The Project Gutenberg eBook, The Salmon Fishery of Penobscot Bay and River in 1895-96, by Hugh M. Smith

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever.  You may copy it, give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at

Title: The Salmon Fishery of Penobscot Bay and River in 1895-96

Author: Hugh M. Smith

Release Date: November 10, 2005 [eBook #17039]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


E-text prepared by Ronald Calvin Huber
while serving as Penobscot Bay Watch, Rockland, Maine,
with technical assistance from Joseph E. Loewenstein, M.D.

IN 1895-96


Bulletin of the United States Fish Commission, 1898, Pages 113-124


Extent and condition of the fishery in 1895 and 1896
Detailed statistics for 1895 and 1896
Comparative data relative to the salmon fishery
Apparatus and methods of the fishery
Salmon at Matinicus and Ragged islands
Salmon at the Cranberry Isles
Salmon caught with hook off Maine coast
Destruction of salmon by seals
Evidences of results of propagation
Extension of salmon-hatching operations on the Penobscot
Planting of quinnat salmon and steelhead trout in Maine streams

During the months of August and September, 1896, the writer visited the shores of Penobscot River and Bay in the interests of the United States Fish Commission, for the purpose of securing data regarding the condition and extent of the salmon, shad, and alewife fisheries. Special attention was given to the salmon fishery, as the Penobscot is now the only important salmon stream on the Atlantic coast of the United States and has been the field for very extensive fish-cultural operations on the part of the Fish Commission. A large majority of the owners of the salmon weirs and nets along both sides of the bay and river were interviewed and accurate accounts of their fishing obtained, together with their observations as to the effect of artificial propagation on the supply.

The history and methods of the salmon fishery of this basin have been well presented in papers by Mr. Charles G. Atkins, superintendent of the Government hatchery at Craig Brook, Maine. [1, 2] The present paper is primarily intended to show the extent and condition of the salmon fishery of Penobscot Bay and River in 1895 and 1896 and the influence of artificial propagation on the supply. The methods and apparatus of the fishery are briefly considered. A chart of the Penobscot region, giving the location of salmon weirs and traps in use in 1896, is appended, and illustrations of some of the types of salmon apparatus are shown.

Extent and condition of the fishery in 1895 and 1896.

While the number of nets operated in these two years was practically the same, the catch in 1896 was much greater than in 1895, and was one of the largest in the recent history of the fishery. A comparatively large number of fishermen reported that they took more salmon than in any previous year. The salmon, however, were smaller than usual, and their market value was but little more in 1896 than in 1895.

The traps set especially for salmon, or in which salmon were taken, numbered 193 in 1895 and 184 in 1896. These, with the accessories, had a value of $12,474 and $13,146, respectively. The boats and scows required in the construction and operation of the nets numbered 188 in 1895, the same in 1896, and were valued at $3,576 and $3,599, respectively. The number of men engaged in the fishery was 127 in 1895 and 126 in 1896. In the comparatively unimportant branch of the fishery carried on with gill nets in the vicinity of Bangor, 10 nets, valued at $189, were used in 1895, and 11 nets, worth $199, in 1896; these were set by 6 men in the first year and 7 in the next. The boats numbered 4 in 1895 and 5 in 1896, and were valued at $29 and $37, respectively.

The total number of salmon caught in 1895 was 4,395; these weighed 65,011 pounds and yielded the fishermen $11,356; in gill nets 117 salmon were caught, weighing 1,985 pounds and valued at $323. In 1896 the result of the fishery was 6,403 salmon, weighing 80,175 pounds, with a market value of $12,716; the gill-net catch this year was 246 salmon, with a weight of 3,444 pounds and a value of $492.

The outcome of the fishery in 1896 exceeded that of 1895 by 2,008 salmon; increase in weight was 15,164 pounds, and in value $1,360. The percentage of increase in these items was as follows: Fish taken, 46 per cent; weight of catch, 23 per cent; value of catch, 12 per cent.

As an illustration of the uniform increase in the number of salmon taken in 1896, the following facts may be cited: The nets that were set in both years numbered 162; of these, 146 nets, or 90 per cent, took more salmon in 1896 than in 1895; and only 16, or 10 per cent, took the same number or less. The comparative figures for the nets that secured more fish in 1896 were 3,449 salmon in 1895 and 5,681 in 1896. The nets whose catch was the same or less in 1896 caught 295 fish in 1895 and 289 in 1896.

The largest number of salmon taken by one fisherman in 1895 was 408; these were caught in 3 nets on the lower side of Sears Island, in the township of Searsport. Other catches by single fishermen in 1895 were 104 salmon in 4 nets in Stockton, 102 in 5 nets in Northport, 150 in 3 nets in Islesboro, and 150 in 3 nets in Verona.

In 1896 the 3 Searsport nets first mentioned took 426 salmon, and a large number of fishermen secured between 100 and 200 fish in 2 to 5 nets. Thus, in Stockton 100 fish were caught in 2 nets, 105 in 3 nets, and 110 in 1 net; in Penobscot 192 salmon were taken in 2 nets, 105 in 2 nets, and 127 in 2 nets; in Northport 5 nets obtained 204 fish and 4 nets 125 fish; in Islesboro 3 nets took 130 fish, 3 nets 150 fish, 4 nets 190 fish, and 2 nets 100 fish; in Verona 3 nets caught 174 fish, 2 nets 106 fish, 3 nets 150 fish, 1 net 100 fish, and 2 nets 170 fish.

