FISHING AND THE LEWIS AND CLARK EXPEDITION
Copyright December 20, 2001
Paul Waggoner Jones
As we again celebrate the achievements of the Lewis and Clark expedition, perhaps an accurate depiction of the tackle actually taken and used and fishing as it was practiced on the expedition will be of interest.
What is unique about their tackle and techniques is that these men fished like the average individual living at that time in North American, and as it was practiced thereafter during the “fur trade” era in the Western mountain regions of the United States, and that is with line, hook and bait, and without the fancy sports equipment available to the typical more affluent “angler” of that era living in the East.
The fishing actually engaged in (and that which was found being practiced by certain of the Indians encountered by members of the expedition) by the men of the Lewis and Clark expedition was essentially the same as is described in the broader view of the fur trade era expressed much later by Hiram Martin Chittenden when he accurately summarized this subject matter by stating that AFishes, likewise, with few exceptions, were of small importance in fur trade history. The numerous species that inhabited the Missouri were used to a considerable extent at the trading posts. The mountain trout, where they could be found, were also used in times of necessity. For the most part, however, the catching of fish was pretty tame sport, and never a substantial resource for food.” He further noted that “The principal exception to this general rule was the SALMON (Oncorhynchus chavicha), whose home was on the Columbia and its tributaries. This wonderful fish was to the tribes of the lower Columbia what the buffalo was to those on the plains, so far at least as it was possible for one to supply the place of the other. Even to the Nez Perces and the Shoshones, in the valleys of the Snake and Salmon Rivers, it was a great reliance, although those tribes depended also upon other game.” The American Fur Trade of the Far West, Hiram Martin Chittenden, 1936, at pages 824 and 825, Volume II.
From the fishing tackle that is known to have been taken on the expedition, and from the journals kept by Lewis, Clark, Ordway and others, it appears that coarse fishing (bait fishing with pole, line and hooks, a line tied to a limb or other pole, a hand-line, or with a trot line) was the method of fishing practiced by the Lewis and Clark men who actually fished. There is, interestingly, no mention of a fishing pole (here the term refers to a “store bought rod or pole”) being used during the course of the expedition, nor was a pole or fishing rod included in the equipment purchased for the trip.
While there are several references to Meriwether Lewis and William Clark personally fishing, apparently for pleasure or at least recreation, the absence of any notation by either of them relating to “angling” (fly fishing or with a lure) or any nature of sport fishing equipment makes it a reasonable assumption (and with the further consideration of all of the detailed lists of goods and equipment purchased and inventoried for the expedition, and, as noted before, the detail from all of the journals) that no rods or reels or other more sophisticated tackle was available to them once the expedition was underway. The official records of goods purchased by Lewis, Clark, or others for them or at their direction, which are considered to be very comprehensive (as every dollar had to be accounted for as it represented the expenditure of public funds or private funds for which government reimbursement was expected) make it clear no one purchased a fishing reel (the stave reels noted below are not fishing reels or winches, but rather round or flat line holders make from wood, sometimes ready fitted with hooks and perhaps a cork and weight, for fishing), a rod, or other useful “sporting or angling” tackle (including fly lines, flies or lures) other than hooks, lines and fish spears.
The fishing equipment that is known to have been taken on the expedition includes the following:
1. Items requested by Lewis as personal requirements: 4 Groce fishing Hooks, 12 Bunche of Drum Line, 12 Bunches Small fishing line assorted.
2. Items requested by Lewis as Indian presents: 40 fish Giggs such as the Indians use with a single barbed pint—at Harper’s ferry, 3 Groce fishing Hooks assorted.
3. Supplies from private vendors secured by Lewis: Fishg. Tackle from George Lawton, $25.37.
These fishing “supplies, the receipt for which is hand-written on the back of a printed broadside advertisement for the wares of George Lawton, a copy of which is attached as Appendix 1, include the following items:
Phila. May 18. 1803
Mr. Israel Wheelen
Bt of Geo R. Lawton
70 Large hooks @30/ pr. $2.80
55 ditto @22/6 pr. 1.65
1 donl. drum Lines………………………………………..4.—
1 do. Rock ditto…………………………………………….2.50
1 2 do. India Lines $5 ……………………………………7.50
1 India Line………………………………………………..…..42
8 Stave Reel ………………………………………………….3.—
Geo. R. Lawton
Received the within Articles
Capt. 1st US. Regt. Infty.
