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Northern Fishes

Northern Fishes: With special reference to the upper Mississippi valley

Copyright Date: 1974
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 436
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    Northern Fishes
    Book Description:

    With the greatly increased interest in fishes and fishing since the earlier editions of this work were published, there has been need for a revised version of this indispensable book on the fishes of the Upper Mississippi Valley. This, the third edition, revised, of Northern Fishes by Samuel Eddy and Thaddeus Surber, contains much new material and up-to-date information based on current knowledge about fishes, their environment, and fishing techniques. The book covers more than 160 species with descriptions and line drawings to illustrate almost all of them. The authors discuss recently introduced species and their importance to sportsmen and provide current data on the distribution of northern fishes. There are keys for the identification of the species and information about where they are found and their habits. This edition also contains a number of additions to the species list which result from rather extensive collecting of specimens since the earlier editions were compiled. Before presenting the data on individual species, the authors provide basic information about fishes in general -- their structure, classification and origin, their food, and their parasites. The revised, updated section on fishing techniques includes information about spin casting. There are important chapters on lake dynamics, fish population dynamics, management of Minnesota and northern waters for fish production, and improvement of lakes and streams. The detailed information about species is arranged according to families. For further reading or reference there is a bibliography.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-6224-1
    Subjects: Zoology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-xii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. xiii-2)
  3. Success in Fishing — Skill or Luck?
    (pp. 3-7)

    On what does success in fishing depend? Fishing is one of the oldest and most popular sports throughout the world and for all peoples. Ever since primitive man invented the fishhook, his descendants have been searching for a sure method to make fish take it. From the time of Izaak Walton, much has been written on the subject, but most fishermen are still blundering along. Their success depends partly on perseverance, partly on skill, and partly on luck, any one of which may predominate. Perseverance is a personal quality and can be cultivated. Skill can also be acquired. On the...

  4. Fishing Techniques
    (pp. 8-18)

    The art of fishing has become a highly complicated one with a variety of techniques. It is outside the scope of this book to give detailed information about fishing techniques; there are excellent field manuals of that sort available. If fish could read and learn the rules, fishing would be a much simpler and more certain art. Then it would be possible to lay down a definite technique for catching each species. Nevertheless, a general discussion of fishing methods may be helpful to the amateur angler.

    Each of the accepted methods of fishing has its own group of devotees who...

  5. Lake Dynamics
    (pp. 19-28)

    Lakes are usually more or less closed bodies of water, each forming in a broad sense a small world of its own. The characteristics of each lake reflect in large part the surrounding landscape, the climate, the vegetation, land use, and other factors. In each lake many complex activities which we are just beginning to fully understand and appreciate proceed automatically, making it possible for life to continue almost indefinitely. From a geological point of view, most lakes are ephemeral; sediments slowly fill them in or, in the case of those lakes with outlets, erosion or downcutting may eventually drain...

  6. Population Dynamics
    (pp. 29-35)

    The fertility of a lake, determined by the amount of dissolved phosphates and nitrates in the water and by the other conditions described previously, is a controlling factor in the poundage of fish produced, and to a lesser extent it controls the species of fish which thrive in a lake. The size and the rate of growth of the fish, however, are governed by other factors.

    One of the more vexing problems associated with the management of fish populations in many lakes is the unsatisfactory size of the dominant species. In such lakes the enormous number of stunted fish is...

  7. Management of Waters for Fish Production
    (pp. 36-43)

    The lakes of Minnesota have long been famous for their game fishing. With the growing population of the state and the greater amount of leisure time available, however, fishing pressure has steadily increased and as a consequence good fishing is disappearing from many lakes. The new highway systems have made a weekend fishing trip possible in almost any area of the state. Each weekend the main highways north and west of the Twin Cities area are filled with bumper-to-bumper outgoing traffic on Friday and incoming traffic on Sunday. Many of these people are on their way to various lakes and...

