G. Brown (George Brown) Goode.

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years ago, in this region, including the fisheries of Ottawa, Port Clinton, Toussaint, and Locust
Point, Musquellunge were taken weighing sixty and seventy pounds. In SandAsky Bay speci-
mens are caught of forty-five pounds weight, and at Kelley's Island one was caught weighing
li fly -seven pounds, and another sixty-two pounds.

In connection with the Huron (Ohio) fisheries, it is reported that about one hundred and fifty
fish of this species were taken in seventy-five nets during the year 1879. They are here generally
large, and are always taken in pairs. Three or four represent a year's catch of this fish at Ver-
million, Ohio. About Black River, Loraiu County, Ohio, Amherst, and Brownhelm Bay, it is
very scarce, few being caught in nets; all that are taken are large. Of this fish, in connec-
tion with the Cleveland and Dover Bay fisheries, it may be said that it is very rare, and is becom-
ing more so each year. Mr. Sadler says he took one weighing eighty pounds. The fishermen say
they are always found in pairs.

The Muskellunge is taken at Conneaut at the rate of half a dozen in ten years. Only one
specimen was taken in the Painesville pounds in 1879. At Fairport and Willoughby, Ohio, no
mention is made of its occurrence. Erie Bay, especially at Dunkirk and Barcelona, New York,
Erie, Pennsylvania, and Mills' Grove, Ohio, is famous for its Muskellunge fishing ; this past
season over sixty were caught, weighing from twenty to forty-five pounds. They are caught
by trawling. Fancy prices are paid for them ; about twenty-five cents per pound retail in the
city and twelve and a half cents when shipped. More were caught during the season of 1879
than ever before.

M rsKELLUNGE IN LAKE ONTARIO. The following notes relate to the fishery in Lake Ontario :
AtOswego the fish is very rare on the American side ; at Port Ontario one is occasionally caught ;

i Mr. Fred. Alvord states that he procured :i Mngkellnuge from Maiiiuee Bay, in 1864, weighing eighty-fire pound*.
30 P



466 NATURAL HISTORY OF AQUATIC ANIMALS.

at Cape Vincent they are common, especially in the Saint Lawrence. Nine have been brought
in in one day, the smallest of which weighed thirty-two pounds. They are not now, however, so
plentiful here as formerly. 1 At Chaumont very few are caught. Seven years ago one was
captured here weighing sixty-five pounds. At Sacket's Harbor very few Muskellunge are caught.

159. THE MUMMICHOG FAMILY CYPRINODONTIDJE.

In the brackish waters along our coast and near the months of rivers, as well as in many of
our fresh- water streams and lakes, are found members of the family Cyprinodontidai. These are all
small fishes, the size of adults, rarely exceeding four inches, never exceeding six or eight in the
largest of them, Fundulus majalin. In New England they are usually known by the Indian name
"Muminichog"; farther south by the name "Brook-fish" or "Killifish," a legacy from the early
Dutch colonists, and in other localities, especially in the interior, less correctly known as "Min-
now."

There are some twenty species in North America, none commonly used for food, but all of
much more importance as food for larger fish, and frequently used for bait. The common species
of the shores of the Gulf of Mexico, Fundulus gramJis, is known at Pensacola by the name
"Sac-a-lait," an unexplained French name also applied to a species of Pomoxys at New Orleans.
The brackish-water species breed in summer, and young are found in immense schools among
the eel grass and on the sandy beaches in company with the sand smelt, Menidia notatum, and the
allied species.

The CyprinodontidcE are represented in California by Fundulus parvipinnis Gir., a little fish
very abundant in brackish waters from Santa Barbara southward, and by Cyprinodon calif or-
niensis Gir., a small species once found at Sail Diego.

These fishes are particularly interesting to the physiologist, from the fact that many of
them are viviparous, and that the anal fin of the adult male is modified into a copulatory organ.
The two sexes of the species thus modified are usually very different in appearance, and might be
mistaken for members of different genera. Those members of the family belonging to the genera
Cyprinodon and Fundulus are carnivorous, while Pcemlia and Mollienesia feed upon mud.

The famous "Blind Fish "of the Mammoth Cave, Amblyopsis spelccus, and its allies, are closely
allied to the Cyprinodon, though belonging to another family, Amblyopsidce. These fish are useless
economically, but are regarded as great curiosities, and often sold for considerable sums.

THE BLACKFISH OP ALASKA DALLIA PECTORALIS, Bean.
By E. W. NELSON.

