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At Black River, Amherst, and Brownhelm, Ohio, the most important flsh is the Blue Pike. The
largest runs occur in May and October. Mr. Freund thinks tteat they spawn in June or the latter
days of May. The general impression amongst the fishermen is that they do not spawn, as none
of them have seen the spawn in the flsh. Such quantities are sometimes taken that it is very
difficult to take care of them all. They are used fresh, and are also salted.

At Cleveland and the Dover Bay fisheries the Blue Pike is the principal fish and very
abundant. They are taken as soon as the fishermen get their nets in, but more plentifully at the
end of spring and fall than at the beginning of those t-vo seasons. It often happens that such
quantities are taken that they cannot be disposed of. They appear to be increasing every year ;
as high as twenty tons are reported from four nets in one day. About one-fourth of the ca'ch is
salted ; the fishermen say that the early-caught flsh do not salt so well as those taken later. The
average weight is about one pound, those coming on first in spring averaging, perhaps, less than
this weight, but the late runs are larger. It is said that specimens have been caught among the
islands at the west end of the lake weighing fifteen ponnds. All the fishermen say they never saw
one with ripe spawn. Formerly they were classed as "hard fish," but now they sell as "soft."

At Oswego this species is called "Gray Pike," is quite common, and unusually silvery in
appearance. At Cape Vincent they are known only as stragglers. At Chanmont they are very
rare, and at Sacket's Harbor very few are caught.

The " Jack" on the Ohio River, as described by Jordan in the lately published report on the
fishes of Ohio, reaches occasionally forty pounds. " It possesses great activity and strength, and
is a ravenous destroyer of Perch and other species. Were it not so superior in every way to
ethers, this habit might condemn it ; as it is, we regard it as one of the best species we possess.
In the South it is eagerly bought, and forms the principal table fish for the various places of resort,
where it can be obtained." 1 "The 'Blue Pike,'" says Jordan, "is said to frequent only bayous
and inlets, not being taken in the deeper waters of the Lakes, where 8. vitreum especially abound.
It also reaches a smaller size, according to Mr. Klippart, who asks, 'Why does the Blue Pike
frequent the bayous and get to be no more than twelve to fifteen inches in length, and to weigh not
to exceed two or three pounds, if it is identical with the Wall-eyed Pike which frequents the deep
waters of tbe lake and attains a length of three feet and a weight of eighteen to twenty pounds!'
This species, according to Mr. Klippart, is at the Lake Erie fisheries split and salted with the
Sauger, 8. canadense, the two together being known to the commercial world as 'Pickerel No. 2,'
and bringing about two-thirds the price of Pickerel No. 1, which is 8. vitreum. m

'COPE, Kept. Comm. Fish Penn., 1881, 128.
Geological Survey of Ohio, iv, part i, p. 64.



424 NATURAL HISTORY OF AQUATIC ANIMALS.

THE SAUGER. STIZOSTEDIUM OANADENSE.

The " Sanger," known also as the "Gray Pike," " Sand Pike," "Ground Pike," "Pickering,"
"Pickerel," and "Horse-fish," has its habitat, according to Jordan, in the Saint Lawrence River,
Great Lake region, Upper Mississippi, and Upper Missouri Rivers, also in the Ohio, where, accord-
ing to the fishermen, it has been introduced from the Lakes through the canals.

"The different form aad coloration, particularly the markings of the dorsal fin," writes
Jordan," distinguish this species at once from Stizostedium vitreum. This species has, moreover,
always fewer dorsal rays, more scaly cheeks, and permanent armature of the operculum.

"In comparing Saugersfroin widely separated localities certain differences appear, which are
perhaps sufficiently constant to indicate distinct varieties. Of these, three are perhaps worthy to
be designated by name. The common Sauger or Sand Pike of the Lakes (lAicloperca grisea DeKay )
should bear the name of Stizostedium, canadense, var. grisea. The Sauger or Pickering of the Saint
Lawrence was the original Lucioperca canaden&is of Col. C. H. Smith. It should, therefore, be the
typical variety, canadensis. Its head is rougher and more closely scaled, and the number of
spinous points on the opercle is greater. The 'Sand Pike 'of the Upper Missouri averages rather
slender, with a long, slender nose and more flattened and snake-like head. This is the Lucioperca
borea of Dr. Girard, and may be called var. boreum, if the difference here noted prove at all con-
stant.

" The Sauger never reaches a large size, the largest I have seen being from fifteen to eighteen
inches in length. It is abundant everywhere in the Great Lakes, and is valued as food, although
less highly rated than its relative, the Pike Perch.