4. Additional public supplies from Harvey & Worth: 3 C Fish hooks, 5- ½ M Fish hooks, 2 doz. Fish Lines.
5. From a summary of Indian presents purchased for the expedition: 2800 Fish Hooks assd., 125 Large fishg Hooks, Fishg Lines assorted, 1 Stand of Fishg do. With hooks complete, and 1 Sportsman’s flaske (from Lawton?).
6. From a memoranda by Clark of a baling invoice of sundry Indians Presents: 61 fish hooks (by 4 or 5 to men), 28 fish Spears. In a recapitulation of the 14 Bags and 1 Box of Indian presents he lists “about 500 fish hooks” and a total of 55 fish Spears.
7. From a memorandum by Clark of a baling invoice of sundries, being necessary for Stores: 4 papers of fish hooks, 27 fish Spears and then in a recapitulation of the bales–1000 fish hooks, but here that is no further mention of the fish spears.
First one must accept the fact that although good records were kept, there is clearly some duplication of items as described in the various lists. But, regardless of the total number of hooks, lines, fish spears, etc., taken, all of the fishing equipment listed is for coarse fishing. There simply are no references to any sport fishing equipment such as fishing rods, reels, artificial flies, corks or other types of floats, lead weights, etc. One can surmise that floats are not often used with hand-line fishing or with trot lines and so were not required as being essential to the fishing they anticipated on the journey. As to the use of lead weights, one could easily assume that as the expedition was well outfitted with lead ball and shot, that it would have been very easy (and as was practiced by many fishermen of that era) to simply cut a lead ball, a piece of shot, or a stripe of pounded lead, for use as a weight. Considering the heavy currents the men on the expedition faced in certain waters they fished, it is also a good assumption that they did use some nature of weight for their lines, and therefore, the use of the lead readily available to them makes perfect sense.
Certainly angling or sporting tackle was available to the expedition. One need but review the broad listing of tackle available from the wares of George Lawton, the tackle dealer from whom Lewis purchased a number of hooks, lines, stave reels (and, Bless him, a sportsman’s flask).
Lawton operated a tackle shop on “Great Dock-Street, between Front and Second-Streets, near the Drawbridge, Philadelphia. Where may be had a large complete and general assortment of all kinds of FISHING TACKLE, for the use of either Sea or River…”
George Lawton was the successor in this enterprise to Edward Pole, a fishing tackle dealer doing business in Philadelphia since the 1770’s. He, like Pole before him, offered an amazing array of tackle, and like Pole, regularly imported much of his tackle from England. From a his printed broadside, the reverse of which served as a receipt for tackle purchased by Meriwether Lewis in May, 1803, we find that one could purchase “Fly, trolling, bottom bag, and all other sorts and sizes of fishing rods, either hollow or solid, plain or ringed; Plain and Multiplying Bras Wheels; Horse Hair, silk, hardest, silk-worms gut, Indian Grass, Hempen, Cotton, Layout, and Angling Lines……Cork Floats, a variety with either Goose or Swan Quills…Artificial Flies, Moths, Hackles, Minnoew, Chubbs, Grasshoppers, Dliderries, Frogs, Mice, Birds, Cadd, &c. for Trout and other Fishing…Leads of various patterns…Best Kirby and Common Fishing Hooks of every Size, either Loose or ready Hung, on Silk, Hair, Silk-worms Gut, Indian Grass, or Weed…Double and Treble, Spring and Dead Snap Pike, and Eel-hooks wired…Box, and Plain Salmon, Jack, Pearch and Trout-swivels…4, 8, 10 & 12 Stave Round and Flat Pocket Reels, ready fitted…” and Etc., Etc.
Much of the fishing tackle that is described in this broadside advertisement is known to us today and most of it is still used, including rods of various materials (including cane), reels, lines of many different materials, assorted styles of hooks, weights, corks and other floats, swivels, and on down the list set out by Lawton. Now whether the “Minnowe, Chubbs, and other similar items were artificial or live or preserved baits is pure conjecture, but even now a goodly number of these baits are available (well, perhaps not mice or birds, at least in the typical tackle shop). Of course, some of the tackle, such as the hair lines and gut leaders, have long since been replaced with modern materials.
