G. Brown (George Brown) Goode.

The fisheries and fishery industries of the United States (Volume 1:1) online

. (page 81 of 146)
Online LibraryG. Brown (George Brown) GoodeThe fisheries and fishery industries of the United States (Volume 1:1) → online text (page 81 of 146)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


noses of the two parent fish, every nest being tilled with eggs before the next one is made, and the
first covered up by the sand which is loosened in digging the second, chiefly by the action of the
current. Mr. Atkins observed a female Land-locked Salmon excavating a nest by turning on her
side and flopping violently against the bottom with her tail, while the male was engaged in driving
away rivals and predaceous foes. Spawning is not accomplished at once, but the eggs are deposited
by installments, as fast as they mature, during a period of from five to twelve days. "When the
furrow is made, the male and the female retire to a little distance, one to the one side, the other
to the other side of the furrow; they then throw themselves on their sides, again come together,
and rubbing together both shed their spawn into the furrow at the same time." This is the
observation of Mr. Ellis on the European Salmon, and a similar habit has been observed by Mr.
Whitcher in Canada. In the tributaries of the Saint Lawrence spawning begins by the middle of
October; in Maine, with both Land-locked and Sea Salmon, a week or two later, and it is presumable
that in the Connecticut it will be found to occur well along towards December. In Great Britain
and in the Rhine the season begins in October or November, continuing in some rivers till February.

Salmon eggs are about one-quarter of an inch in diameter, and of a bright reddish or yellowish
hue. English fish-culturists estimate the number of eggs yielded by a large fish at 1,000 to each
pound of her weight ; experiments in the Penobscot indicate a yield of not more than 5,000 or C,000
for a fish of eight pounds, and about 15,000 for one of forty pounds. In the Scotch streams the
eggs come to maturity in one hundred to one hundred and forty days, but in our colder waters, at a
temperature of 33 through winter and spring, the period of incubation is supposed to extend over
six or seven months, the young fish not appearing until May. In the hatching-houses the period
varies greatly, eggs having been hatched in fifty-four days with a temperature of 55. and in one
hundred and fourteen at 36.

YOUNG FISH. The newly hatched Salmon measures about three-quarters of an inch, and has
the yolk-sac adherent from four to six weeks. When this is absorbed it begins to feed, rising
greedily to seize any minute floating object. In two months the fry has grown to an inch and a
half, and begins to assume the vermilion spots and transverse bars or finger marks which entitle
it to be called a "Parr," and which it retains while remaining in fresh water, sometimes until it is
seven or eight inches long. It continues a " Parr " until the second or third spring, when, in prep-
aration for, or perhaps in consequence of, a descent toward the sea, a uniform bright silvery coat
is assumed, and the Parr becomes a "Suiolt." After remaining from four to twenty-eight months
in the salt water it again seeks its native river, having become either a "Grilse" or a "Salmon."
The "Grilse" is the adolescent Salmon; it weighs from two to six pounds, and is more slender and
graceful than the mature fish, with smaller head, thinner scales, more forked tail, and spots
rounder, more numerous, and bluish rather than jetty black. The two may easily be distinguished
even though both should be of the same size, as not unfrequently happens. The male Grilse is
sexually mature, but not the female, in America; in Europe the same is claimed for the male Parr
and the female Grilse. "There is nothing in the water," says Norris, " that surpasses a Grilse in
its symmetrical beauty, its brilliancy, its agility, and its pluck. I have had one of four pounds to
leap from the water ten times, and higher and farther than a Salmon. Woe to the angler who
attempts, without giving line, to hold one even of three pounds; he does it at the risk of his
casting line, or his agile opponent tears a piece from its jaw or snout in its desperate effort to
escape."

Mr. Atkins calls attention to the fact that the great run of Grilse which is so prominent a
feature in Canada and Europe is almost entirely absent in the rivers of the United States, the fish



THE SALMON IN LAKE ONTARIO. 473

not returning until they have beco me ;i(lult. In rivers where (Irilse are found, (In- Salmon al\va\>

precede them in their ascent, for they do not enter fresh water until toward the end of sum r.

