Iñupiaq Eskimo Elder Eugene Brower Talks About Ice Fishing with his Father

Video Shot in: 2009

In this conversation with Iñupiaq elder Eugene Brower describes the process of setting up a fishing net under solid ice. He explains that his father used a two-by-four piece of wood, cut to about half an inch thick, and wrapped the ends tightly with grooves. This created a 16-foot long stick. They would start by cutting a hole in the ice, then lay out the net, cutting holes along the way until reaching the other end. A twine with a weight would be dropped through the holes, and a piece of wire with a coil was used to hook and pull the twine from hole to hole, eventually reaching the other side. They would then place the net on that side and pull it underneath the ice, spanning about 50 to 60 feet. Eugene’s father had homemade tools, including a small block to measure the width of the mesh. He would continually adjust the net. Additionally, pieces of whale ribs, obtained after drying out and removing the meat, were used as weights for the net. A float, made from a flat piece of wood about three to four inches long, was attached to the top of the net.