  8. Improvement of Lakes and Streams
    (pp. 44-53)

    Most of the problems in fish conservation are concerned with the factors that result in poor fishing. Because of the ever-increasing pressure by fishermen, maintenance of good fishing conditions becomes imperative, and the improvement of waters for better fishing is one of the fundamental goals of fish management. Lake improvement consists of activities to restore or to enhance any of the environmental or ecological conditions which affect the fish species for which the lake is managed.

    As we have seen, food production is one of the most important factors determining the amount of fish a lake will produce. It is...

  9. The Natural Diet of Fish
    (pp. 54-67)

    The food of the various fish species ranges from microscopic algae and protozoans to ducklings and small muskrats. Only a few fishes have restricted diets; most utilize a wide range of food sources and usually eat whatever is most readily available within that range. Many fishes are omnivorous, eating both plant and animal matter. Some are mainly insectivorous, while others are predacious or piscivorous. Still others feed almost exclusively on plankton or are strictly herbivorous, eating only plant food. The diets often change with the age of the fish and sometimes with the season of the year. As a group,...

  10. Parasites and Infections of Fish
    (pp. 68-72)

    Fishermen are frequently disturbed when they find small yellow or black spots on the fish they catch. These spots are caused by one or more of a large variety of parasites with which almost all freshwater fish are infected. In fact, it is unusual to find fish that do not harbor at least a few parasites. With a single exception (the broad fish tapeworm,Dibothriocephalus latus) these parasites are not harmful to human beings, but they can cause extensive damage among fish populations. Some of the parasites are external, living on the skin or the gills; others are internal parasites...

  11. Anatomy and Physiology of Fish
    (pp. 73-96)

    All of our present-day fishes have a long evolutionary history of millions of years. The ancestors of the lamprey go back to the Ordovician period, over 500 million years ago, and the remains of bony fishes are found in rocks of Devonian age, which are 350 million years old. The anatomy of modern fishes is highly specialized for an efficient aquatic life. All of the fishes constituting our present-day fauna are modern forms, but some (the paddlefish, the bowfins, and the gars) retain primitive ancestral characters. In their long period of evolution and specialization some fishes lost or modified many...

  12. Factors in the Aquatic Environment
    (pp. 97-100)

    Of all our animals with vertebrae or backbones, fish are the most numerous in kinds and individuals. Like amphibians (frogs, toads, and salamanders) and reptiles (turtles, lizards, and snakes), fish are referred to as cold-blooded animals because they have body temperatures that are the same as or close to the temperature of their habitat. The velocity of activities such as locomotion and digestion in cold-blooded animals is generally correlated with the temperature of their habitat, increasing at higher temperatures and decreasing at lower temperatures.

    Fish have been a very important source of food for man from very early in his...

  13. Classification and Origin of the Fishes
    (pp. 101-105)

    The animal kingdom is classified in major divisions known asphyla.The fishes belong to the phylum Chordata, which includes all the vertebrates as well as several minor groups of organisms. Each phylum is divided into subunits (taxa) calledclasses,each of which is divided intoorders.The orders are subdivided into categories known asfamilies,and these in turn are subdivided intogeneracontaining one or morespecies.If a genus contains only one species, it is referred to as amonotypicgenus. Most genera contain two or more species and are referred to aspolytypic.

    Each species is...

  14. Artificial Key to Families of Northern Fishes
    (pp. 106-107)

    1. Mouth a suckerlike disk without jaws; no paired fins ........PETROMYZONIDAE (p. 110)

    Mouth with jaws; one or two sets of paired fins ............................. 2

    2. Tail heterocercal (Figure 19) ........................................ 3

    Tail homocercal (Figure 19) .......................................... 6

    3. Tail typically heterocercal with well-defined ventral lobe; mouth subterminal....... 4

    Tail heterocercal but with rounded ventral lobe obliterated; mouth terminal (Figure 19) 5

