Sloughs

The area west and southwest of Payette, around the confluence, the river had many sloughs.  The farther back you go in time the more sloughs there were.  These were gradually filled in when the Dam tamed the Payette and farmers kept encroaching.  Most are now gone. These sloughs would rise with annual spring runoff down the Snake, which sometimes was delayed until farmers farming some of the sloughs had planted barley.  The rising Snake would flood many of these low areas, and catfish and suckers would come in the thousands, rooting out the barley like hogs!  I did a lot of combining, later on of these grain fields.  It was astonishing to see the multitude of fish carcases caught there when the spring floods receded and their exit was blocked.

In the 40s us kids would ice skate on ponds on the Black Canyon area, above the Emmett Valley.  The ice would be more than think enough.  And, when the water was first turned off in the canals, often there would be pools of water behind every water wheel or weir, where the faster current churns out a hole double the width of the normal canal.  Sometimes these pools, protected by ice from evaporating wind, might stay around most of the winter.

Canals were a playground in every season.

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