Contents: Letter to Governor , Report , Moose , Caribou & Deer, Wardens , ,Inland Fishes Trout, Hatcheries , Hatchery at Caribou , Steelhead Trout ,Brook Trout , Landlocked Salmon , Atlantic Salmon , Fish Eggs , Smelts , White Perch , Black Bass , Capercailzie, Partridge , Financial Statement , Rules & Regulations , Expenditures ,
About these digitized reports


To His Excellency, Henry B. Cleaves, Governor of Maine:
The Commissioners of Inland Fisheries and Game have the honor to present to your Excellency their report for the year ending December 31, 1896, as required by section 2, chapter 104 of the Laws of 1895.

Commissioners of Inland Fisheries and Game.

On April 9, 1896, Hon. Thos. H. Wentworth's term of office expired and L. T. Carleton, Esq., of Winthrop was appointed as a member of the board. Thereupon the board elected L. T. Carleton chairman.

Meetings of the board have been regularly held each month and at such other times as the exigencies of the work demanded. A majority of the board has been present at every meeting. The work of the commission is steadily increasing, and its field for usefulness so rapidly extending that much time is required to plan the work and properly attend to the various questions which are constantly demanding attention.

We are greatly pleased to be able to present to you, in the following pages, the splendid results of the policy of the State in this regard, and to demonstrate conclusively that the care and supervision of our Inland Fisheries and Game is worthy of the best efforts of the board, and makes returns a hundred fold to the people of the State. It has been our aim, so far as was in our power, to protect and care for the game and inland fishery interests of the State, realizing that they are of vast importance; and as the following pages will show demand more attention and better protection than has been heretofore obtained.

We have designed to conduct the business of the commission on business lines, and have, we believe, made the best possible use of the money appropriated. The amount has been entirely inadequate, and we have been obliged to get along as best we could.




It would seem from the best information obtainable that more moose have been killed this year than in any one year for a great many years previously, notwithstanding the fact that no cow or calf moose can be legally taken. This is due mainly to the largely increased numbers who have hunted them.

We are convinced that in order to preserve the moose from extinction that more stringent laws for their protection should be enacted.

The visiting sportsmen, or hunters from out of the State, come to us in ever increasing numbers. Skilled guides are employed, a tent is pitched or camp erected in their very home, and weeks, and sometimes months, devoted to their capture by one hunting party, and it is not, therefore, surprising that with this vast outlay of money and time devoted to their capture, that the bulls are becoming increasingly scarce.

Nor are these efforts confined to the close season. Hundreds and hundreds of hunters visit the haunts of the moose in August and September, and during the "calling period," kill their game, hide it till October, and then bring out the head alone, leaving the carcass to decay in the forest. Any law calculated to remedy this state of affairs will have the hearty approval of the commissioners.

The rich poacher cares nothing for a fine, so long as he can secure a good head, and August and September are very favorable months for their operations. Our forests are so vast that no system of wardenship could be arranged to successfully stop summer killing. The law should step in and do it. Complaint was made and a warrant issued for one of this class of poachers in October last, and a requisition for his arrest and return to Maine was asked for of his Excellency, Governor Henry B. Cleaves, on the Governor of Massachusetts, to which state he had gone after killing a moose in September. This procedure had never before been tried in the history of the enforcement of the game laws. His Excellency, Governor Cleaves, without hesitation granted the requisition, and it was duly honored by



the Acting Governor of Massachusetts,—thereby the poacher was brought before our courts for trial, plead guilty and paid the usual fine,—$100.00 and costs. This object lesson has taught the rich poacher from other states that he is not safe from arrest and trial even though he may escape arrest while within our borders, and it is believed will have a very wholesome effect.

As showing that the amount of game killed in Maine is a subject of wide comment, and indeed amazement, I copy from a letter from one of the best informed on this subject in New England,—"Fly Rod,"—published in the "Maine Central,"—a noted publication devoted to the interests of Maine as a summer, fishing and hunting resort:

"Those who have known something about the success of the hunter in different parts of our State, since October came in, are aware that Maine has proved to be what it is claimed, 'the best hunting ground in the United States. One does not need to take long, hard journeys, endure hardship and spend weeks before they can reach the hunting grounds.

"Does not the parlor car take one directly into the hunting districts? Do not the guides know the unbroken paths of the wilderness, and are they not ready to do the hard part that the sportsman may take it easy? There is a great satisfaction after one has shot a deer, moose or caribou in taking it home to their friends.

"I think the number of big game killed is not known or realized.

"True, in October from the Bangor and Aroostook Railroad stations, 1029 deer, 76 moose and 57 caribou were shipped: of that number 306 deer, 20 moose and 15 caribou were from the Moosehead region, from Norcross 230 deer, which gives an idea of the trophies taken home by those who went there, yet that does not cover nearly the whole number shot in that region, to say nothing of the many killed in the Rangeley and Dead River sections.

"There is big game enough in Maine, and will be so long as we have our law well enforced. But unless the citizens of our



State grant a larger appropriation, we cannot expect our Honorable Commissioners to accomplish everything."

The question of the right of the Legislature to enact such restrictive laws relative to the taking and transporting of fish and game, as in its wisdom it shall deem best to subserve the best interests of the State, has forever been settled by the decision of the United States Supreme Court, in an opinion delivered March 2, 1896:

Edgar M. Greer, in error
The State of Connecticut.