    4. Long paddle like snout nearly one-half length of body; body naked; barbels minute ..

    ..................................POLYODONTIDAE (p. 120) Short flat snout; body with bony plates; well-developed barbels present................................ ACIPENSERIDAE (p. 125)

    5. Rhombic ganoid scales; short dorsal fin,...

  15. Class CYCLOSTOMATA The Hagfishes and the Lampreys
    (pp. 108-109)

    The only true parasitic vertebrates are found among the cyclostomes. Some zoologists classify the cyclostomes as fishes while others recognize them as a distinct and different group, more primitive than the fishes and somewhat degenerate. While they are quite distinct, it seems reasonable to treat the cyclostomes along with the fishes. These eellike forms are contained in two important divisions, the hagfishes and the lampreys. The hagfishes are entirely marine, but the lampreys are found in both marine and fresh waters.

    The cyclostomes are characterized by the absence of several structures common to most fishes: paired fins or appendages, true...

  16. Family PETROMYZONIDAE The Lamprey Family
    (pp. 110-118)

    The lampreys are characterized by a circular funnellike mouth or buccal cavity armed with toothlike horny spines. Members of this family lack scales and paired fins and possess a single median nostril. The skeleton is wholly of cartilage or a cartilagelike substance and consists of an imperfect skull and a poorly developed vertebral column made up of a series of cartilaginous disks on a notochord. The notochord persists throughout the life of the lamprey and consists of a mass of vacuolated cells which are enclosed in a fibrous sheath. Seven pairs of external gill openings are present. The gills are...

  17. Class OSTEICHTHYES The Bony Fishes
    (pp. 119-119)

    Most modern freshwater fishes are characterized by the presence of bone, which distinguishes them from the cartilaginous fishes (Chondrichthyes) such as the sharks and their relatives. (The cartilaginous fishes are characterized by a skeleton entirely of cartilage and uncovered gill clefts. They are mostly marine, and none are found in the fresh waters of North America.) Most of the bony fishes are highly developed forms. A few primitive forms (sturgeons, gars, paddlefish, and bowfins) have very little bone and retain many characters common to the ancestors of the highly developed bony fishes.

    The bony fishes are differentiated from the cyclostomes...

  18. Family POLYODONTIDAE The Paddlefish Family
    (pp. 120-124)

    This is an ancient family which has only two representatives living today. One is the American paddlefish and the other isPsephurus gladius,a huge fish said to reach a length of 20 feet in the Yangtse River of China. These are smooth-skinned primitive fishes with an internal skeleton composed mostly of cartilage. They possess a heterocercal caudal fin and (at least in the American species) a long paddlelike snout. The vertebrae are cartilaginous and are strung on a notochord — an embryonic forerunner of the vertebral column — which usually disappears in adults.

    There is only one living species in this...

  19. Family ACIPENSERIDAE The Sturgeon Family
    (pp. 125-131)

    The sturgeons are remnants of an ancient and primitive group of fishes in which the cartilaginous skeleton is retained and the bony skeleton is confined largely to prominent bony plates in the skin. Sturgeons are found throughout northern Europe, Asia, and North America. Some species live in the sea and are anadromous, ascending rivers to spawn. Other species live in fresh water almost entirely. In North America two anadromous species are found the Pacific coast; one of them,Acipenser transmontanusRichardson, has been reported as weighing well over 1,000 pounds. Two other anadromous species occur on the Atlantic coast, but...

  20. Family LEPISOSTEIDAE The Gar Family
    (pp. 132-135)

    The gars are primitive fishes which have persisted into modern times as remnants of an ancient fossil group. A number of species are found in Central America, Mexico, the West Indies, and the southern states. The largest is the alligator gar, which is found in the Lower Mississippi Valley as far north as St. Louis. It is huge, reaching a length of well over 10 feet. (At one point it was Eddy’s ambition to hook one with suitable tackle. When he finally caught one in a seine in Louisiana and found that it took three men to land it and...