Who '-mi wonder at tin- angler's enthusiasm over "a Salmon fresh run in love and glory from
the seat" Hear Christopher North's praise of a perfeet tish : -She has literally no head; but her
snout is in her shoulders. That is the beaulv of a tish, high and round shoulders, short waisted,
no loins, lui: all body and not long of terminating the shorter still the better in a tail sharp and
pointed as Diana's, when she is crescent in the sky." Mr. Kilhonnie's painting in Seribner's
Came Fishes of North America" represents a thirty-pound fish drawn to a scale of one-fourth.
The largest on record was one of eighty-three pounds, brought to London in 1821; the Scotch
tish rarely exceed twenty-live pounds. Perley speaks of a sixty pounder taken long ago in the
Kestigouchc: in is.-.j many of forty, and one of forty-seven, pounds were caught in the CasoH-
pcdiac. Mr. Frederick Curtis' M ,,re for York River, Canada, July 7, 1871, shows nine fish
ranging from seventeen to thirty-four ami averaging twenty-six and a quarter pounds. Another,
for tin- same locality, July, 1876, shows one hundred and ten tish, averaging more than twenty-two
pounds. This was by Mr. Thomas Reynolds, who caught in the same river a fish of forty-seven
pounds, the largest ever killed in Gasp6 with a fly. In the Penobscot forty-pounders have occa-
sionally been taken, but not more than one out of a thousand weighs thirty, and the common
size is from ten to twelve pounds. A fish two feet long would weigh about six pounds; one of
thirty inches, nine or ten; one of three feet, sixteen to seventeen; and one four feet long, nearly
fifty. A score of twenty-two days' flshiug, with four rods, in the Godbout, in June and July, 1865,
foots up four hundred and seventy-eight fish, averaging nine and three-quarters pounds. 1

SALMON IN LAKK ONTARIO. The following notes by Mr. Kumlieu on Salmon in Lake On-
tario possess much interest: "At Oswego they were formerly very abundant and very important;
they used to go up the river (Oswego) to the falls. In the last eighteen years they have gradually
decreased till now they are caught only as stragglers. Forty have been speared by one man in
a day. Navigation and various kinds of mill refuse have driven them away. A few years after
the dams were built they yet came in abundance, and tons of them were speared from the dams,
but they have gradually grown less till now only an occasional straggler is caught.

"At Port Ontario," Air. Harrington says, "in 1879 only a very few were caught in the wines.
For the last three or four years have been scarce in the river. I think it is because the mills and fac-
tories especially the book-board mill at Pulaski throw the refuse into the river. They have not
been plenty in the river as far up as Pulaski since 1875. It is currently reported that considerable
Lumbers were caught in the river five or six years ago, and disposed of on the sly. They seem
to have turned their course from this river. Of late years a few weighing eighteen to twenty
pontids have been taken ; we used to consider twelve pounds an average. Some weighing thirty
pounds have been taken."

At Pulaski, Mr. J. A. Mathew.son & Hro. (Mathewson has fished here the last fifty-live years)
report as follows on the salmon fisheries: "In October, 1836, two men took two hundred and thirty
Salmon between 8 p. m. and 11', with spears and fire jacks, and after 12 till morning two other men
in the same skiff took two hundred odd, the average weight of the entire lot being fourteen and
three -quarters pounds. We have had fifteen hundred fresh Salmon in the lish-hoiise at one tiine.
When a freshet occnred in June a few would always come up. and sometimes a few early in the spring.
Any time from June till winter when there was a freshet they were sure to come. The principal
time, however, was in fall, during September, October, and November. Twelve skiffs in one night

1 Nouui* : American Aiigh T, p. 117.



474 NATURAL HISTORY OF AQUATIC ANIMALS.

have takeii au average of three hundred Salmon each. For the last twenty years the catch has
been nothing to what it used to be, though some are taken even now. The gill-nets stretched
across the mouth of river assisted to a large extent in causing the decrease. The fish used to run
up to the falls, ten miles above Pulaski; now there are two dams in the way. They never could go
above the falls, as they are one hundred aud eight feet in perpendicular height. I think the mills
(factories), tanneries, etc., are prolific causes of the disappearance of Salmon. Lime is one of the
worst things thrown into the river; vats of refuse lime have been emptied when the river was full
of lish, aud upon the next they were gone. Lime, tan-bark, sawdust, and gill-nets have driven
the Salmon from our river.

"There were formerly three salmon streams in this vicinity Grindstone Creek, Deer Creek,
and Salmon River aud each stream had a dift'erent type of fish. Au experienced fisherman could
readily tell from which stream a fish was caught, though they are but four miles apart. In Deer
Creek the fish were long aud slim, in Grindstone short and chubby, and in Salmon River large and
heavy.

"The largest specimen ever caught here weighed forty-four aud three-quarters pounds. Some
have been taken as small as one pound. A few will coino up now as soon as there is a freshet.
There is a fish-way here on the lower dam, but its construction is so defective that very few if any
of the fish are able to get over it; they were seeu to try last fall and fail. They are caught (aud
always were) with a large three-tined spear from a skiff with a jack-lantern. Two thousand have
been landed at the bridge in one night."

