G. Brown (George Brown) Goode.

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mouth, while the later runs, which reach Rio Vista about the 1st of August, arrive at the McCloud
River, two hundred and fifty miles distant, in ten or twelve days.

When they have reached the vicinity of their spawning grounds they seem to rest two or
three weeks in deep holes and eddies of the river, until they are just ready to build their nests,
and then they emerge from their holes and literally cover the rapids for miles, in the clear shallow
water of which they can be seen from the river banks by hundreds. They now, comparatively
speaking, lose their fear of danger, and will not leave the places they have selected unless very
closely approached, and then they will persistently return again and again unless actually driven
off and kept off. Here comes in once more very noticeably the marvel of their living without
food, for they now for many days stem the force of powerful currents every moment, day aud
night, not only without partaking of food, but in many instances without having taken any food
for months. A copious rain starts a movement along the whole line from the river sources to tide
water, except where the fish are actually engaged in spawning, and during the rain the river
currents seem to be full of Salmon eagerly striving to reach higher portions of the stream.

SPAWNING HABITS. After the Salmon have occupied the rapids a short time, they pro-
ceed to build their nests and deposit their eggs. They scoop away the gravel from a selected
spot with their noses and sweep it off with their tails, until they have made clear a spot a few
feet in diameter, usually about circular in shape, and depressed towards the center, not unlike in
form a common hen's nest. The eggs and milt having been deposited, the nest is covered over
again with gravel by the parent fish, which use their noses and tails as before to move the gravel.
This being done, they seem, at least on the upper tributaries, to act as if they realized that their
life-work was ended. They do not hasten back to the ocean, where, if they reached it, they would
regain their pristine health and vigor, but they hover about the vicinity of their spawning ground,
growing weaker, more emaciated and diseased every day, till death comes to their relief.

Having briefly traced the Salmon's career from the ocean to the final stages of its journey
and its life, let us look for a moment at the various changes which gradually transform it from the
healthy and magnificent creature of the ocean to the pitiable emaciated object calmly awaiting
its final summons at the river's source.

When the Salmon come into the rivers from the ocean they are royal creatures wearing a
beautiful silvery coat and possessing rare symmetry and immense vitality and muscular vigor. As
long as they stay in tide water, there is saltness enough in it to keep up their appetites, and they
are usually sufficiently successful in their foraging to hold their own. But the moment they cross
the line into the fresh water of the rivers above them they lose their appetite, they take no more
food, and from that day they fall off in symmetry, beauty, and vitality. This physical deterioration
always bears a constant ratio to the proximity of their time of spawning, and regularly increases
as this time approaches. As this spawning season occurs at different periods at different locations,
no specific time can be named for their successive stages of deterioration, but taking the salmon-
breeding station of the United States Fish Commission on the McCloud River as a point of obser-
vation, it is noticed here that the Salmon which pass the station in March and April are very much
like the tide water fish. In May and June they are still in their prime. In July they change rapidly
for the worse, and by the end of that month their silvery look is gone and they are of an olive-
green color. The males are deeper and the females are broader. Their scales are nearly absorbed



TIIK LAKK TROUT. 4S.~)

iuto i lie skin, which has become smooth and slimy. The heads of the females have not changed
much, but the heads of the males have become more or less pointed, their jaws have developed
rows of large, white teeth, and the whole expression of their face has l>ecome ferocious and repulsive
in the extreme. They are now fast losing their marks of nobility with which nature had so richly
endowed ihern in their broad ocean domains. They begin to spawn at the McCloud station I In-
latter part of August, and from that time to the end, which soon comes; their downward progress
is rapid. They grow less comely in appearance, more slimy to the touch, more uusymmetricul in
form; parasites collect by thousands in their gills and under their fins; their tails and fins fray off;
a white and loathsome fungus gathers over all parts of them, frequently destroying their eyesight ;
and swarms of suckers the carrion-birds among fishes wait about them to feed upon their
lifeless bodies when they die. For some unknown and strange reason, the Salmon in the higher
tributaries do not hasten back to the salt water which would clean their bodies of the parasites
and fungus and restore their appetite and with it their health and vigor, but they linger, with a
strange iiulitVerence to their fate, around the spots where they have deposited their eggs, waiting
patiently for the only possible relief from their wretchedness, which is death.