About 80 per cent of the fishing is done in that part of the river between the northern end of Whitmore Island and Islesboro. While single weirs in that part of the river between Bucksport and Bangor may take as many as 50 or 60 salmon some seasons, the average was only 14 in 1895 and 26 in 1896, and the aggregate is comparatively small. In the townships of Lincolnville and Camden, which are the lowest points in the Penobscot region at which salmon fishing is done, the average catch to a net in 1895 was only 16 salmon and in 1896 only 19 salmon.

Detailed statistics for 1895 and 1896.

The following tables show, by townships, the extent of the salmon fishery of Penobscot Bay and River in 1895 and 1896:

Table.  Persons Employed
Persons Employed

Table.  Apparatus, boats, etc.
Apparatus, boats, etc.

Table.  Catch

Comparative data relative to the salmon fishery.

In 1880 the catch of salmon in Penobscot Bay and River and their tributaries was 10,016, having an estimated weight of 110,176 pounds. The weirs and traps used numbered 230; the gill nets, 36. The fishery yielded 169,894 pounds, valued at $32,800, in 1887; 192,177 pounds, worth $38,049, in 1888; 140,469 pounds, valued at $31,156, in 1889, and 92,282 pounds, worth $19,124, in 1892.

As previously shown, in 1895 193 traps and 10 gill nets took 4,395 salmon, weighing 65,011 pounds, valued at $11,356, and in 1896, 184 traps and 11 gill nets caught 6,403 salmon, weighing 80,175 pounds, valued at $12,716.

Comparing 1896 with 1880, it appears that there was a reduction of 27 per cent in the number of nets used and a decrease of 36 per cent in the number of salmon caught. A relatively large catch was made in 1887 to 1889, inclusive, and the decrease in 1896, as compared with those years, was marked. From 1892 to 1895 the output declined nearly 30 per cent, and the general tendency for the past eight years has been toward a decrease, 1896 presenting a very pleasing contrast, of which the fishermen all make mention.

Following is a continuous record from 1874 to 1896 of two of the most successful salmon weirs. These are located on the east side of the river, in the town of Penobscot, a short distance from the southern end of Whitmore Island. The number of salmon taken in 1896 was 20 per cent greater than in any previous year and over 93 per cent greater than the average for the preceding 22 years. Similar comparative statements for other nets are at hand, showing the increase in 1896 over previous seasons.

Table.  Record of two Penobscot River salmon weirs,
from 1874 to 1896, inclusive

Record of two Penobscot River salmon weirs, from 1874 to 1896, inclusive

Apparatus and methods of the fishery.

There is probably no other river in the United States in which a fishery of such magnitude has undergone so few changes with respect to methods, number of traps operated, and sites where nets are set, as the Penobscot. This is chiefly owing (1) to the character of the bottom, (2) to the fact that the fishing is a riparian privilege enjoyed only by those who own land fronting on the water, (3) to the circumstance that the fishing is almost entirely of a semi-professional character, and has been taken up by generation after generation as a part of the regular duties connected with the small farms, and (4) to the small number of food-fishes occurring in the river, and the preponderating importance of two of them--the salmon and the alewife--for which the nets are exclusively set.

Salmon Net Types

Salmon weir, Penobscot Salmon weir, Bucksport Salmon weir, Orland
Salmon weir, Penobscot. Leader of stakes interwoven with brush, 175 yards long. "Great pond" brush, 42 feet long. "Middle pond" and "back pond," netting with board floor, each 10 feet long. Outer entrance, 16 feet wide; middle, 2 feet; inner, 1 foot. Value, $75. Salmon weir, Bucksport. Leader, brush, 4 to 8 rods long. Middle pond, 40 feet long, 8-foot entrance; inner side, brush; outer side, twine. Pockets, twine, 10 feet long, 10-inch entrances, wooden floor. Value, $25. Some weirs have only one (upstream) pocket. "Hook weir," Orland. A brush hook, about 50 feet long and extending down stream, is built on some of the weirs. It serves the purpose of leading the fish into the net. Value, $35.

The salmon fishery of the Penobscot basin is carried on with practically a single type of apparatus, namely, the brush weir. In most parts of the region this trap is used in the same form that it had in the primitive days of the fishery, but in some sections the weir has undergone evolution into a combination brush and twine trap, and in places into a trap made wholly of netting.

Some of the types of salmon nets used in this region are illustrated and described by the accompanying figures. In addition to these, which are wholly or partly of brush, a common apparatus is the floating trap, constructed entirely of twine, such as is now generally employed in the New England States. This is the only salmon net in use at Islesboro and in some other sections. The local and individual variations in the form of the nets depend on the topography of the bottom and shore and the habits of the salmon, and are the result of long experience.

The fishing begins as soon as the ice moves out in spring and continues until some time in July. Fish are rarely taken before the last two weeks in April. May and June are the best months. In that part of the river adjacent to Bangor there is a small fishery prosecuted with set gill nets. The nets are from 100 to 200 feet long and have a 6-inch mesh.

