Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Fish Weir Village

"Site of fish weir across the Lemhi River where the Shoshone were able to trap enough Salmon for their subsistence and provide the (Lewis & Clark) expedition with as much broiled and dried salmon as they could eat, as well as dried chokecherries.

"...I went to see the place those people take the fish, a wear [weir] across the creek in which there is stuk baskets set in different derections so as to take the fish either descending or assending..." -- Clark, August 21, 1805

"...water was conducted to this basket, which was so narrow at it's lower extremity that the fish when once in could not turn itself about, and were taken out by untying the small ends of the longitudinal willows, which formed the hull of the basket." --Lewis, August 21, 1805
From: Salmon-Challis National Forest

Image from: "fishing weir – theater set" by Marie Lorenz
"A weir is a system of nets used to trap fish in current. This is a drawing that William Clark made of a fishing weir in Tower Creek, Idaho. In his journal, Captain Clark described the fishing weir, made by the Lemhi-Shoshone People to catch Salmon: “There were two distinct wears formed of poles and willow sticks, quite across the river, at no great distance from each other. Each of these, were furnished with two baskets; the one wear to take them ascending and the other in decending. In constructing these wears, poles were first tyed together in parcels of three near the smaller extremity; these were set on end, and spread in a triangular form at the base, in such manner, that two or the three poles ranged in the direction of the intended work, and the third down the stream. Two ranges of horizontal poles were next lashed with willow bark and wythes to the ranging poles, and on these willow ticks were placed perpendicularly, reaching from the bottom of the river to about 3 or four feet above it’s surface; and placed so near each other, as not to permit the passage of the fish.”

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