" It is plentiful in the Ohio River, where it is probably indigenous, although some claim that it
has been introduced there through the canals."

Mr. Kumlieu has collected many interesting notes concerning this as well as the preceding
species. These will be printed at a future time.

THE STRIPED BASS FAMILY.

Fishes of this family are common on both sides of the North Atlantic. The Bass of Europe,
Roccu labra-x, is one of the favorite food-fishes of that region, and is found from Tromsoo, in
Norway, latitude 70, south to the Mediterranean, where it is abundant. A very closely related
species is our own Striped Bass, or Rock-fish, Roccus saxatilis, which is found from the Gulf of Saint
Lawrence to the Gulf of Mexico. These two species are very similar in form, although the colors
are different, the American Bass being conspicuously striped, while that of Europe is silvery
gray. They are both strong, active, and voracious fishes, and both ascend rivers, although the
American Bass seems to be much more addicted to life in fresh water than its transatlantic
relative, probably owing to the fact that our rivers are more numerous, larger, and much more
plentifully stocked with the fish upon which the Bass rely for food. They ascend the Potomac to
the Little Falls, the Hudson to Albany, the Connecticut to Hartford, and the Saint Lawrence to
Quebec. Before the erection of dams in the Susquehauua individuals were taken as high up
as Luzerne. Europe has two other species, which it is unnecessary to discuss here, and North
America has three the White Bass or Striped Lake Bass, Roccus clirysops; the Brassy Bass of
the Lower Mississippi Valley, Roccus interruptus; and the White Perch of the Atlantic coast,
Roccus americanus. All of these are of considerable economic importance, though the Striped Bass
is beyond comparison more valuable than all the others together.



THE STRIPED BA8S FAMILY. 425

142. THE STRIPED BASS ROCCUB LINEAIUS.

GEOGRAPHICAL DISTRIBUTION. The Striped Bass, as baa been already stated, occurs in
all the waters of our coast from latitude 50 to latitude 30. In the North it is called the
"Striped Bass," in the South the "Rock-fish" or the "Rock." The neutral territory where both
these names are in use appears to be New Jersey. The fishermen of the Delaware use the latter
name, those of the sea-coast the former. Large sea-going individuals are sometimes known in
New England by the names ''Green-head" and "Squid-hound." There is still some uncertainty
regarding the southern limits of the distribution of this species. In the Saint John's River,
Florida, they are very unusual. Though familiar in the fisheries of that region since 1873, I have
only known of the capture of two individuals. Mr. Stearns has obtained one or two specimens in
the Gulf of Mexico, and gives an account of the degree of their abundance in those waters. He
writes: "They are occasionally caught on the northern shores of the Gulf, and are evidently more
common about the months of the Mississippi River than elsewhere, since they are taken in this
region only in seines, and in shallow water their abundance cannot be correctly determined. The
earliest account I have been able to obtain of the capture of Striped Bass in Pensacola Bay in that
of Capt. John Washington, of Mystic, Connecticut, who states that in 1850, while seine-fishing from
the smack 'Francis Parkes,' he surrounded with his seine a large school of fish, which were quite
unmanageable; a few of them were saved, and proved to be large Striped Bass, weighing from
fifteen to forty pounds. At long intervals since solitary individuals have been taken at various
points on th coast. At New Orleans it is found in the market quite often. An eighteen-pound
specimen was sold there in March, 1880."

In Hallock's "Sportsman's Gazetteer" the following statement occurs: "It is constantly seen
in rivers of fresh water at great distances from the ocean, even as far up the Mississippi as Saint
Louis, and it is common in White River, Arkansas, and in all the rivers of the Southern States."

While there can be no question that straggling individuals of this species have been taken in
the Gulf of Mexico, it seems probable that both Mr. Stearns and Mr. Hallock have been mistaken
by the resemblance of this species to the Brassy Bass, Roccw interrupts, which abounds through-
out the Lower Mississippi Valley.

Canadian authorities inform us that, though the Bass still occur along the New Brunswick and
Nova Scotia shores of the Gulf, they are much less abundant and of smaller size than formerly.
They have been known to ascend the Saint Lawrence as far as Quebec, and Mr. Roosevelt has
seen a specimen, a female fish, which was taken in the Niagara River, near Lewiston. The Bass
is most abundant in the bays and inlets about Cape Hatteras, in the Chesapeake and Delaware
Bay region, and in the protected waters of Long Island and Southern New England. In winter
they occur in considerable numbers in the Altamaha River, and are not unusual in the markets
of Charleston, South Carolina.