Salmon weir, Castine Salmon weir, Stockton Salmon weir, Stockton
Salmon weir, Castine. Hedge 200 feet long, made of stakes driven in mud interwoven with brush to low-water mark, covered with netting beyond. Great pound, 30 feet long, 30 feet wide at base, made of netting; entrance 8 feet wide. Inner pounds, 10 feet wide, with board floors; outer entrance 2 feet wide, inner 1 foot. Value, $70. Salmon weir, Stockton. Leader or hedge, 400 yards long, all brush except 20 yards next to head, which piece is netting above low-water mark and brush below. Main compartment or great pound 80 feet long and 25 feet wide, with 10-foot entrance on each aide of leader. Smaller compartments, directed downstream, 21 feet long; with 2-foot entrance to first and 8-inch entrance to second. Value, $100. Salmon weir, Stockton. Leader 200 feet long; brush from shore to low-water mark; remainder brush at bottom, netting at top. Head 60 feet long; outer pound 40 feet, middle pound 12 feet, inner pound 8 feet; brush below low-water line, netting above; plank floors in two smaller compartments. Value, $40.

Salmon weir, Castine Salmon weir, Stockton Salmon weir, Stockton
Salmon weir, Winterport. Leader, brush, 6 rods long. Heart, brush or netting, 40 feet long, 20 feet wide, with 8-foot entrance on each side of leader. Pockets, netting, 10 feet in diameter, 9-inch entrance, wooden floor. Value, $50. "Upanddown" Salmon weirs, Orland. Constructed of brush except final compartments, which are of netting with wooden floors. Value of set, $65 Salmon weir, built at Verona in 1889. The most elaborate net used in the Penobscot region.

Salmon at Matinicus and Ragged islands.

Matinicus is a small island located south of Penobscot Bay and about 15 miles southeast of the nearest mainland (Thomaston). It is in the route of salmon coming in from the sea to ascend the river, and nets set in favorable positions would naturally be expected to intercept the fish. On the western side of the island Messrs. R. Crie & Sons have operated a trap for mackerel and herring for four years, and during that time have incidentally taken a number of salmon. Between May 20 and July 10 marketable fish are caught, while in August and September salmon too small to utilize are taken in considerable quantities; in the opinion of the Messrs. Crie these small fish were on their way to sea from the Penobscot River. It has been observed that when an easterly wind is blowing very few salmon are taken, but during a westerly wind salmon are always obtained in the months named, and the quantity of salmon secured in any given year bears a close relation to the direction of the prevailing winds. In 1895 the number of marketable salmon caught was 65; in 1896 the catch was 167. The largest fish taken in the two years weighed 30 pounds, the smallest ½ pound. The largest daily catch was 31 salmon, in 1896; the next largest, 27, in 1894.

Mr. W. B. Young, of Matinicus Island, has a herring weir on the southwestern part of Ragged Island, which lies a short distance south of Matinicus Island. In 1896 this weir during June and July caught 15 salmon with an aggregate weight of 200 pounds. The largest weighed 24½ pounds. No small, unmarketable ones were obtained.

Salmon at the Cranberry Isles.

The Cranberry Isles lie a few miles south of Mount Desert Island and about 25 miles east of Penobscot Bay. They are in the track of migrating salmon, as a few herring weirs set around the islands have for several years taken one or more salmon almost annually. [3] Mr. W. I. Mayo, a correspondent at the islands, reports that in June, 1895, Colonel Hadlock took a 17-pound salmon in a weir, and on May 5 of the same year Mr. Mayo caught one weighing 19 pounds. None had been taken, however, in 1896 up to September 1.

Salmon caught with hook off Maine coast.

Instances are multiplying of the taking of salmon at sea on trawl lines on the New England coast. The salmon are usually taken during the time when the fish are running in the rivers, but occasionally one has been caught in midwinter. The following data relate to fish that probably belonged to the Penobscot school.

On June 19, 1896 a Gloucester fishing vessel brought into Rockland a 10-pound salmon that had been caught on a cod trawl 20 miles southeast of Matinicus. The fish was sent home to Gloucester by the captain of the vessel, through Mr. Charles E. Weeks, a Rockland fish-dealer.

Several salmon have been taken on hooks off Frenchman Bay within a few years. One 25-pound fish was caught on a cod trawl 3 miles off Gouldsboro, in 20 fathoms of water, and another was taken southeast of Mount Desert Island in 35 fathoms.

Some years ago, on May 22, one of the crew of the schooner Telephone, of Orland, Me., while fishing for cod on German Bank, caught a 10-pound salmon. German Bank lies about 50 miles southeast of Mount Desert Island and has 65 to 100 fathoms of water.

Destruction of salmon by seals.

Seals are known to kill a great many salmon in Penobscot Bay and the lower river. They enter and leave the weirs and traps without difficulty and cause great annoyance to the fishermen. When a seal enters a net, the fish are frightened and usually become meshed; the seal may then devour them at its leisure. The initial bite usually includes the salmon's head.

Fishermen in some places report a noticeable increase in seals in the past few years, and a consequent increase in damage done to the salmon fishery. The State pays a bounty of $1 each for seal scalps, which serves to keep the seals somewhat in check, although the sagacity of the animals makes it difficult to approach them with a rifle and to secure them when shot. Within a few years some weir fishermen have been obliged at times to patrol the waters in the vicinity of their nets, in order to prevent depredations. In the Cape Rosier region, where some salmon trap fishing is done, seals were very troublesome in the early part of the season of 1896. Mr. George Ames, who set three traps in 1896 and took about 100 salmon, had knowledge of 13 other salmon that were destroyed by seals while in his nets. Similar instances of relatively large numbers of salmon killed by seals might be given. With salmon worth 20 to 50 cents a pound the loss of 10 or 12 salmon by seals, in a total catch of 75 or 100, is a matter of importance to the fisherman.

