G. Brown (George Brown) Goode.

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Mr. Eveland says he has frequently caught Yellow Perch weighing two pounds. They are
seldom found in water deeper than from twenty-five to thirty feet. It is a prevalent belief among
fishermen that Yellow Perch are very destructive of white-fish. Mr. Hatch thinks that the
.I* rn-ase of the latter may be to some extent due to increase of the former. Perch caught in the
Lakes are much larger than those caught in the rivers running into them.


This species is known as the "Rock-fish," "Hog-fish," or "Log Perch." It is the largest of a
large group of little perch-like fishes known as "Darters" or Etheostomatidte. These fishes may
be described as little perch, reduced in size and compacted, thus fitted for a life in rocky brooks
where the water is too shallow, swift, and sterile to support larger fish. All the Darters are
brilliantly colored, and all have a way of lying quiescent on the bottoms, resting on their large fins,
and then suddenly darting away for a short distance when disturbed. They are carnivorous,
feeding chiefly on insects and crustaceans. Only one of them (Percina caprodes) is largu enough
to take the hook. This one is often found on the urchin's string, but it cannot be said to have
any economic value. The others are too small for the urchin even, and although, according to
Ralinesque, "they are good to eat fried," few people think it worth while to cook them. Darters
are found in all fresh waters of the United States east of the Rocky Mountains, but all the species
are peculiar to America.


In the interior of North America occur two species of the genus Slixontedium, the Wall-eyed
Pike, 8. mtreum (Mitch.), J. & G., and 8. canadense (Smith) Jordan. Both of these occur in the
Great Lake region and the Upper Mississippi, and the valley of the Ohio and the Tennessee; the
former penetrating northward to the fur countries, and into some of the Atlantic streams south of
New England.

"8. ritreum," according to Jordan, "may be readily known from 8. canadense by the presence
of a single black spot on the posterior part of the spinous dorsal, instead of one or two rows of
smaller spots on the middle part of the fin."


"Stizostedium rltreum," writes Jordan, "is most commonly called the 'Wall-eyed Pike.' In
the Upper Lakes, where the true Pike (Esox hiciu*) is known as ' Pickerel,' the Wall-eyed Pike
becomes simply 'Pike.' The names 'Glass-eye' and 'Yellow Pike' are sometimes heard, and
the name 'Blue Pike' is applied to a local variety. The name 'Pike Perch,' a translation of
Lucioperca, a name given by Cuvier to the genus Stizostedium, is often used in books, but has
never taken root among fishermen. Among the French about Lake Michigan and in Canada
27 F


the name 'Dory 'is in common use. Southward the name 'Jack' is applied to this species as
well as to the Pike. The most unfortunate misnomer of Salmon' is also common in the South, and
the names 'Okow,' 'Blow-fish,' "Green Pike," and 'Jack Salmon' are also current in various
localities. This species is very abundant throughout the Great Lake region and the Upper Mis-
sissippi and Missouri. It has also an extensive but not well-known distribution through the larger
streams of the Southern States, at least of the upland portion. It feeds upon other fishes, and is
a voracious and gamy species. It reaches a length of three feet or more, aud a weight of fifteen to
twenty-five pounds or more. Those seen in market are generally much smaller. This is one of the
best of onr food-fishes, with firm, white flesh of good flavor. In the markets supplied from the
Great Lakes it ranks in importance below the white-fish and lake trout only. It is the most
valuable of out fresh-water percoids."

Jordan recognizes two varieties of this species, namely, var. vitreum and var. salmoneum; the
butter, known as the "Blue Pike," is a local variety in Ohio and southward; it is bluer in color,
and is smaller, besides having the body shorter and deeper.

The abundance of the Wall eyed Pike, Stizostedium mtreum, in the region of the Great Lakes
has been recorded by Mr. Kumlien as follows:

"At the western extremity of Lake Superior, at the head of Saint Louis Bay, Wall-eyed Pike
are abundant. They are there taken extensively with seines. Off the Wisconsin coast of Lake
Superior, and, passing east, as far as Ontonagon, Michigan, Pike have, within the last two years,
become abundant. Four years ago the fishermen could scarcely find sufficient for their own tables,
while in 1879 there was an immense " run" of Pike. They are most abundant in Squaw and Siscourt
Bays and are of larger size than in Keweenaw Bay. The sudden appearance of Pike is a deep
puzzle to the fishermen.