Note also that Lawton offered “Carolina reeds for reed makers or fishing rods…” They may be more difficult to find today, but plain, un-jointed, cane poles are still used today by course (bait) fisherman, and cane is still used by rod makers for some styles of rods.
Likewise, it is important to consider that Lawton sold his goods both retail and wholesale with “Allowances made to country store keepers and others purchasing quantities.” It is also interesting to note that he offered “Ready money for any quantity of Carolina Reeds, White Horse Tails, Silk Worms Gut, &c. &c.” as this indicates that he may have produced some of his tackle “in-house” rather than simply importing it from England as was most of the fishing tackle sold in North America at that time.
Turning to the day-to-day activities of the actual Lewis and Clark expedition, it is interesting to note that Silas Goodrich, one of the more obscure and certainly junior members, was recorded in the material in the journals of Lewis, Clark, and Ordway as what may be described as both an ardent and knowledgeable fisherman. We know Goodrich was born in Massachusetts, and that he served in the Army while in his early 20’s. Like a number of the members of the expedition, he was a transfer from another Army unit when recruited to be a member of the Corp of Discovery in 1803. He served as a member of Sergeant John Ordway’s third squad (along with John Colter of later “mountain man” fame). Three years later, after returning from the expedition, he reenlisted in the Army. No record of what happened to him thereafter has been located, but Clark noted in 1829 that Silas (and a number of other members of the expedition) had died by that time.
For example, Clark wrote on July 24, 1804, while at White Catfish Camp (so named for the fish Goodrich had caught), some 10 miles above Platte, that “This evening Guthrege Cought a White Catfish, its eyes Small & tale much like that of a Dolfin.” Clark spelled Goodrich’s name a number of different ways, but regardless, it was Silas who caught the white catfish.
Meriwether Lewis noted in his journal, on June 11, 1805, that “Goodrich who is remarkably fond of fishing caught several douzen fish of two different species…” This Goodrich fishing experience occurred while Lewis, who was suffering rather badly from dysentery, treated himself with a remedy of boiled chokecherry twigs in an attempt to effect a cure
Lewis discussing with characteristic detail, described the fish Goodrich had caught as follows: “one about 9 inches long of white colour round and in form and fins resembles the white chub common to the Potomac; this fish has a smaller head than the Chubb and the mouth is beset both above and below with a rim of fine sharp teeth; the eye moderately large, the puple dark and the iris which is narrow is of a yellowish brown color, they bit at meat or grasshoppers. this a soft fish, not very good tho’ the flesh is of a fine white colour. the other species is precisely the form and about the size of the well known fish call the Hickary Shad or old wife, with the exception of the teeth, a rim of which garnish the outer edge of both the upper and lower jaw; the tonge and pallet are also beset with long sharp teeth bending inwards, the eye of this fish is very large, and the iris of a silvery coulour and wide. Of the 1st species we caught some few before our arrival at the entrance of Maria’s river, but of the last we had seen none until we reached that place and took them in Missouri above its junction with that river. The latter kind are much the best , and do not inhabit muddy water; the whit cat continue as high as the entrance of Maria’s R, but those we have caught about Mandans never excede 6 lb. I believe that there are but few in this part of the Missouri….” [the first fish is a pike-perch, the second a Missouri herring].
The next day Lewis wrote “…this evening I ate very heartily and after penning the transactions of the day amused myself catching those white fish mentioned yesterday; they are here in great abundance. I caught upwards of a douzen in a few minutes; they bit most freely at the melt [milt] of a deer which Goodrich had brought with him for the purpose of fishing.” This notation is of particular interest in that it shows that Lewis engaged in fishing for recreation and also that Goodrich deliberately secured bait for fishing, in this instance, either a deer’s spleen or its ovaries. (Even Clark, as recorded in a journal entry of July 6 1805, occasionally fished, perhaps for the simple pleasure of fishing, when he noted “I cought Some Small fish this evening”
Goodrich routinely provided trout and other fish. Lewis noted on June 13, 1805, that Goodrich, while at the Great Falls of the Missouri, caught “half a douzen very fine trout and a number of both species of the white fish. these trout are from sixteen to twenty three ” inches in length, precisely resemble our mountain or speckled trout in form and the position of their fins, but the specks on these are of a deep black instead of the red and goald colour o f those common to the U. States. These are furnished long sharp teeth on the pallet and tongue and have generally a small dash of red on each side behind the front ventral fins; the flesh is of a pale yellowish red, or when in good order, of a rose red.” It is important to recognize that this is the first recorded reference to cutthroat trout, and this variety of trout was later named Salmo clarkii in honor of William Clark.