"Mr. Cross says: 'They often went over the dam before the apron was put in, but now they
must jump along a twenty-foot apron besides the height of the dam (eight feet). The way it is
now, a few manage to get as far as the first pocket aud then fall back again. Forty years ago
the salmon fisheries on this river brought more money to the people than all the machinery now
on the river.'

"At Cape Vincent they were formerly taken on the lake shore during the migrations. Never
went up the Chaumout Bay. No rivers here to spawn in. Never seemed abundant in the Saint
Lawrence only as they passed by. Even now one is occasionally taken in the gill nets in the
lake. (McPhersou.)

"At < 'ha u mon t four were caught in 1879; were formerly common during their migrations.
(Dewy.)

"At Sacket's Harbor very rarely taken now; used to get them at Phillips Point as they were
passing by." (Clark.)

161. THE SALMONS OF THE PACIFIC.

By DAVID 8. JORDAN.
THE STEEL-HEAD SALMO GAIRDNEBI.

This species is every where known as the "Steel-head." The name "Hard-head" is some-
times applied to it, and it is known to the Russians as "Seomga." The name "Mykiss" is said
to have been formerly applied to it in Kamtchatka. Large individuals are often called "Salmon
Trout." The, Indian name " Humaana" is said to be given to it on the Upper Columbia. It reaches
a weight of twenty-two pounds, the average weight when fully grown being about sixteen. Young
specimens are very scarce in our experience. It is found from Monterey to Karntschatka, always
close to the coast. In the Columbia and Frazer Rivers it occurs in abundance in the spring at
the time of the salmon run. None have yet been noticed to the eastward of the Cascade Range,



TIIlv i;.\IM!()\V AND BLACK SPOTTKD TUOUTS. 475

anil so far as appearances go it is a permanent inhabitant of river mouths. It probably spawns
late in the fall or in the winter. a> main of those taken at the firm run of the Salmon are spent
lisli. with the llesh white and worthless.

The history of this species is still obscure. According to Pallas, it migrates singly, from
June to September; s.mie remaining all tlie\ear in the rivers, returning to the sea in May. It
feeds iii the fresh waters on any living thing. Hence, unlike the other Trout, which during the
a>c'-ni of the rivers -row lean with fasting, breeding, and exertion, this species is plump and well
fed. and. with .s'. ulrrliiiux miiiiini only, does not perish in the winter. Elsewhere than in the
Columbia this speeies is highly valued as a food-tish. When taken in the Columbia in spring little
or no use is made of it. Its llesh is pale, and its bones too tirni for it to be used in canning, and
at that season the old individuals taken are usually spent and worthless. In the Sacramento it is
not very common.

THE UAINBOW TROUT SALMO IRIDEUS.

This species is generally known as the "Brook Trout," "Mountain Trout," "Speckled Trout,"
(loldeii Trout." and other evanescent names arc also sometimes applied to it. It does not reach
a weight of more than live or six pounds, so far as we know, and most of them as taken are H tiger-
lings ranging from four inches to a foot in length. It is found throughout California in all streams
of the mountains. It is said to occur in the northern part of Lower California. The southernmost
.-ecu by us were from San Luis Key Kiver. We have seen but few sjH'ci metis of this species from
salt water. These weighed from three to five pounds each. It may probably run into the sea
from streams in which the lower waters are clear. Specimens referred to this species from the
iiorth of Mount Shasta are perhaps the young of Gairdneri. It feeds on worms, larva-, and the
like. For a Tront, it is a fish of little, "gaminess" or activity. It is not often brought into the
markets of San Francisco, and at present has little economic importance, although of course a
good table-fish. It has been rather extensively introduced into the waters of the Eastern United
States.

THE BLACK SPOTTED TROUT SALMO PUBPURATUS.

This fish is known as the "Trout," "Mountain Trout," "Spotted Trout," " Black Trout,"
"Silver Trout," etc., in the mountains, but when in the ocean, full grown, as "Salmon Trout" or
"Steel-head." The Indian name "Freest!" is also ascribed to it on the Upper Columbia. It
reaches a weight of thirty pounds under the most favorable circumstances, but may be found in
any stream or lake of any length from, two inches up to two or three feet. Unlike if. Oairdneri, the
young are very common, and it probably begins breeding in mountain streams at a length of less
than a foot. It is universally distributed through the Itocky Mountain region, chiefly east of the
Sierra southward, but reaching the sea from Mount Shasta northward. It occurs iu every lake of
New .Mexico, Utah, Western Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington.
Every stream throughout the most of this region abounds in them, and in 1'uget Sound the young
of every si/.e occur in the salt water iu abundance. Individuals are occasionally taken along the
California coast. Local variations occur in abundance Specimens fiom Seattle have the scales
notably larger than those Irotn Victoria and Astoria, which agree with Utah Lake specimens in
this respect. Those that live in the depti.s of shady lakes are almost black, while others are pale.
Those iu the sea are .silvery and only faintly spotted. Only iu Lake Tahoe do the variations
assume any marked importance (var. Heiuhawi). Individuals intermediate between this species
and Oairdneri ate not rare, and there is no doubt that the latter is simply an offshoot from this
general stock, as are & irideus and S. gtomias. It feeds on any living ihing it finds near it. In the