"At Portage Entry and L'Anse, Pike are abundant; they are common, however, all along the
shore from Ontonagon to Huron Bay, between which two points they rank third, and would take
the second place (f. e., that of lake trout) if the "runs" of Pike were as continuous as those of
trout which latter can be caught at all times. Pike are here taken principally in the pounds.
They average a smaller size than in the Lower Lakes. At Portage Entry the fishermen used to
keep the Pike in a pond until required for shipment. They are here called "Yellow Pike."

On the fishing grounds between Grand Island and Sauk's Head, including Ontario Bay,
Sucker Bay, Laughing-fish Point, Short Point, Marquette and Big Presque Isle, Pike are taken
to some extent, but are not abundant enough to be of much importance. Twelve years ago they
were quite rare; they have since that time been increasing steadily. They are taken in the pouud-
uete to some extent, but rarely in the gill nets. Some pounds do not get half a dozen to a lift. In
this region they are known as " Yellow Pike," as also at White-fish Point, where they are some-
times taken at the rate of two or three hundred pounds at a lift, but are not plentiful.

At the north end of Green Bay the name "Dore"" is given to this species. In this locality,
including the fishing grounds of Escanaba, Chippewa Point, Summer Island, Saint Martin's
Island, and Point aux Barques, they are equally abundant, and grow to a large size, occasionally
weighing twenty pounds. They here rank third in importance, and are taken in gill-nets, except
in winter and spring. Of late years they have been salted to some extent.

Along the shore of Green Bay, between the mouths of Cedar River and Peshtego River, they
rank third in importance, the white-fish taking tie first place and the sturgeon the second. They
are taken more plentifully iu the fall than in the spring, the reverse being the case at the head of
the bay, where they spawn in great numbers. When shipped fresh they are not dressed at all.
In spring they are, to some extent, salted, and are sold as "Salt Pickerel." This business of


salting was carried on during the summer of 1880 along the whole western shore of Lake Michigan.
In SI>HHU they an- taken quite extensively on rocks in the Menomonee River, where they go to
spawn. At this season many art; taken with spears also, especially for home consumption. One
man says lie took five barrels in a night. They are prized very highly by the fishermen. In the
deep watei nets a very largo grade is caught. In this region they are known as " Dory."

Between Peshtego Point and Longtail Point they are called " Wall-eyed Pike" and " Dory,"
are of much importance, and greatly sought for. In this division of the western shore of Green
Bay they are principally taken in gill-nets, but do not enter a pound-net well. The chief ship-
ments of thosi* fish salted take place between the 1st of April and the loth of June, when they are
shipped as "Salt Pickerel" to the Western markets; during the rest of the year they are shipped
fresh, on ice. In 1878 one was taken at Oconto weighing nineteen pounds. They spawn early in
spring, and are considered destructive to young fish and spawn. In scaling the fish a common
curry -comb is used. This fish and the White Bass are the two most important kinds taken at the
Green Bay City fisheries, where the former is called " Dory."

Along the eastern shore of Green Bay the Pike is not, as on the western shore, abundant.
About Little Sturgeon Bay two and three a week are considered the average number taken. One
kind only is recognized between Bay Settlement and the island of Saint Martin. Between Port
des Mort.s and Mauitowoc, on the western shore of Lake Michigan, Pike are rare, and the few
caught are taken in the spring. Mr. Kirtland took three packages of Pike at Jacksonport in 1879.
At Two Rivers they only occur as stragglers. At Manitowoc the name "Pike" alone is used,
"Dory "being unknown. They likewise only occur as stragglers at the fishing grounds between
Manitowoc and White-fish Bay.

In the vicinity of Milwaukee they are by no means abundant ; they are caught, when occurring,
in pound-nets, bnt never in gill-nets. In the small inland lakes they are pronounced to be quite
common. South of Milwaukee, as far as Evanstown, Illinois, they are far from abundant, bnt were
formerly quite plentiful about Racine, though now nearly exterminated at that point. When
shipped they are packed with the white-flsh. In this region they are called "Yellow Pike." At
the extreme south of Lake Michigan, including the New Buffalo and Michigan City fisheries, this
species is called "Wall-eyed" Pike. It is rare, but taken at all seasons of the year. Three or
four at a lift of the pound-net is the average. When shipped South it is called "Salmon." The
size attained is large, probably averaging fully ten pounds.

