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California Resources Agency Library

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Sacramento, California 95814



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Volume 17 SACRAMENTO, JANUARY, 1931 No. 1



TABLE OF CONTENTS



Page
THE SPINY-RAYED GAME FISHES OiF THE CALIFORNIA INLAND

WATERS George Neale 1

MEXICAN CABRILLA AND GROUPERS Lionel A. Walford 17

THE STATUS OF THE CANADA GOOSE IN CALIFORNIA James Moffltt 20

THE MOUNTAIN SHEEP OF CALIFORNIA E. H. Ober 27

CALIFORNIA SEAWEEDS Paul Bonnot 40

NETTING OPERATIONS ON AN IRRIGATION CANAL /. B. Phillips 45

THE REiLATIVE EFFICIENCY OF THE SEMIPURSE SEINE COMPARED

WITH THE ROUND HAUL NET H. C. Godsil 52

GAME BIRDS AND CITRUS FUMIGATION Gordon H. True, Jr. 53

EDITORIALS 5 8

COMMERCIAL FISHERY NOTES 84

LIFE HISTORY NOTES 87

CONSERVATION IN OTHER STATES 91

DIVISION ACTIVITIES 94

REPORTS —

Violations of Fish and Game Laws 105

Deer Kill Statistics, 1930 106

Statement of Expenditures, July 1, 1930-Sept. 30, 1930 118

Statement of Income, July 1, 1930-Sept. 30, 1930 120

Fishery Products, July, August, September, 1930 122

Statement of Expenditures, July 1, 1929-June 30, 1930 12C

Statement of Income, July 1, 1929-June 30, 1930 128



THE SPINY-RAYED GAME FISHES OF THE CALIFORNIA

INLAND WATERS

By George Neale

He is an imfortunate anpler who can not recall an excitin<r experi-
ence and conjure up a story or two when someone mentions the term
hass, be it described as black, striped or calico. The bass, which are
relatively strangers in the State, have not only been criven the full hos-
pitality of our waters but the efforts of the Bureau of Fish Rescue and
Reclamation have been directed to the end of making their residence
permanent.

81627



^ CALIFORNIA FISH AND GAME

The bass, together with the simfishes and perch, belong to a
great group of fishes which are distinguished by the presence of stiff,
un jointed rays or spines in the dorsal and anal fins, in addition to the
flexible, jointed rays characteristic of such a fish as the trout. It is due
to this feature that the group, or order, derives the scientific name
Acanthopterygii (acanthos-spiny, pterygous-wing or fin)— the spiny-
rayed fishes.

The writer does not propose to offer a scientific treatise on this
group but feels that the reader may be interested in some of the infor-
mation he has derived throughout a period of more than thirty years
of practical experience in the field. During this time he has taken an
active part in the distribution and, in some cases, the original importa-
tion of these fish into the waters of California.

As suggested above, the spiny-rayed game fish of the lakes, streams
and rivers of California have, with the one exception of the Sacramento
perch, been purposely introduced from distant territories.

The story of their importation from waters east of the Rockies is
an interesting bit from the history of California, and well illustrates
the desire of those people who traveled westward to have about them
reminders of the pleasures of their old home.

The introduction of foreign fish has not been witliout consequent
problems, for all animals are so integrally bound u]) in their relations
with one another and with the plant life that one can scarcely foretell
the results when a new animal is introduced into the tangle.

The large-mouthed black bass, for instance, has thrived in its new
home with possibly greater success than in its old amid the waters of
Lake Champlain. What changes in the animal and plant life have
resulted from its presence in California? Has its prosperity been
gained at the expense of some other fish ?

Contrasting with the success of this stranger, the native Sacramento
perch, once so abundant, has shown a decided decline in numbers. "Why?
One observer notes that they have an appetite for the young of an
introduced catfish. These young, it appears, are armed with spines in
the dorsal fins which are efficient weapons for tearing the tissues of
the stomach of the perch which swallows them. But, to complicate
this explanation, it appears that the striped bass, crappie and green
sunfish also feed on the j'Oung catfish without noticeable injury.

While the angler baits his line with an attractive minnow for the
bass, the fishes, in their turn, offer these interesting jiroblems as bait
for the naturalist interested in preserving those species most desirable
to sportsmen and eater.