This species, known as the "E-ruang-uk" to the Eskimo of the Lower Yukon and adjoining
region; "E-lo-ki-nik" to the .Mali-unit Eskimo in Kotzebue Sound region; "Chorruy Ryba" to the
Russian fur-traders; and "Blackfish" to American fur- traders, though insignificant in size, exists
in such numbers in all the grass-grown, sluggish fresh-water streams and shallow lakes from the
vicinity of Kotzebue Sound on the north to the mouth of the Kuskoquiin River on the south, and
ii]) the Yukon to the mouth of the Tanana River, and for some distance up the Lower Kuskoquim,
that it forms a very important source of food supply to the natives within these limits. In the low
country between the Lower Yukon and Kuskoquim Rivers these fish exist in greatest abun-
dance, and here, also, is found the most dense Eskimo population in Alaska. In this region alone

1 By the north iihoro Indians this fish was called " Nosconouge." A very old man, the first white child born on
Prince Edward's Island, told Mr. McPherson that when he was-n boy, fifty years ago, the name was an Indian one,
and that our modern word " Musk<'l)ui>i{e " is but a corruption of the old Indian word " Nosconouge."



ECONOMIC IMPORTANCE OP THE BLACKPI8H. 467

a population of nearly three thousand Eskimos rely upon this fish foronc of their most abundant
and certain sources of food supply. The fish is caught in wicker-work traps set in its haunts n
wicker-work or brush fence leading into (he funnel-shaped mouth of the trap from each side. In
many of the muddy streams and ponds the water fairly swarms with these "Blackflsb." Every
full, especially alter the ice forms, great quantities are taken and packed in grass bags holding
ii.'in foriy to one hundred pounds each. These bags of tish freeze into a solid mass, and are then
stored either in turf covered pits, or upon platforms erected upon four posts, and thus kept for
future consumption. They are eaten either raw or boiled by the natives, and are chopped up and
ted frozen to the dogs.

ECONOMIC VALUE OF THE BLACKFISH. It is difficult to estimate the amount of these fish
used annually. It is well within the limits, however, to state that during October, November, and
December at least 1,500 pounds per day are taken in tho roughly triangular region between the
Lower Yukon and Kuskoquim Rivers. This amounts to 138,000 pounds, or 69 tons. During the
remainder of the year they are fished with varying success, owing to different causes, and for this
period it is fair to allow one-half the amount just mentioned, thus giving 103.5 tons for the annual
estimated catch in this region. Over the remainder of the territory where this fish occurs my
data are very meager, but by a rough estimate I would allow about one-half the preceding amount,
or 51.7 tons, raising the entire estimated amount of these fish used to 155.2 tons per annum. I
have been very cautious in making the estimate small, but I am satisfied that careful observation
over this region will raise the amount to perhaps double that given.

The Vega expedition under the command of Baron Nordcnskjold obtained numerous s\tec-
imens of this fish, and it has since beeii redescribed by Professor F. A. Schmidt, of the University
of Christiana, under the name Dallia delicatissima. There can be little doubt that Nordenskjold's
specimens belong to the species above described.



468 NATURAL HISTORY OP AQUATIC ANIMALS.



Q. THE SALMON TRIBE.

In Dr. Suckley's " Monograph of the Genus Salino," printed in 1873, forty-three species of
Trout and Salmon were enumerated as members of the fauna of North America. In the course of
the extensive revisions of our ichthyology which have recently been made, this group has been
sedulously studied. Only eighteen species are retained upon the list as amended by Professors
Gill and Jordan. While the number of species has been lessened, several new genera have been
proposed, and many changes in nomenclature necessitated.

According to the latest system, the old genus Salmo, which in the standard works on angling
includes everything called by the names " Trout" and "Salmon," has been divided into groups.
The first, for which the name Salmo is retained, includes the Atlantic Salmon and the black-spotted
species of the west, the Rainbow Trout of the Pacific slope, Salmo irideus, the Rio Grande Trout,
S'. spilurus, with the two closely-related forms, more widely distributed through the Rocky Mount-
ain region, and regarded as subspecies of this type, also the Steel Head of the Columbia, <S'.
Gairdneri, and the common Black-spotted Trout, A'. Clarkii, which occurs in the Upper Missouri,
in Utah, in the Columbia River, and numerous other districts of the Northwest. In this same
group are included the Quiunat, or California Salmon, and its allies, which will be discussed here-
after. These have been placed in the genus OncorJiynchus.

