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Catalog Number WF 0368.A,B
Caption Emptying fish trap
Description The men in the scow are "brailing the trap", or pulling up the net to empty the fish from the trap into the scow. Note the number on the wooden beam at left is "197". This was probably the trap number and would be found o the license filed with the country. Canning companies built traps each spring on the windward side of islands, particularly Whidbey and some of the San Juan Islands. See also WF 0411. In 1905 alone, Anacortes canneries filed on 23 different locations on Whidbey Island. The traps stretched almost a mile from shore and consisted of a network of pilings, driven into the ground by pile drivers, with heavy mesh net strung between the pilings. People who grew up near the fish traps recall the rhythmic pounding of the pile drivers every spring as the traps were put in, and then the noisy sound of the pile driver as it pulled the traps up each fall. Anacortes' canneries would send their scows out to empty the spillers at the end of each trap, and at the height of the salmon run could pull in over six thousand fish per haul. The traps effectively trapped millions of salmon as they returned to spawn in Washington's rivers each summer. The 9-18-1896, ISLAND COUNTY TIMES reported, "Anacortes canneries have put in a fish trap on the west beach of the island just outside of Deception Pass. ... A fair run of salmon is reported there. As high as 5000 fish have been caught in a single haul." The next year, alarmed by the decline of one of the state's most valuable resources, the legislature attempted to abolish them in order to protect the fish runs. Fishing interests helped defeat that 1897 attempt; not until the 1934 Initiative 77 passed would fish traps finally be outlawed.
Date 1910 c.
Photographer JUDD, Charles LeRoy
Collection Wallie Funk Collection
Subjects Place - Anacortes, WA
Structure - Fish trap
Industry - Fishing
Maritime - Boat
Animal - Fish
Credit line Donated by Wallie Funk, Wallie Funk Collection
Place Anacortes, WA
Search Terms fish trap
Object Name Print, Photographic