There have been the usual unusual finds this year: a grenade near Ohio’s Black River, and a revolver in New York’s Susquehanna. But the best catches have told a tale, like that of Michael Puckett of Ocean Springs, Mississippi. In June, Puckett tossed a line into Davis Bayou and snagged a wallet containing coins dated from 1899 to 1917. Under a layer of mud, the name “Al Capone” was burned into the leather. The find is consistent with local lore, which holds that Capone stayed in a nearby house during visits to the area. Three months earlier in Perham, Minnesota, angler Rich Boedigheimer and a friend dropped a submersible camera through a hole in the ice and saw an outboard. They got the 1928 or 1929 Evinrude Elto Super Quad to the surface and later tracked down the son of its owner, who remembered losing it on the water in the 1930s. A collector offered $300, but it might not be enough, as the serial number is “1.”

And more treasures remain in the depths, thanks to anglers like ice fisherman Erik Hobbie of St. Paul, Minnesota. He tied his grandmother’s diamond engagement ring to a tip-up on Burnside Lake in 2003, then got his girlfriend to pull in the line. The knot didn’t hold. Hobbie still proposed. She said yes. The ring is still down there. –PHILIP BOURJAILY