CADILLAC - You might not believe what's on the bottom of Lake Cadillac just off the city dock.

One Cadillac family is finding out what lurks down there in the muck.

Ryan and Britany Munson recently started fishing for underwater metal objects with powerful magnets.

"I've seen the YouTube videos with these guys finding all kinds of stuff and I thought it was interesting," said Ryan Munson, an auto technician with Nemeth Auto Repair and Fleet. "One of the guys pulled out a Harley."

So the couple put together a magnet fishing kit - a large bucket, rubber gloves, a grapple hook and two very powerful magnets. Now the family of six enjoys taking magnet fishing excursions.

"I like to see what we can pull out of the lake and cleaning the metal debris," Ryan said. "It's been an awesome experience, very family oriented and a good time."

"At first I kind of came along. I thought it wasn't going to be very much fun," said Britany, the owner of Munson Munchkin's Daycare. "But that first pull, when you pull up something you're hooked. You always want to know what you're going to pull up next."

They have pulled up lots of metal debris like fishing hooks, bolts, and lots of bottle caps. But  what keeps them going is the excitement of the big finds.

"That bag of tools, that was my very first big find," Ryan said about snagging a backpack full of  Craftsman tools worth about $200.

So far they've been surprised by the number of  bikes and folding chairs that have been tossed off or drifted to the bottom of the lake near the city dock. Whatever comes up - they never throw it back. They like the idea that they are helping to clean up the lake.

They've also been exploring river bottoms in Marion and Falmouth. But they love coming back to the dock.

And that's where, over Memorial Day weekend, Britany had her most exciting find, an old handgun that could date back to the late 1800s.

"The gun is the best thing we'll probably ever find," she said.

On the Facebook page she started, Michigan Magnet Fishing Finds, there have been lots of comments about why that gun was thrown in the water. Maybe it was used in a crime, maybe even a murder or a robbery.

Ryan thinks that, since it came from the lumber era, it might have fallen out of the pocket of a lumberman.

After taking photos, the couple turned the gun into the police and were told it would be returned to them after they run the numbers to see if it was ever reported stolen or linked to a crime. The couple wants to have the gun cleaned and display it in their home.

What is this gun?

Britany's research leads her to believe that the gun is a Marlin or a Smith and Wesson.

But Carl Carlson of Carl's Sport Center took one look at the picture and said it's a Smith and Wesson, a low-quality pistol from 1800 to 1900.

"Back then these would cost 75 cents to a dollar, " he said.  "I've got a big box of these. A lot of people throw them in the lake when they don't want them anymore. It was a rough and tumble time back then during the lumber days. There are probably hundreds more in the lake."

Cadillac News