Some uninformed persons, who have uever seen these fish in their natural habits, have
expressed some incredulity in regard to their all dying after they have spawned. Under this
head, 1 will only say that it is probably true that those that spawn near the ocean return to the
ocean and recover their vitality, but those that pass the United States station on the McCloud
lliver in the summer never do. In order to make sure whether I was mistaken in my views about
it, I took the testimony, a year ago, of all the white men who have lived or worked on the river,
and ot all the Indians I could reach. It was the unanimous testimony of all that the Salmon which
pass the McCloud hatching station in the summer, on their way up the river to spawn, die in the
river and never return to the ocean.

In conclusion I will say that the Quiuuat Salmon has been a favored object of artificial
culture. It was among the first of the fishes to receive attention from Professor Baird, the
United States Commissioner of Fish and Fisheries, who, in 1872, deputized the writer to go to
the Pacific coast to collect and distribute its eggs. Since that time over fifty million Quinnat
Salmon eggs have been distributed over the world, or hatched for the benefit of the Sacramento
River. Professor Baird has in some instances sent them as far as Denmark, Germany, Russia,
New Zealand, and Australia.

163. THE NAMAYCUSH OE LAKE TROUT SALVELIKUS NAMAYCUSH.

The Lake Trout, or Salmon Trout, is a non-migratory species inhabiting the chain of Great
Lakes from Superior to Ontario, as well as Lake Champlain and many other smaller lakes of the
United States and of British America. With the exception of the doubtful species known as the
"Siscowet," its nearest relative is the Brook Trout of the Eastern States, Saltelinus fontinali*. The
Lake Trout is, in fact, a member of the same group of the salmon family with the Chare. Gill
and Jordan were the first to point out that the true relations of the Lake Trout are with the Chars
rather than with the Salmon. The Lake Trout is peculiar to North America and its inland seas,
though the Char and the Black-spotted Trent are very similar to European forms. Every one is
familiar with the phenomenon of the Land-locked Salmon, these fish being true Salmon for a time
debarred from access to the sea, assuming a peculiar coloration, and with habits modified by con-
finement within narrower bounds than those of others of the same species which are free to range
between river and ocean.

The Lake Trout appears to have undergone somewhat similar modifications. It is a Char,
not land-locked, but placed under conditions directly opposite to those connected with those which



486 NATURAL HISTORY OF AQUATIC ANIMALS.

are land-locked. Certain modifications of structure have resulted from access to nutritious food
in almost unlimited quantity and from existence for many generations in extensive bodies of water.

SIZE. The most striking of these is the greater size. It sometimes attains the weight of
one hundred and twenty pounds, while our common Char, Salvelinus fontinalls, even under
similar conditions, never exceeds fourteen or fifteen. This is due, perhaps, to the greater ease
with which, for hundreds of generations, the Lake Trout have obtained their food. They are
almost always found in the same lakes with one or more kinds of white-fish, whose slow, helpless
movements render them an easy prey, and upon whose tender, luscious flesh the Lake Trout
feeds voraciously. From abundant food and slight exertion results bulk of body. This becomes
hereditary. Even the eggs in time are larger, just as in the Land-locked Salmon they are smaller,
than in the parent species, and the young fish begins its career with an advantage. As the
nascent species gains in magnitude the scales, always small like those of the Char, increase
iu number, that the growing body may be covered. In like manner an additional ray or two may
be developed to re-enforce the dozen supporters of the dorsal fin. The change iu dentition is a
result of the change of habits. Feeding upon large, strong-scaled fish, instead of insects and min-
nows, natural selection provides the Lake Trout with more and stronger teeth. It would perhaps
seem like a hasty generalization to point to Salvelinus fontinalis as the form from which the Lake
Trout has been developed, but one may fairly take into consideration the fact that this species
alone, of all the Salmo group, is usually associated with the fish under consideration, occupying the
streams which flow into the lakes of Northeastern America, and frequently entering these lakes.
That 8. fontinalis, even when retaining its predilection for the streamlets, shows a tendency to
extraordinary growth when ample waters, like the lakes of Maine or the lower stretches of the
Nepigon, are accessible, is also known.