Evidences of results of propagation.

The opinion is now practically unanimous among the salmon fishermen of Penobscot River and Bay that the artificial hatching of salmon by the U.S. Fish Commission is producing beneficial results. About the same arguments in support of their opinions are presented by all, and these accord well in the main with the observations of other persons who have given this matter attention:

(1) The opportunities for natural reproduction are exceedingly limited, owing to the obstructions to the passage of the fish to their spawning grounds in the headwaters of the Penobscot basin.

(2) The salmon that are naturally hatched are, even under the most favorable conditions prevailing at the present time, not numerous enough to keep up the supply of market and brood fish, with the fatalities incident to the long residence at sea and to the passage of immature fish down from the spawning grounds to the sea.

(3) The remarkable run in May and June, 1896, of fish of comparatively small size that had apparently just reached maturity and the relative scarcity of large fish that had evidently been in the river during one or two previous seasons seemed to show a tendency toward the depletion of the run of old fish and the substitution of a run of young, artificially hatched fish.

(4) A feature of the salmon supply in recent years, on which the fishermen nearly all lay considerable stress, is that the runs in April and July, which in former years were often quite important and remunerative, have of late been very poor, although the fish constituting them are of large size, while the runs in May and June have kept up, but have consisted chiefly of comparatively small fish. In this the fishermen believe they see evidence of the work of the hatchery, for the young salmon artificially hatched have been from eggs of May and June fish, and the fishermen think that such young fish, when they return to the river to spawn, will come at about the same time that their parents did.

Many salmon fishermen might be quoted on the question of results of propagation. A few sample statements and records of salmon taken will be given covering different parts of the bay and river.

Mr. Francis French, an experienced salmon fisherman of Stockton, on the western side of Penobscot Bay, reports that of the 61 salmon taken in his weir in 1896, 56 were under 11 pounds in weight, and all evidently belonged to the same year's brood. In 1895 the 29 salmon obtained by Mr. French averaged 20 pounds each. According to his observations, a very large percentage of the salmon in the Penobscot region in 1896 were hatchery fish that then entered the river for the first time.

Mr. A. H. Whitmore, a salmon fisherman of over thirty years' experience, who fishes three weirs off the southern end of Whitmore Island, states that in that part of the river the catch in 1896 was the largest in thirty years, with the exception of one season. He thinks there is no doubt whatever of the beneficial results of artificial propagation, as shown by the maintenance of the supply when obstructions to the passage of salmon to the upper waters must greatly curtail natural spawning.

Mr. Joseph Hurd, of Winterport, has two weirs at Oak Point, which is the upper limit of weir fishing for salmon on the west side of the river; the nets are about 12 miles below Bangor; 25 salmon were taken in 1895, and 60 in the following year. The catch was better in 1896 than in a number of years. Eight years before, Mr. Hurd took 140 salmon, which was the best season in his experience; since then the fish have been decreasing until 1896. He thinks very few fish get to their spawning-grounds, owing to dams and other obstructions in the river above Bangor, and has no doubt the small fish which were so conspicuous in 1896 were from the Government hatchery.

Mr. William F. Abbott, of Verona, who has two weirs on Whitmore Island, caught 41 salmon in 1895, and 80 in 1896. He makes the following statement:

"In my opinion, there would not enough salmon come into the river to pay for building weirs if there had been no salmon artificially hatched; and I hope the Government will continue to keep the salmon fishing up, so it will pay to build our weirs. No person that knows anything about it can doubt that it is a good thing for the fishermen."

Mr. Harvey Heath, of Verona, has two weirs on the eastern side of the southern end of Whitmore Island. He caught 62 salmon in 1895, and 100 in 1896. He thinks that the removal of obstructions to the passage of fish to their spawning-grounds would be all that is necessary to secure a good run of fish in the river, but believes that under present conditions the salmon-cultural work of the Government is very useful in sustaining the fishery.

Three weirs of Mr. E. A. Bowden, located on the eastern side of Whitmore Island, above those of Mr. Heath, took, 31 salmon in 1895, and 85 in 1896. Mr. Bowden says:

"I think that if it was not for the hatchery we would not have any salmon to speak of, for all the school we have is in June. April, May, and July salmon are very scarce."

Mr. Charles G. Atkins, superintendent of the government salmon hatchery in Orland, Me., informs the writer that he has been inclined to believe that each year a great many salmon succeed in reaching their spawning grounds; but recent observations have caused him to change his mind, and he is now of the opinion that only relatively few salmon elude the traps, weirs, and gill nets, surmount the dams and fishways, escape the poachers, and succeed in depositing their eggs under conditions favorable to their development. The dam at Bangor, while certainly a formidable obstruction to the passage of fish, is probably passable at high water. It is provided with a fishway, and some fish are known to surmount the dam by this means. Above Bangor, in the main river, there are dams at Great Works and Montague, the dam at Montague being an especially serious obstruction, although it is provided with a good fishway. Below the dam at Bangor there is little poaching, but below the other dams--especially at Montague--comparatively large numbers of salmon are sacrificed by the illegal use of the spear and drift net. In 1896 all the salmon below Montague were at the mercy of poachers after July 15, when all wardens on the river were laid off. The supply of spawning fish was thus greatly reduced. The people above Bangor have no interest in preserving the salmon supply of the river, as they receive none of the benefits from fishing which are enjoyed by fishermen of the lower river.

