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The Journals of Lewis and Clark

Lewis, January 16, 1806

Friday January 16th 1806. This evening we finished curing the meat. no occurrence worthy of relation took place today. we have plenty of Elk beef for the present and a little salt, our houses dry and comfortable, and having made up our minds to remain until the 1st of April, every one appears content with his situation and his fare. it is true that we could even travel now on our return as far as the timbered country reaches, or to the falls of the river; but further it would be madness for us to attempt to proceede untill April, as the indians inform us that the snows lye knee deep in the plains of Columbia during the winter, and in these plains we could scarcely get as much fuel of any kind as would cook our provision as we descended the river; and even were we happyly over these plains and again in the woody country at the foot of the Rocky Mountains we could not possibly pass that immence barrier of mountains on which the snows ly in winter to the debth in many places of 20 feet; in short the Indians inform us that they are impracticable untill about the 1st of June, at which time even there is an abundance of snow but a scanty subsistence may be obtained for the horses.- we should not therefore forward ourselves on our homeward journey by reaching the rocky mountains early than the 1st of June, which we can easily effect by seting out from hence on the 1st of April.

The Clatsops Chinnooks &c. in fishing employ the common streight net, the scooping or diping net with a long handle, the gig, and the hook and line. the common net is of different lengths and debths usually employed in taking the sammon, Carr and trout in the inlets among the marshey grounds and the mouths of deep creeks. the skiming or scooping net to take small fish in the spring and summer season; the gig and hook are employed indiscriminately at all seasons in taking such fish as they can procure by their means. their nets and fishing lines are made of the silk-grass or white cedar bark; and their hooks are generally of European manufactary, tho before the whites visited them they made hooks of bone and other substances formed in the following manner A C, and C. B. are two small pieces of bone about the size of a strong twine, these are flattened and leveled off of their extremities near C. where they are firmly attatched together with sinues and covered with rosin. C A. is reduced to a sharp point at A where it is also bent in a little; C B. is attatched to the line, for about half it's length at the upper extremity B. the whole forming two sides of an accute angled triangle.