HABITS. The Striped Bass is not migratory, being found along our coast in winter as well as
in summer, and in our markets in every month of the year. Great quantities are taken in winter
in the rivers tributary to the Chesapeake, and in the rivers of New Brunswick quantities of them
are speared through holes in the ice. During the past four years I have known of their capture in
Long Island and Block Island Sounds and in the Merrimac River in December, and in Martha's
Vineyard Sound and the lower part of the Hudson River in January. Though they appear to
avoid a temperature higher than 65 or 70 they are not sensitive to cold, and there is good
evidence that they frequently, when detained throughout the winter in shallow places, enter upon
a state of torpidity.

FOOD. They are very voracious feeders. Entering the rivers, they prey upon small fishes.



426 NATURAL HISTORY OF AQUATIC ANIMALS.

They are particularly abundant at the time of the spring runs of the shad and herring, and at this
season are particularly plump and well fed, doubtless owing to the ease with which they can obtain
food. They also frequent the rocky shores of the bays and sounds at high tide in search of crabs,
shrimps, and squids; and they are said to feed upon clams and mussels, which they obtain by
delving with their snouts.

REPRODUCTION AND GROWTH. They spawn in the late spring and early summer, some of
them in the rivers, others probably at sea, although this has not been definitely ascertained. The
European Bass are said to deposit their spawn near the mouths of rivers in the summer months.
From North Carolina to New Jersey the spawning time appears to be in May; in New Brunswick
in June. Dr. Blanding, many years ago, estimated the number of eggs at 2,248,000. Their rate
of growth is very rapid. Dr. C. C. Abbott, for five successive years, found in the Delaware River
young an inch long in the second week in June. About the middle of October these had grown
to the length of four and a half inches. The young fish five to niue inches in length which are
taken in such quantities in the Potomac in February and March, are supposed to be the young of
the previous year. Captain Gavitt, of Westerly, Rhode Island, has caught Bass in June that
weighed from one-half to one pound, put them into a pond and taken them out in the following
October, when they weighed six pounds. The average size of this fish probably does not exceed
twenty pounds. In the Potomac, Hudson, and Connecticut Rivers the largest seldom exceed
thirty or forty pounds, though in the Potomac fifty-pound fish are not unusual. The Fish Commis-
sion has for several years had a standing offer of a reward for a sixty-pound fish from the Potomac,
but none has been forthcoming as yet. The largest Striped Bass on record was one weighing one
hundred and twelve pounds, taken at Orleans, Massachusetts, in the town cove. Such a fish would
be at least six feet in length. A fairly proportioned Bass thirty-six inches long would weigh at
least eighteen pounds.

USES. The Striped Bass is one of the most valuable of our food-fishes, its flesh bei'.g firm, finely
flavored, and hard enough to bear exposure to the air for some time without injury. It is also the
most popular game-fish, next to the salmon. Those in the markets are chiefly obtained in seines
and traps set at various points along the coast from the south side of Cape Cod to New Jersey.
Great quantities are also taken in shad seines in the spring. 1 They may be readily taken, also,
by heaving and hauling in the surf with menhaden bait, the fish being tolled by the use of great
quantities of menhaden ground into small bits, and in fresh or brackish water by the use of the
artificial fly. At various points on the coast of Southern New England are club-houses supported
by wealthy amateurs for the purpose of carrying on these sports. 2

1 Messrs. Christian, Austin, Hoight, McKrel, Van Nort Brothers, and about forty others from Peekskill and Ver-
planck's Point, have about four hundred nets fishing on the ice between Gees Point and Warner's Island, and from the
way they are shipping the Striped Bass to New York and Peekskill they must be doing quite a business. On the 14th
and 15th instant (hey shipped about 600 pounds each dav, and on the 16th they shipped about 1,200 pounds, and on
the 18th they had over 1,000 pounds. They sell them at wholesale for nine and ten cents per pound, and at retail for
twelve cents. They use nets about twelve feet square, with two and a quarter inch meshes, to which they attach lines
and heavy weights, and sink them about forty feet below the ice. The average weight of the Bass is about one and
a half pounds, but a large number have been cangut that weigh from twelve to fifteen pounds. They lift their nets
at the ebb and flood tides, but are usually caught, on the flood tide. The river being clear of ice from this point all
the way to New York accounts for their coming from down the river to this place to fish. Springfield Republican,
May 24, 1873.

