G. Brown (George Brown) Goode.

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No fish of any kind has ever been found nearer to the North Pole than the Char, a species, Salve-
linu* (/returns, having been discovered by the last English polar expedition in 12 north of the
Arctic Circle. In the south of Europe its range is limited by the Alps, and in this region its study
has brought to light a very curious fact which confirms still more strongly the idea just spoken of,
that the fish thrive the best in a very cold climate. In the extreme north and in the extreme south
this fish reaches its greatest perfection. The northern species, found everywhere in the lakes of
the Scandinavian Peninsula and Scotland, is a fish sometimes, it is said, attaining a length of four
feet. In England and France and in the lower lakes of Switzerland it is comparatively insignifi-
cant, while in the deep, cold Alpine lakes it often grows to two feet or more in length, and
weigh ten or twelve, and even, in exceptional cases, twenty-four pounds. The highest development,
however, seems to be attained in the largest lakes like that of Geneva while in the shallower
lakes, higher up among the mountains, they are smaller. A similar phenomenon is exhibited by
certain sub-arctic plants, which thrive in the extreme north and upon the summits of the Alps,
becoming dwarfed or almost extinct in the lowlands between.

It is interesting, too, to compare the effect of temperature, and secondarily of elevation, upon
the Saibling and upon our own Red-spotted Trout. This species has its home between latitude 32J
and 55. in the lakes and streams of the Atlantic watershed, in the mountain sources of a few
rivers flowing into the Mississippi and the Gulf of Mexico, and in some of the southern affluents of
Hudson's Bay. In the north, for instance in the valley of the Saint Lawrence, it is common in the
lowland streams and estuaries, and even in the adjoining parts of the ocean, and here it attains
its greatest development. As we proceed farther south, in accordance with the limitations of
temperature, its range becomes more restricted, aud in Southern New England it is only at certain
seasons of the year at the approach of winter that they find their way into the lowland streams
which are in summer too warm to be endurable, aud at other times they are found near their
sources among the hills. On Long Island, however, they are still found in the meadows, and to some
extent in the estuaries. Passing to the southward of New York, the natural southern limit of the
Salmon, the range of the Trout becomes more and more restricted to the highlands: and although
they are found as far south as latitude 32, in the western districts of the Carolinas and the extreme
northern part of Georgia, they there occur only at great elevations among the mountains of the
Alleghany chain. South of New York they are effectually land locked by the prevailing high
temperature of the lowland streams, and are never able to gain access to salt or brackish water.
Their supply of food is, consequently, limited, and they are coufined to brooklets among the mount-
ains. Although the temperature of this region is usually very favorable, other requisites for high
development are lacking, and the species is represented throughout the southern part of its range
by diminutive individuals. A similar phenomenon is met with in those instances where the Euro-
pean Char exists in the high and comparatively shallow mountain lakes of the Swiss and Austrian

In the southern part of its habitat the American Brook Trout finds its environment unfavor-
able to ite perfect development ; on the other baud, the European Char meets, in the Alpine


lakes, conditions precisely similar to those of the lakes of Norway and of Scotland, and under
these, favorable conditions has survived in a state of great perfection.

We have in the Great Lakes of North America a fish closely allied to the Chars, which, under
remarkably favorable circumstances, with plenty of room and an immense supply of rich and easily
attainable food, has developed into one of great size and commercial importance, the Lake Trout,
and its cousin, the Siscowet.

RELATIONSHIPS. The various Lake Trouts of Maim- and Eastern Canada, found in the
smaller lakes of those regions, are very similar to the European Char. The American species
which, however, bears the closest resem lance to the European Char is, as has been stated, the
Blue-backed Trout, or Oquassa Trout, of Rangely Lake, the Red spotted Trout of the Pacific coast,
Salreliniu malma, known also as the " Dolly Vanlen," being very similar in habits to the Brook
Trouts of the East.

The resemblances between the Saibling and the Oquassa are as follows :

1. They inhabit the deepest waters of their lake home, and are never seen except at their
spawning season.

2. They spawn late in the fall.

3. At the spawning season they come into shallow water near the shores, or in the mouths
of streams, and may be taken with the greatest of ease.

