Good Places To Go Fishing
( Originally Published 1912 )
WHILE an accurate knowledge of the distribution of each and every kind of fish is not essential, the angler will be interested to know approximately how far the range of certain fishes extends, and if he contemplates going to some other place where he is unacquainted, he will naturally want to know what kinds of fish he is most likely to find there.
Also, if there is a vacation or a fishing trip in prospect he will want to know of the most favored localities.
It is impossible to give accurately the range of each and every species of fish for this is not known, even to naturalists. Therefore, in most cases the distribution as given can not be taken as the extreme limit of the district in which the fish is found, for sometimes some certain fish will be found in waters far removed from its natural range, and in other cases there may be a large district, embracing several states well within the boundaries of this fish's habitat, in which no such fish are found. This may be due to one or more of several causes. In many cases man has aided nature in distributing the various fishes by introducing western fishes into eastern waters, or in placing eastern fish in waters west of the Rockies, or even in bringing fish from Europe. In this way fish may become widely distributed, yet great spaces intervene. Again it is believed that various fishes were scattered over a great range during the Glacial Period, by being carried frozen in ice from far to the northward.
It is possible too that certain fish-eating birds may carry the spawn of fishes, and often some very small stream during high water connects the heads of two different water-courses, or fish may even be carried by underground streams, but not likely any great distance.
While I have shown a map showing in general where each kind of fish is found, this is not strictly accurate and that the distribution of fishes may be better understood I will give as accurately as possible, in text, the range of each.
The small-mouthed black bass was originally found only in the region surrounding the Great Lakes, in the upper Mississippi valley, the Ohio valley, and the streams on the slopes of the southern Alleghany mountains. But the fish has been introduced into both eastern and western waters, wherever the water is reasonably cool and rapid, so that the fish is now found in all of the eastern states and some of the western ones. It is not found in the South except in the mountain streams, and I understand it does not exist farther north than the Height of Land, in Canada. The large-mouthed species is found mainly in the South, but ranges almost as far north as the small mouth, being found in the more quiet waters. One species or other is now found in every state east of the Great Plains.
On the map I have shown the sunfishes collectively, by a single character, and it should be understood that this character may mean any kind of sunfish other than the black bass.
The common sunfish or pumpkin seed is found in all of the country south of and adjoining the Great Lakes, the headwaters of the Mississippi, and all of the states lying east sf the Appalachian Mountain system. The long eared sunfish is found in the same territory and also all the way down through the Mississippi valley, and on to Mexico. The blue sunfish or bluegill inhabits the entire Mississippi and Ohio valley, and the southern states. The red breast sunfish is found in all of the states bordering on the Atlantic, and along through the Gulf states to Louisiana. The rock bass or goggle-eye is found in New York and westward and south-ward throughout the Mississippi valley to Texas. The war-mouth perch is found in the upper part of the Mississippi valley, and in all of the Gulf states. The Sacramento perch is found only in California. The strawberry bass or calico bass is found in the upper Mississippi river valley and east-ward, then southward through the Atlantic coast states, and westward through the Gulf states. The crappie is found throughout the entire Mississippi valley, but is most abundant in the southern part. So much for the sunfish.
Of the trouts, as before said, there are many kinds, and they are scattered widely. The trout inhabits cool clear water only, and one species or other may be found in every state west of Kansas and Nebraska in the streams in or near the mountains; in all of the mountain states of the East; in the New England states and all those bordering on Canada, as well as practically all of Canada, Newfoundland and Alaska. The most, common species is the brook trout; it is found in all of the New England states, New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, eastern Tennessee, western North Carolina, and northern Georgia, in New Brunswick, and in fact all of eastern Canada and the Great Lake region, and in Newfoundland. The cut-throat trout ranges from western Montana and northern California northward into Alaska. The rainbow trout is the most common trout on the Pacific coast and is found from northwestern Mexico northward, just how far will depend on what you call a rainbow trout, as the brook trout of the northwest is a rainbow. The rainbow has also been introduced into streams of Wisconsin, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and North Carolina, also in Newfoundland. The Kansas river trout is found on the east slope of the Rockies, from the headwaters of the Kansas river to the upper Missouri in Montana. The Yellowstone trout is found in northwestern Wyoming and western Montana and Idaho. The malma or dolly varden trout is found along the northwestern coast from northern California to Alaska and is caught in fresh water and in the sea. The steelhead is found, in salt water and river mouths from California northward, and spawns in the heads of the streams. It and allied species are common in British Columbia.
