Native American Fish Weir on the Smith River

Carolina Road
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Just down river from Route 966 (Rives Road) Bridge
Martinsville, VA 24112
Phone: (276) 634-2545
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Other Sites


Bassett Historical Center

Historic Henry County Courthouse

Follow the Actual Path of Historic Carolina Road

Patrick Henry Monument

Philpott Lake Natural and Cultural History

Spencer-Penn Centre

Historical Significance




Native American Fish Weir on the Smith River Today

Martinsville fish dam (fish weir) is one of few such Native American structures of its type remaining in the state - several along Smith River. The dam is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Dam is not accessible by land - it must be viewed from river. Structure consists of stones piled in the bed of the river to form a low V-shaped wall or dam extending from bank to bank with the apex of the V pointing downstream. The dam was originally likely a foot or more high. The apex of the V was left open, and a basket was held there to trap fish as they swam with the current and were funneled into the basket. Partially exposed when the river is low and is in a good state of preservation and was likely associated with nearby Native American village. Located just upstream of Mile Marker 24 (Dan River Navigation Atlas).



On Virginia.org Native American Fish Weir on the Smith River