4. They never willingly inhabit streams of running water.

These peculiarities the two species have in common, and, excepting the habit of autumn
spawning, they share them with no other members of the family. The Saibling, howevur, is a
much larger and finer species than the Oquassa, and it is hoped that it may be adapted for
cultivation in many of the smaller lakes in which our Great Lake Trout is ndt likely to thrive.
It is regarded as a very excellent food-fish, and is doubtless more delicate in flavor than the Lake
Trout, sharing most of the excellent qualities of the Brook Trout.

HABITS. The Saibling, which through the courtesy of the German Government is now being
introduced into the United States, is the European Char in its highest state of perfection. The
following account of its habits is translated from a sketch by Dr. Wittmack, of Berlin :

" The Saibling varies much in form, size, and color, according to its age, sex, and habitat.
'Jhose which come from the highest Alpine lakes are always small, but those in the lakes of Switzer-
land and Savoy have higher bodies, larger scales, and also a clearer color yellowish -white, with red
belly. This form was formerly considered distinct, and was known as the 'Ritter' or 'Knight'
among the river Trout, the species which is found at the greatest height above the sea. In Swit-
zerland, according to Tschudi, it is found at a height of 4,400 feet ; in Bavaria, according to von
Siebold, in the Green Lake, at the height of 5,000 feet; in the Tyrol, in the Gaislacher Sea, at the
height of 7,000 feet, and in the Pleuderle Sea, at the height of 7,003 feet. In the Green Lake, as
well as in other Alpine lakes, this is the only species of fish which occurs. It seems certain that
it is found at greater heights in the eastern than in the western Alps, and is also more abundant.
The breeding season occurs in the months of October, November, and December, and continues
until February; for example, in certain lakes in Steiermark. In Lake Fuesseu it occurs in
October and November; in Lake Messkirch, where they are artificially propagated, in Febi nary
and March; in the lakes at Saltzberg they spawn from November to January, and apparently also
in February; and, in spite of the extensive fishery during the spawning time, there is no evidence
of a decrease in their numbers. They feed upon small fish, and also, when at liberty, upon the
small crustaceans, daphnids, and cyclopids. In the Alpine lakes these constitute their only food.


hi Germany and in Austria it has been found that the Saibling is one of the- most expensive fish
to propagate artificially, on account of its food. The ordinary size of the Saibling is from eleven
to twelve inches, and its weight from one-half to one pound. In the highest lakes they are, as h;is
been mentioned, smaller, while when they are moved from such lakes into those that are deeper
they increase rapidly in size. In the Saltzberg lakes, where they are taken upon certain spawning
grounds from November to January, it takes about five of them to make a pound, bnt large speci
meiis of three to twelve pounds are taken in August and September. In the Lake of Zug, which,
according to Hoch, yields more Saibliug than any other lake in Switzerland, it takes five or six,
often eight or nine, to make a pound. In the Lake of Geneva they are often taken weighing
twenty to twenty -four pounds. Herr Hoch himself saw one weighing seventeen pounds.''

To this may be added a paragraph from Millet's "La Culture de 1'Eau." "Itis very voracious,
and, like the Trout, very swift and active in its movements. It habitually feeds upon small fishes,
upon crustaceans, upon mollusks and insects, and in two or three years, under favorable circum-
stances, attains the length of fifteen to twenty inches. Its flesh is very delicate and savory, and
it is preferred abont Lake Leman to any other fish."

CULTURE. The Salbling has been propagated by German fish-culturists for a period of ten
years or more, and thrives magnificently in captivity. The hatchery at Oussee, in Germany, pro
tluccs yearly three or four hundred thousand of artificially-brooded Saibling, and plants them in the
neighboring lakes. In the tanks at the late International Fishery Exhibition in Berlin were ex-
hibited many superb specimens of this fish, some of them over two feet in length, and one of these
was sent to the National Museum by Herr von Behr, president of the Deutscher Fischerei Verein.
It is as large as the famous Rangely Lake Trout caught by Mr. George Shepard Page, which
everybody has seen at Blackford's in Fulton Market.

In selecting a place in which to deposit the saibling eggs just received, the Commissioner of
Fisheries has endeavored to find a lake as similar as possible in depth and temperature to the
larger Swiss lakes, and he has, therefore, sent them to Lake Winuipiseogee, N. H. *Here the
whole sixty thousand were planted, with the hope that by placing so large a number together in
a lake of moderate size the experiment of introduction may be a success. It is a question of some
interest which of the many European names of this fish should be adopted in the United States
should the experiment of acclimation be a success.