476 NATURAL HISTORY OF AQUATIC ANIMALS.

mountain lakes it spawns in the spring, running into the rivers for that purpose. Its great
enemies at that season are the various species of suckers and chubs, which feed, the former upon
its eggs, the latter upon the young Trout. So very destructive are the former in many trout lakes,
as Utah Lake, that the destruction or diminution of the suckers ought to be accompli.-hed by law.

A parasitic tape-worm, Dibothrium cordiceps, Leidy, is said to frequently infest this species, so
as to render its flesh uneatable in the summer, in the Yellowstone Lakes. (Yarrow.)

As a iood-flsh this Trout is excellent. Large numbers of the variety Henshawi are shipped to
the market of San Francisco. Attempts have been made to cultivate it iu parts of California, I
believe with success. A small hatchery has been established at Tahoe City for the purpose of
keeping stocked a small branch of the lake in which summer visitors may fish.

In the opinion of the writer this species is likely to prove much more valuable for introduction
into Eastern waters than the Rainbow Trout. It is more active, more gamy, reaches a larger size,
and thrives iu a greater variety of waters.

THE Rio GRANDE TROUT SALMO SPILURUS.

This species is abundant in the headwaters of the Rio Grande, Rio Colorado, and their tribu-
taries, being the finest food-fish in New Mexico and Western Colorado. It has also been taken in
Bear River, and probably is found in most of the mountain streams of Utah, being in general
rather southern iu its distribution. It probably inhabits all streams within the circle of its distri-
bution, without regard to the direction iu which they may flow. We have not seen this species in
life, and little distinctive is known of its habits. It is probably a comparatively recent oifsboot
from S. purpuratus. As in other species, considerable variation is shown iu specimens from differ-
ent localities. Its usual size is larger than that of 8. purpuratus.

THE DOG SALMON ONCORHYNCHUS KETA.

This species, during the period of its run in the fall, generally goes by the name of "Dog
Salmon," under which mime the males of the Silver Salmon, and even of the Quinuat, are often con-
founded with it. The Russians now, as in the time of Pennant, Piillas, and Walbaum, call it
" Kayko," the name "Keta" (whale) being no longer in use. On Frazer River the name (Mtisquam)
is now "Qualocb," at Seattle (Nisqnally) "Ktla-why," and in the Chinnook jargon "Le-Kni."
This species is very uniform in its size, and averages ten to twelve pounds. It ranges from the
Sacramento River to Bering Strait, where it seems to be ('.specially abundant; it being the only
Salmon brought from there in a recent cruise of the revenue cutter Corwin. It is seldom or never
seen in the rivers in spring.

THE HUMP-BACKED SALMON ONOORHYNCHUS GORBUSCHA (Walb.) Gill & Jor.

This species is known to the Russians still, as in the time of Pennant and Pallas, by the name
of "Gorbuscha," {/orb meaning hump. The English speaking people call it generally the "Dump-
back Salmon," and often the "Dog Salmon." On Frazer River it is known as "liolia" or "Hone"
Salmon, and on Puget Sound as the "Haddoh." Thin is one of the smallest Salmon, not averaging
over four^r five pounds, and probably never exceeding ten. It ranges from the Sacramento ! iver
to Alaska and Kamtchatka. In the Sacramento and Columbia it is only an estray, on the latter
river being sometimes called "Lost Salmon." Jn PngH .Sound it inns in large numbers in late
summer and fall, like the Keta or Dog Salmon, ascending every little stream. Its run in Puget
Sound takes place on alternate years, a fact which seems to be well established. It was very plenty
in 1879. None were noticed in 1880, but stragglers are occasionally taken during the year of



THI-: SII.YKI; AM> 1:1. i i: i;i..\( K SALMONS. 477

scarcity. A few were seen by us <ni the Columbia and Sacramento. We are told that this species
runs every year in Alaska. During its run in I'u^et Sound the- females are canned, and tbe
males are thrown away or jjivi-n to I lie Indians. The llesli is then pale, and tin- canned product is

interior in quality. In economic value the II p-baek Salmon is far inferior to the Quinnat, the

llliie hack, and the Siher Salmon, and, like the Dog Salmon, is mainly useful in furnishing a winter
supply of food to the Indians.