The second group includes the Chars, or Red-spotted Trout, and the gray-spotted species
known as Salmon Trout, or Lake Trout. These are assigned to the genus Salvelinws.

160. THE SALMON SALMO SALAR. 1

"In Aquitania the River Salmon surpasseth all the fishes of the sea," wrote Pliny, eighteen
hundred years ago. This was the Salmon's christening, and though nearly one hundred species of
the family Salmonldce are now known to naturalists, one has always stood pre-eminent, like a Scot-
tish chieftain, needing no other name than that of his clan. The luxurious Romans prized highly
the salmon streams in their Gallic and British provinces, if we may trust Pliny and Ausonius, and
that this fish was well known to the early English is evinced by the many Saxon names, such as
"Parr," "Peal," "Smolt," "Grilse," "Kipper," and "Baggit," given it in different stages of growth
in Great Britain and America. The Normans brought over the name of Latin origin, which they
applied to the perfect adult fish, ready for the banquets of the conqueror. When Cabot discovered
Newfoundland, in 1497, he found Salmon in its waters, but the red men had long before this known
the art of killing them with torches and wooden spears.

DISTRIBUTION. Salmon inhabit the North Atlantic and its affluents. No one knows how
far beyond the Arctic Circle they range, though their occurrence in Greenland, Iceland, Northern
Scandinavia, and Middle Labrador is well established. They occur in Norway, Sweden, Denmark,
entering the Baltic and the waters of Russia, and, according to some authorities, the White Sea.
They abound in all the British Islands, where they are protected and fostered with great success,
and are more or less plenty in France, Belgium, Holland, and Prussia, ascending the Rhine as far
as Basle. The southern limit of their occurrence is in Galicia, the northwestern province of Spain,

'This chapter is based upon the essay on the Salmon in "The Game Fishes of North America," by G. Brown
Coode, published by Charles Scribner's SODS.



DISTRIBUTION OF SALMON.

in latitude 43. "There is a river in Maccdon." says Fliu-llcn. in "King Henry the Fifth," -an. I
there is also moreover a liver at Monmoiith : it is called Wye, at Moninouth; but it is out of my
prains. what is the name of the other river; but 'tis nil one, 'tis so like as my fingers is to my
tinkers, and there is salmons in both." Fluellen was in the wrong, for there are no Salmon in any
part of the Mediterranean water system.

On our own side of the Atlantic, their presence in Hudson's Bay and on the arctic coast of
America is doubtful, yet probable. They range far north on the eastern shores of Labrador, and in
the waters of the Great Lake system up to Niagara.

Nova Scotia, New Hrmisvvick, and Maine have many salmon rivers; New Hampshire, Massa-
chusetts, and Connecticut, a few very good ones. The natural limit of the southward range of the
Salmon appears to be in latitude 41, near the Connecticut River, where they were once extremely
abundant, but many stragglers have been taken in the Housatonic and Hudson. Much effort has
been made in trying to prove that the Salmon, of which Hendrick Hudson saw "great store" in
liiu'.i. when sailing up the river which bears his name, were weak-flsh, or some equally remote
species. Surely weak-fish do not go up the river to the Highlands. Salmon have from time to
time been seen in the Delaware, it is said, and, if this be true, it renders the story of Hudson still
more credible.

ABUNDANCE. Wonderful things are said about their abundance in colonial days. Every one
has heard of the epicurean apprentices of Connecticut who would eat Salmon no oftener than twice
in the week. ' Like many other good ones, this story seems to be prehistoric, and was doubtless told
of some other fish in the times when our Aryan ancestors dwelt on the plains of Central Asia. You
may find it in Fuller's "Worthies of England," where it has the same archaic and indefinite flavor
which is so evident now two centuries later. "Plenty of them in this country," wrote Fuller,
"though not in such abundance as iu Scotland, where servants (they say) indent with their masters
not to be fed therewith above twice a week." There can be no doubt that one hundred years ago
salmon fishery was an important food resource iu Southern New England. Many Connecticut
people remember hearing their grandfathers say that when they went to the river to buy shad the
fishermen used to stipulate that they should also buy a specified number of Salmon. At the
beginning of this century they begau rapidly to diminish. Mitchill stated, in 1814, that in
former days the supply to the New York market usually came from Connecticut River, but of late
years from the Kennebec, covered with ice. Rev. David Dudley Field, writing in 1819, stated that
Salmon had scarcely been seen in the Connecticut for fifteen or twenty years. The circumstances
of their extermination in the Connecticut are well known, and the same story, names and date
changed, serves equally well for other rivers.

