Catching Salmon With Rocks

Well, the house sitter is sitting our house, the security system is engaged, and Clan Eschenbach (AKA me and the gorgeous ex-fiancee) are on the road. I must confess, I’ve been lax in my writing about it, but I have a rule of thumb about writing, which is:

Never start writing until you can’t stand not writing.

And now, here in West Vancouver, I’ve hit that point.

The trip up was magical … and very smoky. At present, there are forest fires all up and down the West Coast. The best stop was in Depoe Bay in Oregon, where we saw five California Gray Whales, one within about fifty feet (15m) of the shore. They are such awesome creatures, immensely graceful.

In Seattle, the paper said it was smokier than it had been in decades. Our dear friend Alyssa gave us a guided tour of the Pike Place Market, the home of amazing food …

peppers seattle



… and lots of people …

seattle peppers



Leaving Seattle, we stopped by Anacortes, Washington, where someone has been having far too much fun with driftwood …

driftwood giraffes

driftwood rhino.png

I used to fish commercially out of Bellingham, in Washington … here is the monument with the names all of the Bellingham fishermen that never made it back to shore, a monument of the type sadly common all along the coast. Well over fifty people lost from this one small town, the ocean never sleeps …

bellingham sailors.png

Sigh … anyhow, we crossed the Canadian border and ended up at an RV park on the Capilano River in West Vancouver. It’s on the Squamish Indian Reservation, where they catch salmon with rocks. In the local Indian language, “Capilano” means “fish boiling at the river mouth”. Here’s the graffiti on the Capilano bridge …

fish graffiti goin up.png

And to return to the title of this post, how do you catch salmon with rocks? Have a look at the Capilano River …

Fish trap 2.png

The salmon swim up the small river side-channel in the background, where they enter into a maze of small dead-end pools. There’s no escape, and the Indian guys go out with nets and scoop them up. In the middle left of the photo, you can see a wire grid that is taken out to let the salmon escape when they’re not fishing. Here are the hard-working Indian guys with their nets and their catch …

fish trappers.png

… and their cans of adult beverages. It’s a tough life being a fisherman, one needs sustenance …

I’m a great fan of the whole salmon tribe, I wrote at length about them in my post called Fishing the Mighty Kenai. Here’s a tribute to them, a stainless disc embedded in one of the streets of Vancouver:


Still smoky, a late evening. We just got back from the Rock Ambleside concert in Ambleside Park, listening to the Little River Band for free from outside the venue. Spirit of the ’70’s, a great sound system, what’s not to like? As the Little River Band sang tonight …

Hurry, don’t be late
I can hardly wait
I said to myself when we’re old
We’ll go dancing in the dark, walking through the park
And reminiscing …

Anyhow, that’s enough pictures for one post. In my next post, I’ll discuss The Love Songs Of J. Alfred Lionsgate … more to come.

Best to all in this world of marvels …



22 thoughts on “Catching Salmon With Rocks

  1. Another excellent travelogue post! I had read about people using rock maze fish traps a long time ago, never actually saw an example. Did get to see Seminole indians fishing using wood stake traps, much the same principle only they setup in a location, then went upstream and “herded” fish towards the traps.

    Wifey, her mom and I are out on Cape Cod for a visit with her sister and husband. Its a whole lot cheaper when you got some place to stay! 😉 Going up to Plimoth Plantation in Plymouth today.


  2. Done the listening to a concert from the outside on a couple of holidays here in the UK usually from inside our tent anything up to 5 miles from the venue.

    James Bull


  3. I could live with graffiti like that shown on the bridge support column, Willis. Nice!
    “Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day.
    Teach a man to fish and he’ll go down to the pier, fish, and drink beer all day.”

    There have been other humorous take-offs on the “Give a man a fish” quote, but I believe this is the first photo of the “drink beer” take-off on that old saw. I suppose it’s because guys who have been taught to fish are too busy “fishing” to take photos. Consider sending that image to the Smithsonian, Willis. It might be unique. 😜

    Safe travels and I’m holding you to your promise of “more to come.” I’ve always enjoyed your travelogues.