The true salmon of the Atlantic and Pacific are so closely related to the trouts that they might well all be called trout or all salmon, and really do, with the exception of the chars, belong to the same family. The Atlantic salmon seldom enters the streams south of Maine, and is more abundant in Canadian and Newfoundland waters. They are plentiful along the coast of Labrador and around into Hudson bay, entering the streams there in large numbers. The various Pacific ocean salmon are found all along the coast from central California northward to Behring sea and run up all of the streams to spawn.
The muskellunge and the pike inhabit the same waters, the Great Lakes, the St. Lawrence and its tributaries, certain waters of New York, and many of Michigan and Wisconsin, as well as the streams and lakes of the north side of the Great Lakes. The pike also extends northwestward into Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and the far northwest. The range of the eastern pickerel is from the St. Lawrence valley southward through all of the Atlantic coast states to Florida. The western pickerel inhabits all of the states of the Middle West.
The pike-perch is found in the region surrounding the Great Lakes and the upper Ohio river and its tributaries, also along near the Atlantic coast from Maryland southward. The yellow perch is more widely distributed, being found in the same range as the pike-perch and farther up along the east coast, extending through the New England states.
The carp and the catfish are common in almost every state in the Union. All of the carp have been introduced from Europe and catfish have also been extended beyond their natural range by transplanting. They have been introduced into California and have thrived wonderfully. The rivers of the Middle West are probably the best streams for carp and the Illinois river is said to produce heavily of these. The south shore of Lake Erie is also a great carp producing water, and they are netted there and sent to the city markets. There are four of the New England states in which catfish are not found, but they are probably found in every other state. Illinois is said to lead in the production of this fish.
Perhaps the best districts to go to for fishing in the United States are Maine, New York, northern Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota, Florida, California and Washing-ton. In Canada, which is unsurpassed as an angler's resort, the St. Lawrence river, New Brunswick, the many lakes of Ontario, and British Columbia are the most noted places. Newfoundland is noted for its salmon and trout.
Practically all of northern Maine teems with speckled trout and the many lakes and rivers offer an almost unlimited field for the angler. Very large trout are taken in some of the Maine waters, and I think that this state holds the record for large speckled trout. The Rangeley lakes, Moosehead lake, the Penobocot river, the Aroostock, are among the much visited waters, but almost any part of the state offers good fishing. Besides the speckled trout, lake trout or togue are found in some of the lakes, also land-locked salmon.
In New York there is much good fishing to be had. Some of the best bass fishing may be had there. There is good bass fishing in practically all of the waters of the central and western portions, and up in the northeastern part, in the Adirondacks, very good trout fishing is obtained.
These mountains have many lakes and streams that are filled with trout, and some lakes contain lake trout or salmon trout as they are called there. There is also very good fishing for a varied line of fish in the group of lakes in the central part of the state. In the St. Lawrence, about the Thousand Islands, there is good black bass fishing, and muskys are also found.
Large fish are seldom taken in Pennsylvania, but small brook trout are abundant in the mountain streams. In all of the central, northern and northeastern parts good trout fishing may be had. Black bass are also found and are probably most abundant in the southeastern and northwestern parts.
Down in West Virginia there is also some good angling, perhaps the best is in the eastern part of the state, in the Greenbrier, Cheat, and Tygerts Valley rivers. where trout and bass are found.
Kentucky is full of good fishing streams. It was in this state that angling for black bass was first raised from its original level with angling for bottom fish.