It would seem most appropriate that, since the fish acquires its greatest perfection in Germany,
the German name should be adopted, particularly since the German fish-culturists, who have so
kindly made this gift to the people of the United States, will regard as a compliment the adoption
of the German name of one of the favorite fishes of Germany.


This species is known in the mountains as "Lake Trout," "Bull Trout," "Speckled Trout," and
"Red-spotted Trout." In the ocean, where it is found iu large numbers, it is the "Salmon Trout."
In the Sacramento the name "Dolly Varden" was given to it by the landlady at a hotel, and this
name it still retains in that region. As none of the other names are distinctive, this one may well
be adopted. In Siberia it was formerly known as the "Malma" or "Golet," The Indian name
"Chewagh " is ascribed to it in British Columbia. In size this species reaches a weight of fourteen
pounds. The largest I have seen weighed twelve pounds, which weight is not uncommon in the

J01MIAN ON Till: Dol. I. Y VARDKN. 505

ocean. In the lakes ii averages smaller, ami in the mountain .streams it breeds at a length of nix
or eight inches. In all tlicsc peculiarities it agrees with its n.-;ir iclatix e. the common Hrook
Trout of tlic Atlantic coast. It ranges from the upper waters of the Sacramento to Katntcliatka
on the west side of the Kocky Mountain chain, and for the most part in and west of the Cascade
ran^c. From IV.gct Sound northward it is generally abundant. It feeds voraciously in the salt
\\atei on Miielt of various sorts, young Trout, sand lances, shrimps, anchovies, herrings, and even
sticklebacks. In fresh waters it probably eats whatever living thing it can get. Nothing is cer-
tainly known of their breeding habits. They probably spawn late in the fall in the rivers, and
therefore those which are in the sea must be to some extent migratory. They are taken in Froze-
I.'ixer at the time of the eulachon nin, but they probably then ascend the river to feed upon the
enlachon, and not for spawning purposes. As a food-fish this beautiful species ranks high. 1


The following essay upon the Grayling is quoted, in a modified form, from Ooode's Game
I-'i.shes of the I'nited States.

Disc oVF.KY. The discovery of Grayling in Michigan and Montana was a snrpiise to Amer-
ican naturalists, though the areas to which this distribution is restricted are so small that one.
can hardly wonder at the delay in finding them out. The credit of discovering them is di-
vided between Surgeon .1. F. Head, United States Army, who found in 18M, in the head-
waters of the Missouri, specimens of the form described by Milner in 1874, under the name
Tlii/niiilluK monlitnitfi, and Prof. Manly Miles, of Lansing, Michigan, whose specimens from the
Michigan Peninsula were sent, in 18C4, to Professor Cope, and described by him as Thymallug
tricolor. A third species occurs in Alaska, and in the rivers emptying into the Arctic Ocean. This
\\as tirst found by Capt. John Franklin's expedition toward the North Pole, in 1810, and called
Tlii/iiHilhix signifer, by Sir John Richardson, who thus describes its discovery: "This very beaut iful
fish abounds in the rocky streams that flow through the primitive country lying north of the sixty-
second parallel of latitude between Mackenzie's River and the Welcome. Its highly appropriate
Ksi|iiimaux name ('Hewlook-Powak,') denoting 'wing-like,' alludes to its magnificent dorsal, and
it was in reference to the same feature that I bestowed njMm it the specific appellation of Niynifer,
or the 'standard-bearer,' intending also to advert to the tank of my companion, Captain Hack,
then a midshipman, who took the first specimen that we saw with the artificial fly. It is found
only in clear waters, and seems to delight in the most rapid parts of the mountain streams." As is
.mplied in these remarks, this species is remarkable for its immense dorsal fin, which is nearly
twice as high as the body of the fish.