THE SILVER SALMON ONCOBHYNCHUS KISUTCH.

This species is almost everywhere known by the name of "Silver Salmon." It has also a
series of Kieal names. In Kauitchatka it is still known by the name "Kisutch," in use in Pen-
nant's time, a hundred years ago. The name "Bielaya Byba," or "White-fish," is also aseribed to
it. On 1'ra/er River it is known by the Musquatn name of "Coho"; at Seattle, by the Nisqually
name of "Skowitx"; about Cape Flattery by the Makah name of "Hoopid"; on the Columbia
it is called "Silver Salmon" or "White Salmon," and southward the same names prevail. It
reaches a weight of twenty pounds, the usual range being from seven to ten. The Silver Salmon
enters all the rivers from the Sacramento to Kamtchatka. In tbe fall it is abundant in probably
all the rivers. Few or none, however, are seen in the spring. They are often taken with seines
in I 'iiu<-i Sound at all seasons. Like the other fall-running Salmon, it seldom ascends the rivers
to any great distance.

THE BLUE-BACK SALMON ONCOBHYNOHUS NEBKA.

This species is known as the "Bed-fish" to the English-speaking inhabitants of Alaska and
Kauitchatka, and to the Bnssiaus, now as in the time of Pennant and Pallas, as " Krasnaya Byba,"
which signifies red-fish, the name having reference to the color of the flesh. It is not unlikely
that other species are occasionally confounded under this name, but there is little doubt that the
present species is the one to which it is chiefly applied. On Frazer Biver, where this species is the
most important Salmon, it is known as the ' Suk-kegh." Elsewhere in Puget Sound it is rarely seen.
In the Lower Columbia it is known by the appropriate name of "Blue-back"; in the Upper Colum-
bia as "Bed-fish." Its average weight does not exceed eight pounds, and its extreme weight is
probably not above fifteen. Its range is from the Columbia Biver to Japan and Kamtchatka.
It runs in considerable numbers in the Columbia, and in much greater abundance in Frazer Biver,
where it is the principal spring Salmon. We have no information as to its occurrence in California,
or as to its entrance into any of the streams south of the Columbia. Like the Quinnat Salmon, it
is attracted in early spring into all those streams which arc fed by the melting snows, and into no
others. Its run in spring on the Columbia is, so far as we know, contemporaneous with that of
the Quinnat Salmon. The numbers are, however, much less, and I think that its run is over
earlier in the fall. On Frazer Biver it runs with the Quinnat, or a little earlier in the -spring, the
run mostly ceasing in midsummer, while that of the Quiunat continues on through the fall months.
This species and the Quinuat run early and go far up the streams, where, after spawning, they all
die. Iii Puget Sound this species is not known to the fishermen, only .stray individuals In-ing
taken there. It does not accompany the Silver Salmon and Dog Salmon in their ascent of the
Dwamish, Puyallnp, and other small streams; neither is it caught near the shore when out of the
spawning season, as the other species are. In Alaska and Kamtchatka we are told that the Bed-
fish (ntrka) and King Salmon (chawytcha) run in spring and early summer, while the other species
run in late summer and fall, the Silver Salmon last.

The Blue-back is the most graceful of the Salmons and the most elegant in color. Its flesh is
very similar to that of the Quinnat, but less firm and more watery, and it is not quite so rich when



478 NATURAL HISTORY OF AQUATIC ANIMALS.



canned. Next to the Quinnat, it is the most valuable of the different species, and its inferiority is
mainly that of size. At the canneries four Blue-backs are taken as one Quinnat. A very few of
the Columbia River canneries refuse this species, in order to be able to say that they can the Chin-
nook Salmon only.

BENDIRE ON THE RED-FISH. This is the Red-t'sh of Idaho, the identity of which was first
determined by Capt. Charles Bendire, United States Army, whose field-notes upon its appearance
and habits, published in the Proceedings of the National Museum, 1 are here reproduced:

"The females are much more uniformly colored. The head is considerably tinged with steel
blue, and the red tint on the sides is more or less clouded with blue and bronze. Females after
spawning show considerable amount of red, only after spawning I noticed that the red coloring



Online LibraryG. Brown (George Brown) GoodeThe fisheries and fishery industries of the United States (Volume 1:1) → online text (page 81 of 146)