At the Saugatuck, South Haven, and Saint Joseph fisheries, on the east shore of Lake
Michigan, " Wall-eyed Pike" (as the species is there designated) are becoming more common of
late. It is thought that they have, to a great extent, replaced the pickerel in the small lakes and
river bayous. They are not yet of sufficient abundance to be of any commercial importance.
Individuals of this species are here taken chiefly with hooks, and occur but sparingly in the lake.

At Ludington, Point Sable, Grand Haven, and other fishing towns, between Saugatuck and
Glen Haven, Lebanon County, Pike are by no means abundant, being most plentiful in August
at Ludington and Manistee. White Hall is an exceptional place, wagon-loads being sometimes
exposed on the streets for sale. At Grand Haven not more than half a dozen a year are caught
in the lake, but in the Grand River they are not at all rare.

On the fishing grounds of Little and Grand Traverse Bays, and about Fox Islands, Pike are
extremely rare. They are occasionally found in Grand Traverse Bay, but are scarcely at all known
by the fish authorities of that region. In the fishing grounds comprised between Little Traverse
Bay (passing north and east through the Straits of Mackinaw as far down the western shore of
Lake Huron as Hammond's Bay) and Adams Point the name "Pickerel" is given to this species.


except by the French fishermen, who call it " Dory." Throughout this region this fish is common,
but principally in the rivers and bayous. Mr. Bennett reports thirteen hundred pounds from one
pound-net in two nights in Hammond Bay. This fish is by far the most plentiful in spring. It is
much sought for because of its good keeping qualities. About Mud Lake and in the Sault Ste.
Marie River this species is quite extensively fished for and is sold separately. In the outer pounds
in the lake (Huron) not many are caught. The majority of fishermen salt them and sell as " Salted
Pickerel"; the proportion of this fish to white-fish is about as one to one hundred.

At Alpena, Thunder Bay, Pike, usually here called " Yellow Pike," form quite an important
fishery during May and June, after which but few are taken until September. The largest lift
known here was in 1874, when three thousand were taken from one net in a single lift. During
September very few of any other kind than Pike are taken in the pound-nets. In comparison with
Sagiuaw Bay, but few are taken at Alpena.

In Saginaw Bay this species, known as " Yellow Pike," " Pickerel," and " Wall-eyed Pike,"
is thus spoken of in a circular by Biker & Kelbourn : " Saginaw Bay produces more fish yearly
than any equal extent of inland water in the United States, and of as good quality, and in one
notable exception a good deal better. This is the Yellow Pike, or what are termed South 'Lake
Salmon,' and on Lake Erie are known as ' Pickerel.' They are a harder, firmer, fish, and will bear
transportation better, and keep longer, than pickerel caught in the Lower Lakes. Because of these
qualities, and their superior adaptation for the use of the table, they are regarded South and West
as the fish first of all desired. This immense catch of fish is prepared for shipment, in parcels
to suit customers, to the East, South, and West, embracing several States."

The " Pickerel" is the most abundant and important fish in Saginaw Bay. Besides those taken
in the pounds and with seines, large quantities are speared in winter through the ice. In spring
they are taken till July, and then very few are caught again till the latter part of August. It is
presumed they go into deep water during the warmest weather. In spearing them through the ice
a decoy fish is used to lure them within reach ; they are very rarely taken in the gill nets. There
seems to be no very alarming decrease among them, yet it is readily admitted that they have been
more plenty than they are at present. Spawn in the bay during April.

From Point aux Barques to Port Huron, Pike are very abundant, and are the most important
fish in the Saint Clair River on the Canada side, where they are of great commercial value. They
are here known as " Yellow Pickerel." It is an interesting question why they should bo more
abundant on the Canadian than on the American side. Saginaw Bay is the hot-bed for this
species, and from there they seem to strike across the lake to the Canada shore, entirely avoiding
the east shore of the peninsula from Point aux Barques to Port Huron. When they come into
the Saint Clair River they follow close to the Canada shore, and return the same way.

Between Toledo and the mouth of Detroit River, Pike, called " Yellow Pickerel" in this region,
are not abundant. Unlike Manmee Bay, they do not seem to delight in this western shore of Lake
Erie. The runs occur in places in the spring irregularly, and no dependence is placed on a fair
supply at any time. It is not considered one of the important fish.