There are a very considerable number of species belonging to the
spiny-rayed group in California and we shall list only those entitled
to the privilege of being called fresh-water game fish. This list
includes the striped bass, the large- and small-mouth bass, the crappie,
the calico bass, the fresh-water rock bass and the Warmouth bass.
Among the sunfishes are the blue gill and green sunfishes, the yellow
perch and the Sacramento perch. Because of their importance in
relation to the spiny-rayed fishes, we have included brief accounts of
the bullhead or square-tail catfish, the mud or forked-tail catfish, the
carp and the shad though these of our fish are not members of the order
Acanthopterygii.



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CALIFORNIA FISn AND GAME d

There are interesting differences in the behavior and life history
of each of these fishes, for no two kinds of animal life are in identical
relationship with their environment. Furthermore, the behavior of
each species will vary from time to time and place to place in accord-
ance with changes in their environment.

The spawning season of the black bass, crappies and simfishes, for
instance, varies considerably according to the temperature of their
locality. In shallow, warm water they spawn from I\Iarch 1 to June
30 ; in the colder deep water from after April 1 to July 15 ; and in the
higher altitudes as late as July 1 to August 15.

There are times between catches when the angler is afforded excel-
lent opportunity for a study of the fish in his basket and few fish are
more appropriate for the purposes of study than the bass. According
to the scientists, the bass is a generalized fish, i.e., its structure con-
forms to that expected of an animal that lives in the water. In the
place of arms and legs, it bears fins. Two sets of these fins correspond
respectively to the fore and hind limbs of the higher animals — the pec-
toral and pelvic or anal fins. In addition to these there is an append-
age on the upper side of the fish termed the dorsal fin, and another at
the posterior end known as the caudal fin. The caudal fin is the main
agent of locomotion for fish, the others serving principally to maintain
balance and depth in the water.

The structure of any given fish is admirably designed in accordance
with the particular type of water in which it lives and its behavior in
the acquisition of food. If one were to become thoroughly familiar
with the life and activities of any fish, he could discover a logical
reason for any peculiarity of structure that it might have. It is
true, however, that many fish bear structures that have a function in
ages past, but 'through some change in their environment they have
become useless and usually appear only as vestiges. Those fish having
a light colored belly will be found for instance near the surface of
waters, whereas the fish which prefer the bottom of the stream will
have a belly — ventral surface — noticeabh'' darker in color.

Extending along the sides of all fish is a well defined line which
varies considerably in contour according to the species. This is known
as the lateral line. It is a sense organ, probably of as great value
to the fish as are the ears or eyes of the higher animals. The lateral
line in fish has been the subject of much investigation by scientists and
there are many interesting speculations as to its exact function.

For the details of the head, the reader may refer to Figure 1. The
head is built up of two types of bone — the calcareous bones, which
form a greater part of the skull proper, and the membrane bones of
which the operculum and the preoperculum are examples. The oper-
culum serves as a protection for the gill arches on which are found the
gills and their rich supply of blood vessels. The fish inhales water
through the mouth producing a current which flows to the exterior over
the gills and out through the operculum.

Attached to the gills are structures known as gill rakers which
serve as strainers for the food material entering the mouth. The oxy-
gen dissolved in the water is retrieved by the delicate membranes of the
gills and after being transported through tlie blood stream serves as
the fuel necessary for the metabolism of the animal.



4 CALIFORNIA FISH AND GAME

On the fish forms under discussion, we may discover two types of
scales — the ctenoid and the cycloid. Ctenoid is a term derived from
the Greek ctenos meaning a comb. The scales of this pattern are
attached to the skin of the fish by a number of small comb-like pro-
jections. The cycloid scales are almost circular in shape. If one were
to place a fish scale under the microscope, he would note that it is stri-
ated with a number of concentric rings or annulations. These rings,
similar to the rings of growth in a tree, are accurate indicators of the
age of the fish.

You will note that the eye of a fish possesses no eyelid, also that there
are no external ears. The eyes of a fish are not capable of discerning
the details of objects. Consequently, the appearance of any moving
form causes the fish to dart for protection among the rocks or grass of
the stream.

_ Inour study of other animals, we are prone to interpret their reac-
tion in terms of our own senses, but in our speculations concerning the
fish we must appreciate that it lives in an entirely different environ-
ment from ours. The thoughtful angler, and it is taken for granted
that anglers are thoughtful, may, between casts, find it profitable both
to observe and speculate concerning the reactivities of those animals
which live as successfully in their environment as we do in ours.

