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pursuing the course which Canada has hitherto imitated, this noble fish has been almost exterminated. Twenty-five or thirty years ago every stream tributary to the St. Lawrence, from Niagara to Labrador on the north side, and to Gaspé basin on the south, abounded with salmon. At the present moment, with the exception of a few in the Jacques Cartier, there is not one to be found in any river between the Falls of Niagara and the city of Quebec. This deplorable decrease in a natural production of great value has arisen from two causes ; 1st.—the natural disposition of uncivilized man to destroy at all times and at all seasons whatever has life and is fit for food; and 2nd. -- the neglect of those persons who have constructed mill-dams, to attach to them slides, or chutes, by ascending which the fish could pass onwards to their spawning beds in the interior. It is supposed by many that the dust from the sawmills getting into the gills of the salmon prevents them from respirating freely, and so banishes them from the streams on which such mills are situated, but I am persuaded that this is a mistake, for salmon are found in considerable numbers at the mouths of many such streams, below the dams. In the Marguerite, in the Saguenay, at the Petit Saguenays, the Es-quemain, Port Neuf, Rimouski, Metis, and others that might be named, the real cause of the decrease is the insuperable obstacles presented by mill-dams, which prevent them from ascending to the ærated waters, high up the streams, which are essential for the fecundation of their ova, and so for the propagation of the species. Would you then-it may be asked, pull down our mills in order that we might have salmon in our rivers ? most certainly not, I reply, for it is quite possible to maintain all our mills, with all their mill-dams, and yet afford to the fish an easy and inexpensive mode of passing upwards to their breeding places.
Marvellous stories are told of the great heights which salmon will leap in order to surmount the obstacles which nature or art may have erected between the lower parts of a stream and the upper waters which are suited to breeding purposes. Natural historians used gravely to tell us that salmon, in order to jump high, were in the habit of placing their tails in their mouths, and then, bending them selves like a bow, bound out of the water to a considerable distance, from twelve to twenty feet. The late Mr. Scrope, in his beautiful book “ Days and Nights of Salmon Fishing,” calculates that six feet in height is more than the average spring of salmon, though he conceives that very large fish in deep water, could leap much higher. He says, “ Large fish can leap much higher than small ones; but
their powers are limited or augmented according to the depth of wa. ter they spring from; in shallow water they have little power of ascension, in deep they have the most considerable. They rise very rapidly from the very bottom to the surface of the water by means of rowing and sculling as it were, with their fins and tail, and this powerful impetus bears then upwards in the air, on the same principle that a few tugs of the oar make a boat shoot onwards after one has ceased to row.” However this may be, we know that salmon use almost incredible efforts to ascend their native rivers. Modes have recently been adopted in France, in England, Scotland and Ireland, by which they can do so with ease, and which can be much more cheaply applied to Mill-dams in Canada, than in any of the countries above mentioned. This is simply by constructing below each milldam a congeries of wooden boxes proportioned to the height of the dam-which could be done, in any weirs I have seen requiring them, for a sum not exceeding twenty dollars. We will suppose that the mill-dam to be passed over is fifteen feet high from the surface of the water, and that the salmon can surmount the height of five feet at a single bound, then it would be only necessary to erect two boxes, each five feet high, one over the other (as in the illustration) to enable the salmon, in three leaps, to reach the waters which nature prompts him to seek for the propagation of his species. In many Canadian rivers—such as Metis, Matane, Rimouski, Trois Saumons, etc.—this simple apparatus might be put in operation for one half the sum I have mentioned, and I trust it has only to be suggested to the gentlemen residing on their banks to arouse their patriotism and excite them to activity in the matter. There can be no doubt that were the milldams removed, or boxes constructed adjacent to them, and protection afforded to the spawning fish, many of the rivers in Upper Canada would again abound with Salmon. I have myself, within a few years, taken the true Salmo Salar in Lake Ontario, near Kingston, and many persons in Toronto know that they are taken annually at the mouths of the Credit, the Humber and at Bond Head, in the months of May and June, which is earlier than they are generally killed below Quebec. Whether these fish come up the St. Lawrence in the early spring, under the pavement of ice which then rests upon its surface, or whether they have spent the winter in Lake Ontario, is a question which I must leave to naturalists; merely mentioning that there is some foundation for believing that salmon will not only live, but breed, in fresh water, without visiting the sea. Mr. Lloyd, in his interesting work on the field sports of the North of Europe, says, “Near Katrineberg, there is a valuable fishery for salmon, ten or twelve thousand of these fish being taken annually. These salmon are bred in a lake, and, in consequence of cataracts, cannot have access to the sea. They are small in size and inferior in flavor," which may also be asserted of salmon taken in the neighborhood of Toronto. Mr. Scrope, in his work previously quoted, states that Mr. George Dormer, of Stone Mills, in the Parish of Bridport, put a female of the salmon tribe, which measured twenty inches in length, and was caught by him at his mill-dam, into a small well, where it remained twelve years, became quite tame and familiar, so as to feed from the hand, and was visited by many persons of respectability from Exeter and its neighborhood.
But the fact that salmon are annually taken near the Credit, the Humber and Bond Head is sufficient ground on which to base my argument for the probability that were the tributary streams of the St. Lawrence accessible to them they would ascend and again stock them with a numerous progeny. Even were this found not to be the case, then we have the system of artificial propagation to fall back upon-a system which according to the Parliamentary Reports of the Fishery Commissioners has been practised with immense success in different parts of Ireland-according to M. Coste, Member of the Institute, and professor of the college of France, in his reports to the French Academy and the French Government, has answered admirably in France, and according to Mr. W. H. Fry and others, quoted by him in his treatise on artificial fish-breeding, has been generally effective in Scotland. This system, as is well known, consists simply of transporting from one river to another the impregnated eggs of the salmon, and placing them in shallow waters with a gentle current where they are soon hatched, and become salmon fry or par and able to take care of themselves. In consequence of the ova of the salmon, which are deposited in the spawning beds in the months of October, November and December, becoming congealed by frost in the subsequent months, Canada appears to offer greater facilities for their safe transport than those countries in which the system has been so successful, but whose climates are more temperate. Surely, supposing this is a mere untried experiment—which is far from being the case-it would be well worth the while of some of the many wealthy and intelligent dwellers upon the banks of our beautiful rivers to test its value, particularly when they call to mind the well known fact in the natural history of the salmon, that he invariably returns to the stream in which his youth was spent, and that so they may calculate