Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Fish Camp at Granny's Cove

According to Jo Bailey and Al Cummings in San Juan: The Powder Keg Island the Native Fish Camp where salmon were processed for the Hudson Bay Company was at "Granny's Cove" in what is now American Camp: San Juan Island National Historical Park. When this photograph of the beach was taken my father's family, the McRaes, Scots immigrants who moved out here from Montana in the 1920s, were still farming what is now American Camp Park. I remember my Dad, Jim McRae, saying he had the best childhood a person could have growing up at American Camp. Dad passed away in 1975.

Unfortunatly, Powder Keg Island by the Bailey-Cummings is currently out of print.

Lummi Wild Salmon Reefnet Fishing

"This is how to catch wild salmon! Lummi Island Wild reefnet wild salmon is the highest quality salmon in the world. Sustainable wild caught salmon that easily rivals Copper River and other wild Alaskan salmon. Healthy, sustainable, wild, and solar powered!"

Wild reefnet salmon are still available. To view products, learn about reefnetting, or find salmon recipies link to: Lummi Island Wild Reefnet Salmon website. Lummi Island Wild fisheries were recently awarded the Washington State Govenor's Award for Sustainability for their innovative solar powered fishing vessels.

"Lummi Island Wild is preserving the ancient art of reefnet wild salmon fishing and helping to shape the future of this fragile Pacific Northwest salmon fishery."


  1. Hi Peggy Sue,

    I liked the video of reefnetting. I remember seeing reefnetters off of the end of Shaw Island, towards Lopez, when I was growing up in the 60's. I think the boats and towers were all wood at that time. I think they pulled the nets in by hand then but I don't really know.

    I also remember hearing about a fish trap that was run by some Chinese people somewhere in the area of Granny's Cove. That was before my time though.

    I'm enjoying your history lessons.


  2. Sally,

    Thank you. I remember reefnets off Stuart Island. I think they did have some kind of power winch. That was in the 1970s. I actually got to go out on one of the sets one day. It just happened to be a day when there were no fish!

    Peggy Sue

  3. Hi Peggy Sue.

    Our maps indicate the fish camps moved according to the haul. By 1860 it was shown on an army map just east of San Juan Village. It also is shown at Fish Creek, but not the Cove, which is shown as a landing. The journals have no information about the camps being there either. There are some photos of PAF cabins at Grandma's Cove, but that's a half century later!

    No fish stories, these.


  4. At the late Pearl Little property was a wooden reef net boat...this site is an ancient reef net fishing site. Prior to that wooden or modernized style of reef net fishing boat the first people used red cedar canoes. The Lummi site in the video above became a modern version of the ancient style of fishing. About five years ago a fish processing plant claimed that the non-natives began this style of fishing....of course, we know that this is not true. A decendant of a reef-net fisherman that existed 3,000 (+) years prior to the moderized style of reef net fishing.