Early in the spring of 1897 arrangements were made with Mr. Thornas Brown for collecting quinnat-salmon eggs on the Salmon River on the same terms as heretofore, viz: 40 cents per 1000 for eyed eggs, the construction of the rack, capture of the fish and care of the eggs until they reached that stage to be undertaken by him, and the Commission to furnish the necessary troughs and other hatching apparatus. The rack was placed across the Salmon River in May, at the same point where operations had been conducted the previous season and another rack was built across the Sandy River later in the season for the purpose of turning the salmon from that stream into the Salmon River. At the beginning of the year, when the racks were completed, numbers of fish appeared below them, and indications pointed to a large collection of eggs; but many fish were captured before the spawning season by fishermen and others living in the vicinity, which materially reduced the available supply.
Photograph Below: Plate XXI Report U.S.F.C. 1898
Little White Salmon River, Showing Hatcheries and Lumber Flume.
The first eggs were taken on July 22 and the last during the latter part of August. During this period 1,216,600 eggs were secured from the 389 females; of these, 1,066,600 were shipped to Clackamas in four consignments during September, and the balance were hatched and liberated in the river near the rack.
Photograph Below: Plate XX. Report U.S.F.C. 1898
Little White Salmon River Looking North, Showing The
Two New, Hatcheries, Office, and Mess-House.
During the early spring an investigation of various sites on the Rogue River was made by the superintendent, with a view to establishing an auxiliary station for collecting quinnat-salmon eggs. A number of sites were examined in the vicinity of Gold Hill, and a point was selected about 12 miles above that place, the water to be secured from an irrigation ditch connected with Rogue River; but before the arrangements could be completed with the parties owning the land, who lived at Jacksonville, Oreg., Mr. R. D. Hume of Wedderburn, Oreg, agreed to erect a hatchery on Rogue River and equip it, provided the United States Fish Commission would operate it. This offer was accepted and the site near Gold Hill abandoned. The point selected by Mr. Hume is at the mouth of Elk Creek, about 26 miles from Central Point. Arrangements were made with J. J. Pankey to build a rack across the river, capture the fish and furnish eyed eggs to the Commission at the rate of 40 cents per 1,000. In August a hatching-house, 24 by 50 feet, was built on the banks of the river above, equipped with 8 hatching troughs, 35 feet long, 12 inches wide, and 10 inches deep, and with a filtering-tank 12 feet long, 4 feet wide, and 3 feet deep in one end. The water supply was taken from Elk Creek, its temperature being from 12° to 14° warmer than that of Rogue River. In order to raise the water in the creek to a sufficient height, a dam 10 feet high and 100 feet long was built about 1,800 feet from the hatchery, the water being conveyed in a 2-foot flume.
In September Mr. G. H. Tolbert, fish-culturist, was detached from Fort Gaston Station and placed in charge of the work. The building was completed shortly afterwards, and the presence of many salmon below the rack afforded a fair prospect for good collections. A few egg's were taken in September, but the bulk was collected in October. During October and November 2,027,000 eyed eggs were delivered by Mr. Pankey. The results were not satisfactory, as it is believed that there was a sufficient number of salmon in the river to have yielded at least 5,000,000 more if the fishing had been properly managed. One of the principal objections to this site is that there is no deep water below the rack in which fish can collect, and as soon as they become frightened by the seining operations they descend the river for several miles. The hatchery was not large enough to accommodate the number of eggs taken, and it became necessary to provide additional troughs outside the building. Quite a heavy loss occurred during incubation; the shells of the eggs appeared to be so tough that the fry could not burst through. It was noticed that those obtained from the Rogue River salmon were much larger than those collected on the tributaries of the Clackamas, three of them laid side by side measuring 1 and 1/8 inches.
A great deal of rain fell during November, raising the water in Elk Creek and carrying away about 30 feet of the top of the dam; fortunately no damage resulted. On December 8 Mr. Tolbert was relieved and Mr. J. W. Berrian put in charge. As the weather became colder, ice and slush formed in the flume to such an extent that it was decided to liberate all of the fry and not run the risk of losing them in the troughs. The last plant was made on February 10th, when the station was closed and left in charge of a watchman. The total number liberated was 1,910,045; they were deposited on the spawning-grounds in Rogue River near Trail, Oregon.
Little White Salmon.
As the results secured the previous year indicated that large numbers of eggs could be obtained on the Little White Salmon River, arrangements were made to operate at that point on an extended scale. Mr. S. W. Downing, foreman of Alpena Station, was detailed to assist the superintendent, and reported for duty on July 20. The old hatchery, which had been floated from its foundations the previous winter by the rising of the Columbia River, was repaired and the hatching-troughs made ready for the reception of eggs. The mess-house was rebuilt and enlarged, and a rack was placed across the river. A new hatchery was also commenced and completed during the month of August. This building is a substantial structure of wood, 42 feet by 80 feet, and is so arranged that the roof is supported by the sides of the building, thereby leaving the entire floor space free of posts and giving more room for hatching operations. The floor is terraced uniformly from one end of the building in four sections, with a difference of 8 inches in elevation from one section to the next. On each of these a row of troughs runs lengthwise of the building, the troughs in each maintaining an elevation of 8 inches above those in the next, in conformity with the plan of the floor. They are fed with water conducted by a flume to a supply-trough placed against the end wall. By this arrangement all of the troughs are at a uniform height from the floor, and the manipulation of eggs is much easier then where troughs of different heights are set upon a level. The building is lighted by skylights in the roof and by windows in the sides and ends.