'"The Island of Cuttyhnnk is about sixteen miles from Now Bedford, at the extreme southwesterly boundary of
Buzzard's Bay, whose foaming billows wash its northern shore, while the ocean itself beats npon the south, and near
Penekese, the island school of Professor Agassiz. The Cuttyhunk Club own about three hundred acres of laud, and
have the exclusive right to fish on the shores and in the ponds of the island. When the club was first formed they
stocked one of the ponds on the island with Black Bass, and these have multiplied BO plentifully that they are now
caught in large numbers. No fishing wag allowed for three years from the time the pond was stocked. Perch and
trout are also plenty in ponds on the island. Twenty-six fishing stands have been built at Cuttyhunk, and they



ABUNDANCE OF STRIPED BASS. 427

It has already been stated that the Striped Bass are believed to be less abundant in the Gulf
of Saint Lawrence than in former years; similar complaints are heard from the Bay of Fnndy and
from Cape Cod, where the period of diminution is believed to date from the last advent of the
liluefish, about 1850. The bass fishery in Cape Cod Bay was formerly of great importance, but
the capture of this fish is now of rare occurrence. 1 The early settlers of New England seem to
have IMTII more impressed by the abundance of Bass than by any other circumstance connected
with the fisheries, and the early chronicles are full of allusions to their exceeding plenty and
excellence. Capt. John Smith saw so many in one river that he declares that he thinks be might
have walked across on their backs dry-shod. While there can be no doubt that north of Cape
Cod their numbers have decreased, there is no reason to believe that elsewhere on our coast the
fisheries have had any special effect upon them. A Hessian officer, writing in 1777, declared that
enormous numbers were at that time brought to New York, and the same might be said at the
present day. Three fishing gangs at Bridgehampton, New York, took over 8,000 in less than a
week, in December, 1874. Capt. Charles Ludlow secured at one set of his seine 1,672 Bass, or
about three and a half tons; shortly afterwards a New London fisherman brought in 419 Bass,
185 of which had been caught with a hook in three hours. Near Norfolk, Virginia, 1,500 have
been taken with a single set of the seine. A few years ago, it is stated on credible authority, that
600 were once taken, the average weight of which was eighty pounds. In the first half of June,
1879, one fisherman near Fire Island, New York, caught and sent to New York the following
quantities of Bass:

Pounds.

June 2 1,222

June 4 1,137

June 6 913

June 6 1,521

June 8 - 1,298

June 9 1,255

June 14 1,258

June 18 1.5CO



Total 10.164

extend completely round the island. These stands are built upon prominent rocks, and are supported above the
breakers by iron rods. Foot bridges, supported in the same way, are built from the shore to the stands. The stands
are all named or numbered, and are drawn for every night by the members of the club. A member drawing a stand
can fish from it the next day, or it can be used by any one else by his permissiou. The stands bear such nauiea aa
'Nashawena Point,' 'Canepitset,' 'Old Water Line,' 'Cove Point,' 'Little BOBS," Big Bass,' and 'Guff Rocks.' The
stands are all removed after the season is over, to be pnt up again the next year. 'Central Park' seats have this
season been placed on the bluffs round the island at convenient points, from which to watch the fishing at each stand,
so that members who are not lucky enough to secure favorite stands can sit with ease and enjoy the sport of their
fellow-members. The favorite fishing is for Striped Bass, and, during the best of the season, the sport is commenced
as early as three o'clock in the morning. A record is kept at the club house of the daily catch, by whom caught,
where taken, on what station, the number of fish, weight, and date. Some members of the Cuttyhunk Club also
belong to the West Island Club, which controls only five acres of land. The West Island Club is limited to thirty
members, with an admission fee of $1,000." (Correspondent.)

'The harbor and contiguous waters were, in early times, as is well known, richly supplied with great varieties
of fish. Bass were abundant many years, so that generally three hundred quintals were ready for market in a single
season ; few, comparatively, of these are now taken. We say few in comparison with former days. They are still taken
in goodly numbers, and the way of bass-fishing at Race Point affords a finely athletic exercise for chest and limbs. The
fisherman stands on the beach and throws out the line with sinker attached as far as strength will permit, and then
hauls in, dragging a bouncing fish, if the throw be a good one. History of Cape Cod (Freeman), ii, 1862, p. 623.

Three hundred Bass, of good size, were taken at one haul with a seine on Yarmouth Flats on Tuesday last.
These fish are taken in abundance in our harbor at this season of the year. Many of them are packed in ice and sent
to the Boston market, where they bring a good price. "Going a-baosing," as it is termed, is both a pleasant and
profitable amusement. Bamstable Journal, July 30, 1829.

