This unique fishing method used by Native Americans and other native tribes around the world is not very common and should not ever be used in closed and small bodies of water as it can exterminate the wildlife population.
Some plants can be used that will either extract the oxygen from the water or simply drug the fish into floating to the top. Using these plants to gather fish does not taint the fish so that you cannot eat them because the active chemicals in the plants only affect cold blooded animals.
However, that does not mean the plants are safe for you to eat!
a. Derris – Can be found in Southeast Asia to Australia. They are woody, vine-like plants with oval leaflets in opposite pairs, purple flowers and seed pods. To use it you would make a powder from the roots and sprinkle the powder in the water.
b. Barringtonia – A costal plant of the same origins as the Derris. To use you would crush the seeds found in the seed pods and throw them into the water.
c. Desert Rose (Adenium) – Is found in tropical areas as well as Southern Africa and Arabia. They are a shrub, or small tree, like plant with thick fleshy leaves. The East African species, shown at the right, has spirals of blunt oval leaves and clusters of tubular pink flowers. To use you would crush the stems and roots in the water.
d. Soap Plant – Is found in North America in dry and open, or scrub, land. It has narrow grass-like leaves and white star-like flowers. To use crush the bulbous root and toss it in the water.