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Coarse Fish

Compared to what is known about the early part of the life history of

the _Salmonidae_, our knowledge of coarse fish is small. Fortunately,

however, such lengthy and complicated proceedings as are necessary to

obtain a good stock of trout are not necessary to obtain a good stock of

coarse fish. If even a few rudd, perch, dace, pike, or carp are put into

water where they have a good supply of food to begin with, and which is
r /> suitable otherwise for their well-being, the amateur's chief trouble

after a few years, if the water is not heavily fished, will be to keep

down the stock of coarse fish in proportion to the supply of food.

I have seen many cases where rudd, perch, dace and carp have increased

to an enormous extent from a few fish introduced into the water. Some

four years ago we put a few small rudd into a mill-pond at home,

thinking that the fry they produced would serve admirably as food to the

trout which also inhabited the pond. In about twenty months the pond was

full of small rudd, and last year we netted out many hundred, as the

water was terribly over-stocked with them. The same thing has happened

in almost every case which has come to my knowledge; that is, of course,

where the waters have been stocked with food, and suitable to the fish


The way in which dace will increase when put into a suitable water is,

if possible, even more remarkable than what happens in the case of the

rudd. I will quote one instance, which proves this very conclusively. A

few years ago there were no dace in the Sussex Ouse. Pike fishermen,

however, used to bring live dace to use as baits. Some of these escaped,

or were set free by the fishermen at the end of their day's fishing, and

now the Sussex Ouse contains more dace for its size than any other river

I have ever seen.

While rudd thrive best in a pond or lake into which a stream flows, dace

require a river or stream to do well. They will, however, thrive and

increase rapidly in a river where trout are not a success. A muddy

bottom with occasional quickly running shallows, seem to constitute the

best kind of water for dace. The largest, and by far the best

conditioned dace I have seen, have come from the tidal parts of rivers,

where the water is brackish at high water. Dace from such a water have

also the advantage of being very good eating, as they have, as a rule,

not got the unpleasant muddy taste usual in this fish.

Perch and pike will thrive both in rivers and in ponds or lakes which

have a supply of water from a stream or from springs. They both increase

in numbers very rapidly, and when protected, are more likely to require

thinning down every few years, than artificial assistance from the


The king-carp is the best fish for the amateur who wishes to obtain good

bottom fishing from an absolutely stagnant pond. This fish is much

bolder and a more free feeder than the common carp. It increases so

rapidly in numbers, and is a hard fighting and lively fish.

Most of the coarse fish deposit a much larger number of eggs than do any

of the _Salmonidae_--that is to say, in proportion to their size. In

stocking a water which contains no fish, the amateur may wish to hurry

on the process of nature in the case of coarse fish; and, fortunately,

this is fairly easily managed. In the case of perch, rudd, pike, and

carp, but little change of water is required to hatch out the eggs. The

eggs of these fish take but a short time to hatch; and if they are

protected, and this protection is also given to the little fish for a

few weeks, it will generally be found that an amply sufficient result is

obtained. The eggs should be spread out carefully on wicker-work or the

lids of baskets and kept in the light. A trickle of water which is

sufficient to change the body of water in the pond in which the ova are

put will, as a rule, be enough. The amateur must be careful that the

pond in which he hatches the eggs does not contain any of the many

enemies I have described in former chapters. If it is at all possible to

protect the eggs and the little fish, it is best to hatch out the eggs

in the pond which it is intended to stock, for it is exceedingly

difficult to keep the newly-hatched fish in a rearing-pond on account of

their very small size. It will be necessary to use muslin or flannel

screens instead of perforated zinc. Care must be taken that there is not

too great a flow of water, as this will cause the little fish to be

drowned at the outlet screen.