Let us briefly describe in the following pages the more prominent
game fishes to be caught from the fresh waters of our State :

HOW^ TO IDENTIFY THE SPINY-RAYED GAME FISH
OP THE CALIFORNIA WATERS

The most convenient means for the determination of the species of
an animal is by the use of a so-called key such as the one that follows.
In this key are listed those characters or structures which, when taken
together, distinguish one group of fish from another. Some structures
are common to many different kinds of fish but not to all fish. For
instance, all of the fish on our list bear ventral fins attached to the
thorax under, or slightly behind, the pectoral fins. (See Fig. 1.) Exam-
ine a trout or sardine and you will notice that the ventral fins are con-
siderably behind the pectoral fins.

If the reader will refer to the key for the identification of the sun-
fish family, he will note in reading from numeral 1 to letter A to a and
h, that the characters become more restrictive, until finally, if the key
were carried to its limit, there would be a small group (species) of
fishes having a number of characters different from those of any other
kind of fish. The calico bass, according to the key, bear different
markings from the white crappie though they may each carry, at times,
the same number of dorsal spines. Thus, by a process of gradually
restricting the characters, a key enables one to trace a specimen to a
point where it belongs to one group and no other.



CALIFORNIA FISH AND GAME




Fjg. 1.
1



Outline drawing of Striped Bass to show characteristics of spiny-rayed fish.



Ventral fins attached to thorax under or slightly behind pectorals.

A. Dorsal fin consists of two parts. The anterior part is composed of sharp, stiff

spines ; posterior part is made up of soft rays.

a. One or two slender anal spines. Body elongated.

Perch family: (Percidae) includes the yellow perch, the only species of impor-
tance to be found in California. See p. 12.



CALIFORNIA FISH AND GAME




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*FiG. 2. Yellow Perch.

aa. Three to nine stiff anal spines. Body flattened from side to side.
Sunfish family: (Centrarchidae) includes the two crappies, black bass, sun-
fishes, bluegill, large and small mouth bass.

HOW TO DISTINGUISH THE SEVEN IMPORTANT SPECIES OF THE SUNFISH

FAMILY FOUND IN CALIFORNIA

Key for the identification of the sunfish family.

1. Dorsal fin about same length as anal or slightly longer. Anal spines, 6 or 7.
A. Dorsal spines usually 5 to 8.

a. Dorsal spines 6, rarely 5 or 7, dark cross-bars on a light iDackground that
tend to form rings on the sides of 'the body. Body somewhat elongated.
White crappie. See p. 11.




*FiG.



White Crappie.



aa. Dorsal spines usually 7 or 8, rarely 6 or 9, black markings on sides tend

to form spots instead of rings. Depth greater than preceding form.
Black crappie or Calico bass. See p. 11.




"Fig.



Calico



AA. Dorsal spines 11, rarely 10 or 12.

a. Red eye ; bronze color with small square black spots on sides formmg stripes

that run lengthwise of the body.
Bock bass. See p. 11.





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CALIFORNIA FISH AND GAME




*PiG. 5. Rock Bass.

AAA. Dorsal spines 12 or 13.

a. Color blackish above ; sides, silvery with about seven vertical blackish

bars, irregular in form and position and more or less interrupted.
Sacramento perch. See p. 12.

2. Dorsal fin over twice the length of anal ; anal spines 3.

A. Spinous and soft rayed portions of dorsal fin not separated by a deep notch.
Body short and deep. Length exclusive of tail about twice depth. Never three
times depth of body.

a. Rim on outside of black spot on gill cover soft and flexible ; rim on inside
of gill cover stiff and bony.

aa. Mouth large ; large black spot at rear of soft dorsal and one at rear of

anal. Dorsal spines low. Color dark green, usually with blue spots.
Green sunfish.

b. Black spot on gill cover thin and flexible throughout.

bb. Black flap on gill cover without pale margin, and not elongated or project-
ing upward. Dorsal spines high. Large black spot at rear of soft dorsal.
Color olive with purplish luster.

Bluegill. S'ee p. 11.




•Fig.



Bluegill.