VARIATIONS. The Brook Trout shares with the Lake Trout its tendency to variations in size,
shape, and color. Every lake of Northern New York and New England has its own variety, which
the local angler stoutly maintains to be a different species from that found in the next township.
Some are as black as a tautog, some brown with crimson spots, some gray, with delicate reticula-
tions like those of a pickerel. The usual type to be found in the Great Lakes is brown or gray,
dappled with lighter shades of the same general tint. Naturalists have been sadly misled by their
Protean modifications. The "Namaycush" of the North, the "Togue" or "Tuladi" of the Maine
and New Brunswick Indians and lumbermen, the "Siscowet" or "Siskawitz" of Lake Superior,
the "Trout" of Winnipiseogee, and that of the Adirondack lakes, have each been honored with a
distinct binomial.

The angling authorities still refuse to admit that the Lake Trout of the East is identical with
the Mackinaw Trout, or Namaycush, supporting their views by accounts of their very different
habits. A careful study of the dead fish is sufficient, however, to convince a trained observer that
there are no structural characters by which these different forms may be separated into species.
The local variations should undoubtedly be taken into consideration, and when these are better
understood it is probable that zoologists and anglers will compromise by agreeing to consider the
most strongly marked types as races, or breeds, such as are now recognized among dogs, pigeons,
and other domesticated animals. Having never seen the fish called the "Siscowet," Salvelinus
siscowet, I cannot express an opinion as to its distinctness from the Mackinaw Trout, but good
ichthyologists assure me that its peculiarities are very slight, consisting chiefly in the smaller head-
teeth, and fins, and the stouter body. Since, however, it is always distinguished from the Namay-
cush by the Indians and fishermen of Lake Superior, who often see them side by side, it seems
probable that it may claim at least sub-specific rank. The matter of laud-locking is one which



VARIATIONS OF THK LAKI: TROUT! 487

deserves more attention than it ha.s hitherto received. From wluit we know of the influence of
environment upon animals, it need not surprise us to discover that the fishes of each . separate lake
possess distinctive characters, rising, perhaps, to sub-specific value. No definite proof can be
gathered, however, until large series of specimens from each body of water have been examined
and compared.

LAKE TROUT IN THE GREAT LAKES. The Lake Trout reaches its greatest perfection in the
northern parts of lakes Huron, Michigan, and Superior, where it is quite generally known as
the "Mackinaw Trout." In the lakes of Northern New York the same species occurs, being known
b\ t lie names "Lake Salmon," " Lake Trout," and " Salmon Tront." This form, which is consid-
erably smaller than that of the northern lakes, was described by DeKay under the name Salmo
conjinix, and was observed by this author as far south as Silver Lake, in Northern Pennsylvania.
Still another form is recognized by sportsmen, which, although undoubtedly specifically identical
with that of the Great Lakes, has been described under various names, such as Salmo tonia and
Sa lino Hymmetrifii.

"This fish," writes Lauman, 1 "is found in all the great lakes of New Brunswick, and in very
many of those of Maine, but it is believed not to exist in the lakes of Nova Scotia. It is called by the
lumbermen the 'Togue'; the Indians designate it by a name equivalent to 'Fresh-water Cod.' It
is ion ml in great numbers and of large size in the Eagle Lakes, at the head of Fish River, in the
Saint Francis lakes, from which it follows the river of that name, and in the Matapediac Lake,
which discharges itself into the Restigouche, and in the Miramichi Lake, at the head of that river.
In Lake Temisconata this fish has been taken of the weight of twenty -one pounds. It is there
called the 'TttladiS It is often taken of the weight of twelve pounds and upwards in the Cheput-
necticook lakes, at the head of the eastern branch of the Saint Croix. It has been found of late
years that this species of fish exists in considerable numbers in Loch Lomond, twelve miles from
the city of Saint John."

Hainliu writes:' "This Trout inhabits many of the great lakes and deep mountain torrents of
Maine and New Brunswick, but it is believed not to exist in those of Eastern New Brunswick,
which singular hiatus in its distribution, perhaps, may be explained by the absence of deep waters
in that country. It haunts the deepest waters, where the cold or the repose to which it leads
favors that development and conservation of fat which is indeed a characteristic, and it steals forth
in quiet at the approach of twilight or at early morn to the shoals and the shores in quest of its
prey."

