McKenney on white fishing
Thomas McKenney was a Georgetown merchant until 1816 when he accepted an appointment as superintendent of Indian trade for six years. He was then named Superintendent of Indian affairs in March 1824. This account details his travels throughout the summer of 1826.
The white fish is taken by both whites and Indians with a scoop net, which is fastened to a pole about ten feet long. It is hardly possible for me to describe the skill with which the Indians take these fish. But I will try. Two of them go out in a bark canoe that you could take in your hand like a basket, and in the midst of the rapids, or rather just below where they pitch and foam most. One sits near the stern, and paddles; the other stands in a bow, and with the dexterity of a wire dancer, balances this "egg-shell," that you or I would be certain to turn over in our attempts to keep steady. When a fish is seen through the water, which is clear as crystal, the place is indicated by the man with the net, when, by a dexterous and quick motion of the paddle, by the Indian holding it, he shoots the canoe to the spot, or within reach of it, when the net is thrown over the fish, and it is scooped up, and thrown into the canoe--meanwhile, the eye of the person in the stern is kept steadily fixed upon the breakers, and the eddy, and whirl, and fury, of the current...Those fish are caught in great abundance, and sold as low as two and three cents a-piece. The brook trout are taken here also in great abundance...Sault de St. Marie, July 7, 1826.
Thomas L. McKenney, Sketches of a Tour to the Lakes, of the character and customs of the Chippeway Indians, and of incidents connected with the Treaty of Fond du Lac (Barre, Massachusetts: Imprint Society, 1972) 157-158.