In 1798 a corporation, known as the "Upper Locks and Canals Company," built a dam sixteeu
feet high at Miller's River, one hundred miles from the mouth of the Connecticut. For two
or three years fish were observed in great abundance below the dam, and for perhaps ten years
they continued to appear, vainly striving to reach their spawning grounds; but soon the work of
extermination was complete. 1 When, iu 1872, a solitary Salmon made its appearance, the Saybrook
fishermen did not know what it was.

HABITS. At least half of the Salmon's life is spent in the ocean. " He is ever bred in the fresh
rivers," said Walton, "and never grows big but in the sea." " He has (like some persons of honour

1 "Thr Rliad, bass, and Salmon more than half support the province. From the number of seines employed to catch
the fish passing up the lakes one might he led to suppose that the whole mnst be stopped, yet in six months' time they
return to the sea with such multitudes of young ones as to fill the Connecticut River for many days, and no finite
being can number them." PKTKRS: History of Connecticut, 1783.

* MITCHILL and FIELD.



470 NATURAL HISTORY OF AQUATIC ANIMALS.

and riches, which have both their winter and summer houses) this fresh water for summer and the
salt water for winter to spend his life in." 1 Most of his tribe, however, are peculiarly fresh-water
fishes, though several share his sea-dwelling habit, and others, like the Brook-trout, descend into salt
water, when not prevented by barriers oi temperature. 2 All of the family run into very shoal water,
and usually to the sources of streams, to deposit their eggs, and all of them seek food and cool tem-
peratures in the largest and deepest bodies of water accessible. I am inclined to the view that
the natural habitat of the, Salmon is in the fresh waters, the more so since there are, so many
instances such as that of the Stormonttield Ponds in England where it has been confined for years
in lakes without apparent detriment. The "Laud-locked" or "Fresh-water" Salmon, known also in
the Saguenay region as " Winninish," in the Shubeuacadie and other rivers of Western Nova Scotia
as the " Grayling," and in different parts of Maine as " Schoodic Trout," " Sebago Trout," or "Dwarf
Salmon," probably never visit salt water, finding ample food and exercise in the lakes and large
rivers. In some regions in Maine and New Brunswick their access to salt water is cut ofl' by dams,
and some investigators have claimed that Land-locked Salmon did not exist there until these
obstructions were built, some fifty years ago. This hypothesis, however, is not necessary, for
in the Saguenay the Winninish have easy, unobstructed access to the sea. The Salmon of Lake
Ontario and its tributaries are not thought to enter salt water, and there are similar instances of
land-locking in the lakes of Northern Sweden. In the Maine lakes Salmon feed on minnows
and other small fishes. The Salmon while it remains in the sea or in the brackish estuaries
takes particular delight in feeding on crustaceans and their eggs, small shrimps, and young crabs.
When in the rivers they eat but little, though they are at times eager enough for food, as testify
their voracious rushes at the angler's fly-hook. The absenteeism of the Salmon is due principally
to the dearth of desirable food in the rivers. The young fish stay in fresh water for one, and
frequently two, years. When they pass down to the sea they weigh but a few ounces. They find
congenial food and begin to grow rapidly. The broad world of ocean affords them new opportu-
nities for adventure and self-advancement, and it is only when summoned by the duties of family
life that they return within the narrow limits of the old home. When Salmon live in the lakes
they prey upon minnows and other small fishes, but those of the sea delight also in small crusta-
ceans and their eggs, to which they owe the vivid color of their flesh. The habits of successive
generations become hereditary traits, and the differences in their life-histories seem to justify the
claim of the Land-locked Salmon to be regarded as a variety of Salmo salar, though it is hardly to
be distinguished except by its lesser size and some slight peculiarities in coloration. It is to be
designated as Salmo salar, variety sebago. Although both originated in the same primitive stock,
it is not probable that one changes to the other except after many generations, under the influence
of forced changes in their environment.

1 REPRODUCTION. Although, like the Trout, and unlike shad, Salmon spawn on a falling tem-
perature, not depositing their eggs until the water is at least as cold as 50, yet they seem to
enter the rivers on a rising temperature. Yarrell remarked that English rivers issuing from large
lakes afford early Salmon, while rivers swollen by melting snows in the spring months are later in
their season of producing fish, and yield their supply when the lake rivers are beginning to fail.
In America the Southern streams seem to yield the earliest fish. In the Connecticut they appear
in April and May, in the Merrirnack in May and June, in the Penobscot most abundantly in June

\v\i I..N: Compleat Angler.