In this decision the Court say: "The wild game within a state belongs to the people in their collective sovereign capacity. It is not the subject of private ownership, except in so far as the people may elect to make it so; and they may, if they see fit, absolutely prohibit the taking of it, or traffic or commerce in it, if it is deemed necessary for the protection or preservation of the public good.

"We take it to be the correct doctrine in this country, that the ownership of wild animals, so far as they are capable of ownership, is in the State, not as a proprietor, but in its sovereign capacity, as the representative and for the benefit of all its people in common."

And the court goes on to say that, "The foregoing analysis of the principles upon which alone rests the right of an individual to acquire a qualified ownership in game, and the power of the State, deduced therefrom, to, control such ownership for the common benefit, clearly demonstrates the validity of the statute of the State of Connecticut here in controversy."

The statute of Connecticut referred to was as follows:

"Every person who shall buy, sell, expose for sale or have in his possession for the purpose, or who shall hunt, pursue, kill, destroy, or attempt to kill any woodcock, quail, ruffed grouse, called partridge, or gray squirrel between the first day of January and the first day of October, the killing or having in possession of each bird or squirrel to be deemed a separate offense shall be fined not more than $30.00."



It is further, by the statute of the same state, provided, (Section 2546): "No person shall at any time kill any woodcock, ruffed -grouse, or quail for the purpose of conveying the same beyond the limits of the State; or shall transport or have in possession with the intention to procure the transportation, beyond said limits, of any such birds killed within the State. The reception by any person within this State of any such bird or birds for shipment to a point without the State shall be prima facie evidence that said bird or birds were killed within the State for the purpose of carrying the same beyond its limits."

So we have the law at last settled by the highest tribunal in the land that it is competent for the legislature to attach any conditions or qualifications it pleases as to what shall be done with game it permits to be taken. It may or may not permit it to be transported beyond the limits of the State, and no interstate or commerce law, or constitutional prerogative is thereby violated.

The court further say:

"Aside from the authority of the State derived from the common ownership of game and the trust for the benefit of its people which the State exercises in relation thereto, there is another view of the power of the State in regard to the property in game, which is equally conclusive.

The right to preserve game flows from the undoubted existence in the State of a police power to that end, which may be none the less efficiently called into play, because by so doing interstate commerce may be remotely and indirectly affected. Indeed the source of the police power as to game birds, flows from the duty of the State to preserve for its people a valuable food supply.

The power of a state to protect, by adequate police regulation, its people against the adulteration of articles of food - although in so doing commerce might be remotely affected, necessarily carried with it the existence of a like power to preserve a food supply which belongs in common to all the people of the state, which can only become the subject of ownership in a qualified way, and which can never be the object



of commerce except with the consent of the state and subject to the conditions which it may deem best to impose for the public good."

We are aware that a contrary doctrine has apparently been held by some of the state courts, to wit, that game lawfully killed becomes an article of interstate commerce, and the state cannot prohibit its being transported, but the highest court in the nation has decided otherwise. This is a vital point in the protection of our big game, and every good citizen will rejoice that such is the law as established by the Supreme Court of the United States.

A leading manufacturer in Pennsylvania writes: "I have spent $500 in hunting for moose legally in your State and have not seen one yet." And this man is only one in many hundreds who have done likewise, and so long as we have moose in our forests people in large numbers will come to hunt them lawfully, spending their money freely, and to prevent unlawful killing nothing should be left undone that we can do.

Large as the State of Maine is, extensive as our forests are, as much game as we have, our State is not big enough, our forests are not extensive enough, we have not, and cannot have, game enough for seventy-five millions of people.

Every railroad running our way, every steamboat line running our way, every newspaper in the State, and many out of it, every hotel, hunting camp, and nearly every guide have been for years and years advertising the great opportunity to shoot moose, caribou and deer in our State, and the ease with which this could be done. The photograph of every moose killed is taken and sent all over the country; expositions are yearly held in New York, advertising this in the same way, and the result is that each year sees a very great increase of hunters over the preceding year, so that this year at least twenty-five per cent more come than ever before, and if the weather had been favorable for hunting there would not have been a bull moose left in Maine suitable or fit to kill.

We have been giving three months in the year in which to kill our game, and, with the enormous amount of advertising



which is being and has been done, the result is that there is no boy now but what dreams of the time when he can kill his moose.

Something must be done or else in a very short time not a moose will remain,—there will be only the echo of his last "call" to remind us of his former existence.


There is no question but that at least ten thousand deer have been killed in Maine during the year 1896, quite a proportion of them by our own citizens.

This is not merely guess work, but based on actual count of the numbers transported by the common carriers, and records kept by various sporting camp proprietors scattered over the State.

Deer are now found in each of the sixteen counties of the State, and there seems to be no great decrease, notwithstanding the great numbers killed. In some localities, however, there is a marked decrease owing to the fact that but slight, if any, attention has been paid to the game laws by residents and nonresidents alike.

Complaints have been made in several instances to us by farmers that their crops had been destroyed by deer. In each case reported to us we have requested to be furnished with the exact facts and a statement of the amount of damage done. We are convinced that the damage is not great, though, doubtless, very annoying.

From the best information obtainable, from the most reliable sources, the caribou is fast disappearing, and will very soon be practically extinct, unless a close time, for a series of years, is put on them, or more stringent laws enacted for their protection.

Summer and winter killing has accomplished this. Every effort should be made to preserve this species of our big game, because of its vast importance to our citizens.

We are aware that this expression of opinion as to caribou, and possibly deer, is not in accordance with what the public



has been led to believe from various statements from guides and others published in the press of this and other states.

