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Wisconsin. State Conservation Committee (1915-27) / Biennial report of the State Conservation Commission of Wisconsin for the years 1915 and 1916

Fish dying in inland waters,   p. 18 PDF (249.3 KB)

Page 18

water for the hatching of fish eggs. At the new location the water supply
is taken by pumping direct from the river.
  During the spring of 1916 we received more than the usual number of
complaints as to large numbers of dead fish being found in our inland lakes
after the ice went out. Several investigations were made, but the condi-
tions were neither serious or alarming. For some reason the winter of
1915-1916 seems to have been a bad season for the wholesale dying of
fish all over the state. As a rule it was found that the lakes in which the
most dead fish were found, were lakes containing what may be 'termed an
overpopulation of fish. Also the lakes were in some valley and the heavy
snows of last winter were blown onto the ice in deep drifts. With this
blanket of snow the ice was protected and the extreme cold weather did
not crack and heave the ice. This prevented the water from throwing
out the gases. The gases accumulated, air or oxygen could not get into
the waters and the fish smothered. The dead fish were almost entirely
sunfish and crappie; very few pike, pickerel or bass were found. This is
not an unusual occurrence. It is not an epidemic or disease, but simply a
dying off of the fish for want of air.
                   NECESSARY LEGISLATION.
  The operation of fish hatcheries alone will not maintain our supply of
fish for future generations. The work by the hatcheries must be strength-
ened by reasonable conservation laws, which laws must be rigidly enforced.
Nature isvery kind toher children-if theylivein harmony and walk paral-
lel with her laws. Permit the catching of fish during the spawning season,
permit the catching of immature fish, stipulate no limit as to pounds or
number of fish in possession, have penalties so low that the dynamiter
and gill netter are always willing to "take a chance,"-then fully
fifty per
cent of the work by the hatcheries is lost before the millions of fish planted
in public waters by the state have an opportunity to show results. Con-
servation does not mean hoarding our fish and game as a miser does his
gold; it means to permit the taking, catching and killing of fish and game
in such manner, at such times, and in such quantities as will conserve the
supply for future years.
  So that the reader may more readily understand the enormous drain
upon our inland fisheries and appreciate the need of more stringent laws,
I wish to state a few facts that will enable the people of our state to better
understand the situation. During two weeks in June and the months of
July and August, 1916, 865 boxes of game fish, each box weighing 20
pounds, were shipped from Woodruff, Oneida county, Wisconsin; A total
of 17,300 pounds of pike, pickerel, black bass and muskellunge. Think
of itl From one small northern station, having a population of only 329
souls, and there are hundreds of small summer resort stations just like it
in northern Wisconsin from which game fish are shipped in like quantities.

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