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Summer Fishing

George M. Dawson

Proceedings and transactions of the Royal Society of Canada for the year 1891 volume 1X Montreal Dawson Brothers, Publishers 1802

Pg. 15: The salmon, in its various species, is one of the principal sources of food supply for all the tribes living along the Fraser and Thompson and their tributaries. Dried salmon forms a considerable part of the provision made for winter, and before attempts at agriculture were begun constituted the sole winter staple. The right to occupy certain salmon-fishing places, with the annual visit to these of the more remote families and the congregation of large numbers of Indians at especially favorable places, largely influenced the life and customs of the Shuswap.
Sonny Gregoire dip netting in the Thompson River for salmon
Summer 2006 Gill net fishing in the Thompson River
Gill net set up in Thomspon River Summer 2006
Thompson River 2006 summer gill net fishing spot
Sockeye salmon caught in the Thompson River
On the large and rapid rivers, including all that part of the Fraser which runs through the country of the Shuswap, with much of the Thompson, the Salmon is usually taken in a bag-net fixed to the end of a long pole. This is manipulated by a man who stands on a projecting stage above some favorable eddy or other suitable and always well known spot, which is thus occupied every year at the appropriate season.
Gill net catch of the day - Two Sockeye salmon
Faron Manuel fileting salmon to be put into drying rack
Fileting salmon to be hung and dried
Harla Jules preparing salmon for drying
Salmon being stretched and then prepared to be hung
Drying salmon from summer catch in a drying rack
Pg. 81: It is the women's job to clean and prepare the fish. When the men return from fishing, the women break off the fish heads and clean out the guts. Then the fish is hung up until morning, at which time the fins and backbone are removed and the scales are scraped off. The fish must be dry before the flesh is cut. Starting at the tail and of the fish, slanted slashes are made through the flesh from the center to the outer edge. These slashes are about three inches apart and slant down towards the head end of the fish. Then, a few inches from the bottom, and in the middle of the fish, small vertical slashes are made, an inch from the edge of the flesh, on either side of the outer edge. These slashes go through the skin of the fish. A finger-thick red-willow sapling is measured across the fish and then cut to that length, plus one inch. A small split is made in each end of the stick, which is placed across the skin side of the fish. Near the tail end of the fish, a three inch slash is made on either side of the flesh and a stick, which is approximately a foot and a half long, is woven through the slash. The fish is hung, by this long stick, between the poles on the drying rack.