It is, however, the Michigan Grayling which is at present most interesting to the angler,
the others being so remote as to be thoroughly inaccessible. Piofessor Cope's description was
printed in isti.1. but being expressed in technical terms, and published in the proceedings of a
scientific society not generally read by sportsmen, it attracted little attention. Popular interest
was first ex'-ited in 1873, by the discussions in "Forest and Stream." and by a letter from Professor
Agassiz, published extensively in the daily papers, acknowledging the leeeipt of two specimens
sent to him from New York through the agency of Mr Halloek, who had received them from
Michigan. The subject was then taken up by the uewspaj>ers, and the Grayling was soon well
known. A name closely associated with the study of the Grayling is the honored one of the late
.lames W. Milner. In 1871, Mr. Milner, in company with Mr. 1). H. Fitzhugh. of Hay C,ty. Michigan,
visited the Jordan River for the purpose of procuring specimens of this fish: but. although many

'For PulLn'i account, Sv-u Giluthe vi. 144.


were seen in the clear cold waters, they could not be induced to take the hook during the day spent
on the river. In 1873 he again visited this region, and subsequently published several popular
articles on the subject of "Graylings of North America," which constitute one of the very few
memoirs finished by him out of the many which were planned, and interrupted by his untimely death.

DISTRIBUTION. His description of the habitat of the Grayling is excellent: "In the center
of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan is a wide, elevated plateau, a sandy region, with a soil containing
a very small percent, of organic matter, and coveied with a forest of pines, generally the Norway
pine, Pinna resinosa. Linn., growing in grand dimensions, the long, limbless shafts making wide
boards, free from knots, yet but little utilized, while immense forests of the favorite lumber
material, white piue, Pinm strobus, are yet uncut. From this plateau arise several large streams
and rivers, flowing each way into Lakes Huron and Michigan. Among these are three rivers of
note, the Muskegon, the Manistee, emptying into Lake Michigan, and the Ausable, entering into
Lake Huron. Among the minor streams are the Gheboygan, Thunder Bay, and Rifle, tributary
to Lake Huron, and the Jordan, emptying through Pine Lake into the Traverse Bays of Lake
Michigan. A few branches and streams, spring-fed, are formed, in which the water has a uniform
degree of coldness throughout the summer, seldom rising above 52. The rivers Uifle, Ausable,
Jordan, Mersey branch of the Muskegon, and the headwaters of Manistee, all have this character,
and in all of these, and only in this limited locality, short of the Yellowstone region, is found the
already famous Michigan Grayling."

The town of Grayling, Michigan, formerly called Crawford, is in the midst of this district,
and the headquarters of Grayling fishermen. The Grayling is said to live also in Portage Lake,
in the extreme northern part of the State. These streams seem to be remarkably cold, being fed by
numerous springs. Milner found the Ausable to vary between 45 and 49, morning and evening,
in September; and Mr. Fitzhugh has remarked that the south branch of this river, which rises in
a swampy lake, contains no Grayling except near its mouth, where its volume is swelled by large
springs, and its water becomes clear and cold.

The Grayling of Europe, ThymaUux vulgar-lit, is also restricted to cold streams, and appears to
be found within limited areas. It is found in Norway, Sweden, Lapland, and the Orcades, in
Switzerland and Hungary, and southward to lakes Constance and Leman, and Bavaria. A
Grayling, possibly of different species, occurs in Lake Maggiore, and others have been recognized
from Russia and Siberia. It is constantly being discovered in new localities. In England the
species was formerly known as the "Umber." ''And in this river be Umbers, otherwise called
Grailings," wrote Uolinshed, in "The Description of Britaiue," A. D. 1577. The German name,
"AescLe," has been thought to refer, like "Grayling," to its color. The European and
American fishes are so similar that only a trained ichthyologist can distinguish them, and their
habits are very much the same. Our Grayling spawns in April in the Ausable, that of Europe in
March and April, and sometimes, it is said, in May. Ours rarely grows to the length of sixteen
inches, and the largest Milner could find weighed less than two pounds, the average length being
ten or eleven inches, with a weight of half a pound. The European fish is said to grow to eighteen
inches long, and the weight of four pounds and one-half. Miluer remarks: "Like the Brook
Trout, their natural food consists of the insects that light or fall upon the surface of the stream.
Their stomachs were found to contain broken and partially digested specimens of coleoptera,
neuroptera, as well as the larvae of species of the dragon-flies. There were also found in their
stomachs the leaves of the white cedar, Thuja occidentalis, which drop continually on the surface
of the stream, and are probably taken because the fish in their quick darts to the surface mistake


tin-in tin inserts tailing upon the water." In France they are mini also to devour little mollusks
anil tin eggs of fishes.