We recently saw what purported to be an estimate of the number of moose, deer and caribou in the State by a famous guide and hunter, "Jock Darling;" he is reported to have estimated 150,000 deer, 12,000 moose and 10,000 caribou as being in the State at the present time. Twenty-five per cent of this number of each would, in our opinion, be much nearer the truth.

Guiding has become a regular occupation by a large number of our people. Three dollars a day and board is the regular price paid for their services. At least fifteen hundred men are thus employed. Hunting camps are everywhere where fish and game abound,—attractive circulars are sent broadcast by their proprietors, and an ever increasing multitude is attracted to our State.

Ten thousand, at least, visited the Rangeley region this year; more than fifty thousand souls have come to Maine in 1896 to fish, to hunt, to enjoy our unparalleled scenery and climate in spring, summer and autumn; more than five million dollars have been expended by them along our railroads, in our hotels, pay for guides, etc.

It is an industry Maine can ill afford to lose. Business prudence and foresight demand that every means in our power be employed to retain it.

This can only be done by propagating our fish and protecting our game.

The Department of Inland Fisheries and Game is one of the greatest and most important departments in the State. It takes the whole time and attention of at least two members of the Board. The correspondence connected with the office is something enormous, coming from all sections of the Union. A clerk should be provided for the Board, as well as an office, and most liberal appropriations made to successfully carry on the work of our fish hatcheries and adequately protect our game.

Only in this way can we hope to preserve our game from utter extinction and continue to reap these rich harvests.




There are forty-eight commissioned inland fish and game wardens in the State, all under bond for the faithful discharge of their duties.

We have employed, nearly constantly, twenty, at an average, salary of two dollars per day and expenses, all that the means at our command would permit, but this number is entirely inadequate.

The vast area of our fishing and hunting grounds renders it utterly impossible that this number can adequately protect the fish and game from the depredations of the poacher.

More prosecutions for the infractions of the fish and game laws have been instituted this year than ever before, and more convictions had. Public sentiment is, more and more, in favor of a thorough enforcement of the laws.

As stated, guides receive three dollars per day and board, in most instances; to be a successful warden, especially to protect the big game one must be a thorough woodsman, familiar with the woods, and the hunting regions, and also familiar with the methods of poachers.

In order to get the best, we must pay as much, at least, as is paid for guiding. This we have been unable to do, on account of lack of funds, and have consequently been unable to do as much as ought to be done. We have devoted practically our entire time to the work during the year.


We have the pleasure of reporting a larger run of trout and salmon this fall than for many years, resulting in our securing more,eggs for replenishing our waters than ever before.

Notwithstanding the largely increased number of anglers from abroad, as well as those we have at home, there seems to be a plenty, if not an increase, left to keep our fishing good for years to come. This result seems to us to be owing, in a great measure, if not entirely, to artificial propagation and protection.



We have visited the spawning grounds of these fish in many localities, grounds that we have been familiar with for many years, and, from what we saw at Rangeley and other places, can see no diminution in numbers on their breeding grounds.

The land-locked salmon have thrived and multiplied wonderfully in many new lakes and ponds where they have been introduced within the last ten years.

In some of these, so much so, that we have been able to procure a goodly number of eggs from these fish. They grow very fast, and in good waters with plenty of feed, very large,—in some cases attaining a growth of twelve pounds in six years. We believe they are to be the coming and favorite inland fish in Maine.

They are now caught more or less, and increasing year by year, in nearly all our large lakes and ponds. There are hundreds of ponds in Maine adapted to these fish, which we are stocking as fast as our limited means will allow. They will live in warmer water than the trout and thrive with the pickerel, but the lakes to be successful should contain deep, pure water. There is one other point we desire to mention. That is the food supply for the trout and salmon. We have no doubt in many of our lakes there is a lack of suitable food. More especially for the young fry, also affecting their growth as they advance in life. We believe many of the newly hatched fish starve for lack of suitable food. Those that do survive are apt to be stunted and do not grow to be handsome fish. The smelt hatches at about the time the young salmon begin to feed, and is so small they readily swallow him. They are as eager after them as a cat after a mouse. We have dipped them in a pail of water, turned them in our hatching troughs with young salmon. They would hunt them till they caught the last one.

It is a well known fact that the amount of fish you can raise in a pond depends on the food supply. The same rule applies to fish as to the number of cattle you can raise in your pastures, depending entirely on the crop of grass you make grow. This is of vital importance and can, in a great measure, be improved by the introduction of the fresh water smelt.



Every lake and pond should be stocked. We shall do it so far as we are able, but it is too large a job for us without help; It can be done very easily by collecting the eggs in the brooks when they run up in the spring to spawn. They adhere to the grass, moss, sticks and stones by thousands. They can be packed in damp moss or spagnum and carried to the waters needed and placed in the running water of some tributary near the pond or lake. They will hatch in a few days and the job is done. We would suggest that any person interested in the fishing in any pond or lake, see that it is stocked with smelts the coming spring.

They spawn in the spring about the time the ice goes out. We shall do this so far as we are able, but without help, it would take us several years, as there are only a few days in spring this can be done.

The run of salmon at Sebago this fall was the largest we have ever known, not only in numbers, but in size of the fish.

We succeeded in securing about 800,000 eggs. Our weir is situated about five or six miles up Crooked river. There are many good spawning grounds below, which were occupied by many fish, in fact, we believe by as many as were profitable, as the beds are used over and over again, new fish coming on to take the places of the others when they leave.