This year Mr. Atkins, having this matter under consideration, visited the east branch of the Penobscot River. A certain tributary of the east branch, which was said to be one of the best spawning-grounds for salmon in the Penobscot basin, was obstructed by a dam in the spawning region. The dam was impassable to fish in July, and had been so during the previous months. In a deep pool below the dam, which was reported to be a favorite resort for salmon each season, no salmon were found. In other words, if the salmon had reached this stream they could not have gotten above the dam, and would undoubtedly have congregated in the pool mentioned and been noticed, but no fish had ascended even that far.

Extension of salmon-hatching operations on the Penobscot.

The establishment of branch hatcheries has been suggested in order to utilize the spawning salmon in the region which lies above commercial fishing, and thus increase by artificial means the production of young fish. It is well known that even under the best conditions now prevailing in our streams the eggs of anadromous fishes like the salmon and shad are liable to numerous destructive agencies; that only a small percentage of the eggs laid under natural surroundings ever hatch, and that the young are subject to heavy mortality up to the time when they leave the river and enter the salt water. Probably 5 per cent would be much too large an estimate of the number of salmon eggs which in a state of nature produce fish that reach the ocean. Fish-culture, on the other hand, hatches 95 per cent of the eggs and raises 75 per cent of the fry to the age of yearlings. Of 206,350 Atlantic salmon eggs obtained in 1895 at the government station at Craig Brook, 206,109 were hatched and 151,761 yearling fish were liberated in the fall. The percentage of eggs hatched was thus 99.88 and the percentage of yearlings raised was 78.39. This is sufficient ground for interfering with the salmon even after they have reached their spawning-beds, and justifies the establishment of hatcheries in the headwaters of the Penobscot, provided the supply of fish in any section is large enough to insure a reasonable take of eggs.

No examinations of the upper tributaries of the Penobscot thus far made have disclosed the existence of any stream on which the construction of a branch salmon hatchery is warranted, owing to the few salmon obtainable. The matter deserves further investigation, however, and will receive due consideration at an early date. It is thought that a satisfactory supply of fish may be secured by constructing a dam or rack which will intercept fish in the main stream and lead practically the entire run into one tributary, where they may be retained.

The operation of a branch salmon hatchery in the river above Bangor would of course depend on the successful working of the fishways and the enforcement by the State of the anti-poaching laws.

Planting of quinnat salmon and steelhead trout in Maine streams.

The United States Fish Commission is making the experiment of planting large numbers of non-indigenous salmon in the Penobscot Basin and other Maine waters with a view to test whether the fishes are adapted to those streams. The species with which trials have thus far been made are the quinnat or chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tschawytscha) and the steelhead trout (Salmo gairdneri). It is intended to plant sufficiently large numbers of yearling fish to fully test the feasibility of the project; and in the event of success two extremely valuable species will have been added to the fishery resources of the Maine streams.

During the years 1896 and 1897 over 2,000,000 young quinnat salmon and steelheads were deposited by the Commission in the Penobscot River and adjacent waters, several hundred thousand of which were four to six months old. The planting of additional fry and yearlings is contemplated in order to thoroughly demonstrate whether their introduction is possible.

The quinnat salmon ranges along practically the entire Pacific Coast of North America north of Mexico, entering all suitable streams. It is the most valuable member of the salmon family, and is taken in very large quantities for canning, salting, and fresh consumption. Its flesh is very rich and of a deep-red color. It is caught in the rivers with gill nets, seines, pound nets, traps, weirs, wheels, and other appliances. In Monterey Bay, California, large numbers are taken with trolling hooks baited with small fish, and, although the fish abstains from food after entering the fresh waters, it may often be lured with artificial or other baits. The chinook salmon begins to enter the California rivers in February, the Columbia in March, and the Alaskan rivers in May and June. The spawning season covers six months, extending from June to December, although the spawning period in any given basin is more limited, seldom exceeding one or two months. The highest accessible positions in the streams are sought by the spawning fish, which make rounded excavations in gravelly bottoms, in which the eggs are deposited. The vitality of the fish rapidly decreases after spawning, their bodies become mutilated and diseased, and in a short time they die.

The steelhead (Salmo gairdneri) also known by the names of salmon trout, winter salmon, and Gairdner's trout, closely resembles the Atlantic salmon in size, form, and habits. It is found from southern California to Alaska, and enters the coast rivers in large numbers. Its flesh is light-colored, but is of excellent flavor, being not inferior to the eastern salmon. It is caught in large quantities with gill nets and traps, for canning and use in a fresh condition. As a game fish the steelhead enjoys a high reputation in the Pacific States. Its principal run in the rivers is during the fall and winter months, when it ascends the streams long distances, spawning in late winter or early spring.

