Superior Man Keeps Fishing With His Brother — Posthumously

Brian Kniep of Superior holds the vial of his brother’s ashes that he keeps always takes with him while he fishes. (Sam Cook photo)

When I was out and about on assignment Wednesday morning, I happened onto a friendly gentleman fishing from the fishing pier near Barker’s Island in Superior. His name was Brian, he said, Brian Kniep, from Superior. He had a couple of fishing rods propped on the railing along Superior Bay.

He fishes there frequently and catches just about anything that swims in Superior Bay — walleye, northern pike, muskie, sturgeon. He appeared to be alone, but he said he wasn’t.

”I bring my brother fishing everywhere I go,” he said.

He nodded toward a small vial, the kind that prescriptions come in. It rested in a slot in the railing meant to hold a fishing rod.

“He was an avid fisherman,” said Kniep, 54, “but he died a little young. He was 64.”

His brother’s name was Roger Tenkanen, and he had lived in Duluth, Kniep said.

Kniep held up the plastic vial.

“I take him. and I spread a little bit everywhere I go,” he said. “I’ve been all over Minnesota.”

The only season that’s rough on his brother, Kniep said, is winter.

“He gets mad at me in the winter,” Kniep said. “I don’t ice fish. I keep him in the tackle box.”

When spring comes, though, the two brothers start getting out again, wherever Kniep is fishing.