  21. Family AMIIDAE The Bowfin Family
    (pp. 136-138)

    Bowfins have stout bodies covered with cycloid scales. The head is covered with smooth bony plates. The mouth is horizontal and rather wide. The jaws are well armed with teeth, and the vomer, palatine, and pterygoid bones in the roof of the mouth bear small teeth. Bowfins are the only survivors of an ancient family which is known mostly through fossils.

    The characters for this genus are given in the following description of the only living species, which is restricted to eastern North America.

    The bowfin (Figure 31) has a rather primitive skeleton, partly of bone and partly of cartilage....

  22. Family HIODONTIDAE The Mooneye Family
    (pp. 139-141)

    The mooneyes are silvery fish with compressed bodies, small heads, feeble mouths, and large eyes with adipose eyelids. They reach a length of more than 12 inches. No spines are present in any of the fins. The body is covered with large cycloid scales; the head is naked and has a blunt snout. The mouth is of medium size and is obliquely set with jaws of equal length. The teeth are well developed on the jaws and on the vomer, palatine, and pterygoid bones lining the mouth as well as the hyoids on the tongue. The gill membranes are free...

  23. Family CLUPEIDAE The Herring Family
    (pp. 142-148)

    The herring family contains many important marine species including the true herring, which is one of the most important commercial fishes of the world. Several species are anadromous and enter fresh water to spawn. A few species live in fresh water but may be able to live also in brackish water along the coasts. Three species are known to occur in Minnesota.

    Herring are characterized by a row of modified scales (sometimes called scutes) along the entire edge of the belly; these scales form a distinct sawtoothed margin. The body is more or less slender; it is silvery in color...

  24. Family SALMONIDAE The Salmon Family
    (pp. 149-191)

    Despite the fact that this family does not contain many species, it includes many important game fishes and some of the most valuable commercial fishes in the world. The family contains the whitefishes and the related ciscoes, the Pacific salmon, the Atlantic salmon, the trout, the chars, and the grayling.

    The fishes in the salmon family are all cold-water species native only to the Northern Hemisphere. All are characterized by the presence of a soft rayless adipose fin between the dorsal fin and the caudal fin and the presence of soft fin rays in all but the adipose fin. All...

  25. Family OSMERIDAE The Smelt Family
    (pp. 192-195)

    The smelt family contains many species of small marine fish, some of which are anadromous and ascend rivers to spawn. They are closely related to the family Salmonidae but differ in having larger scales, stronger teeth, and no axillary process. All have soft rays and an adipose fin. They are all predacious.

    This genus contains one species found in Minnesota but which is widely distributed in the cold waters of the Northern Hemisphere. The characters for the genus are the same as for the following species.

    The rainbow smelt (Figure 53) is a small slender fish with a greenish back...

  26. Family UMBRIDAE The Mudminnow Family
    (pp. 196-197)

    The mudminnow family includes three genera and four species in North America, but only one species occurs in Minnesota waters. Mudminnows are soft-rayed fishes with heavy bodies compressed posteriorly. The dorsal surface of the head is flattened. The mouth is of medium size, and teeth are present on the jaws, the vomer, and the palatine bones. The upper jaw is nonprotractile; the maxillary bones form the posterior margin of the upper jaw. The gill rakers are not prominent and the pseudobranchiae are poorly developed. There are from 6 to 9 branchiostegal rays. The head and body are covered with cycloid...

  27. Family ESOCIDAE The Pike Family
    (pp. 198-208)

    The family Esocidae includes the true pikes or pickerels, all of which are members of the genusEsox.All members of this family have elongated bodies and heads with long depressed jaws. The jaws are armed with large canine teeth. A single soft-rayed fin is inserted far back on the body.

    Four species of pike are found in the United States. The best known species is probably the northern pike,Esox luciusLinnaeus. It is distributed over much of North America east of the Rocky Mountains and north of the Ohio River and ranges northwestward into Alaska. It is also...