In Maumee Bay Pike are very abundant. Early in the season large quantities come from the
bay and river of the same name. They rank second in importance, and are exclusively salted,
being then known as "Salmon," otherwise as "Yellow Pike." In autumn few are taken in com-
parison with the number caught in the spring. Pike, or "Yellow Pike," here called, strike on the
south shore of Lake Erie, around Port Clinton, about April 1, and stay only a few days. They
rank about fourth at that place. At Locust Point they are caught in considerable numbers in
spring, and some in fall also. Here they rank third in importance.


At all the fishing points between Ottawa City, on Catawba Island, and the Huron fisheries,
with the neighboring islands, the greater part of the "1'ifkerel" are called "Gray Pickerel," and
many say thnt they are totally different from the "Yellow" or "Blue" Pickerel. In Sandusky
K:iv they are particularly abundant; also about the islands and in the harbors. They have exten-
sive spawning grounds at Cedar Point, Marblehead, Spit Island, East and West Harbors, Mouse
Island, Sugar Bluff, Moose's Point, North and Middle Bass Islands, Put-in Bay, and Kelley's
Island. They are sold as hard fish, and usually run large. When less than a pound they are sold
with the " Saugers."

Connected with the Huron (Ohio) fisheries, the Pike, here called " Yellow Pike," are considered
quite important, but not so abundant as farther west. They are caught principally in the spring,
and are thought to work westward toward Maumee Bay about their spawning time. They rank
about fourth in importance. The general impression among fishermen here is that the true Yellow
Pike is not caught at all here by which they mean the Yellow Pike of Saginaw Bay. Many call
this fish the "Gray Pike," and yet consider it an entirely different fish from the "Blue Pike."

At Vermillion, Ohio, there is caught, early in the spring, what is termed the "Spawn Pike,"
running from twenty to thirty pounds. Later the runs average much smaller one to five pounds
and these are supposed not to spawn. Pike here are not abundant, and it is only in the spring
that they are regarded as important.

A little farther east, including the fisheries of Black Kiver, Amherst, and Brownheltn Bay,
"Yellow Pike," so called in this section, are not abundant. They are taken early in spring. On
account of their fewness they are of but little importance. There is said to be too much waste in
dressing to make them a salable fish among the poorer classes. The markets are never glutted
with this fish. None are salted. At Cleveland and Dover, Ohio, this species is known as "Yellow
Pickerel" and "Pickerel." At the Dover Bay fisheries they are not abundant, in the largest lifts
not over one hundred and fifty to two hundred pounds being taken. They are caught principally
in early spring, and range from one to five pounds. Until the last six years this fish was unknown
here. Farther east, at Conneaut and Ashtabula, "Yellow Pike," as they are there called, do not
seem to be common ; a few large ones (from ten to twelve pounds) are taken every season. About
Painesville, Fairport, and Willonghby this species is known as "Yellow Pickerel." They are net
very common ; some are taken in spring. In 1879 not over two tons were taken in sixteen nets.
They are much more common farther west. Years ago they were abundant and one of the most
important of fish, but since the dynamite explosion at Fairport (the port of Painesville, three miles
from the city, on the lake shore), about eight years ago, they have been rare, and the fishermen
think the explosion which was so strong that it broke window-lights in Cleveland and Buffalo
drove them away. A decrease in other species was noticeable for some time afterwards. Those
taken at Painesville are remarkably dark colored, much darker than those taken at the islands.

When pound-nets were used in the fisheries of Dunkirk and Barcelona, New York, Erie, Penn-
sylvania, and Mill's Grove, Ohio, a good many Pike were taken ; even now a few are taken in the
gill-nets. At the above places they are called "Wall-eyed Pike."

Concerning the Lake Ontario pike fishery, we learn that at Oswego they are fairly common
and rank third in importance. At Port Ontario they are known as "Yellow Pike." They were
formerly abundant at this point, but of late years few have been taken. Since pound-net fishing
began they have gradually grown less abundant been "caught out." A few are yet taken in the

At Cape Vincent Pike are abundant. The fish of one variety, with a longer and more pointed
head than the Upper Lake fish, are called " Spike-noses." They rank second in commercial impor-


tance. They are brought over from Canada to a great extent, but tbe bulk that is shipped from
Cape Vincent is caught in American waters. They are common everywhere. At Chaumont they
rank first in commercial importance. The largest runs occur in the bay in early spring. Pike do
not come as near shore as formerly. At Sacket's Harbor they rank first in importance, and arc
caught in the spring as soon as the ice is out, and in fall till winter sets in. During the winter
they are brought from Canada. It is thought that they have increased since the alewives came
here, and that the average weight now is one-third greater than ten years ago.

