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Corps of Discovery ~ Private Silas Goodrich

For Private Silas Goodrich of Massachusetts the Lewis and Clark Expedition was a fishing trip of a lifetime, because most of the Corps route followed two great river systems, the Missouri and the Columbia.  You too can discover a fishing trip of a lifetime @ 10,000 places to fish.

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Private Silas Goodrich Continued ...

Captain Meriwether Lewis's pre-expedition supply list
The small amount of angling gear in Captain Meriwether Lewis's pre-expedition supply list suggests that he did not foresee fishing as crucial to the Corps survival but rather perhaps as an emergency backup system, a means of varying the Corps diet or the opportunity for a pleasant diversion. At a cost of $25.37, Lewis acquired 125 hooks, several dozen assorted fish lines, a Sportsman Flask, and an 8 stave reel. He also bought hooks and lines as gifts for Indians.

The Lewis and Clark Journals (Abridged Edition): An American Epic of Discovery (Lewis & Clark Expedition) of the Expedition don't have much to say about fishing methods or the baits that were used. At the Great Falls of the Missouri, Lewis wrote in his journal that Goodrich was using meat and grasshoppers for bait.

 On the lower Missouri Goodrich pulled in hugeCatfish catfish, some of them weighing more than 100 lbs.


He had served in the army in Ohio with a former Army captain and friend, William Clark. These two men would work together as partners for President Jefferson. The two were to share joint command as they explored, mapped, and studied a new route to the Pacific.

At the Great Falls Goodrich began to pull in two and three pound trout of a new species. Lewis wrote in his journal, a small dash of red on each side of the first ventral fins the flesh is of a rose red." Today we know it as the West Slope cutthroat.

Lewis next recorded Goodrich's fishing at Camp Fortunate on the forks of the Beaverhead. By this point, game was scarce. The trout Goodrich caught were more than welcome additions to the rations.

Silas Goodrich may have remained in the army after the Expedition. The only known post-expedition record is Clark's note that he was dead by the year 1825.

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