Very few fish were seen during August, but in September they began to make their way up the river in considerable numbers. The first spawning salmon were noticed on September 12, when fishing was regularly undertaken. Within three days afterwards over 1,000,000 eggs had been collected. Various methods were employed in catching the fish, some being taken with traps and others with seines. One trap was built in the upper side of the rack, but very few fish were captured in it. The seining was done in a pool below the rack and at various points along the lagoon. The greater number of fish, however, were caught in traps built on the riffles some distance below the rack, into which the fish were driven by hauling a seine downstream and forcing them into the trap. As soon as the spawning season commenced a large force was employed and work continued night and day. By September 28 all of the hatching-baskets at the station were filled with eggs, 11,286,000 having been collected; and as there were many spawning salmon still in the river, it became necessary to provide additional apparatus. Hatching-baskets were transferred from Clackamas Station, and work was resumed on October 2; by the 6th these baskets had also been filled, bringing the collections up to 12,649,000. The actual number of days on which eggs were taken was 22, making the daily average 575,000. The greatest number taken on one day was on September 22, when 1,155,000 were collected.
In order to simplify the handling of large females, they were knocked on the head with a club before any effort was made to strip them. This blow stunned the fish, and it was possible to express the eggs without any struggling or muscular contractions on the part of the fish, thereby saving much time and labor. The eggs were fertilized in the usual way, four men being detailed to take the fish from the corrals, strip them, impregnate, wash, and transfer the eggs to the hatchery. As a rule, the eggs were allowed to remain in the pan about an hour before being washed, but with the last million obtained this period was reduced to a few minutes. These eggs were transferred to the hatchery, and proved to be better than any of the earlier collections.
The spawning season here lasts only a month, but during that period the river is alive with fish, and it is believed that former collections could be largely exceeded, as at no time was it necessary for the men to fish more than a few hours a day. Fortunately the weather during the hatching season was pleasant; otherwise the fish in the troughs on the outside would have undoubtedly been killed by ice. Several severe snowstorms occurred, but no damage was done.
On October 18 Mr. Downing, was detached from the station, and Mr. J. A. Tolbert was placed in charge as foreman. As soon as the spawning season was completed additional troughs were constructed and placed out of doors for the accommodation of the fry. The eggs commenced hatching in November and the first plant of fry was made on December 18. Plants continued from this time until January 29, when the last were liberated in Little White Salmon River, which is one of the best natural spawning-grounds of the quinnat salmon. The total number of fry planted was 7,391,000. After all had been disposed of the station was closed, and the watchman was employed for the balance of the year in constructing a road from the station to the county road.
Siuslaw River Station, Oregon
[L.E. Bean in Charge].
At the urgent request of the Representatives of the State of Oregon, and with the understanding that the canners and fishermen on Siuslaw River would cooperate with the U. S. Fish Commission, arrangements were again made to open the hatchery near Mapleton, Oreg, the owner having tendered its use free of cost.
In August Mr. L. E. Bean was placed in charge, and arrangements were made for collecting salmon down the river and transferring them in live-boxes to the hatchery, to be held until ready to spawn. A rack was placed across the north fork and another on the main river, 1 and 1/2 miles above the station; at the head of tide water. Crates were also constructed for transferring the fish; they were 18 feet long, 9 feet wide, and 6 feet deep, and so made as to exclude light, sufficient space being left between the planks below the surface of the water to admit of the free circulation of water.
A collection of 100 salmon obtained from the seine of Capt. William Kyle were transferred to the boxes, but half of them were lost immediately after being placed in the live-boxes, and the balance died in transit, though the utmost care was exercised in handling them. This method was then abandoned and collections were made by means of gill nets and a trap fished below the rack, the trap being made of two old seines. A few fish were caught in this way while the water was muddy, but as soon as it became clear they avoided the traps. The majority were taken in gill nets set in the evening and fished from time to time during the night in the deep holes below the rack. Two nets were used, one of which was 30 fathoms long, 7-inch mesh, and the other 20 fathoms long, 9-inch mesh. On the night of October 21, 63 chinooks were taken in the two nets. The majority of those taken in the 9-inch mesh were injured and died in a short time, the others were held until the close of the season with comparatively small loss.
At the close of operations there were 117 ripe females and 97 males in the live-boxes. These yielded 544,275 eggs, of which 104,000 died in incubation. They were placed in the hatchery as soon as fertilized, and hatched during the month of January. The 440,275 fry resulting from them were liberated at suitable points in Spring Creek and the Siuslaw River during the latter part of February and the first of March.
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