In order that anglers, fishermen, fish-dealers, and others may be able to distinguish from the Atlantic salmon and from each other any specimens of quinnat salmon and steelhead that come to their notice, the following key [4] has been prepared to cover the principal differential characters, and illustrations of the three species are shown:

I. Anal fin elongate, with 16 rays; gillrakers 9 + 14; branchiostegals 15 to 19; pyloric cœca 140 to 180; caudal fin considerably forked; average weight about 20 pounds, maximum 100 pounds. Quinnat salmon
Quinnat salmon

II. Anal fin short, with 9 to 12 rays; gillrakers 8 + 12: branchiostegals 11; pyloric cœca less than 70.
      1. Teeth on vomer little developed, those on shaft few and deciduous; scales large, about 120 in lateral series; pyloric cœca 65; caudal fin emarginate; average weight 15 pounds, maximum 40 pounds. Atlantic salmon
Atlantic salmon

      2. Teeth on vomer well developed, those on shaft of bone numerous and persistent in a zigzag row or two alternating series; scales about 150 (130 to 180) in lateral series; pyloric cœca 42; caudal fin squarely emarginate; average weight 10 pounds, maximum 20 pounds. Steelhead trout
Steelhead trout


Footnote 1:

On the Salmon of Eastern North America, and its artificial culture. In Report of Commissioner of Fish and Fisheries 1872-3, pp. 226-337, 9 plates of apparatus and methods, and map showing location of salmon weirs in Penobscot region.

Footnote 2:

The River Fisheries of Maine. In The Fisheries and Fishery Industries of the United States, section V, vol. I, pp. 673-728.

Footnote 3:

See paper entitled "Notes on the capture of Atlantic salmon at sea and in the coast waters of the Eastern States," Bull. U.S.F.C. 1894.

Footnote 4:

The parts referred to in the key may be defined as follows: Anal fin, the single fin on the median line of the body, between the vent and the tail; gillrakers, bony protuberances on the concave side of the bones supporting the gills; branchiostegals, small bones supporting the lower margin of the gill cover; pyloric coeca, worm-like appendages of the lower end of the stomach; vomer, a bone in the front part of the roof of the mouth.

Map showing the location of the salmon weirs
and traps fished in Penobscot River and Bay in 1896

Persons Employed


******* This file should be named 17039-h.txt or *******

This and all associated files of various formats will be found in:

Updated editions will replace the previous one--the old editions will be renamed.

Creating the works from public domain print editions means that no one owns a United States copyright in these works, so the Foundation (and you!) can copy and distribute it in the United States without permission and without paying copyright royalties. Special rules, set forth in the General Terms of Use part of this license, apply to copying and distributing Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works to protect the PROJECT GUTENBERG-tm concept and trademark. Project Gutenberg is a registered trademark, and may not be used if you charge for the eBooks, unless you receive specific permission. If you do not charge anything for copies of this eBook, complying with the rules is very easy. You may use this eBook for nearly any purpose such as creation of derivative works, reports, performances and research. They may be modified and printed and given away--you may do practically ANYTHING with public domain eBooks. Redistribution is subject to the trademark license, especially commercial redistribution.



To protect the Project Gutenberg-tm mission of promoting the free
distribution of electronic works, by using or distributing this work
(or any other work associated in any way with the phrase "Project
Gutenberg"), you agree to comply with all the terms of the Full Project
Gutenberg-tm License (available with this file or online at

Section 1.  General Terms of Use and Redistributing Project Gutenberg-tm
electronic works

1.A.  By reading or using any part of this Project Gutenberg-tm
electronic work, you indicate that you have read, understand, agree to
and accept all the terms of this license and intellectual property
(trademark/copyright) agreement.  If you do not agree to abide by all
the terms of this agreement, you must cease using and return or destroy
all copies of Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works in your possession.
If you paid a fee for obtaining a copy of or access to a Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic work and you do not agree to be bound by the
terms of this agreement, you may obtain a refund from the person or
entity to whom you paid the fee as set forth in paragraph 1.E.8.

1.B.  "Project Gutenberg" is a registered trademark.  It may only be
used on or associated in any way with an electronic work by people who
agree to be bound by the terms of this agreement.  There are a few
things that you can do with most Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works
even without complying with the full terms of this agreement.  See
paragraph 1.C below.  There are a lot of things you can do with Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic works if you follow the terms of this agreement
and help preserve free future access to Project Gutenberg-tm electronic
works.  See paragraph 1.E below.

1.C.  The Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation ("the Foundation"
or PGLAF), owns a compilation copyright in the collection of Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic works.  Nearly all the individual works in the
collection are in the public domain in the United States.  If an
individual work is in the public domain in the United States and you are
located in the United States, we do not claim a right to prevent you from
copying, distributing, performing, displaying or creating derivative
works based on the work as long as all references to Project Gutenberg
are removed.  Of course, we hope that you will support the Project
Gutenberg-tm mission of promoting free access to electronic works by
freely sharing Project Gutenberg-tm works in compliance with the terms of
this agreement for keeping the Project Gutenberg-tm name associated with
the work.  You can easily comply with the terms of this agreement by
keeping this work in the same format with its attached full Project
Gutenberg-tm License when you share it without charge with others.

1.D.  The copyright laws of the place where you are located also govern
what you can do with this work.  Copyright laws in most countries are in
a constant state of change.  If you are outside the United States, check
the laws of your country in addition to the terms of this agreement
before downloading, copying, displaying, performing, distributing or
creating derivative works based on this work or any other Project
Gutenberg-tm work.  The Foundation makes no representations concerning
the copyright status of any work in any country outside the United

1.E.  Unless you have removed all references to Project Gutenberg:

1.E.1.  The following sentence, with active links to, or other immediate
access to, the full Project Gutenberg-tm License must appear prominently
whenever any copy of a Project Gutenberg-tm work (any work on which the
phrase "Project Gutenberg" appears, or with which the phrase "Project
Gutenberg" is associated) is accessed, displayed, performed, viewed,
copied or distributed:

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever.  You may copy it, give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at

1.E.2.  If an individual Project Gutenberg-tm electronic work is derived
from the public domain (does not contain a notice indicating that it is
posted with permission of the copyright holder), the work can be copied
and distributed to anyone in the United States without paying any fees
or charges.  If you are redistributing or providing access to a work
with the phrase "Project Gutenberg" associated with or appearing on the
work, you must comply either with the requirements of paragraphs 1.E.1
through 1.E.7 or obtain permission for the use of the work and the
Project Gutenberg-tm trademark as set forth in paragraphs 1.E.8 or

1.E.3.  If an individual Project Gutenberg-tm electronic work is posted
with the permission of the copyright holder, your use and distribution
must comply with both paragraphs 1.E.1 through 1.E.7 and any additional
terms imposed by the copyright holder.  Additional terms will be linked
to the Project Gutenberg-tm License for all works posted with the
permission of the copyright holder found at the beginning of this work.