Capt. Sam. T. Soper, Provincetown, took seven hundred Bass last Saturday. Fish were seined. Mr. Stephen
A. Mayor also caught three hundred Bluefish off the harbor one day last week at one haul. liamtoble Patriot,
October 19, 1858.

Wood, writing in 1634, remarked: "The Bass continue at Lynn from the middle of April to Michaelmas" (Sep-
tember 29).



428 NATURAL HISTOEY OP AQUATIC ANIMALS.

Allen Look, of Tisbury, Massachusetts, testified before the fishery committee of the Massa-
chusetts legislature, in 1870, that in 1845 he caught twenty-seven tons, or about 17,000 Striped
Bass, in Tisbury Great Pond, and that the largest catch within the pond from 1865 to 1870 was
one hundred, taken in December, 1869. 1

The following extract from a Newport (Rhode Island) paper for 1861 shows how abundant
these fish have been in past years in Narragansett Bay :

"As an evidence that fish are not scarce in our waters, the recent haul of Bass by hook and
line is evidence. Within a week the market has been more than supplied, as the following will
bhow:

" Purchased by Samuel Albro: Of Nason & Tenant, 1,339 pounds; William James, 960 pounds;
W. A. Munroe, 429 pounds; Dunwell & Gladding, 1,500 pounds; James Hazard, 357 pounds.

" Purchased by Carry & Co. : Of George Crabb, 950 pounds ; John Heath, 130 pounds; James
Bead, 300 pounds; Edward Smith, 60 pounds; G. Dunwell, 50 pounds.

" Henry Gladding & Co. shipped to New York 1,100 pounds. Making a total of 7,175 pounds
for one week, and these were all taken from the rocks at the south end of the city."

The Rock-fish has been propagated artificially by the United States Fish Commission, the
first experiment having been made by Mr. Holton in 1873, supplemented by more satisfactory
operations in 1879, under the direction of Major Ferguson, when about 400,000 eggs were hatched
out and turned loose in Salmon Creek, North Carolina. The species was introduced into Califor-
nia some years ago, and Jordan reported in 1880 that several specimens had been captured along
the coast.

143. THE WHITE BASS ROCCUS CHEYSOPS (Raf.) GUI.

This species is generally known by the name of " White Bass "; occasionally as " Striped
Bass." Its greatest abundance is in the Great Lake region, although it has a wide distribution in
the Ohio and upper tributaries of the Mississippi, and is found in many streams farther south. It
frequents chiefly the lakes and ponds and the deeper parts of the rivers. It feeds upon minnows
and the like, usually taking the hook readily, .and is considered gamy by the angler. As a food-
fish it ranks high, being little inferior to the Black Bass. Its usual weight is from one to three
pounds. The White Bass is said to -be an excellent fish for cultivation in artificial ponds. Like
most of its relatives, this species spawns in late spring.

"It is frequently taken in the Ohio River," writes Jordan, "and frequents chiefly deep or still
waters, seldom ascending small streams. It is said to thrive well in ponds."

This is doubtless the Silver Bass of Canada (le Silver Bass du Canada), the details of whose
introduction into France, and successful propagation by M. Carbonnier, from 1877 to 1879, are
recorded by that experimenter in the "Bulletin of the Society of Acclimation for 1881."'

The following notes upon the abundance of the White Bass, Roccus chrysops, in the Great
Lakes and bays adjacent have been made by Mr. Kumlien:

Two instances only of the presence of this species at and in the vicinity of the Apostle Islands
are known to Mr. Bantiu. Some of the other fishing points of that region are as follows : Sand
Island, York and Rock Islands, Magdalen Island, Chequamegan Point, and Siscourtand Fry Bays.

1 Four hundred Bass were taken at a single haul in Tisbury Great Pond, Martha's Vineyard, on one day last week,
and shipped to New York. Gloucester Telegraph, November 23, 1870.

A cargo of four hundred and nineteen Striped Bass, one of which weighed more than fifty pounds, was brought
into New London by an old fisherman a few days since. One hundred and eighty-five of them were caught with a
hook and line in three hours. New York Evening Post, December 1, 1874.

Bulletin Mensnel de la Soci6te" d'Aoclimation, viii, No. 2, p. 10.




THE NY 111 I "I-: IJASS IN TUE GREAT LAKES.

In nil other parts of Lake Superior this fish is not recorded as being known. In the flatting



Online LibraryG. Brown (George Brown) GoodeThe fisheries and fishery industries of the United States (Volume 1:1) → online text (page 73 of 146)