Iroquois Fish Weir on the Eel River, Wabash County, Indiana

Iroquois Fish Weir on the Eel River, Wabash County, Indiana


Large stone V - shaped Eel weir located in Wabash county, on the Eel River


View of the fish weir from the bridge.



The end of the fish weir has this chute where the Eel clkuld have been scooped up in baskets.

Contact-era accounts attest to the use of weirs by the various nations of the Iroquois Confederacy. Beauchamp (1900:133) mentions that the Onondagas and Oneidas employed eel weirs (of an indeterminate type) on the Onondaga River at Caughdenoy. He claims that "(e)arly travelers described these," although he provides no references. He may be referring to the account of Dablon, a Jesuit missionary to the Oneida, who wrote in 1670: "Our savages construct their dams and sluices so well, that they catch at the same time the Eels, that descend, and the Salmon, that always ascends" .
Beauchamp, William M., 1900: Aboriginal Occupation of New York

 Again, a description of this weir is lacking. An 1894 Bureau of American Ethnology report noted at the time that "(s)tone fish weirs yet remain in some New York streams, though many have been destroyed." That report specifically mentioned a stone weir in the Seneca River, and also refers to an account dating nearly 100 years earlier attesting to the existence of stone weirs in the Seneca River. This earlier account noted that they were "V"-shaped, being "well made of field stones of considerable size" (Thomas 1894:549). In 1900, Beauchamp described one of the Seneca River weirs (reported to be near Baldwinsville) as having "three bays of unequal length reaching up to the river as it tended to the north shore. It was built of fieldstone and was about 1,200 feet long." He claimed that the remains of a second weir existed nearby, and that "others are found elsewhere" (Bradley 1987:210).