to Stevens Point and Carrie graduated from high school in 1886 and was employed as a teacher.

Teaching was not Carrie's primary passion, however. Her father was an avid fisherman, and Carrie took up the sport and became known as an expert fly fisher. Noting that most fly lures were imported from Europe and were not a consistent supply source, nor especially effective in catching fish, Carrie decided to start her own fly manufacturing operation.

What started as a hobby turned into a business in 1896 when she founded the CJ Frost Fishing Tackle Manufacturing Company. The company's first location was in he home, but eventually moved into a building on Jefferson Street. As the business continued to grow, Frost moved her operation into a building on Normal Avenue behind the Opera House. The business then moved to Ellis Street near the corner of Strongs Avenue in 1906, when she was joined in business with her brother, George W. Frost. At that time Frost employed nearly 100 people in her factory, mostly women, making George one of the few men at the factory. By 1917, she employed 150 people.

The CJ Frost Fishing Tackle Company building on Ellis Street, built in 1906.

The success of Carrie's company led Stevens Point to be called the "Fly Tackle Capital of America," as her flies were highly sought after. She sold her company in 1920 and continued to fish at her farm in Waushara County where she maintained private trout ponds.

Her company was bought by a man named Daniel Frost, who though having the same last name, was not related to Carrie. In 1926, the Frost Fishing Tackle Company was purchased by Weber Tackle. Weber moved their operations across the street in 1928. That building still exists at 1039 Ellis Street. The Frost Tackle buildings were demolished prior to the 1930 expansion of the Hardware Dealers Mutual Insurance Company (Sentry) building.

Carrie Frost died in 1937. A member of Frame Memorial Presbyterian Church, Frost is buried at Forest Cemetery in Stevens Point.

For more on Carrie Frost and her legacy, check out this video on her from the PBS Wisconsin Hometown Stories: Stevens Point documentary that was released in 2021.

The Frost Fishing Tackle Company buildings in 1926 after the company was purchased by the Weber Tackle Company.


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