Synonyms

Salmo Salar, variety Sebago; Sebago Salmon; Sebago Trout; Schoodic Salmon; Land-locked Salmon; Silfverlax; Salmo Argentens; Winanishe, Wananishe, or Ouinaniche.

IT used to be an article of faith with naturalists and anglers that a Salmon-using the word in its every-day sense, not in the technical one of Salmo, which generic name includes many very different fish, some of them merely Trout- is a salt-water fish which comes into fresh-water rivers to spawn, and then returns to the sea, or, to use a convenient word, is anadromous. Hence the specific designation Salar. The older British writers on the Salmonida seem never to have heard of any exception to this rule, or else, in referring to the question whether Salmon can make their home in fresh water, answer it with a decided negative; in a few instances quoting cases of fish dying under the experiment.

Yet nothing in the range of observed facts relating to the Salmonida?-as to which the great modern English ichthyologist, Gunther, observes that "The unusual attention which has been given to their study has revealed an almost greater amount of unexplained facts than of satisfactory solutions of the questions raised "-is better established now than the existence in certain parts of the United States, Canada, and Sweden of a Salmon which inhabits lakes, and is anatomically indistinguishable from the salt-water Salmon. The Landlocked Salmon of Maine have been well known for over fifty years. Mr. C. G. Atkins, superintendent of the Schoodic Salmon-breeding establishment, on Grand Lake Stream, says that it occurs only in four limited districts, all in Maine-the systems of the Presumpscot, the Sebec, the Union, which is a tributary of the Penobscot, and the St. Croix Rivers. Lake Sebago in the Presumpscot system furnishes the largest specimens and has given the name by which this fish is known to scientists, Salmo Salar, variety Sebago. The Schoodic River, which is the west branch of the St. Croix, and into which Grand Lake discharges, is the origin of another and more popular name. Since the founding of the breeding establishment in 1875, the Schoodic Salmon have been widely distributed in the United States, with varying success. They have also been transported to Scotland and Germany, where they have done well.

The Winanishe, Wananishe, or Ouinaniche, of the Upper Saguenay and the Lake St. John river system, has also been well known since the settlement of that region of the Province of Quebec, about 1850, and was familiar to the Indians and Hudson Bay Company's voyageurs long before then. The etymology of the name is unsettled, but is probably derived from the Cree root "wan," to lose or mistake, applied either to the fish having lost itself or being taken for a Salmon. Though Charles Hallock fished the Upper Saguenay, or Grande Decharge, as it is locally named, and described the Wananishe fifteen years ago, only a few anglers seem to have known either the fish or its habitat until lately. Their rediscovery by fishing tourists and sporting journals and the marvelous accounts given in railway and hotel advertisements are amusing to those who have made for many years a special study of the fish and region, but it is to be feared that they mark the beginning of the end of a peculiarly interesting game fish.

The Wananishe and the Land-locked Salmon of Maine are identical, the only observable difference being a slight one in coloration. This is always an unimportant distinction, and in this instance does not amount to so much as is often found in Brook Trout inhabiting the same waters, to say nothing of the wide differences in color and form between Trout of different localities.

The same fish occurs in several lakes in Nova Scotia, where it is erroneously called "Grayling," in Lock Lomond and other lakes in New Brunswick, and according to Mr. Hallock, in the lakes of Peterborough County, Ontario. It is possible that the Salmon, which within this generation's memory abounded in Lake Ontario, were also purely fresh-water fish. That at least is the opinion of Mr. Wilmot, the superintendent of the Canadian Government Fish Hatcheries, who has studied them all his life. The "Silfverlax," or Lake Salmon of Wenern and other Swedish lakes-the Salmo Argen-teus of Swedish naturalists-corresponds very closely, both as to the descriptions of its appearance and the circumstances under which it is found, with the others above mentioned. In British Columbia, too, a lake Salmon is found, concerning which my information is at present too meager to enable me to say more than that it is highly probable that under similar circumstances some of the Pacific Salmon, admittedly quite distinct species from the Salmo Salar of the Atlantic, have acquired a fresh-water habitat. In some of the rivers of Labrador, which are all simply the connections between, and discharges of, extensive lake systems, I found and identified, in 1889, my well-known friend, the Wananishe. It will, therefore, be seen that the range of this fish, so far from being limited, is very extensive. The probability is that as opportunities for skilled investigation multiply, it will be found in many other places.

Three things are noteworthy about its distribution. It is always found at the head-waters of rivers to which Salmon actually resort now, or to which they are known to have resorted. Though in some places there are apparently insuperable obstacles in the way of its ascent from the sea, there is nowhere, so far as I can learn, any positive evidence that it cannot descend if it would. In every case the rivers are the outflow of large lakes which seem to be what the sea is to the salt-water Salmon.

It is a vexed question whether or not the species was known in Maine before the erection of dams preventing the ascent of the Salmon, which once were so numerous in that State: there are no natural obstructions. In the Saguenay there are no high falls, none of them are perpendicular, and the rapids, though very strong, are by no means insuperable for Salmon, and, with intervals of quiet water, extend only some forty miles from tide-water. In New Brunswick the obstructions are artificial, and have been made within the memory of man. At Grand Lake, Nova Scotia, the communication with the sea is direct by the Shubenacadic River, in its lower reaches, a muddy, tidal stream. In other Nova Scotian localities, dams may have cut off the connection. In the Stony Lake Chain of Peterborough County, Ontario, there is rather a roundabout, but, on the whole, an unobstructed connection with Lake Ontario, and thence directly with the sea by way of the St. Lawrence. The rapids between Kingston and Montreal could be run by without difficulty, but the journey from salt water is a long one, and it is many years since a Salmon is known to have been caught in the St. Lawrence or any of its tributaries further up than the Jacques Cartier River, a few miles above Quebec, and now the most westerly Salmon stream in the Province. In Sweden the Trolhattan Falls, five in number, with a total height of one hundred and twenty feet, in a narrow gorge, are admittedly impassable for Salmon. In British Columbia, the access to the Kootenai lakes is obstructed by a heavy fall which may have been surmountable at times; but Salmon may also have found their way into these lakes, at periods of extraordinarily high water, through the marshy belt, only two miles wide, which separates the Kootenai River above the lakes from the Upper Columbia.