Lewis further commented as to the evening meal of the 13th. “My fare is really sumptuous this evening; buffaloe’s humps, tongues and marrowbones, fine trout parched meal pepper and salt, and a good appetite; the last is not considered the least of the luxuries….” One must wonder whether it was the good appetite or the fine trout parched with meal, pepper and salt, that Lewis considered a luxury.
On June 15, noted wrote “…. I amused myself in fishing, and sleeping away the fortiegues of yesterday. I caught a number of very fine trout which I made Goodrich dry; Goodrich also caught about two douzen and several small cat of a yellow colour which would weigh about 4 lbs. The tail was separated with a deep angular nitch like that of the white cat of the Missouri from which indeed they differed only in colour.”
John Ordway also wrote about Goodrich and his fishing skills on several occasions. On September 7, 1804, he noted in his journal that “…a verry large catfish caught by Goodrich last night.” Thereafter, in a journal entry dated June 5, 1805, “one man by the name of Goodrich has caught a considerable quantity of fish. Some of which are Shell Fish, but the most part are Small cat fish. we have caught none as large this Season as we did last as yet, as we have a great deal of pleanty of meat we do not trouble ourselves to catch fish.”
While near the Great Falls of the Missouri Silas also caught sauger and goldeye. The sauger is a cousin to the walleye, and the goldeye is a panfish. Earlier he was recorded as having caught blue and channel catfish while fishing above the mouth of the Platte River (in a section of that river located in what is now known as Nebraska). Clark stated that these catfish were “verry fat” and named the camp they were presently occupying after them.
Simply stated, the records and journals from the Lewis and Clark expedition show that they were prepared to catch fish having taken a goodly stock of hooks and fishing lines with them for that very purpose; that they fished using coarse fishing methods and did not engage in sport fishing as they did not have the equipment (the rods, reels, casting lines, and artificial flies or lures) on hand which would have permitted such techniques being employed; that they regularly fished and caught fish, which, on occasion, was a valuable food source; that they sometimes fished simply for the pleasure of fishing; and that they sometimes were dependant on fish supplied by Indians with whom they had contact.
In short, the Lewis and Clark expedition was a reliable blueprint for the role fishing was found by Chittenden to have played during the fur trade, and he was correct in his general observations as to the importance of fish and fishing. If he fell short in any respect in terms of his conclusions, it was that some men from that era, as have men from the beginning of recorded time, fished for the sheer pleasure of the fishing. In that regard, Silas Goodrich, and on occasion even Lewis and Clark, shared a past time that was not related to survival or the larger issues of concern. They fished simply to catch fish. It was a story that one can document on numerous occasions thereafter throughout the fur trade era, but then that is fodder for another tale and another time.
The Lewis Receipt for Tackle
Specific Journal References from the Ordway Journals
From The Journals of John Ordway, May 14, 1804B September 23, 1806. Ordway was the Senior Sergeant of the expedition. Like all of the sergeants, he was charged by Lewis and Clark to keep a journal so that if the Captains’ journals were lost, there would be a record of what had be discovered and encountered during the trip. These journals are invaluable as that corroborate the material set out by both Lewis and Clark, and in many respects, they provide additional material not necessarily noted in the Aprimary@ journals.
Ordway never missed a single day in his journal, something that not even either of the Captains could claim. To this extent, his commentary and observations, account on several occasions as the sole source of our information as to what transpired during that particular period.
Of importance to the focus of this paper, however, is that John Ordway paid attention to the existence of fish in given locations, as he apparently recognized their value. Likewise he reported many fishing of the men=s fishing experiences during the expedition. He also described what he saw and learned about fishing by the Indians encountered during the expedition, and the various trades for fish. As you will note, fishing and fish, played a consequential role during the course of the expedition.
I will now simply quote from his journal, making observations I feel appropriate. The punctuation, capitalization or lack thereof is as it appears in his journal.
AThursday July 5th 1804 ………….I did not mention on yesterday that the Lake on the north side was large say 3/4 of a Mile wide & 7 or 8 miles long One Creek & several Creeks running in to it from the hills. it contains a great quantity of fish…..@ (this appears to be North of the Missouri in Doniphan County, Kansas.)
AMonday July the 9th 1804, we Set out early……..this pond is near the River, and about 3 miles long & handsom a great many beaver, & fish……@ (Probably a lake feeding into Little Tarkio Creek in Holt County, Missouri.)
AFriday 10th we Set off eairly a fair day. Some fish & and one Beaver caught last night…@ (In or East of Monona County, Iowa.)
ASaturday 13th April 1805 …..Som of our men caught 2 beaver and one fish last night….@ (On the Missouri, Montrail County, now under Garrison Reservoir.)
AWednesday 17th April 1805. a clear beautiful morning (note that on the preceding day Ordway had written A…passed a Sand beach on the N.S. covered with Ice in Some heaps.@) …. Some of the men caught 2 beaver and Several Small fish………Came 26 miles this day by Sailing &.c. Camped on a large Sand Beach S.S. One of the men caught a nomber of Small cat fish in the river@ (McKenzie County, North Dakota.)
AFriday 26th April 1805 A Clear pleasant morning. Capt. Lewis Sent one man about 6 miles up the River Roshjone to See what discoveries he could make……..Capt. Lewis…he caught Several Small fish in the River Roshjone………on the River Roshjone and the Missourie the Game is verry pleanty, viz. buffaloe Elk Deer Goats Some bair. pleanty of bever, fish & C and a beautiful country around in every direction……@ (Note ARoshjone@ is the Yellowstone River. Somewhere in McKenzie County, North Dakota, although the shifting of both rivers makes this location difficult to pinpoint.)
AFriday 10th May 1805 a clear cold morning…..one man caught a number of fish…..@ (On a site in or near either Garfield or Valley County, Montana. Now under Fort Peck Reservoir.)
AWednesday 5th June 1805.— the wind blew high from the North all last night a Cloudy Cold windy morning. one beaver caught last night. the men engaged Dressing Skins for to make themselves moccasons leggins &C. One man by the name of Goodrich has caught a considerable quantity of fish. Some of which are Shell fish, but the most part are Small cat fish. we have caught none as large this Season as we did last as yet, as we have a great pleanty of meat we do not trouble ourselves for to catch fish.@ (Below the mouth of the Marias River, Chouteau County, Montana. Party camped in this area from June 3 until June 12.)
ATuesday 11th June 1805 ……………..we have caught a considerable quantity of Small fish Since we lay at the forks. One kind of flat Scalled fish that we never Saw the kind before.@ (This fish also described by Lewis and it thought to be the Agoldeye.@ Near the confluence with the Teton River. Party cashed a good deal of their supplies and items collected to date.)
AJuly 6th Saturday 1805. ……this evening the hunters did not return this evening (Caught a fiew Small fish).
AMonday 19th August 1805. a clear cold morning. we took up the fish net which we had set across the River last night, and the Steel traps which were Set for Beaver. no fish caught in the net. one beaver caught in a trap. a white frost & and the grass Stiff with frost it being disagreeably cold. the day pleasant & warm. 3 hunters out with a horse a hunting. The men at Camp employed in dressing Skins packing the baggage & makeing pack saddles &C. we caught a nomber of Trout covered all over with black spots in Stead of red. ……this is the place we call the upper forks of Jeffersons River & the extream navigable point of the Missourie close under the dividing ridge of the Western Country…..@ (Called Camp Fortunate by the Party. Located just below the forks of the Beaverhead River, Beaverhead County, Montana. Now under Clark Canyon Reservoir. Party stayed at this site until August 24. Fish were Cutthroat and Brook trout.)
ATuesday 20th August 1805. …light frost…….a nomber of fine Trout caught this day….@ At page 207.
Thursday 22nd August 1805. a white frost and cold as usual………..we being out of fresh meat and have but a little pork or flower we joined and made a fish drag of willows and caught 520 fine pan fish. 2 kinds of Trout & a kind resembling Suckers. we divided them with the Indians, gave them a meal of boiled corn & beans which was a great thing among them they appear verry kind and friendly do not offer to steel or pilfer any thing from us….@ (Cutthroat trout, perhaps Steelhead trout, and the sucker may the the northern sucker. The Indians were Snakes.)
AMonday 26th August 1805. …..they have but little to eat they catch a large kind of fish in this little Stream……….@ (This passage is also noteworthy as Ordway noted he drank from two creeks, separated by a ridge and that one flowed to the Missouri and one to the Columbia. He was correct. Trail Creek, Beaverhead County, Montana, feeds ultimately, through other creeks to the Missouri. The other, probably, Horseshoe Bend Creek, does connect with the Columbia via the Lemni, Salmon and Snake Rivers.)
AFriday 25th Oct. 1805. ………..near the lower end of the narrows we Saw a war party of Indians which had jest Swam the River to the Stard Side with their horses. they had some venison with them they gave us some bears oil and a little venison and Some fresh fish……..Saw some drumm fish jumping in the River….@ (Fish not identified. Near the town of The Dalles, Wasco County, Oregon.)
AWednesday 6th Nov. 1805. …..Several Indians came out to trade with us. we bought Some fresh fish and some roots….. Thursday 7th Nov, 1805. …..halted at an Indian Village where we bought some Some fresh fish and Some roots…… Friday 8th Nov. 1805 …..we expect we can See the mo. of the Columbian River. We but it appears a long distance off. ……an Indian Canoe and Several Indians in met us we bought Several fresh fish from them…….@ (Southwestern Wahkiakum County, Washington to Gray Bay in Pacific and Wahkiakum counties.)
AMonday 11th Nov. 1805. ….abt. 10 oClock four Indians came in a canoe to our Camp we bought a number of Sammon Trout from them……….Some of our party giged and Shot 16 Sammon Trout. (Camped on the Eastern side of Point Ellice. Indians had reported a ship, possibly the brig Lydia on a trading voyage to the lower Columbia)
ASunday 29th Decr. 1805. …..Several of the Chin ock nation came to the fort with wapatoe roots and dry Sammon to trade we bought some from the &C.@ (The Party is now in the newly constructed Fort Clatsop. According to Lewis, the Indians were Wahkiakum.
ASunday 5th Jany. 1806. ….the hunters…..informed us that the Savages brought loads of the whail that they had informed us of. Our men bought Som of the meat from them which was good.@ (Does the Agood@ refer to the taste and quality of the meat, or the mere fact that they had obtained meat?)
Friday 10th Jany. 1806. …….the natives Shewed them the fraim of a verry [large?] whail which had been some time dead it was 100.5 feet in length, and proportined accordingly………….they bought and brought in considerable of whail meat, and the oil …@ (Possibily a Blue Whale. The meat brought to camp was not from the Asome time dead whale;@ rather from meat traded at a village.)
AMonday 3rd Feby. 1806. …..and Some whail meat which the natives call Ecoley. we mix it with our Poor Elk meat & find it eats verry well
AThursday 20th Feby. 1806. ……..about noon we arived to the Salt works and bought a little Ecoley and oil &C. From the natives…….@.
AMonday 24th Feby. 1806. ………..George Drewyer retorned and a number of Indians with him They brought some hats and fresh fish……@.
AWednesday 26th Feby. 1806. the morning fair 4 men went out a hunting and 3 went with a canoe to the Clotsop and cathle mahs villages to purchase fresh fish and wa pa-toes &C.@
ASunday 2nd March 1806. ….in the evening the three men returned form the village with a considerable quantity of the little fish resembling herren only a Size SmallerB and some Sturgeon and a fiew waa-toes, which they purchased from them. the natives catch a vast quantity of fish &C.@ (Candle fish and a variety of sturgeon.)
AWednesday 5th March 1806. a fair morning a number of the natives came to the fort and brought us Some little fish and Sturgeon &C.@
AThursday 6th March 1806. …..and two more men Set out with the Small canoe to go up the Columbia River to the Cath le mahs village after fish and wa-pa-toes….@
ASunday 9th March 1806. ….Several of the Clatsop Indians came to the Fort with Some Small fish and a little bears wax to trade us. We bought a fiew. &C.@
ATuesday 11th March 1806. ……Sergt. Pryor returned with a considerable quantity of Small Fish and Sturgeon and a fiew wa-pa-toes &C….@.
AFriday 21st March 1806. …a number of natives visited us with Some dryed Small fish to trade which they call in their language oll-can. we bought a fiew from them.@ (The fish, so delightfully named, were dried Candlefish. The Captains wrote it as Aol-then.@ I prefer Ordways version.)
ASunday 23rd March 1806. …….the rain Seased and it became fair about meridian at which time we loaded our canoes & at 1 P.M. left Fort Clatsop on hour homeward bound journey. at this place we had wintered and remained from the 7th of Decr. 1805 to this day, and have lives as well as we had any right to expect………@
(In his entries for the 23rd, 25th, 26th and 27th, Ordway notes the ASkin dried fish@ the Indians had for trade, a canoe of Clatsops loaded with fish, an Island on which the ACath le mahs@ had a fishing camp with a Avast Site of Sturgeon..,@ the trading of a metal for a large sturgeon, and being given Aanchoves@ to eat by some Chilutes, who also traded the officers a large sturgeon.
ASunday 4th of May 1806. ……bought 2 dogs & a fiew Small fresh fish &C…..@ (Traded from the Nez Perce.)
ASaturday 10th of May 1806. ….gave us Some commass roots which had been Swetted last fall. Someshpeal and a little dry fish……..one of the party purchased a dog this evening but the most of their dogs are too poor to eat.@ (The Indians were, according to Ordway, Aof the flat head tribe@ or AChopen-nish@. This is in the area frequented by the Nez Perce. This village was in Clearwater County, Idaho.)
AThursday 29th May 1806. …….toward evening we arrived at the kimooenim or Lewises river at a fishery at a bad rapid. our chief told us to set down and not go in the lodge untill we were invited so we did at length they invited us in. spread robes for us to sit on and Set a roasted Salmon before us and Some of their white bread which they call uppah. we eat hearty of this fat fish but did not eat 1/4 of it. …..but they have but few Salmon.@ (Wild Goose Rapids on the Snake.)
AFriday 30th May 1806. a number of [Indians?] left this eairly with nearly all the Salmon which was caught so we had to wait here to day expecting to git some Salmon the natives roasted an other Salmon & Set before us to eat. in the afternoon we purchased as many Salmon as we thought was necessary to take home and hung them up the most they catch is on the opposite shore along the rocks in the whorls & eddys. we Saw only three dip nets at 3 places a fishing.@
ASaturday 31st May 1806. Some of the young Indians Stole Some of our fish and went away in the night. we got up our horses eairly and Set out on our return……@
This was the last entry pertaining to either fish or fishing made by Ordway.
Specific Journal Reference from Charles Floyd’s Journal
From The Jounrals of Charles Floyd, May 14, 1804-August 18, 1804. Sergeant Floyd was the only man to die on the expedition. He kept his journal faithfully until just two days before his death on August 20. The following is his notation of a fishing outing with Clark and others.
AWendesday August 15th Capt. Clark and 10 of his men and my Self went to the Mahas Creek a fishen and Caut 300 and 17 fish of Difernt Coindes ouer men has not Returned yet.@ AThursday August 16th Capt Lewis and 12 of his men went to the Creek a fishen Caut 709 fish Differnt Coindes.@ (This was possibly Omaha Creek, Dakota County, Nebraska. Floyd died 4 days later, on August 20, 1805.)
AWendy. 15 (August 15, 1804) Capth. Clark and Some of the men went a fishing to a pone One mile from the River the[y] had Good Success the[y] catchd 386 fish.
Thursday Agutst. 16 Capthn. Lewis went out the Nixt day with his party and Returned with 709 fish Neerly 200 pike fish amongst them.@
August 25 ASaturday 25th. 2 MEN of the party caught 9 cat fish last night, 5 of them very large….@
August 29 AWednesday 29th. A …….we have pleanty of fine cat fish which the party catch in the Missouri River…@
In the Footsteps of Lewis and Clark, Gerald S. Snyder, National Geographic Society, 1970.
Letters of the Lewis and Clark Expedition with Related Documents. Edited by Donald Jackson. University of Illinois Press, 1962.
Lewis and Clark, The Journey West, Albert & Jane Salisbury, 1950, 1993, Promontory Press, New York.
Original Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition (1804-1806). Edited by Reuben Gold Thwaites. Eight Volumes. Arno Press, New York, 1969.
The History of Wyoming from the Earliest Known Discoveries. Volume One. C. G. Coutant. Chaplin, Spafford & Mathison, Printers, Laramie, Wyoming, 1899.
The Journals of the Lewis & Clark Expedition, The Journals of John Ordway and Charles Floyd, Volume 9, Gary E. Moulton, Editor, University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln and London, 1995.
The American Fur Trade of the Far West, Volumes I and II, Hiram Martin Chittenden, Rufus Rockwell Wilson, Inc., New York, 1936.