Among the many objects created for daily use such as fish spears,
adzes, scrapers, harpoon heads, toggles, drag handles and knives the
fish lures demanded both artistic skill and imagination of the Inuit
hunter. This was because the lure had to look like a fish in order to
be effective. Bears' teeth were often used for this purpose.
The hunter held the lure, which usually had some small movable teeth
attached to it, with a line of braided deer sinew. Standing in the
shallow part of the river, he moved the lure up and down to attract the
attention of the salmon. Once the fish came near the bait, the hunter
speared it with a kakivak, a fish spear with three prongs.
 1964 The Central Eskimo. Reprint, Lincoln:
University of Nebraska Press.
1929 Caribou-Eskimos: Material and Social Life and their
Cultural Position. Vol. 5, Pt. 1-2, Report of the Fifth Thule
Expedition, 192124, p. 68.
Fish Lure, 1921
Copper Inuit, Coronation Gulf, Nunavut
Bear tooth, sinew, bone
3.2 x 9.2 cm
Collected by Captain Joseph F. Bernard, while exploring the Coronation
Gulf on his schooner Teddy Bear
In typical Copper Inuit style, the bear tooth has been decorated
with incised lines and a circle/dot pattern. The eye of the fish is
simply a drilled hole. The second hole under the little attachments
probably had additional pieces of bone tied to it in order to simulate
the fish's fins.
Fish Lure, 19251926
Kuugaruk (Pelly Bay), Nunavut
Bone, sinew, stone
3 x 6 x 1.3 cm
Collected by Major Lachlan T. Burwash while exploring the Canadian
Arctic on behalf of the Canadian government
This lure is complete with decoy and sinker, made out of stone. The
fish body is most likely a bear tooth.