The salmon work differently from the trout. They plough up a "ridd" with their noses, deposit their eggs and cover them up more or less with stones and finer gravel. Other fish come on to the same beds and work the same grounds over and over again, rooting out many of the eggs, destroying them more or less, or covering them so deep that if they hatch, they are penned in and cannot get out. The size of the salmon that come into our weir at Sebago was phenomenal. Several in the lot of over twenty pounds. Should say the average was seven to eight pounds.

We also had a fine run of brook trout at the same weir, securing over 200,000 eggs. For several years past we have been sending trout eggs to Sebago to be hatched and turned



into the lake. We have no doubt the large run of trout into, Crooked river this fall was the direct result of these eggs.

Besides the run of salmon in Crooked river the fish appeared. in many other places. At Raymond village we saw a beautiful showing of very large salmon.

There is a gentleman there by the name of G. P. Davis, who, takes a great interest in the fish of Sebago, although he never goes fishing.

When we visited the place this fall, at his request, we found the river full of salmon. He was so much interested in them he had watched them night and day without any expense to the State.

Below is a letter received from Mr. Davis, which explains the situation at Sebago as he sees it:

"RAYMOND, November 24, 1896

Hon. H. O. Stanley, Dixfield, Me.

DEAR SIR—Yours of the eighteenth is at hand, and in reply to your inquiries concerning the salmon here at Raymond, I am pleased to state that they are increasing very rapidly. The river, which is something more than one mile in length, is a tributary to Sebago lake, and has many good spawning places for salmon. My home has always been at Raymond, and, in my business as a lumber manufacturer, I have had ample opportunity to notice any fish that might be in the stream.

Until a few years ago I have never known salmon to come into the river to spawn. Their first appearance here was in the fall of 1891, when three were seen. None came the next year; but since that time they have appeared each fall and always in increased numbers. This year I should judge there were about one hundred and fifty, ranging in size from three to fifteen pounds. Perhaps a few would tip the scales at twenty. There were also quite a number of small ones that would weigh about one pound each. It is evident to all who are interested in the propagation of salmon, that this river is one of the finest places in the country for spawning ground. It is not subject to overflow, and the water is remarkably clear. This fall the salmon staid here on their spawning beds nearly



four weeks. I can also assure you that the number of salmon in Sebago lake is steadily increasing, and that unusual interest is manifested by all classes in protecting the fish. I think the day is not very far distant when salmon will be as plentiful in Sebago as they were in their best days of the past.

I remain, very truly yours,


P. S. The salmon left the river the nineteenth. They were looked after faithfully night and day from the time you were here, and, I feel positive were not troubled in any way.

We are more than pleased to say that what Mr. Davis says was true at Raymond, has been true in other sections about the lake. There seems to be a growing sentiment in favor of protecting the fish when they come in the fall to spawn. Our wardens we have kept on Crooked river from August to December, report no infringements and a general disposition to protect the fish. We believe it important to increase the supply of brook trout in the lake. All the trout eggs taken at Sebago will be hatched and turned back into the lake, and more added to them from other localities if there is room in the hatcheries.

Some fault has been found because we have not distributed more of our fish towards the foot of the lake, thinking, I suppose, fish put there would stay and improve the fishing in that locality. We take the ground that the fish will go where they can find the best feed and water, no matter in what part of the lake. We see no objection, and would like to have them distributed in all sections of the lake, but with our limited means where it is necessary to make every dollar count, we could not be to extra expense of carrying them to the foot of the lake, which would mean many dollars expended. We did transport several thousand below Sandy Beach, and elsewhere about the lake, and also gave them to any parties who would come after them to put in Sebago waters. We will here say that the offer will be open next year to any party who will come to the hatchery and get the young fry, provided they are put in Sebago waters, or if we can be provided with the means we will put them in any



part of the lake the public may desire, always provided the waters are suitable.


The run of trout this season, in our large lakes like Rangeley and Moosehead, has been much beyond the average. We have had occasion to visit many of the larger spawning grounds, and from fifty years experience have never seen more trout, many of large size, than we saw there this season.

By permission of the writer we append the clipping of a letter from "Forest and Stream," written by a gentleman who has visited the Rangeleys for many years and at all seasons. He owns a beautiful place at the mouth of Mosquito Brook, where he spends much of his time with his family and friends, and has spent many dollars in Maine. He has been in the habit of seeing so many large fish that he is able to judge correctly:

"RANGELEY LAKES, Maine, October, 1896.

"The past fishing season has been favorable both in number and size of trout, and fully up to the usual standard. A notable increase of visitors was, occasioned by the completion this spring of the railroad from Rumford Falls to Bemis on the great lake, and the road is expected to run all winter in connection with logging interests. Trout are also well protected and plentiful, and no season has been better than the last, and if the fishermen who displayed their skill at the upper dam during the season could see the large trout on the spawning beds now they would hardly expect any diminution of the noble fish in the immediate present. The water below the upper dam has been drawn down about two feet since October 1st, and the shallows below are covered with large trout of four, five and six pounds, who make great commotion and exhibit their immense backs and tails with prodigal profusion. Ornamented as they now are in their highest colors, they present a most fascinating sight; now swimming along in pairs at slow pace, then whirling in great eddies, then plowing across reaches with speed and streaming wakes. With cautious steps they can be approached to within



ten or fifteen feet, and most closely observed, and if disturbed and driven away to deep water will speedily return.

"I have never in many seasons seen the beds below the upper dam more fully occupied by large trout than now. Many believe the trout to be less plentiful than before, and prophesy that in a few years trout fishing at the lakes will be a feature of the past, but I do not agree with either opinion, and my annual experience extends over nearly forty seasons, and I have been here during the last season from its commencement in May to the end, and short enough it has seemed.