It is said that Yellow Pike, Stizostedium vitreum, can be confined in a small pond much more
successfully than most species. They are said to prefer the vicinity of river mouths, and not to
go far out into the lakes.

The following facts concerning the abundance of the Blue Pike, identified as Stizostedium
vitreum var. salmoneum, in the region of the Great Lakes, were gathered by Mr. Kumlien :

In the fishing grounds of tbe west end of Lake Erie '-Blue Pickerel" are known only as rare
stragglers. In the vicinity of Toledo and Maumee Bay Blue Pike are very seldom seen. At some
of the principal fisheries not more than one in a year is taken. This fish is generally not recognized
by the local fishermen. On the south coast also, at Port Clinton and Locust Point, this fish is a
great rarity, and only appears as a straggler. It is of no importance whatever.

About Upper and Lower Sandusky Bay, and all the fishing grounds between Ottawa City and
Catawba Island to the Huron fisheries, the Blue Pike are abundant from May till June 5, the
largest runs occurring from the 20th of May until June. They rank in this region about fifth in
importance. They are sold fresh, frozen and salted, about half the catch being salted and sold as
" Medium Pickerel." It is somewhat improbable that individuals exceed one and a half or two
pounds in weight. They are less abundant around the islands, among which may be named Spit
Island, Mouse Island, North Bass Island, Middle Bass Island, and Kelley's Island. The "Gray,"
"Yellow," and "Blue" Pike grade into each other in this locality in such a manner that it is hard
to draw the limiting line. Mr. Kumlien thinks that all of these represented as "Gray" and some
"Blue" were S. vitreum, but that the bulk of those called "Blue" are readily distinguishable from
S. mtrevm.

In the Huron (Ohio) fisheries Blue Pike are extraordinarily abundant, in fact too much so.
Such quantities are sometimes caught that not one-quarter can be made use of. The largest runs
come on late when the market is already full, consequently a very low price is realized for them.
A few are taken in early spring, as soon as the fishing begins, but the bulk are caught from the
12th to the 20th of May. As high as one hundred and fifty tons have been brought to Huron in
a day. They are largely salted. The average weight is about a pound, though some are taken in
early spring weighing ten to fifteen pounds. The direction of the movement made by the Blue
Pike is supposed to be easterly in the spring, when they start from the vicinity of the islands,
returning (westward) in the fall. Between Cedar Point (east side entrance to Sandusky Bay) and
I ; lack River they occur in greater numbers than at any other point in Lake Erie. Some are caught
in autumn, but the catch then is nothing as compared with that of late spring.

At Vermillion, Ohio, the Blue Pike are more abundant than any other species, and rank second
in Importance. They are taken as soon as the fishing commences, but from the 24th of May till
June 1 to 6 they come in such myriads that it is impossible to take care of them, and tons upon tons
are let out of the nets. The average weight is about a pound, but specimens weighing as high as
fifteen pounds are said to be taken early in spring among the spawning Yellow Pike. This fish was
formerly graded as "hard," but of late years they have been classed "soft," principally on account
of their numbers, but also because in flavor they are lar inferior to the Yellow Pike. They come into


the nets in such quantities, and at aseason wbeu the market is already full, that they are often sold
for the freight charges only. Mr. McGraw thinks there is an appreciable increase in their numbers
eac!i year. Tn 1879 as high as four tons were taken from one pound at a single lift. When salted
they are called "Medium" and "No. 2 Pickerel." The reason so few are salted in proportion to the
amount caught is on account of the low price realized for them, coming, as they do, into competition
with more valuable kinds. From the following it will be seen that the profits to tbe fishermen are
very small:

Cost of packing 100 pounds salt flsh ready for market: Half barrel, 35 cents; dressing fish,
12 cents; salt, 15 cents; salting, 10 cents; inspection, 25 cents; total, 97 cents. Then add cost of
from 160 to 175 pounds of undressed fish, and sell for $1.50 per half barrel, and the profits are

Online LibraryG. Brown (George Brown) GoodeThe fisheries and fishery industries of the United States (Volume 1:1) → online text (page 72 of 146)