AA. Spinous and soft-rayed portions of dorsal fln separated by a deep notch. Body
elongated. Length exclusive of tail approximately three times depth,
a. Maxillary bone does not extend beyond eye, except in very old specimens.
Eye red. Mouth moderate in size. 10 or 11 lengthwise rows of scales above
the lateral line. Spinous dorsal long and low with very little variation in
height. Color golden green with dark cross-bars.
Small-mouth black bass. See p. 10.



8



CALIFORNIA FISH AND GAME




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*FiG. 7. Small-Mouth Black Bass.

aa. Maxillary bone in adults always extends back of eye. Eye not red in
adults. Large mouth. 7 or 8 lengthwise rows of scales above the lateral
line. Spinous dorsal high in the middle forming a half circle. Color dark
green. Black lengthwise streak along each side of body ; except in large
individuals.

Large-Mouth black bass. See p. 9.




Fig. 8. Large-Mouth Black Bass.

Key for the identification of the catfishes.

IF : The tail fin is cut squarely off at the end or is slightly rounded inwardly
(not formed or rounded deeply), the flsh is a square-tail catfish. See
p. 13.
BUT IF : The tail fin is forked or deeply rounded inwardly, the fish is a fork-tail
catfish.

Striped Bass {Roccus lineatus)

Relationship : Order, Acanthopterygii ; family, Serranidae — the sea
bass.

Specific characters : Body deep and compressed ; lower jaw pro-
jecting; dorsal fins entirely separate; three anal spines; graduated in
size ; scales large, ctenoid ; silver-grey color with well-defined dark grey
longitudinal stripes along the back. The average size is from four to
eight pounds, though specimens have been taken having a weight of
over eighty pounds.








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Fig. 9. Striped Bass.



♦Reprinted from the Enterprise Mfg. Company's Pflueger Pocket Catalogue No. 149
by permission. Copyright 1929. The Enterprise Mfg. Company, Akron, Ohio, U.S.A.




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CALIFORNIA FISH AND GAME 9

Nativity: In 1879 one hundred and seven individuals were trans-
planted from the Navesink River, of New Jersey, to the Carquinez
Straits. In 1882, three hundred young fish were transferred from
the Shrewsbury River to Suisun Bay.

Distribution in California: The coast waters from the Oregon
boundary to San Diego Bay ; the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers,
their tributaries and a number of streams and lakes in southern Cali-
fornia.

Fishing season: There is no closed season for the angler but there
are certain legal restrictions concerning which the reader may refer to
the fish and game laws of California. Two migrations occur : the
spawning migration which begins during March and extends into
June, and the "winter bass run" usually commencing in September
and continuing from two weeks to two months. The latter is prima-
rily a feeding run.

Fishing methods : A rod and reel or hand line is used when casting
from a boat or the shore or while trolling. These fish are omniverous
feeders and take a wide range of baits among which sardines, shrimps,
clams, squib and live minnows are popular. The bait hooks used are
usually Nos. 5, 6, or 7. Artificial lures: Stewart and Wilson's spoons
Nos. 4, 5, and 6 ; Basserins, red head and lucky 18, and Heddon wig-
gler, dark or light according to the turbidity of the water. Use a
heavy sinker when still fishing; when trolling, use at least a hundred
feet of number 9 line and no sinker. These fish tend to swim in schools
and once a strike is made in an area it may be repeatedly worked.

Notes : This is unquestionably one of the most desirable combination
of game and commercial fish that migrates into fresh water. The
flavor, when broiled or baked, is delicious and there are relatively few
bones.

An excellent article on the California striped bass may be found in
the California Fish and Game for April, 1926, Vol. 12, No. 2.

In external features the bass represents a generalized bony fish, i.e.,
its form is typical of fishes in general and it posseses no character such
as fins, tail or mouth which have become highly modified.

Large-Mouth Black Bass (Micropterus salmoides)

Relationship: Order Acanthoi)terygii ; family Centrarchidae. This
is a member of the sunfish family — spiny-rayed fish only found in
fresh waters.

Specific characters: The only difficulty in determining the large-
mouthed black bass exists in the ability to distinguish it from the
small-mouth bass — another species of the same genus. In the large-
mouth form the maxillary extends beyond the eye, the scales of the
cheek are nearly as large as those of the body and the ten dorsal spines
make a decidedly more acute curve than those of the small-mouth
species i.e., the dorsal fin is decidedly notched. The large-mouth is
stockier in form and darker in color than the small-mouth, with longi-
tudinal markings more pronounced. Length, 15 to 18 inches.