"Particular fishing places do, undoubtedly, become more or less depleted, as notably that below the upper dam, which has been constantly occupied, not only during the day, but far into the evening. The boats about the pool have been so thick that one could hardly fish at any time there without being entangled.

"Although many trout come in there, they bear but a small proportion to those in the lakes. They are well distributed, and the favored fishing localities but few. Probably nine-tenths of the trout have their spawning beds in retired places, in comparatively still water and entirely unknown to the average visitor. The larger proportion are already upon the beds or through, but many families and tribes will come on later and spawn beneath the ice in December, and as late as January. I have watched them many seasons through the ice.

"I think next to man the blue heron, (Ardae herodias) is the greatest destroyer of trout at these lakes. This bird is an incessant nocturnal as well as daily feeder, and of inordinate appetite, and although its principal food is chubs and frogs it destroys a great many trout and will get away with quarter-pounders, if not larger. They will have no hesitancy in striking and fatally wounding trout of over one pound in weight. Yearly I see trout swimming about which have been struck and pierced by this bird, and this year I caught two which were unfit for food, each over one pound in weight, having holes in the back nearly through them as large as pipe stems. It may be a question if this bird, of which hundreds frequent the shores of the lakes from the early spring to the ice, do not, in the aggregate,


kill more trout, principally small ones up to one-half pound, than all the fishermen. Aided by the loons, kingfishers and mink, they undoubtedly do. The latter, the mink, is a voracious feeder, and will destroy large numbers with the greatest ease from congregating pools and the breeding streams which feed the lakes.

"Now the latter part of the month the blueback trout, (Salmo oquassa) are spawning, and swim in large quantities in the shallows below the upper dam. They are not visible during the day, but at night come on in large numbers, and do not appear at any other season of the year. They are said to be an Arctic trout, and not found, that I am aware of, south of the region of the Rangeley lakes.

They are very handsome, with very pretty heads and large eyes, are swallow or forked tailed, and carmine spotted, with blue backs. They average about seven inches in length, and about five to the pound. Occasionally one weighs one-half pound, and one has been caught this season of one-half pound and eleven inches in length. They are caught by wading in the shallows with a lantern and dip-net. They are much more tenacious of life than the ordinary trout. I have had them out of the water an hour, and apparently lifeless, and resuscitated them by putting in the water again, and a number will live in a barrel of water without change for weeks, which would be fatal to the ordinary trout. For food they are passably good, but not superior. Their teeth are very fine and plentiful, and they evidently live on ground feed and the variety of infusoria which are so plentiful in the lakes. The large trout feed on them more or less, and they are occasionally found in them.

"They undoubtedly inhabit the deepest water in the lakes. The only one I ever saw out of season I picked up some years ago on the surface, which was in a dying condition, having been wounded, evidently by a loon, as evinced by a large hole through its body.

"They remain on the spawning beds during the nights of about a week in the latter part of October, and sometimes swam


in such quantities that barrels full could be taken if nets were used. - J. PARKER WHITNEY."

We believe to get the best results, or, in fact, the only way to keep the fishing good in Maine, is by artificial propagation.

vIn support of this let us compare the artificial with nature's ways. The yield of eggs of the trout and salmon will average about 600 to the pound of fish. A trout of five pounds will give 3000 eggs. We would very naturally ask why, with such wonderful sources of reproduction, our waters are not full of fish? An answer may be found in the many dangers through which they have to pass from the egg up, and the many accidents that are constantly befalling them, before they arrive at maturity.

Trout or salmon do not protect their eggs like the bass or hornpout. After they deposit their eggs, their duties are done, they are left to hatch, if they will, which takes about four months in cold water.

Let us examine into the natural way and see what advantages, if any it may have, and also the dangers the eggs and progeny go through before arriving at maturity. The trout and salmon come into the streams to deposit their eggs in October. They clear off their beds, usually in running water one to three feet deep. After sweeping the gravel and stones from mud and sediment they commence to deposit their eggs. At the time they leave the female they are not fertilized, it is done afterwards by the milt of the male, which he deposits in the running water. Fertilization must occur very soon after they leave the female, or they are worthless. A very large percentage must escape contact with the milt and are of no value.

Eggs have been collected from their spawning beds by the United States commissioners and others, and not over 10 per cent found to be fertile, or that would hatch under any conditions. The parent fish are always accompanied by small trout, suckers and other fish, who feed on their eggs. Even the, parents 'themselves will devour them. They must also be covered from the sunlight, as that is fatal; oftentimes they are washed out by freshets, or covered so deep they are killed, or


left to dry up by drouth; ice may freeze them and kill them. If there is a poor egg in the lot it will decay and destroy every egg it touches.

When they hatch in the spring the egg sac is attached to and anchors them; they are helpless, and at the mercy of any small fish, and even some birds and insects; the sac is absorbed in thirty days, at which point they begin to feed. Even after this they are very small and weak, and are liable to be picked up by any small minnow that comes along; there are also many other dangers which we have not mentioned. It is not probable that over 2 per cent. ever reach a length of three inches.

