Fish.A large part of Volume VI of the reports of the geological survey made by the University of Kansas is devoted to the fishes of the Cretaceous era, giving a list and description of these specimens of the finny tribe found in Kansas. A list of modern fishes was prepared by Prof. F. W. Cragin and published in the bulletins of the Washburn College laboratory. That list includes, among others, several species of cat-fish, lampreys, long-nosed gar, buffalo, suckers and shad of different varieties, black horse, dace, sun-fish, yellow, white, rock and grass bass, darters, big-mouthed black bass and pike, the last named having been introduced in Kansas waters by the fish commissioner. A. W. Bitting, a writer in Carter's Monthly for July, 1897, says:
"While Kansas does not compare with many other states in the variety and quality of game fishes, yet there is in the state, picturesquely beautiful rock and tree bound streams and rivers that have bass of as fine a flavor and are as gamey in the taking as the most ardent Waltonian may desire."
The streams especially referred to by Mr. Bitting are the Walnut and Whitewater rivers in Butler county, and, in fact, any of the streams of southern Kansas east of Wichita, in all of which bass, croppie and channel cat are to be found in abundance. The Little Arkansas river is adapted to the propagation of bass, were it not for the fact that the stream is lacking in those deep pools that afford that fish a safe hiding place. Of the native fish the cat-fish is the most numerous and grows to the largest size. J. L. Smith, later a judge at Kansas City, Mo., when a boy, caught a cat-fish in the Missouri river that weighed 165 pounds.
D. B. Long, who was appointed the first state fish commissioner under the act of March 10, 1877, in his report for the year ending on June 30, 1878, said: "The large territory comprising the State of Kansas, larger than all the New England States, with its long streams and numerous branches, gives to the fish culturist a vast field for labor. It requires time, patience, perseverance and moneywith which there is no doubt of ultimate success in stocking our streams with a better variety of fish. Although an experiment to the people of Kansas, it is a reality to the people of the Old World. Fish farming has been in practice for over 2,000 years in China."
In stocking the streams with "a better variety of fish" the commissioner made some mistakes. The shad was introduced in June, 1877, and two or three years later the German carp was introduced. In his report for 1882 the commissioner said: "Of the ponds stocked in Kansas two years ago and one year ago, a number have reported that the carp have made from two to three pounds growth in one year and a number of them had spawned. They will spawn the second year if located in a proper pond. I expect to commence stocking the public streams with carp next year. The carp is well adapted to the waters of Kansas, and I predict a very favorable result from this introduction."
Evidently the result was not as favorable as the commissioner anticipated. The carp multiplied rapidly, and by their habits drove away the game fish. On Feb. 18, 1905, the governor approved an act, section 10 of which contained the following clause: "Nor shall this act be construed to prevent the game and fish warden or his deputies from removing or destroying in any manner any German carp or other worthless fish, for the purpose of protecting the food and game fish." (See also the articles on Fish Hatchery and Game Laws.)Page 644-645 from volume I of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed May 2002 by Carolyn Ward.
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