Fishing for Clams

© Photographed June 13, 2015
Prairie du Chien, Crawford County, Wisconsin
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From Muscatine to St. Paul, the Upper Mississippi teemed with dozens of species of freshwater mussels that provided raw materials for making buttons.

Working from upstream in flat bottom boats, clammers let the current drag clusters of small grappling hooks over mussel beds homemade from twisted wire. These hooks were fixed to cording suspended from long crowbars. As they struck a clam, the mussel closed right on the hook and could later be removed. A good day on the river could yield up to 800 pounds of clean shell with an 1980's value of four to five dollars.
The marker is located along the east bank of the Mississippi River, at Lawler Park on St. Feriole Island, and is accessible from southbound North Water Street, between Bolvin Street (to the north) and Fisher Street (to the south), Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin 53821.

Looking west, with the Mississippi River in the background.

 The marker is located in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin.

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