< Yi.n I:K. The propagation of tin- Michigan Grayling was attempted a soon as its existence
was known. Mr. Fn-tl. Mather anil Mr. Si-th Green, always pioneers iu such enterprises, were the
first to attempt it, ami they were soon followed by others. Mr. Mather was first on the Held,
\ isiting the A usable between March U.~ and April 3, 1H74; but he was too early, for the fish were
not H-, iily for him. Mr. Green followed on April 28, but he was too late, the fish having finished
spawning. Not to be danntcil, he dug over one hundred fertilized eggs out of the gravel where
tin- lisli had left them, and took them home to his hatching house. In 1875 Mr. Mather visited the
river lii-twren April ami 1-. and obtained eight thousand eggs, which were successfully hatched.
Young tisli have been introduced into various streams iu Michigan and Western New York.
Frank IJuekland tried many years ago to introduce the English Grayling into the Thames by
transplanting its ova, but this experiment was a failure, and we have yet to learn that his Ameri-
can associates have been more successful in their efforts. An interesting fact observed in the
course of these experiments is that the Michigan Grayling is much more prolific than the Brook
Trout, yielding between three and four thousand eggs.

There has been much discussion over the claims of the Grayling us a game-fish, and also its
excellence for food. It has many ardent admirers and detractors. The enthusiasm with which it
was greeted ten years ago has somewhat subsided, and it seems doubtful whether a vote of the
guild of American anglers would now place it in the first rank of noble fishes.

"There is uo species sought f.-r by anglers that surpasses the Grayling in beauty. They arts
more elegantly formed and more graceful than the Trout, and their great dorsal tin is a superb
mark of loveliness. When the well-lids were lifted, and the sun's rays admitted, lighting up the
delicate olive-brown tints of the back and sides, the bluish-white of the abdomen, and the mingling
of tints of rose, pale blue, and purplish-pink on the tins, they displayed a combination of colors
equaled by uo fish outside of the tropics."

Mr. Mather describes the colors of the Grayling as follows: ''IJis pectorals are olive-brown,
with a bluish tint at the end; the ventrals are striped with alternate streaks of brown and
pink ; the anal is plain brown ; the caudal is very forked and plain, while the crowning glory is the
immense dorsal. .This fin rises forward of the middle of the back, and in a fish a foot long it is
nearly three inches in length and two high, dotted with large, brilliant-red or bluish-purple spots,
surrounded with a splendid emerald green, which fades after death the changeable shade of
green seen iu the, tail of the peacock."


NAMES. With the exception of the local name "Otsego Bass," said to be applied to this fish
about Otsego Lake, New York, we have never heard any other name for it than " White-fish." It
is found in all the Great Lakes, as well as in several of the smaller lakes tributary to them, and in
lakes of I'.ritish America northward, perhaps as far as the Arctic Ocean. It is very abundant,
and is the most important food-fish of the Great Lake region. In quality of flesh it stands pre-
eminent among our fresh-water fishes. The flesh is white, tender, and juicy, and, unlike the flesh
of the Salmon, it does not produce satiety.

SIZE. The largest specimens of White-fish are found in Lake Superior, one having been
taken at Whitefish Point weighing twenty-three pounds, and at the same place out of seventy-
four half-barrels there was not one under six pounds in weight. At Duluth, White-fish weighing


from twelve to sixteen pounds are occasionally taken. Their average at the extreme west end of
the lake is less than at the Apostle Islands, where some very large fish are caught. At Grand
Island the fish average fourteen pounds, few being taken weighing less than ten pounds. In
Green Bay, Lake Michigan, it is no uncommon occurrence to catch with deep nets fish from four
to seven pounds, and in one lift there were twenty that exceeded five pounds, and some weighed
eight pounds. About ten years ago a White-fish weighing nineteen and three-quarters pounds
was taken near Menoinouee. The Cisco, a variety of White-fish, in Green Bay attains a weight of
three, pounds; this is sometimes called the "Meuoinonee White-fish."

Next, in respect to the size of its White-fish, is Lake Michigan. On the west shore, where
large fish are usually taken, in the vicinity of Manitowoc, a White-fish weighing twenty two
pounds was taken in 1880. At the south point of Lake Michigan, the average weight is a pound

Online LibraryG. Brown (George Brown) GoodeThe fisheries and fishery industries of the United States (Volume 1:1) → online text (page 86 of 146)