The history of Columbia County, Wisconsin, containing an account of its settlement, growth, development and resources; an extensive and minute sketch of its cities, towns and villages--their improvements, industries, manufactories, churches, schools and societies; its war record, biographical sketches, portraits of prominent men and early settlers; the whole preceded by a history of Wisconsin, statistics of the state, and an abstract of its laws and constitution and of the constitution of the United States
Hoy, P. R.
Fauna of Wisconsin, pp. 134-139 PDF (2.7 MB)
HISTORY OF WISCONSIN. opinion these fish are more delicately flavored than the celebrated Potomac shad; but I doubt whether they will thrive in the small lakes, owing to the absence of the small cruslacea which they subsist. The closely allied genus Argyrosomus includes seven known species inhabiting the larger lakes, and one, the Argyrosomus sisco, which is found in several of the lesser lakes. The larger species are but little inferior to the true whitefish, with which they are commonly confounded. The nose is pointed, the under jaw long, and they take the hook at certain seasons with activity. They eat small fish as well as insects and crustaceans. Of the pickerel family, we have three or four closely allied species of the genus Esox, armed with prodigious jaws filled with cruel teeth. They lie motionles eady to dart, swift as an arrow, upon their prey. They are the sharks of the fresh water. The pickerel are so rapacious that they spare not their own species. Sometimes they attempt to swallow a fish nearly as large as themselves, and perish in consequence. Their flesh is moderately good, and as they are game to the backbone, it might be desirable to propagate them to a moderate extent under peculiar ,circumstances. The catfish (Siluridie) have, soft fins, protected by sharp spines, and curious fleshy barbels floating from their lips, without scales, covered only with a slimy coat of mucus. The genus Pimlodus are scavengers among fish, as vultures among birds. They are filthy in habit and food. There is one interesting trait of the catfish -the vigilant and watchful motherly care of the young by the male. He defends them with great spirit, and herds them together when they straggle. Even the mother is driven far off; for he knows full well that she would not scruple to make a full meal off her little black tadpole-like progeny. There are four species known to inhabit this State- one peculiar to the great lakes, and two found in the numerous affluents of the Mississippi. One of these, the great yellow catfish, sometimes weighs over one hundred pounds. When in good condition, stuffed and well baked, they are a fair table fish. The small bull-head is universally distributed. The sturgeons are large sluggish fish, covered with plates instead of scales. There are at least three species of the genus Acipenser found in the waters of Wisconsin. Being so large and without bones, they afford a sufficiently cheap article of food; unfortunately, however, the quality is decidedly bad. Sturgeons deposit an enormous quantity of eggs; the roe not unfrequently weighs one fourth as much as the entire body, and numbers, it is said, many millions. The principal commercial value of sturgeons is found in the roe and swimming bladder. The much prized caviare is manufactured from the former, and from the latter the best of isinglass is obtained. The gar-pikes (Lepidosleus) are represented by at least three species of this singular fish. They have long serpentine bodies, with jaws prolonged into a regular bill, which is well provided with teeth. The scales are composed of bone covered on the outside with enamel, like teeth. The alligator gar, confined to the depths of the Mississippi, is a large fish, and the more common species, Lepidosleus bison, attains to a considerable size. The Lepidosteous, now only found in North America, once had representatives all over the globe. Fossils of the same family of which the gar-pike is the type, have been found all over Europe, in the oldest fossiliferous beds, in the strata of the age of coal, in the new red sandstone, in od5litic deposits, and in the chalk and tertiary formations -being one of the many living evidences that North America was the first country above the water. For all practical purposes, we should not regret to have the gar-pikes follow in the footsteps of their aged and illustrious predecessors. They could well be spared. There is a fish (Lola maculose) which belongs to the cod-fish family, called by the fishermen the "lawyers," for what reason I am not able to say -at any rate, the fish is worthless. There are a great number of small fish, interesting only to the naturalist, which I shall omit to men- tion here. 136
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