1.E.4.  Do not unlink or detach or remove the full Project Gutenberg-tm
License terms from this work, or any files containing a part of this
work or any other work associated with Project Gutenberg-tm.

1.E.5.  Do not copy, display, perform, distribute or redistribute this
electronic work, or any part of this electronic work, without
prominently displaying the sentence set forth in paragraph 1.E.1 with
active links or immediate access to the full terms of the Project
Gutenberg-tm License.

1.E.6.  You may convert to and distribute this work in any binary,
compressed, marked up, nonproprietary or proprietary form, including any
word processing or hypertext form.  However, if you provide access to or
distribute copies of a Project Gutenberg-tm work in a format other than
"Plain Vanilla ASCII" or other format used in the official version
posted on the official Project Gutenberg-tm web site (,
you must, at no additional cost, fee or expense to the user, provide a
copy, a means of exporting a copy, or a means of obtaining a copy upon
request, of the work in its original "Plain Vanilla ASCII" or other
form.  Any alternate format must include the full Project Gutenberg-tm
License as specified in paragraph 1.E.1.

1.E.7.  Do not charge a fee for access to, viewing, displaying,
performing, copying or distributing any Project Gutenberg-tm works
unless you comply with paragraph 1.E.8 or 1.E.9.

1.E.8.  You may charge a reasonable fee for copies of or providing
access to or distributing Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works provided

- You pay a royalty fee of 20% of the gross profits you derive from
     the use of Project Gutenberg-tm works calculated using the method
     you already use to calculate your applicable taxes.  The fee is
     owed to the owner of the Project Gutenberg-tm trademark, but he
     has agreed to donate royalties under this paragraph to the
     Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation.  Royalty payments
     must be paid within 60 days following each date on which you
     prepare (or are legally required to prepare) your periodic tax
     returns.  Royalty payments should be clearly marked as such and
     sent to the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation at the
     address specified in Section 4, "Information about donations to
     the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation."

- You provide a full refund of any money paid by a user who notifies
     you in writing (or by e-mail) within 30 days of receipt that s/he
     does not agree to the terms of the full Project Gutenberg-tm
     License.  You must require such a user to return or
     destroy all copies of the works possessed in a physical medium
     and discontinue all use of and all access to other copies of
     Project Gutenberg-tm works.

- You provide, in accordance with paragraph 1.F.3, a full refund of any
     money paid for a work or a replacement copy, if a defect in the
     electronic work is discovered and reported to you within 90 days
     of receipt of the work.

- You comply with all other terms of this agreement for free
     distribution of Project Gutenberg-tm works.

1.E.9.  If you wish to charge a fee or distribute a Project Gutenberg-tm
electronic work or group of works on different terms than are set
forth in this agreement, you must obtain permission in writing from
both the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation and Michael
Hart, the owner of the Project Gutenberg-tm trademark.  Contact the
Foundation as set forth in Section 3 below.


1.F.1.  Project Gutenberg volunteers and employees expend considerable
effort to identify, do copyright research on, transcribe and proofread
public domain works in creating the Project Gutenberg-tm
collection.  Despite these efforts, Project Gutenberg-tm electronic
works, and the medium on which they may be stored, may contain
"Defects," such as, but not limited to, incomplete, inaccurate or
corrupt data, transcription errors, a copyright or other intellectual
property infringement, a defective or damaged disk or other medium, a
computer virus, or computer codes that damage or cannot be read by
your equipment.

of Replacement or Refund" described in paragraph 1.F.3, the Project
Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation, the owner of the Project
Gutenberg-tm trademark, and any other party distributing a Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic work under this agreement, disclaim all
liability to you for damages, costs and expenses, including legal

defect in this electronic work within 90 days of receiving it, you can
receive a refund of the money (if any) you paid for it by sending a
written explanation to the person you received the work from.  If you
received the work on a physical medium, you must return the medium with
your written explanation.  The person or entity that provided you with
the defective work may elect to provide a replacement copy in lieu of a
refund.  If you received the work electronically, the person or entity
providing it to you may choose to give you a second opportunity to
receive the work electronically in lieu of a refund.  If the second copy
is also defective, you may demand a refund in writing without further
opportunities to fix the problem.

1.F.4.  Except for the limited right of replacement or refund set forth
in paragraph 1.F.3, this work is provided to you 'AS-IS,' WITH NO OTHER

1.F.5.  Some states do not allow disclaimers of certain implied
warranties or the exclusion or limitation of certain types of damages.
If any disclaimer or limitation set forth in this agreement violates the
law of the state applicable to this agreement, the agreement shall be
interpreted to make the maximum disclaimer or limitation permitted by
the applicable state law.  The invalidity or unenforceability of any
provision of this agreement shall not void the remaining provisions.

