Once Maple Sugar season was over, it was time to catch fish!
When the maple sugaring season ended (by April, or soon after), the Ojibwe and Metis would break camp and travel along established upland trails and watercourses towards their customary sturgeon fishing sites—mainly along sizable rivers and streams that flowed into the Red River, Lake Winnipeg, Lake Manitoba, Lake of the Woods, and Rainy Lake. Fishing would principally concentrate on sturgeon, but other species such as pike, walleye, trout, and whitefish would be taken as well.
Fishing areas were places of communal gathering, where related groups would meet each year to—in addition to fishing—connect with each other socially to reinforce band and clan relations, meet potential marriage partners, enjoy social activities and bush dances, and conduct ceremonies such as the Midéwiwin and Wabeno.
Fishing took place near the lake or river shores—especially at rapids or other shallow, fast moving waters where fish had difficulty reaching safety. Spears and nets usually employed, although in some cases weirs were constructed to help concentrate fish for easier capture. In some cases, smaller rivers could be blocked entirely to facilitate a bountiful harvest. One such instance of this ‘blockage’ was recorded as happening among the Roseau River.
During the annual three‐to‐four‐week spawning run, thousands of fish would be taken. As fishing started to wind down, the various factions would again start to separate and voyage out to their traditional hunting territories which would serve as base‐camps for the majority of their warm weather activities.
A collaborative effort of members of the Ojibwe and Metis communities