The Winnipiseogee Trout, 3 somewhat abundant in Lake Wiunipiseogee and supposed to occur
in Lake George, is also a form of this species, closely related to the Togue.

The popular and scientific names which have been given to this species are due to the wonder-
In I tendency of variation in size, shape, and coloration which this species, like the Brook Trout,
exhibits. Every lake in which they occur has its own varieties, which local authorities believe to
be quite peculiar. Some are black, some brown, with crimson spots, some gray, with delicate
reticulations like those of a pickerel. The usual type to be found in the Great Lakes is brown or
gray dappled with lighter shades of the same general tint. Throughout Lakes Superior, Michigan,
and 1 1 in on the fishermen are generally of the opinion that there are at least two kinds of Lake
Trout. It seems probable, however, that they are led by superficial characters, finding it con-



1 Report United States Fish Commission, part 2, p. 220.
Kd., p. 356.



lymmctrica. PKESCOTT: Silliman's Journal, 2d series, ii, p. 340. Report United States Fish Commis-
sion, Pt. 2, p. 257.



488 NATURAL HISTORY or AQUATIC ANIMALS.

venient to give names to the extremes of development in different directions, and neglect to take
into account tbe forms intermediate between these extremes. Mr. Kuinlien studied the subject in
different localities in the summer of 1880, and the results of his observations are here presented.

In the vicinity of Green Bay those having salmon-colored flesh were called "Black Trout,"
while others, with white flesh, were known as " Lake Trout." On the eastern shore of Green Bay,
on the east shore of Lake Michigan, two species of "Mackinaw Trout" are recognized by the fisher-
men. About Grand Traverse Bay, Lake Michigan, two varieties are also recognized, one being long,
slim, and coarse-meated, taken in shallow water, and are known as "Reef Trout," or when very
large are called "Racers"; they are supposed to follow the schools of white-fish, among which they
are always taken; those of the other form are called "Pot-bellies," being short and chubby, aud
invariably taken in deep water. In the vicinity of Two Rivers, Wisconsin, two forms are recog-
nized, one known as "Reef Trout," corresponding to the one just mentioned, large and lank, with
tough and coarse flesh, while the other, which is much more highly prized, is taken in deep water.
At the south end of Lake Michigan two forms are known : one, which is darker-colored and has
red flesh, being considered by far the more valuable. At Grand Haven there are two forms of
Mackinaw Trout, known as the "Shoal-water Trout' : and the "Deep-water Trout." In the vicinity
of Thunder Bay, Lake Huron, the name "Buckskin" is applied to one variety, which is held in
very slight esteem, while another form is known by the name of "Racer."

The angling authorities as well as the fishermen refuse to be convinced that ichthyologists are
right in including all the Lake Trouts in one species; the former are especially dissatisfied that
the Lake Trout of the East should be thought identical with the Mackinaw Trout of the North-
western and Great Lakes, and they support their views by reference to their very different habits.
Local variations should, undoubtedly, be taken into consideration, and when these are better
understood it is probable that zoologists and anglers will compromise by agreeing to consider the
most strongly marked types as races or breeds, such as are now recognized among dogs, pigeons,
and other domesticated animals.

NAMES. In addition to the names which have already been mentioned, tbe Lake Trout has
other appellatives, such as "Lunge," in Canada; "Tyrant of the Lake," "Laker," "Red Trout,"
"Gray Trout," "Black Lunge," "Silver Lunge," "Racer Lunge," "Black Salmon," and "Lake
Salmon." The name "Tuladi" is said to be derived from Lake Toledi at the head of the Saint
John River, of New Brunswick.

IMPORTANCE. "The Trout of the Great Lakes," writes Milner, "is one of the three most
numerous fishes, and, except the sturgeon, attains the greatest weight of any of the Lake species.
It is captured almost exclusively in gill-nets, and in some portions of the Lakes they take them in
pound-nets during the spawning season. In winter a great many are taken in the bays through
holes cut in the ice."

SPAWNING. In the spawning season they approach the shore, but do not ascend the rivers,
and although they are known to exist in a few inland lakes, connected with the main lakes by
rapids, there is no record of their having been seen or taken in the outlets.