It so happens that the principal part of this loss occurs before the fish hatches and in the egg; fortunately it is at a time very easy to remedy. Artificial incubation enables us to avoid nearly all these dangers, - 95 per cent. of the eggs can be fertilized, -75 per cent. can be hatched by proper care, and brought up to the feeding point, by keeping them in their hatching boxes, away from the enemies that would devour them, if left in the open streams. But to get best results we should go a step further and feed them till October, a period of four or five months. They will then attain a growth of about three inches, able to forage and care for themselves. This is as far as artificial culture will help nature with profit. We see no reason why 75 per cent. of the fish that we have at this point should not reach maturity, if distributed in suitable waters.

By comparison let us see what we gain or lose by artificial methods. We will start with 1000 eggs.

From 1000 eggs we lose up to the feeding point 25 per cent. - this leaves us 750 fish. Feeding four months, 25 per cent more, leaving 562 fish, four months old, two and one-half to three inches long. If left to nature, from 1000 eggs we have at starting only 100 fertile eggs. Up to the feeding point, after passing the many dangers I have enumerated, there cannot be a loss of less than 50 per cent, leaving us 5o fish. At four months 50 per cent. more, leaving a total of 25 fish.



The Commissioners have purchased forty acres of land in Monmouth, Kennebec County, at a cost of $400.00, near Lake Cobbosseecontee, and erected a fish hatchery thereon at an expense of nearly one thousand dollars. This is believed to be one of the most desirable locations in the State for the purpose. We erected a weir on the principal tributary to Cobbosseecontee Lake and took some 450,000 trout from the parent fish caught in this weir, which are now in this hatchery. This hatchery has a capacity of hatching 500,000 eggs.

We also had presented to the State a deed of a hatchery site in Dedham, in Penobscot County, the State to have the free use of it so long as it was used for a fish hatchery. It is in a very desirable location, and should be utilized, but we were unable to do so this year from lack of funds.

We now have four hatcheries and feeding stations belonging to the State, viz.: Auburn, Sebago, Caribou and Monmouth. Besides these there are some six or eight more owned by clubs, which hatch and feed some fry, all of which go to stock public waters. No eggs are sold or given away for private use.

We should have plenty of room to hatch and feed all our fish, if we can utilize the Penobscot hatchery and make necessary improvements to the others. We believe we can keep and improve the fishing in all our ponds and lakes, if the State only gives us the means. With the hundreds of thousands of dollars brought into the State by our fish, would it not be poor policy for the State not to furnish the means to run our hatcheries to their fullest capacity? The large amount of money brought into the State during the last year has been the means of keeping hundreds of homes comfortable, which otherwise would have been desolate. In fact, Maine felt the hard times the least of any state in the Union, very largely on account of sportsmen and summer travel brought here by our fish and game.

The demand for fish from various parts of the State to stock the lakes and ponds with land-locked salmon and trout far exceeds the supply. The people see what has, been accom-


plished in those waters where these fish have been placed and are very earnest in their call for the waters in their localities to be planted likewise, and it is not doubted that the incoming Legislature will place sufficient means at the disposal of the Commissioners to reasonably satisfy the reasonable requirements of the people in this direction. Our inland fish not only supplies a vast amount of nutritious, wholesome food to our people, but attracts an ever increasing multitude within our borders, who, as a rule, spend money lavishly.

Waters stocked with five months old land-locked salmon in October, 1896, from eggs taken in 1895, from the Auburn Hatchery:

Androscoggin County—Bear, Taylor, Auburn, and Trip ponds.
Aroostook County—Madaseeunk.
Cumberland County—Duck Pond.
Franklin County—Dodge, Rangeley, King, Bartlett, Loon lakes, Vermus and Clear Water ponds.
Hancock County—Walker's pond, Pine lake.
Kennebec County—Dyer's, Branch Mills, Crotched, Flying ponds, Maranacook, Annabessacook,
Cobbosseecontee lakes. Knox County—Megunticook lake.
Oxford County—Mooselucmeguntic lake, Anasagunticook, Keazar, Bryant's, Pennwasee, Waterford ponds.
Penobscot County—Crocker's pond, Alligator and Stetson lakes.
Piscataquis County—Moosehead, Sebec lakes, Runt pond. Somerset County—Attean, Holeb lakes, Fish, Flagstaff ponds.
Waldo County—Swan lake, Pitcher pond.
Washington County—Cathance lake, Tunk and Hancock ponds.
York County—Long, Watchie, Buggernut, Wilson, Little Ossipee, Bonny, Beg and Square lakes.
Waters stocked with five months old land-locked salmon in October, 1896, from eggs taken in 1895, from the Sebago Hatchery:


Cumberland County—Peabody, Sebago, Long lakes, Pleasant, Painters and Thomas ponds. Waters stocked with five months old land-locked salmon in October, 1896, from eggs taken 1895 from the Weld Hatchery. Franklin County - Weld pond.

In addition to the above 20,000 land-locked salmon eggs and 20,000 trout were hatched by the Commodore Club at Hartland, 20,000 salmon and 35,000 trout by the Parmachenee Club; 20,000 salmon and 35,000 trout by the Megantic Club; 20,000 salmon and 35,000 trout at Belgrade by the Kennebec Association; and 35,000 trout at Monson by Mr. Crafts. These were hatched, fed and distributed in public waters, without expense to the State.



June 15—Received from U. S. Hatchery 1976 small fish. 494 of them placed in Meduxnekeag stream. 988 of them placed in Aroostook river.

494 of them placed in Hatchery and fed till fall, only 13 dying during the time. In October 100 placed in Cross lake. Balance in Aroostook river.


