The west shore. (Portland, Or.) 1875-1891, June 01, 1877, Image 1

Below is the OCR text representation for this newspapers page. It is also available as plain text as well as XML.

    VOL. 2 No. 10.
It perhaps never entered the minds
of Lewis and Clarke when they, in
1S06, first saw the salmon bounding and
tumbling in the icy waters of the lord
ly Columbia, that only seventy years
later over 10,000 people would find re
munerative employment every season
in catching and canning fish on this
river. Yet such is the case at present.
With commendable patience the Co
lumbia river salmon waited till 1S29
before it received a scientific appella
tion, when Sir John Richardson kindly
named it salmo qu'tnant, in order to
distinguish it from the salmo salar of
the Atlantic, and the fish "undoubtedly
felt happier ever after this important
The first salmon canned on the Pa
cific coast came from the Sacramento
river, and were put up at Washington,
opposite the city of Sacramento. The
company engaged in it consisted of
George and William Hume and Mr.
Hapgoodi Owing to a lack of experi
ence the enterprise did not prove a suc
cess. Old trappers and hunters had
often, within hearing of the 111111165',
spoken of the wonderfully large and
fat fish to be caught in the Columbia,
and at last, in 1865, George started for
the then fur-ofT country. On his arri
val here he found II. N. Xice and Joa
chim Recti engaged in fishing exten
sively) preserving their fish by salting.
George Hume secured a location on the
river, and the name he then gave it,
Eagle Clifl, it retains to this day. Af
ter erecting suitable buildings William
Hume and Mr. Hapgood arrived here
with the apparatus from Oic Sacramen
to river, and the first canning of sal
mon on the Columbia commenced in
1S66, by the firm of Hapgood, Hume k
Co. This firm finally dissolved, and
each member started a separate cannery.
After that nearly every year saw the
erection of at least one new establish
ment. This season ten new canneries
commenced operations. Now there arc
twentv-uine of them on the Columbia
river, located on both the Oregon and
Washington Territory side, as follows:
Kinney k Co., George W. Hume,
Sternbcrger k Co.
Hooth & Co., John A. Devlin & Co.,
J. O. Hanthorn ft Co., Badolet k Co.,
Bradley, Davis & Co., Fisherman's
Packing Co., Anglo-American Pack
ing Co.
Aiii from
WjttKM llro., ToegtH Point) Or 2
Warren & Co., Hnmmport, Or 12
Tillar Rock Packing Co., Pillar K.K., W. T. 12
1. G. Megler & Co., HrookfieM, V. T 15
Het.tuirn ft Co., Wocly Wand, Or K
KiUatrick, Davis ft Co., Kishertim, W. T.. l6
Col. River Salmon Co., Glen Klla, W. T 17
lverii1ge ft I'rindle, Bay View, W. T l8
Oregon Tacking Co. (Cook Bros. ), Clifton, (). 24
Watson ft Bannon, Manhattan, Or 25
F. M. Warren, Caihlamel, W. T 25
I. West & Co., Wrttport, Or 40
llaigoott ft Co., Waterfonl, W. T 45
Wm. Hume, Kagle Cliff, W. T. 47
Culling Packing Co., Eagle Cliff, W. T 4S
Joseph Hume, F.ureka, v. T 48
James ruinn, V:irin - Or 49
jackion, Myers ft Co., Rainier, Or 62
Warren ft Son, W'arrerKUle. Or 143
Resides the above named canneries-
there are numerous sailing establish
ments along the river, which preserve
ind export a limited number of salmon
every season, salted and packed in bar
rels. In appearance all canneries look
nearly alike. We show an illustration
of one at Upper Astoria, which gives a
very correct idea of an establishment of
that kind.
The fishing season proper usually
may fill the grand river once more with
a new life. The volume of the Colum
bia river in the rainy season is so great
that sometimes, in April and May, ves
sels can take their sweet water even be
yond the bar. The theory of the Ore
gon salmon-fisher is, that this great bulk
of fresh water pouring out into the Pa
cific allures the fish who have remained
in the ocean, and that, once feeling its
influence, they make for the river.
lasts from May to August, for a period
of about 1 20 days. The Columbia riv
er salmon, as shown in our engraving,
when captured just as they come from
the ocean, may be supposed to be ex
actly ripe, ami the peculiar temperature
of" the water, ice-cold at all seasons, fed
by the melted snows of the mountain
regions, seems especially adapted to
maintain the fish in their best condition.
