Spear Fishing

Imagine laying on your stomach in the dead of winter, on an ice-covered body of water to look for food. Native Americans did this often, spear fishing in the winter and spring months. In the winter, when the water was frozen over, they’d cut a hole in the ice, and lie on the ground with their heads covered. Then they’d peer into the icy lakes, waiting for an unsuspecting fish to swim by so they could spear it.

In the spring, things were a little easier, or less painful anyway. Spear fishing was usually done at night. Men would wait for the sun to go down, and then would pack their fire torches into their canoes to help them see into the water.  Another method of spear fishing was done by standing, sometimes for hours on end, searching the water for fish.

Not all Native American tribes practiced spear fishing. But for some, fish was a common staple at the table, eaten along with produce grown by farming and meat obtained through hunting.  A popular way for men to catch fish, women were not allowed to use spears. To aid in fishing, women used string with a hook on the end, a highly rustic version of modern day fishing poles.

The spears used for spear fishing differed depending on the size of the fish being caught. The shafts were made from various woods, while the spear tips were commonly made out of bits of bone, copper, or other metals. For small fish, a tip with three prongs was popular.

Technology has all but done away with spear fishing. Fishing poles have replaced strings with hooks, and when spear fishing is necessary or desired, powered spear guns are now used. Still, it’s interesting to learn about the lengths tribe members used to go to in order to ensure their family’s nutritional needs were met.

Joseph Paige 2006

Native American
Native Americans
Native Americans 2
Native American Ancestry
Native American Art
Native American Art 2
Native American Art Gallery
Native American Artifacts
Native American Artists
Native American Beadwork
Native American Blankets
Native American Books
Native American Bracelets
Native American Ceramics
Native American Church
Native American Clothing
Native American Clothing 2
Native American Clothes
Native American Coins
Native American Crafts
Native American Culture
Native American DNA
Native American Dance
Native American Dance 2
Native American Dating
Native American Demographics
Native American Dolls
Native American Drawings
Native American Dream Catcher
Native American Drums
Native American Drums 2
Native American Earrings
Native American Figurines
Native American Films
Native American Flute
Native American Flute 2
Native American Food
Native American Food 2
Native American Games
Native American Genealogy
Native American Genetics
Native American Gifts
Native American Healing
Native American Headdress
Native American Heritage Month
Native American History
Native American Indian Jewelry
Native American Indians
Native American Indians 2
Native American Jewellery
Native American Jewelry
Native American Jewelry 2
Native American Law
Native American Life
Native American Market
Native American Masks
Native American Medicine
Native American Medicine Wheel
Native American Moccasins
Native American Money
Native American Month
Native American Music
Native American Music 2
Native American Names
Native American Navajo
Native American Necklace
Native American Paintings
Native American Peace Pipe
Native American Poetry
Native American Poetry 2
Native American Portraits
Native American Pottery
Native American Pottery 2
Native American Pow Wow
Native American Pow Wow 2
Native American Products
Native American Rattles
Native American Recipes
Native American Religion
Native American Rights
Native American Rings
Native American Rugs
Native American Sand Painting
Native American Sculptures
Native American Spears
Native American Spirituality
Native American Stories
Native American Tomahawks
Native American Totem Pole
Native American Totem Poles
Native American Tattoos
Native American Tattoos 2
Native American Tattoos 3
Native American Tribe
Native American Tribes
Native American Tribes 2
Native American Tribes 3
Native American Videos
Native American Wolf
Native American Words
Native American Women
Northwest Native American Art