Nativity : The large-moutli bass is involved with the small-mouth in
its introduction and we shall combine the history of both forms. In
1874, Dr. Livingstone Stone imported 75 full-grown spawning bass from
Lake Champlain, Vermont, and 24 small fish from St. Joseph River,



10 CALIFORNIA FISH AND GAME

Michigan. Both of these shipments were most probably of the small-
mouth variety. The first shipment "vvas placed in Napa Creek and the
12 survivors of the second in Alameda Creek. In 1879 he made a
second shipment of 22 mature fish which were planted in the Crystal
Springs Reservoir, San Mateo County. These fish increased rapidly
and, later, hundreds of their progeny were consigned to various waters
of the state. The United States Commission in 1891 deposited 2000
yearling large-mouth bass in Lake Cuyamaca, San Diego County, and
620 in the Feather River near Gridley. In June 1895, at the request
of the California Commission, the United States Commission delivered
2500 large-mouth bass fry which were placed in the ponds of Sisson
Hatchery from which station they were widely distributed in the north-
ern and southern parts of the state.

Distribution i7i California : These fish have been widely distributed
throughout the state and in the majority of the waters they have repro-
duced very successfully.

Fishing season: The fishing season corresponds with that of the
Sacramento perch, crappie or any of the other sunfishes. There are
certain restrictions and limits for which refer to the California fish and
game laws.

Fishing methods: These fish, due to certain limitations in their
mouth parts, are not such omnivorous feeders as the striped bass. They
will take a minnow, a snail, or a worm and a variety of artificial lure.
Both the large and small-mouth bass will put up a good fight and the
fishing methods are similar to those used for any of the sunfish.

Notes : The male of this species builds a crude nest in shallow water.
Then, seeking his mate, he attracts her to the nest. After the eggs are
laid, he drives her away and personally guards the nest until the
young are well grown.

Small-Mouth Black Bass {Micropterus dolomieu)

Relationship : The same as that of the large-mouth bass.

Specific characters : The maxillary reaches only to the front of the
eye and the head is one-third the length of the body. There are 10
soft rays in the anal fin as compared to the 11 which are character-
istic of the large-mouth .species. There is no decided notch in the
dorsal fin of the small-mouth and it is more slender and lighter in
color than its large-mouth cousin, also, the stripes on its cheeks are
more prominent.

Nativit]/ : See the data under Micropterus salmoides.

Distrihution in California: This species is more exacting in its
choice of environment than any other member of the spinous group.
Shunning the sluggish waters of the valleys, they share with the trout
the clear, cold water habitat of the gravel and rock-bottomed mountain
streams. Their food habits resemble those of the trout and, like them,
they are found in the cold streams from Canada southward.

Fishing season: The same as that for the large-mouth bass.

Fishing methods : The small-mouth will rise to a fly, take a spinner,
live minnows or a frog. They are uncertain in their time of feeding
and decidedly temperamental in their feeding habits. The angler must
not expect much sport from bait fishing but there is a decided thrill
resulting from their rush to the moving lure.



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CALIFORNIA FISH AND GAME 11

Notes: The small-mouth bass is the peer of its family from the
sportsman's viewpoint. It is a fitting rival of the trout and has a
flavor equally delicious.

Crappie (Pomoxis annularis)
Calico Bass (Pomoxis sparoides)

Relationship: These are spiny-rayed members of the same family
as Micropterus. Since the two forms are so similar in character, habits
and appearance, we shall describe them under the same heading.

Specific characters: In addition to those given in the key, the fol-
lowing features may aid in determining the difference between the
crappie and the calico bass. The crappie is not so deep or robust as the
calico bass; its mouth is somewhat larger and the snout more promi-
nent. The eye of the former is slightly larger and the membrane of
the jaws is noticeably thin and transparent— a feature from which it
derives the popular name of "tin-mouth." There are six spines in
the dorsal fin of the crappie and seven in that of the calico bass.

Nativity: Both species were introduced from Illinois in the early
nineties. They were not widely distributed at that time, but in 1901 a
shipment to Sacramento Avas extensively released.

Distrihution in California : These fishes are numerous in the Sacra-



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