Due to the combined efforts of the Bonaparte, Skeetchestn and Tk’emlúps te Secwe̓pemc, in conjunction with the Secwepemc Fisheries Commission (SFC) the deployment of a fishwheel in the Thompson River mainstem.
Transporting the Fishwheel
Initial placement of the fishwheelwillbe on the Thompson River near the outflow of the Deadman River. It is unlikely the wheel will be moved from this location in 2004, although other sites may be contemplated for following years depending upon the success of this year’s project in terms of catching fish.
The fishwheel is located across the river from the outflow of the Deadman River (about 3.5 km d/s of Kamloops Lake). Operation of the fishwheel began on August 12, and it is operated 5 days a week (commencing Sunday night thru to Friday morning), from approximately 8:00 pm to 5:00 am. In other words, during the hours of darkness to aid efficiency in the capture of fish. The wheel is presently rotating at about 3 rpm’s.
The present plan is to operated the fishwheel over a 3 year trial period, culminating to conicide with the next run of Adam River sockeye. At the end of this period, the program will be re-assessed to determine the efficacy of using a fishwheel in the Thompson. We may consider a different style of fishwheel at this point.
At present, the fishwheel we are using was borrowed from the Sumas Indian Band, and is on loan. Considerable effort and expenditure were required to assemble the fishwheel as numerous key components were missing from the structure. At present, the wheel is in a 3 basket configuration, however, it can accommodate 4 baskets, and a 4th basket is available. Basket dimensions are approximately 9 feet wide by 10 feet deep, fishing to a depth of about 9 feet.
Operations are expected to continue until early September, or as long as funding is available. The operational period will likely be extended considerably in future years since substantial resources were required to transport the fishwheel to the Skeetchestn Indian Band, replace missing items, and in learning how to assembly of the wheel.
Fieldwork is anticipated to run from early July through to the end of September or perhaps later, as funding permits. The first 2 to 3 weeks of July will involve fabrication of missing parts, moving the fishwheel from the Skeetchestn Band village to the Thompson River downstream of Steelhead Park, assembly of the fishwheel and finally moving the fishwheel downriver to the proposed fishing site.