Pre-Contact and Early European Period
Native American fisheries were well established prior to the arrival of Europeans into the Great Lakes region. Particularly rich fishing grounds, such as the St. Mary River Rapids near what is today Sault Ste. Marie or the waters near the straits of Mackinac were regularly fished by Native Americans. Various implements were used to capture fish, such as scoop and gill nets during the summer and spears in the winter. During the period of French and British occupancy of the Great Lakes fishing remained a subsistence activity. Low local population densities and the inability to easily send fish to Eastern population centers made commercial fishing unprofitable.