U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
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Brail hooks, or “crow foots” were invented in 1897. Several of these brail hooks were attached to a bar (6-8 feet long) and dragged along the bottom of the river. When the tips of the hooks came in contact with an “open” mussel, the mussel shut its shell and could be lifted from the bottom.

brail hooks (.gif)

Source: Jeff Janvrin, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

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Department of the InteriorU.S. Fish & Wildlife ServiceU.S. Geological Survey
Last updated on September 30, 2003
http://www.fws.gov/midwest/mussel/images/brail_hooks.html