On the Columbia, salmon arc seen
breaking the water outside of the bar as
early as the 1st of April. Then it is
said salmon will take the fly, but once
in the body of the river all lures are
neglected. Bent on reproducing their
kind, animated with this sole instinct,
the salmon rush ever onward up the
stream, seeking the exact spot where
they were bom, in the smallerbrauches
of the parent stream a thousand miles
above, there to deposit their eggs, there
to have them fructified, so that they
Salmon coming down the stream, fol
lowing their anadromous leudencies,are
never caught. Nature seems to point
out, in the most conclusive way, that
then, after they have reproduced their
kind, salmon are valueless as food.
From a lusty, vigorous fish, bravely
breasting the swift river as he battled
his way up, now, when he executes a
retrograde movement, be has lost all his
beauty. From the upper jaw an uglv
hook has grown downward, which has
worn a depression on the lower jaw.
His sides, once so sleek and firm, are all
scarred now where he has fought with
other fish, and he is bruised, maimed,
crippled, and even hideous. The female
is poor, thin and flabby. The flesh it.
flavorless, and even unwholesome. The
death of the fish from natural causes is
now frequent, and thousands of lifeless
carcasses float down the stream. White
men will not touch live salmon then ;
lot -
if Indian!, pressed bji hunger, still eat
them, it is only through dire necessity.
The fishing hoats usually leave at 4
P. M., returning at about 4 or 6 hc
next morning. The fishing is mostly
done at night. The salmon knows a
net when he sees it, and will avoid it in
uaj uuic. 1 ne ooais, as mown IN the
vMgi-.ifig, nic uuiii soiiicmiiig line inc
Whitehall, only much heavier. A
boat's crew consists of two men, one for
pulling and the other to pay out or take
in the net.
The nets are made of Hnrber's shoe
thread, nine to eleven threads to the
strand, and the meshes are eight and a
half inches, so that no small fish can lie
caught. The nets arc from 200 to 340
fathoms long (a fathom is six feet), and,
tloated with corks and weighted with
lead, fall as much as twenty feet into
the water. These nets arc valued at
about Ojoo each, as they are made by
hand, and it generally takes about five
weeks for one man to finish one. Next
season, however, nets will he nmcti
cheaper. A genius by the name of
Mathias Jensen, of this city, has invent
ed and patented a machine for net
weaving, and has one in successful op
eration at the southeast corner of Sec
ond and Salmon. The patent is owned
jointly by Messrs. Kvcrson, Jensen and
Hunting, and these gentlemen inform
us that the price of neta will he reduced
nearly one-lialfhy this invention. Sev
eral nets have been made and tested,
and are said to be superior to the hand
made. The way the nets are set is to throw
one end, held up by means of buoys,
and to row in a straight line across the
river, so as to stretch it at right angle
with the stream, and then allow it lu
drift down with the current. Thcfiafu,
swimming against the stream, are
caught In the gills, becoming entan
gled in the meshes. Just as soon as
the fish are caught if not drowned in
the net, they arc killed by a blow on
the head. The average weight of Sal
mon is twenty pounds. The one wc
give an engraving of, weighed sixty
seven pounds, and was sent here by
Cook Bros, of the Clifton Cannery, to
be photographed. When brought to
I the cannery the fish arc piled up on the
wharf, lad wc have seen 1,500 sal -I
moil in a single pile. Prom this pile
1 they are taken to a trough, thorough
ly washed and placed on a long table;
I here, with a single blow of a huge
knife, the head is severed and with a
, skillful single motion of .1 similar knife
the fish is split open and disemboweled.
, The bead and entrails arc thrown awav
at many of the fisheries; at some of
them, however, they are made into a
I very good article of oil. In fact, if
people only knew it more generally, the
head is the richest part of the salmon,
and in the hands of a skillful cook, cats
be made into n delicacy. After the fiao
are cleaned, they are thrown into brine
vats, where they remain for a lima
ithis process is known as sliming they
(Continued on iagc Its)