Swedish whitefish fishermen on Lake Michigan and their battles with crooks and lampreys spark, but not too brightly, an occupational novel of a 25 year old youth starting off on his own as a netter. Eric buys the thirty-five foot Good Hope, smelly and as old as himself. But before high hopes of successful trade can be established, mysteries must be solved, government officials pacified, and reasons for spending one's life in a small town justified. (As a group, the fishermen are set in their ways, loath to heed prowling politicos who come around suggesting smaller meshes for nets and killing trout sucking lamprey larvae by electric shock. Too, leathery old Otto has an Itching finger for other men's hauls. Eric's brother George who has been at college in Milwaukee, returns to the community with cynical eyes and a disturbingly different range of vision that sets Eric to thinking of the worthwhiles of being a fisherman. But, in an ending that is tragedy-filled to the extent of the wreck of the Good Hope in a tangle with Otto, and mindful of storms and calms on the lake's changing face, the brothers see eye to eye and George decides to stay. Axiomatically -- ""Slow but steady wins the race.