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FIFTH BIENNIAL REPORT
STATE FISH COMMISSION
For the Years 1881-2 and 1882-3.
PRINTED BY ORDER OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY.
REPORT OF THE STATE FISH COMMISSION.
To his Excellency, BUREN R. SHERMAN, Governor of Iowa:
By section 1, chapter 175, Laws of the Nineteenth General Assembly, it is made my duty to report to you matters pertaining to the State Fish Commission on or before the 15th day of August.
By this change in the date of filing my report the term to be reported upon will not cover a full two years. And so the results of this season's work will be only partially shown.
I had hoped in the fall of 1882 to be able to take from the waters along the Mississippi river a goodly number of game fish, as had already been done on two preceding falls, to help stock such of the inland waters as might need such fish. But the high water prevented the work. And while this was to a certain extent a disadvantage to such waters as would have been furnished with the fish, it was to the same extent an advantage to the waters of the Mississippi, for the high water saved the fish that otherwise would have died, and in many cases enabled them to escape into the main waters of the river, and as the main object of these trips is to save such fish as in vast numbers perish in adjacent drying sloughs, there was of course no especial loss occasioned by being unable to do the work proposed.
As this work was originated in Iowa, it gives me great pleasure to note that it is being adopted by those States adjoining the Mississippi river; and the plan highly extolled by such commissioners as have been engaged in it, and commended by those who have observed its character and results. But as its objects have been fully explained in former reports, I will refer those who care to give it attention to them.
In the spring of 1882 arrangements were made by Assistant Commissioner Mosher and myself to try at the Spirit Lake hatching-house what could be done in the way of artificial propagation of some of the fishes native to the lakes at that place. The work was only calculated to be experimental. We tried walleged pike, bass, perch, pickerel and buffalo. Enough was done to prove that these fish can all be increased to any extent desired. With the wall-eved pike we had enough success under difficulties to warrant us in saying that they could be artificially increased to any extent desired. The buffalo we succeeded in raising and keeping until fall. Michigan and the Canada Commissioners, I found later, succeeded in artificially hatching large numbers of the wall-eyed pike last season. Mr. James Nevin, who has been in charge of the Sandwich hatchery in Canada, and who had charge of this hatching, was in the spring of 1883 in charge of the Wisconsin hatchery, and as he had arranged to take wall-eyed pike eggs at Saginaw Bay or Bay City, where the fishermen catch during the spawning time (which occurs from the 20th of April to the middle of May), large quantities of the large yellow wall-eyes, there known by the local name of “pickerel." I accordingly made arrangements to accompany him and went to that place about the time above named with him. I succeeded in taking in a few days : very fine lot, about 2,500,000 eggs in good condition, and if I had come home with them at that time they would have been all right, but as I was anxious to secure a large supply, I concluded to make one more trip for them. It proved to be a very unfortunate trip for me as well as an unprofitable one for the eggs. I was caught out thirty miles frem town in a severe northeast storm that lasted for several days. I and the party I was with were kept six days on a west shore, unable to get to town or away from the shanty at which we were. The incessant rain and cold wind, with the constant exposure and wet clothing, were almost too much for human nature to bear, and when I did finally get away it was with such a cold and cough as seriously threatened my life, and from the effects of which I have not fully recovered.
The delay caused by this necessitated the keeping of the eggs on the carrying trays about thirteen days from the time they were taken until they were put into the hatching jars. And it proved to be more than they were able to bear. Almost the whole lot were a loss, only a few of them hatching, and they were in so feeble condition that they could never amount to much.
The eggs taken by Mr. Nevin and his assistants at the same time