    P.S. To anyone: When I was a kid (late ’50s, early’ 60s), every now and then someone would come to town and give a slide presentation of their travels to exotic places. I recall being taken to about a half-dozen of those events, dressed in my little sport coat and tie. There were anywhere from a hundred or so to a couple of thousand in attendance depending on the venue and the rarity of the photos. One that I can recall was about ‘first contact’ in the Amazon. Another was about Egypt and ‘The Holy Land.’ Anyone else recall those travel presentations?

    Anyhow, with the advent of the internet we can now sit back in our armchairs and enjoy the “slide shows” such as those that Willis is treating us to.


    • Anyone else recall those travel presentations?
      Missionaries from Africa mostly. Parish priest would allow 2 per year to visit and beg for money. Our priest told us he had multiple requests and could fill the Sunday schedule with missionaries, and not have to prepare sermons.
      I’ve often wondered how many $$ the person took in during one of these frequent tours of the USA.
      I also wonder how the money was used, and whether or not the locals back in the village benefitted.

      Willis has touched on similar issues in past writings.


      • Thanks, John. I remember a few missionaries sponsored by our church coming to give a report to our church, but these were in public venues that I’m recalling. The largest I recall was in held in a Veterans Memorial Auditorium that would seat 5,000-6,000. It wasn’t a packed house, but the front half of the auditorium was full up; a couple of thousand.

        The clarity I’m fishing for is for my vague recollection that the presenter was maybe a National Geographic photographer who made a little money showing some of the pictures not used in and article. They took hundreds, if not a few thousand, Kodachrome slides and only a handful were used, so why not make a little side money. I also recall one held in a lecture hall at the local university, so I’m guessing it was by someone on the faculty.

        If no one else recalls the travelogue/slide shows, I’ll just chalk it up to living in a university town with parents who hauled us kids to the symphony and other cultural events.

        Anyhow, Willis’ travel posts remind me of those past times, and though the details are fuzzy, the memory of the enjoyment remains. I still like it.


        • I remember having these type events at our school, some were religious missionaries, others were from Peace Corps, at least one was an officer in Mississippi National Guard. Had speakers and slideshows and sometimes people from the countries they were doing the presentation about. Don’t remember any religious or political component, just speaking about building schools and hospitals and bridges, drilling wells and developing agriculture. Some talked about the native culture and how it would have to blend with others to move into the future. To the best of my knowledge all those countries descended into chaos and anarchy during the ’80s and ’90s and most are probably still there. I did enjoy there presentations, though.


  4. Hi Willis, long time lurker, first time poster. I really enjoy your travel stories.

    My wife and I just returned from a journey to the Upper Peninsula here in Michigan (UP for us Michiganders). Lived here in MI my entire life and had never visited the north shore of the UP. Life slows down when you cross the five mile long (8038 meters) Mackinac Bridge (pronounced Mackinaw) which connects the LP with UP. We drove straight to the Keweenaw Peninsula which is an 8 hour drive from our home in the middle of the mitten (hint: look at Michigan on a map). It is a very secluded and quiet place with the added bonus of having the lowest pollen count in the US. Quaint 1950’s style motels with spectacular views of Lake Superior. Further east, the Pictured Rocks are amazing; 50 to 80 foot tall sandstone cliffs painted by Mother Nature’s paint brush. Along the way there are so many waterfalls you can’t visit them all in one trip. We promised ourselves we would go back.

    For all readers: Enjoy your travels where ever they may take you!



  5. Thanks for the info and photos.
    We live 1.5 hours east of Seattle, via I-90, and also have smoke – – until Wednesday they say.
    We have our own fires and smoke on the dry side.
    We are about 50 miles north of the Yakama Res, but have a neighbor that is a member. We give him cherries, plums (ripe now), and a few other fruits and veggies. He drops off a Salmon when cousins bring him a share.
    Their fishing is a little different, as shown in this article: Dip nets


  6. It’s fascinating to learn of the ingenuity of humans when it comes to using simple tools to catch their seafood suppers.
    The best I came up with was using Mum’s laddered stockings to fill with fish heads, then tie a length of twine to the top, throw in to a tidal creek, then slowly retrieve the mud crabs that would get the spikey tips of their claws caught in the nylon stocking.
    Man, we had some crab feasts back in the ’50s.