Florida is an angler's Paradise. Very large black bass, the large mouthed kind, are found there, as well as many other fresh water fish. Perhaps the best region, anyway one of the best, is in Lake County. I am not speaking of the salt water fishing here, but there is no finer fishing of that kind to be had anywhere than along the Florida coast.
In Ohio black bass are found in nearly all streams, also other fish of various kinds. The most popular resorts are the artificial lakes known as Buckeye Lake, Indian Lake, Six Mile Reservior and Grand Reservior. The fish are large mouthed black bass, perch and sunfish of several kinds.
In Indiana and Illinois there are many good fishing streams and lakes, containing black bass, pike, pickerel, cat fish, carp and crappies. All in all, perhaps one stream is as good as another.
Michigan furnishes some excellent fishing, the waters being largely stocked from the Great Lakes. Both kinds of bass are found there, also pike and muskellunge, and other fish of less note. There are so many good places that I will not attempt to name them. Good rainbow trout fishing may be had in the Au Sable and the fish grow to a large size. Brook trout are found in the Upper Peninsula and the northern part of the Lower Peninsula.
In Wisconsin we have perhaps the best muskellunge waters in the United States, the fish being found in the waters of the Mississippi system. Black bass and other fishes, such as calico bass, pickerel and perch are abundant. Trout are found in the northern part in plenty.
In Minnesota the fishing is practically the same as in Wisconsin.
Not much can be said regarding the fishing in Nebraska and Kansas except that there are black bass, catfish, etc., and several kinds of trout in the western part. In the Dakotas the best fishing is to be had in the eastern parts.
Western Montana and Idaho are rich in trout, and the Rocky mountain whitefish is found there also. Grayling are also found in Montana.
There is good trout fishing in Western Wyoming, fine, I should say, for the streams coming down from the Rockies are filled with these fish. Whitefish are also plentiful.
Colorado is full of fine trout streams and there are several kinds of trout found there.
In Washington and Oregon there is fine fishing as the Salmon and steelhead trout ascend all of the streams up into Idaho. There are also the western brook trout and other native fish as well as introduced kinds.
California probably gives the best trout fishing of all of the Pacific coast states, having a number of kinds of trout. There are also other fish, and the sea angling of the south-west coast is of the finest. Lake Tahoe, on the California-Nevada line, is a large body of very clear water, containing an abundance of Tahoe trout, which are also found in some of the other lakes.
Leaving Uncle Sam's country and going up into British Columbia, we find some of the finest fishing to be had any-where. The best salmon fishing is found in the salt water where the waters are protected by the many islands. Perhaps the best place in the world for the Pacific salmon is in the Campbell river, on Vancouver Island. The northern lakes are stocked with whitefish and trout of many kinds abound in the inland rivers and lakes.
Trout are found also in parts of Alberta and Saskatchewan, but in these provinces as well as in Manitoba it is the whitefish that is the most important. It is not a game fish, but is a food fish of the highest rank. Pike are also found there and in the lower part of Manitoba black bass are found.
Ontario is the greatest fresh water angler's field of Canada. Here the brook trout is found in almost incredible numbers, and its trout waters, especially Nipigon river and lake ,are world famous. There is also excellent musky fishing in the waters adjacent to Lake Huron and black 'bass are also plentiful. Pike are found in many of the lakes and reach a large size. Some of the most noted waters are Nipigon, Kawartha Lakes, Muskoka Lakes, Temagami (for lake trout), Lake of Bays, the waters of the Algonquin Park, etc.
Quebec offers fine fishing also, especially in the St. Lawrence and adjacent waters,. Good salmon fishing is to be had in the rivers of the north shore of the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
New Brunswick is noted for its trout and salmon fishing, and is probably the same in this respect as Newfound-land. Both places are much visited by non-resident anglers.
In this description I have not mentioned nearly all of the fish found in any state or province, nor could I mention many of the good places to visit, as a volume could be de-voted to that. There are many fish that I have not mentioned, either here or in any part of this book, but I have described and told of the principal kinds, and those that I consider most important. If you learn to catch these you will have no trouble with the others.
Science of Fishing:
Good Places To Go Fishing
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