Video by the Musée de la mémoire vivante
Informant: Roger Martin, author of the book L’anguille
Date: October 27, 2016
Location: Rivière-Ouelle (Québec)
Roger Martin describes an old technique for choosing a good location for an eel weir.
Roger Martin is sitting at a desk, facing the camera. He uses his hands from time to time to illustrate what he is saying.
[Roger Martin] The good spots are always on points because eels seek shelter when they are being tossed about by the waves. They seek shelter in coves and then continue on their way, swimming around all the points.
There are lots of points here in Rivière-Ouelle. They’re called Pointe aux Orignaux, Pointe aux Iroquois, Pointe de la Rivière Ouelle. These points are special. You can install a lot of weirs on them because that’s where the eels are. They naturally follow the current. That’s what’s important.
When people wanted to know where they should build a weir, they picked up a piece of wood and threw it [towards the river] as the tide went out. They then looked to see what direction it took. If it rapidly started to float downstream, this could mean that it was a pretty good spot. If it tended to stay in one place or even head offshore, then a long weir would have to be built. People always preferred spots where they could install fairly short weirs.