The observations of Mr. Kumlien concerning the relative abundance of this species in different
parte of the Great Lake region, and the periodicity of their movements, are deemed of sufficient
importance to be recounted somewhat at length below. The whole subject of their movements is,
however, so closely connected with their habits during the spawning season that it is perhaps
desirable to discuss first their breeding habits. The spawning season in Lakes Michigan and
Superior occurs in October. Their habits at this time have not been studied by any zoologists,
the visits of Milner and Kumlien to their haunts having been made at other seasons of the year.



SPAWNING GROUNDS OF THE LAKE TROUT. 489

They spawn late in October, coming up to the rocky shoals and reefs in from seventy to ninety
feet depth of water. They are said to spawn close to the projections and edges of cavernous rocks,
the eggs settling into the depressions, where they doubtless remain until hatched. The young flsh
make their entry into the world in late winter or early spring, though in a batching house, with
water at an average temperature of 47 Fahrenheit, they have been known to hatch the last week
in January.

Milner remarks: "The universal testimony is that the spawn is found running from the
females in the latter part of the month of October, the flsh coming to the spawning grounds a
week or more earlier. At Detour, at the head of Lake Huron, on the 16th of October, I saw a large
lift of Trout brought in from the spawning grounds; the ova were large and separated, but were
still entirely retained in the folds of the ovaries, and the fishermen said that they had not found
them running from this flsh as yet.

"The localities selected by the Trout for their spawning ground are usually rock bottoms in
from fifteen fathoms to seven feet of depth. The Trout are said to settle close to the projections
and edges of the honey-combed cavities of the rock, and that frequently, when a loose fragment
of the rock is drawn up by the nets, the cells are found to contain numbers of the eggs."

Mr. Milner counted the eggs of a Mackinaw Trout, of twenty-four pounds' weight, and found
that there were 14,943. The average weight of these flsh as taken in the gill-nets was about five
pounds, though fish of fifteeu pounds are frequently seen. Mr. Milner obtained authentic accounts
of one, taken at Mackinaw in 1870, which weighed eighty pounds. The species is the largest,
except the sturgeon, occurring in the Great Lakes.

"The knowledge of the time at which the young fish make their appearance is limited to the
experience of the few fish-culturiste in the country who have hatched the eggs. In water of an
average temperature of 47, they are found to hatch about the last week of January. At the
lower temperatures of the water, in a state of nature, their development would be retarded for
several weeks.

"Of the habits of the young Trout I am entirely destitute of information. I have seen one of
eight inches in length, and learn of rare instances in which the fishermen have seeu small ones."

The principal spawning grounds of the Lake Trout are the following:

I. The north shore of Lake Superior, from Duluth northward to the viciuity of Isle Royale,
comprising the whole lake coast of Minnesota, and in all the small bays of the region.

II. In the vicinity of the Apostle Islands, in the western part of Lake- Superior, especially
about Gull Island.

III. Very extensive spawning grounds in the vicinity of Huron Bay, Michigan, particularly
near L'Ause and Bete-Grise Bay, and on a reef about four miles from Porte Centre.

IV. Very extensive spawning grounds in the southeastern part of Lake Superior, at Big
Presque Isle, Laughing Fish Island, Sharp Point, and Sauk's Head, Michigan.

V. On the west shore of Lake Michigan, from Racine north ward, particularly upon a reef about
forty miles off Milwaukee, and on a smaller reef about six miles from the same town. On this
ground, according to Milner, a large type of Trout has been taken for many years, also on certain
shoals in the vicinity of Green Island in Green Bay.

VI. On the eastern shore of Lake Michigan, from Saint Josephs northward.

VII. In the vicinity of Detour, at the head of Lake Huron. At this point, according to Milner
(also according to Kumlien, along the islands off Thunder Bay and Harnsville), the spawning
ground was so close to the shore that the tips of the floats of the nets set upon it were visible
above water.



490 NATURAL HISTORY OF AQUATIC ANIMALS.

VIII. On the Canadian shore of Lake Ontario.

"Their usual home at other seasons than the spawning period," remarks Milner, "is in
deep water. A few stragglers approach the shore and are taken in the pound-nets or with the
hook from the piers extending into the lakes. In the northern portions of Michigan they are taken
in fifteen fathoms in some numbers with the gill-nets, and more plentifully through holes cut in the



Online LibraryG. Brown (George Brown) GoodeThe fisheries and fishery industries of the United States (Volume 1:1) → online text (page 83 of 146)