A large number of trout were fed at this hatchery during the season, and during the months of October and November were liberated in the following named waters:

Square lake, Portage lake, Cross lake, Malluwaskee lake and stream, Mud lake, Squaw Pan lake, St. Croix lake, Black brook, pond in Limestone, Otter brook, Noyes pond, Limestone; Nickerson lake and Meduxnekeag stream, Houlton; Pleasant pond, Island Falls; Little Huston pond, K. I. Works; Hadlock's pond, Mt. Desert; Porgie pond, Old Town; Rowe pond, Somerset County; Moosehead lake, pond near Bangor, Kennebec lakes.

Besides these there were a large number of small fish distributed in June in waters of Aroostook County for the reason there was not sufficient room to feed them.



The raising of salmon at this hatchery the past season was nearly a failure, for the reason that the fish all had to be moved at an age when most delicate, owing to the water supply failing.

We have no hatchery building at this station, and were renting a basement of a building and taking water from the water works.

During the spring freshet the dam that supplies the works was carried away, and the small fish were kept alive by carrying and pouring water for them till we could supply a temporary affair at the station. The water in the troughs became quite warm before they could be changed to new quarters where the water was very cold. This sudden change in temperature probably caused an epidemic among the land-locked salmon, from which the larger number died. The few that were left, all more or less diseased, were liberated in the waters of Fish River lakes, but it is doubtful if many survived. The trout and sea salmon were also, somewhat effected, but not as seriously as the land-locked salmon.


A goodly number of sea salmon were hatched at this station also, but no attempt was made to feed them, owing to lack of room. In June, as soon as the feeding season commenced, they were liberated in the Aroostook river and Meduxnekeag stream.

St. Croix river at Vanceboro, 50,000
vPenobscot river at Mattawamkeag. 30,000
Penobscot river at Montague. 40,000
Penobscot river near Enfield 70,000


To E. B. Rodick, Bar Harbor, for Eagle lake 5,000 fry
W. H. Lawrence, Sorrento, for Tunk pond 5,000
F. L. Shaw, Machias 10,000
E. M. Hersey, for Cold stream. 20,000

From Orland, (United States Hatchery) Penobscot river 40,000


Auburn lake 120,000
Sebago lake 738,000
Rangeley lake. 18,000
Swan lake. 25,000
Weld lake 70,000

Total. 971,000

Auburn lake 850,000
Monmouth. 450,000
Sebago lake. 200,000
Swan lake 100,000
Weld lake 75,000

Total. 1,675,000

Auburn Hatchery 20,000

The amounts expended at the several hatcheries are as follows:
Caribou Hatchery. $1852.18
Auburn Hatchery. 3262.28
Weld Hatchery 162.50
Edes Falls Hatchery 1179.01
Monmouth Hatchery 1289.78
Swan Lake. 101.00


Aside from the above there is a sea salmon account of $500.00, and a miscellaneous expense account amounting to $1377.27. The last named includes bills paid for legal services, birds, printing, &c.

We have to our credit 425,000 sea salmon eggs at the U. S. Fish Hatchery at Orland.

Sent, B. L. Briggs, Caribou, three boxes; sent, C. G. Dunn, Ashland, two boxes; sent, T. N. Irvin, Presque Isle, one box; sent, L. D. Ludwig, Houlton, three boxes; sent, G. D. Bisbee, Rumford Falls, three boxes; sent, Geo. L. Hovie, North Anson, one box; sent, Samuel Furbish, Hartland, one box; sent, L. A. Smith, Farmington, one box; sent, H. L. Thom, Plymouth, one box; sent, R. T. Rankins, Unity Lake, one box; sent, Grant & Landers, Stratton, two boxes; sent, Harry W. Pierce, King & Bartlett, one box.

The white perch is a food fish constantly growing in favor. We have had frequent calls to stock lakes with them this year, and in several instances have done so.

White perch have been caught this year in several of the lakes of the State weighing three pounds each, and over. These are easily caught in the heated season and are a source of great benefit as a food fish to our people.

We continue to have calls to plant black bass in waters where they do not now exist. We do not recommend a wider distribution of them for the present, although it is apparent that the pickerel, the natural enemy to the trout, rapidly disappear when brought in contact with black bass and the trout appear much more numerous in consequence.


The above named birds, known to the Swedish language as "orre" and "tjader," are said to be very fine game birds, - very desirable for table use, and peculiarly adapted to the climate of the State.

For this reason people interested in the subject have been urging the Commissioners for a long time to make an effort to introduce these birds into our forests from their far away home in Sweden, and it was finally decided to experiment in a small way in order to ascertain whether or not it was possible to do so.

An association made an attempt a few years ago to import these birds and breed them in captivity, but all the capercailzie died during the passage across the ocean or very soon after and owing to various causes the experiment with the other variety did not prove a success.

Consequently we had but little to guide us as to how to proceed in our efforts to introduce them, as the experiment failed to show whether it was possible to breed them in captivity successfully.

After consulting with our Swedish friends, and also with Hon. W. W. Thomas, Jr., whose long residence in Sweden had given him opportunity to study the habits of these birds, we decided to import a few of each variety and liberate them in the forests.

Accordingly in the fall of 1895 three males and four females of each kind were ordered. They were shipped early in February of this year, but three of the larger kind, - the capercailzie, - failed to arrive.

Whether they died on the passage and were thrown overboard, or were lost in some other way, we have never been able to learn. We simply know that we received but two pairs of that variety. The others came as ordered, and the eleven birds, all apparently strong and healthy, were liberated on the last day of February, in the forest in the northern part of New Sweden.


That a part of the black game have survived is certain, for they have been seen or heard repeatedly, once very recently.

