Thursday, June 29, 2017

Benefit of Mussel Fishing

An interesting observation:

May 3, 1906 Vincennes Commercial 

The channel of the Wabash River may again be snagless. There is a probability that in time the Wabash River channel will be as clear and snagless as in the old days of river steamers. This is the opinion of some of the best informed mussel takers in Vincennes and vicinity. The constant digging and stirring of the River bottoms by the hundreds of mussel fishers along its course in the past few years has had the effect of doing away with the shallow places and snags.

The sand and gravel stirred up by the mussel digger gradually washes away and thus the channel is deepened. Thousands of snags have been pulled out of the river in the past few years and the river is now practically clear of these obstructions to navigation. It is the custom of the mussel diggers when one of their number strikes a snag, for mutual protection, to assist him in getting it to the bank, where it is burned or else made into firewood.

This season the mussel diggers here are more numerous than ever, and there are hundreds of camps right in the city limits and hundreds more as far north as Russellville and south below St. Francisville, while beyond these places are scattered camps all doing effective work, while engaged in digging mussels, of deepening the channel and clearing it of snags. 

It is said here that in two years the mussel diggers have taken out of the river more snags than the government snag boats have in 100 years, or will in the next 100 years.