    • Wikipedia says it wasn’t taken from Shorrock, instead he sold it, viz:

      Shorrock left again in 1996; he was offered the option to buy out the remaining members of We Two Pty. Ltd[60] He took a one-third share of the monetary value of the company as he did not want to commit to the band’s US touring schedule.

      As my dad used to say, “No matter how thin you make a pancake … it still has two sides …”

      Best regards,



    • Further reading finds the following …

      October 2006
      In 1998 Housden re-established Little River Band with Wade and new contracted members Paul Gildea on vocals and guitars; Kevin Murphy on vocals, drums and percussion; and Adrian Scott on vocals and keyboards (ex-Air Supply) and brought back Roger McLachlan, who returned after 22 years, on bass guitar.[1][2] McLachlan’s second tenure was short lived; both he and Scott departed after a year, not accustomed to the band’s touring schedule. Nelson returned in early 1999 and Glenn Reither joined on keyboards, sax and backing vocals. Gildea and Wade left next in early 2000 with Australian Greg Hind joining on vocals and guitars and Nelson taking over as lead singer. The line-up of Hind, Housden, Nelson, Murphy and Reither recorded two studio albums, Where We Started From (November 2000) and Test of Time (June 2004).

      In March 2002 Birtles Shorrock Goble were formed as a soft rock trio, initially as “The Original Little River Band” or “The Voices of Little River Band”; They undertook a series of reunion concerts performing the group’s earlier material.[55][61]

      In June 2002 a legal dispute over the use of the name “Little River Band” reached the Federal Court of Australia. We Two Pty. Ltd., Little River Band’s parent company since 1988, lodged an action against Birtles, Goble, Shorrock and Wheatley seeking an injunction to stop the respondents from using the Little River Band trademarks and common law marks, or anything deceptively similar, as a trademark or band name.[62] The Little River Band Pty. Ltd. counterclaimed, seeking the removal of the Little River Band trademark for non-use and return of the trademarks to The Little River Band Pty. Ltd. based on a claim of prior ownership.[62] The matter was heard before Justice Finkelstein. When We Two was able to provide undisputed evidence of their use of the trademark during the statutory period, The Little River Band Pty. Ltd. withdrew their crossclaim and Birtles, Shorrock, Goble and Wheatley sought a settlement with We Two.[62] Documentation showing the assignment of the Little River Band trademarks to We Two, registered by the United States Patent and Trademark Office in 1989,[63] and Birtles’ transfer of ownership of the url “” to We Two in 2000 were presented during the hearing.[64] When asked to produce the documention on television in 2015 Housden stated: “I have the signatures somewhere at home. I have a photocopy of it but I couldn’t find it today to show up on the screen.”[65] Of the same court case former band manager Glenn Wheatley said: “I can’t even remember signing that document that was presented in court. On the last day, all of a sudden, this photocopy of a document that had my name on it – signature.”[65] The parties reached a settlement on 13 June 2002 with their agreement that We Two had ownership of the Little River Band trademark and common law marks including the name, logo, “LRB” and the platypus logo and that Birtles, Goble, Shorrock and Wheatley could reference their past history with the band in advertising separate to their band name and only in a descriptive manner.[61][66][62]. The matter of costs was decided by Justice Finkelstein on 12 July 2002. An order was made for Birtles, Goble, Shorrock and Wheatley to pay one half of We Two’s taxed costs.[62]

      A further legal case, which was also settled out of court in mid-2005, allowed the trio to advertise their Little River Band connection but not to perform under that name.[67] Goble, Birtles and Shorrock have shared their frustration through song; Goble recorded “Someone’s Taken Our History”,[68] Birtles recorded “Revolving Door”[69] and Shorrock put forth “Hear My Voice”.[70]



  7. Sounds like your’e covering some of the same territory my brother, sister and I make about 3 weeks ago on a trip to Cannon Beach, OR. We traveled west till the ocean forced and turn south. There were many interesting views and towns passed both going and returning from our adventure. It’s really beautiful country in western Washington state and Oregon. Ship rock in Cannon Beach didn’t look any different this trip than the one we made about 1990 or so with our mother.


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