One young bird of this season's hatching has also been seen, showing that they have bred, which leads us to believe that the introduction of these birds can be made a success.

Of the capercailzie we can say but little, as their habits of going into the deep forest has doubtless been the reason for their never having been seen, excepting in one instance, about two weeks after they were liberated. The people of the Swedish colony were very much interested in the success of the experiment, and voluntarily organized a system of police surveillance to protect them. They also carried grain for food into the woods and distributed it near the place where the birds were freed.

The birds evidently appreciated the kindness, for tracks in the snow showed that they came back for it.

It was intended to repeat the experiment of importing and liberating a few of these birds again this fall or winter, but learn through correspondence that some of our sister states are anxious to try the same experiment, and have been enough more active than we to be able to "corner the market" and none can be bought.

Perhaps it is just as well, however, another season will demonstrate more conclusively whether or not our climate is suitable for them.


This is undoubtedly one of the best game birds in the world, and is indigenous to our State. Every effort should be made to protect them, in close time; but for their destruction by foxes they would be very numerous.

The act passed at the last legislature, giving the Commissioners authority to regulate the times in which and the circumstances under which inland fish and game may be taken, - section 2, chapter 104, laws of 1895, - has been taken advantage of by a large number of our people, and has apparently well subserved the purpose for which it was enacted. We append to


this report an abstract of all the rules and regulations which we have made in comformity with this law. We have several petitions for hearings now pending which will be heard at an early date.


Besides the itemized accounts for money expended on account of the hatcheries and distribution of fish and taking of eggs, there is on file itemized bills paid for warden's services, Commissioner's services, printing, attorney's fees, civil engineer's services, and miscellaneous expenses; there are also on file itemized bills we have been unable to pay on account of the exhaustion of the appropriation.

Established by the Commissioners.

For four years from July 4, 1895, only fifteen trout or landlocked salmon to be taken, in any one day, from Quimby pond, town of Rangeley.

All fishing in Goose River stream and tributaries, in towns of Rockport and Camden, prohibited for three years from April 30, 1896.

All fishing prohibited in Megalloway river and tributaries, Oxford county, between mouth of Little Megalloway river and Berlin Mills Company's dam for term of four years from April 30, 1896.

All fishing in Little Houston pond, Katandin Iron Works township, prohibited, excepting with artificial flies, in ordinary open season, for period of four years from April 30, 1896.

All fishing prohibited in Deacon brook, in town of Naples, also Lot Nason brook, Nason brook and Bachelder's brook, in town of Sebago, for four years from July 1, 1896.

Hunting or killing deer on Mt. Desert Island entirely prohibited for four years from October 1, 1896.


Fishing for or killing land-locked salmon in North pond, in towns of Temple and Wilton, also in Clear Water pond, in Farmington and Industry, prohibited for two years from June 20, 1896. All fishing prohibited, (excepting for suckers) for four years from July 1, 1896, in tributaries to Canaan lake and in Lamb brook, a tributary to Norton's pond in Camden.

Also for two years from same date all land-locked salmon fishing prohibited in above named waters.

Only twenty-five trout allowed to be taken in any one day from Four ponds, so called, in townships E and D, Franklin county, for four years from July 1, 1896.

Fishing is prohibited in inlet of Squaw Pan lake, above Thibadeau's Landing, in townships Ten and Eleven, range Four, Aroostook county, for four years from July 1, 1896.

All fishing, except with artificial flies, prohibited for four years from July 1, 1896, in South Bog stream and the "Pool," so called,—waters connected with Rangeley lake.

Only twenty-five trout allowed to be taken in any one day from Tim pond and Mud pond and inlets to same, situated in township 2, range 4, W. B. K. P., Franklin county, for four years from August 1, 1896.

In town of Kingfield all fishing prohibited in Grindstone pond, its tributaries and outlet for four years from August I, 1896.

Only twenty-five trout allowed to be taken in one day from Tufts and Dutton ponds, in same town, for same time, and all fishing prohibited in tributaries to said ponds and outlets to same from Dutton to Reid's Falls, and from Tufts to Alder stream.

All ice fishing in Cobbosseecontee lake and Leavitts pond prohibited. Also taking live bait from tributaries to said lakes from December 1st, till lakes are free from ice in spring.

Rule to be in force for four years from December 1, 1896.


After October 1, 1896, for a period of four years, fishing prohibited between the first day of October and the first day of July, following, in Horseshoe pond, situated in townships A-9 and 8, range 10, N. W. P., known as West College Grant, and the stream connecting the same with Upper Wilson pond. Mountain pond, situated in township A2, N. W. P., and the stream connecting the same with Upper Wilson pond. Upper Wilson pond, situated in township 8, range 10, N. W. P., and the town of Greenville, and the stream connecting the same with Lower Wilson pond. Rum pond, situated in township 8, range 10, N. W. P., and the town of Greenville and the stream connecting the same with Lower Wilson pond, and also Lower Wilson pond, situated in the town of Greenville.

Ice fishing prohibited for four years from January 1, 1897, in Green lake, Hancock county, also fishing in the tributaries of said lake for four years from January 1, 1897.
















These reports are copied from (1) original paper editions of the Report of the Commissioners of Inland Fish and Game 1895.

Digitized and uploaded to the internet by Ron Huber, Rockland, Maine, 2004-2008. Please contact him to point out errata, or for more information.

Original paper editions of these documents are in the collection of the Bangor Public Library, A sincere thank you! to the patient assistance of the librarians stewarding these invaluable information resources.