once upon a salmon…

EXCERPT FROM THE JOURNAL OF EARLY KAMLOOPS AREA DFO FISHERIES
OFFICER DAVID SALMOND MITCHELL, 1925

“A population living on salmon, and drying in sun, and smoke,
great quantities for winter food, and for barter with the Indians
to the south.

In the autumn the trails were busy with mounted Indians, singing
as they jogged along, or whopping as they galloped from one troop
to another, while trains or processions of pack horses, toddling
under tremendous loads of baled, dried, salmon, bit on herbage
along the way.

Behind them came squaws, papooses, colts and cayuses, gay with
colour, buckskin, beads and dyed horsehair.

Every little while came the pounding of more hoofs, along the
ridges and benches, with more yelling, laughter, and song.

It was the great southerly movement of great quantities of dried
salmon, some of it for Indians on the American side, whose
forbearers had traded in it, long before there was a boundary
line, or white men in the country.

It was only a twelve mile pack by Eagle Pass from sockeye salmon
fisheries at Three Valley Lake to the Columbia River, opposite
where Revelstoke now stands. From there it required little effort
to take baled dry salmon by canoe, away through the region lying
on both sides of the International border. They drifted much of
the way only using the paddle occasionally.
________snip_______

After big runs the mouths of streams were hardly approachable for
the stench; for miles beyond the deep bars of dead salmon, the
shores were strewn. On the l4th of December, 1905, we steamed
through the awful stench into the wide bay at the mouth of the
Lower Adams River. With mouths tightly closed we communicated
only by signals. The shore was banked with a wide deep double
bar of putrid salmon, extending around the bay until it faded out
of view in the distance.

______________
EXCERPT FROM: BABCOCK, J. P. 1902-1932. SPAWNING-BEDS OF THE
FRASER RIVER. BRITISH COLUMBIA FISHERIES DEPT. REPORT, 1901-09,
1911-31. VICTORIA, B.C.:

“The run of sockeye to Adams Lake in August and September of
1901, 1905, and 1909 was so great that every tributary of the
lake extending to Tumtum Lake, at the head of the watershed, was
crowded with spawning sockeye. I visited the headwaters in 1905
and 1909, and saw countless thousands of dead and spawning fish
there.”

compliments of David Ellis.

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