The notion of marking Salmon in not anew one. Walton, writing two hundred and twenty-five years ago, speaks
of observations made by tying ribbons in tho tails of some number of young Salmon which were taken subsequently
at the game place, "which hath inclined many to think t' at every Salmon usually returns to the same river in
which it was bred, as young pigeons taken out of the satin 1 dove-cote have also been observed to do."



SPAWNING HABITS OF THE SALMON. 471

and July, though some come as curly :is April, and in tin- Miramicbi from the middle of June to
October. I can only account for this seeming paradox by (he theory that, while Salmon arc not
harmed by extreme variation of temperature, they may be averse to sudden changes, and though
strongly impelled to seek the spawning grounds are prevented by the eold. I have ascertained
that the eod possess very little animal warmth. The temperature of the blood of a number of
individuals caught iu twenty-five fathoms of water was 47 Fahrenheit, precisely that of the water
at the bottom whence they were lifted. Mackerel swimming at the surface registered 59 or 00,
while the temperature of the water was ."iS , thus indicating that they possess a trifling amount of
animal heat. The Salmon unquestionably changes its temperature with that of the surrounding
water iu much the same way, and if, as is probable, rivers rising in the mountains are colder in
early spring than the ocean strata frequented by the Salmon, here is a possible solution of the
problem. It is stated that in the English rivers, which are always open, there are no regular
seasons of ascent, the fish constantly passing iu and out; indeed, Mr. Atkins thinks it pretty
certain that large Salmon iu prime condition are running into the Peuobscot from the sea every
month in the year. It is likely, also, that the warmth of the rivers is an important factor iu accel-
erating the vegetative growth of the eggs iu the ovaries of the mother fish.

The movements of the Salmon are not so intimately related to the temperature of the water
as those of many other species. They are not sensitive to sudden changes, and are capable of
enduring a range of at least forty-five degrees. In this they resemble less the migratory fishes
than the permanent residents of our fresh waters; indeed, it is quite allowable to speak of them
as resident, for a large proportion of the whole colony belonging in one river may be found in it at
any season. This proportion cannot fall much below two-thirds, if we consider that the fish less
than a year old would make up at least half its number, and that the breeding fish are iu the
rivers six or seven mouths after the breeding. The breeding fish remain dining the season of
greatest heat and greatest cold, though their stay after they have de]M>sited their eggs is no
doubt chiefly because their vitality is diminished and their circulation retarded by the falling tem-
perature, depriving them alike of the craving for food and the power to seek it. Those which
spawn early are believed to return at once to the sea; the more tardy ones often remain all
winter, and are carried out by the spring freshets. Salmon eggs are not injured by freezing, and
the fish are unquestionably quite as hardy. English fish-culturists claim that their Salmon will not
thrive where the water is warmer than GO , or at most G5 iu the summer, but Mr. Atkins kept fish
in his ponds at Bucksport, Maine, with the water at the bottom as warm as 74 at midday, the
means of bottom and surface temperature for June, July, August, September, and October, 1872,
being G0.6, 65.9, 6JP.8, 59, 5Q0.3, and 729, 73.l, 73Q.G, G2.2, 64.3, respectively. In the GaspS
salmon streams, where the fish are in the perfection of activity, the temperature of the pools in
July ranges from 40J to 59.

K i : i . i s. At the approach of the spawning season their trim shapes and bright colors disappear.
They grow lank and misshapen, the fins grow thick and fleshy, and the skin, which becomes thick
and slimy, is blotched and mottled with brown, green or blue, and vermilion or scarlet These
changes are chiefly apparent in the males, whose jaws now become curved so that they touch only
at the tips, the lower one developing a large, powerful hook, which is his weapon iu the savage
combats with his rivals in which he at this period engages. When in this condition, and after
spawning, when they retrace their course to the sea, they are known as "Kelts."

Having entered a river, they press on to its headwaters, where the earliest of them arrive two
or three mouths before spawning time. As soon as the water is cool enough they proceed to deposit
their eggs, in deep furrows which they plow up in the sandy or gravelly bottom of the stream,



472 NATURAL HISTORY OF AQUATIC ANIMALS.

usually near the verge of a rapid. European observers state that the furrows are shaped by the



Online LibraryG. Brown (George Brown) GoodeThe fisheries and fishery industries of the United States (Volume 1:1) → online text (page 80 of 146)