1.F.6.  INDEMNITY - You agree to indemnify and hold the Foundation, the
trademark owner, any agent or employee of the Foundation, anyone
providing copies of Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works in accordance
with this agreement, and any volunteers associated with the production,
promotion and distribution of Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works,
harmless from all liability, costs and expenses, including legal fees,
that arise directly or indirectly from any of the following which you do
or cause to occur: (a) distribution of this or any Project Gutenberg-tm
work, (b) alteration, modification, or additions or deletions to any
Project Gutenberg-tm work, and (c) any Defect you cause.

Section  2.  Information about the Mission of Project Gutenberg-tm

Project Gutenberg-tm is synonymous with the free distribution of
electronic works in formats readable by the widest variety of computers
including obsolete, old, middle-aged and new computers.  It exists
because of the efforts of hundreds of volunteers and donations from
people in all walks of life.

Volunteers and financial support to provide volunteers with the
assistance they need, is critical to reaching Project Gutenberg-tm's
goals and ensuring that the Project Gutenberg-tm collection will
remain freely available for generations to come.  In 2001, the Project
Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation was created to provide a secure
and permanent future for Project Gutenberg-tm and future generations.
To learn more about the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation
and how your efforts and donations can help, see Sections 3 and 4
and the Foundation web page at

Section 3.  Information about the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive

The Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation is a non profit
501(c)(3) educational corporation organized under the laws of the
state of Mississippi and granted tax exempt status by the Internal
Revenue Service.  The Foundation's EIN or federal tax identification
number is 64-6221541.  Contributions to the Project Gutenberg
Literary Archive Foundation are tax deductible to the full extent
permitted by U.S. federal laws and your state's laws.

The Foundation's principal office is located at 4557 Melan Dr. S.
Fairbanks, AK, 99712., but its volunteers and employees are scattered
throughout numerous locations.  Its business office is located at
809 North 1500 West, Salt Lake City, UT 84116, (801) 596-1887, email  Email contact links and up to date contact
information can be found at the Foundation's web site and official
page at

For additional contact information:
     Dr. Gregory B. Newby
     Chief Executive and Director

Section 4.  Information about Donations to the Project Gutenberg
Literary Archive Foundation

Project Gutenberg-tm depends upon and cannot survive without wide
spread public support and donations to carry out its mission of
increasing the number of public domain and licensed works that can be
freely distributed in machine readable form accessible by the widest
array of equipment including outdated equipment.  Many small donations
($1 to $5,000) are particularly important to maintaining tax exempt
status with the IRS.

The Foundation is committed to complying with the laws regulating
charities and charitable donations in all 50 states of the United
States.  Compliance requirements are not uniform and it takes a
considerable effort, much paperwork and many fees to meet and keep up
with these requirements.  We do not solicit donations in locations
where we have not received written confirmation of compliance.  To
SEND DONATIONS or determine the status of compliance for any
particular state visit

While we cannot and do not solicit contributions from states where we
have not met the solicitation requirements, we know of no prohibition
against accepting unsolicited donations from donors in such states who
approach us with offers to donate.

International donations are gratefully accepted, but we cannot make
any statements concerning tax treatment of donations received from
outside the United States.  U.S. laws alone swamp our small staff.

Please check the Project Gutenberg Web pages for current donation
methods and addresses.  Donations are accepted in a number of other
ways including including checks, online payments and credit card
donations.  To donate, please visit:

Section 5.  General Information About Project Gutenberg-tm electronic

Professor Michael S. Hart was the originator of the Project Gutenberg-tm
concept of a library of electronic works that could be freely shared
with anyone.  For thirty years, he produced and distributed Project
Gutenberg-tm eBooks with only a loose network of volunteer support.

Project Gutenberg-tm eBooks are often created from several printed
editions, all of which are confirmed as Public Domain in the U.S.
unless a copyright notice is included.  Thus, we do not necessarily
keep eBooks in compliance with any particular paper edition.

Each eBook is in a subdirectory of the same number as the eBook's
eBook number, often in several formats including plain vanilla ASCII,
compressed (zipped), HTML and others.

Corrected EDITIONS of our eBooks replace the old file and take over
the old filename and etext number.  The replaced older file is renamed.
VERSIONS based on separate sources are treated as new eBooks receiving
new filenames and etext numbers.

Most people start at our Web site which has the main PG search facility:

This Web site includes information about Project Gutenberg-tm,
including how to make donations to the Project Gutenberg Literary
Archive Foundation, how to help produce our new eBooks, and how to
subscribe to our email newsletter to hear about new eBooks.

EBooks posted prior to November 2003, with eBook numbers BELOW #10000,
are filed in directories based on their release date.  If you want to
download any of these eBooks directly, rather than using the regular
search system you may utilize the following addresses and just
download by the etext year.

    (Or /etext 05, 04, 03, 02, 01, 00, 99,
     98, 97, 96, 95, 94, 93, 92, 92, 91 or 90)

EBooks posted since November 2003, with etext numbers OVER #10000, are
filed in a different way.  The year of a release date is no longer part
of the directory path.  The path is based on the etext number (which is
identical to the filename).  The path to the file is made up of single
digits corresponding to all but the last digit in the filename.  For
example an eBook of filename 10234 would be found at:

or filename 24689 would be found at:

An alternative method of locating eBooks: