“…Great Fish Trap, a short ways above the mouth of the Namekagon River…  Here many huge rocks had been placed across the head of the rapids, about 10 feet apart, presumably done by early man.  How or when this had been done and by whom is not known.  The first engineers that build this obstruction could have been early inhabitants of this region who roamed this land shortly after the glacier that had formed the rivers and lakes that we know today.  The first people to visit this region could have been the Mound Builders or the Hopewellian Culture.”

“Cecilia’s father and friends had arrived at the  Big Fish Trap on schedule [1839]… They knew the river would give them an abundance of fish because the month of May brought swarms of fish through the narrow openings between the huge rocks…..After camp had been made…all hands were put to work making spruce pole barriers to close some of the openings between the huge rocks.  The was done to divert the swarming fish through one of only a few openings where they were easily taken by the fisherman…..”

“Many huge Muskellunge, Northern Pike, Walleye and Sturgeon could be taken at the Big Fish Trap during the month of May….”

“A large drop in fish population took place after the lumbering days started because running logs down the river caused unnatural flooding.  Also, log jams that created barriers crushed the larger fish.  The huge rocks that stood like monuments at the head of the rapids are now gone.  They were pushed over by the avalanche of huge rafts of logs that were floated down the river to the mills.  Only a few of the large rocks can still be seen in mid summer when the water is low.  They lean at an angle, almost buried in the gravel bottom of the riverbed.  These barriers were still standing when Cecilia was a child.”

Cecilia – The Trials of an Amazing Ojibwe Woman 1834-1892, by Lafayette Connor. Burnett County Historical Society, 2006.
Excerpt from Chapter 1 – Celicia’s Remembering Years 1834-1852.

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