  28. Family CYPRINIDAE The Minnow Family
    (pp. 209-272)

    The minnows are usually of small size, although the carp, which is not native, may reach a weight well over 50 pounds. Several American species reach a weight of several pounds and a length of 18 inches, but many species have a maximum size of about 2 inches. Over 2,000 species are known. Jordan, Evermann, and Clark (1930) list 307 species from North and Central America. With the exception of one Japanese species, all minnows are strictly freshwater fishes. The minnow family is represented in Minnesota and the neighboring states by more individuals and species than any other family of...

  29. Family CATOSTOMIDAE The Sucker Family
    (pp. 273-296)

    The members of the sucker family vary greatly in shape. Some species are elongated and cylindrical, others have thin and strongly compressed bodies, and still others have deep thick bodies. The trunk is covered with cycloid scales, but the head is scaleless. The lips are thick and fleshy; the lower lip may be plicate or finely grooved and is often partially or wholly papillose. The size of the mouth varies in different species but is always more or less extensible (protractile), enabling the fish to suck food from the bottom. No teeth are present, but there are structures somewhat like...

  30. Family ICTALURIDAE The Catfish Family
    (pp. 297-311)

    The catfishes are easily recognized by their scale less bodies, adipose fins, stout spines in the dorsal and pectoral fins, and the presence of barbels on the upper and lower jaws. All members of this family have four long barbels on the underside of the lower jaw, a short barbel near each nostril, and a very long barbel at the end of each maxillary. They have broad heads and wide mouths in which the upper jaw is formed anteriorly by the premaxillaries. They have pads of bristlelike teeth in the upper jaw. Some catfish species are among the largest freshwater...

  31. Family ANGUILLIDAE The Eel Family
    (pp. 312-314)

    Many related families of eels, mostly marine, are found in the warmer parts of the world. All are distinguished by long slender bodies. The family is represented by many species found in Europe, northern Africa, Asia, and the Philippines and other islands and in the streams draining into the Indian Ocean. The only freshwater eel in North America is a species of the genusAnguillawhich is restricted to streams draining into the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. Freshwater eels are not found in the Pacific drainage of the United States.

    The only species of this genus found...

  32. Family PERCOPSIDAE The Trout-perch Family
    (pp. 315-316)

    The trout-perch resembles both a trout and a perch. An adipose fin is present, a characteristic shared with the trout and several other families. The overall appearance is superficially similar to that of a small perch. The body is elongate, heavy anteriorly, and compressed posteriorly. The bones of the head are cavernous. The head is somewhat pointed, the mouth is small, and the maxillary bones are small. The premaxillaries border the protractile upper jaw. The jaws have weak teeth. The gill membranes are free from the isthmus; the pseudobranchiae are developed. A lateral line is present. The trout-perch is the...

  33. Family APHREDODERIDAE The Pirate Perch Family
    (pp. 317-318)

    The body of the pirate perch is compressed, and the back is somewhat flattened dorsally. The mouth is of medium size and oblique. The lower jaw projects beyond the upper jaw; the upper jaw is not protractile. The jaws and the vomer, palatine, and pterygoid bones bear teeth; the maxillary bones are well developed. The margins of the preopercle and the preorbital are serrated. There is a prominent spine on the opercle. No pseudobranchiae are present. There are 6 branchiostegal rays. No lateral line is present. In adults the vent is located just posterior to the lower jaw. The air...

  34. Family GADIDAE Tha Codfish Family
    (pp. 319-321)

    The members of the codfish family have rather slender bodies which are heavy anteriorly but compressed posteriorly. They have small scales of the cycloid type. The long dorsal fin extends almost the entire length of the back; in some species it is divided into two parts and in others into three parts. No spines are present in any of the fins. The caudal fin is rounded. The anal fin is elongated and inserted far back. The pelvic fins are jugular in position, located in front of the pectoral fins. Four pairs of gills are present, and there is a slit...

  35. Family CYPRINODONTIDAE The Killifish Family
    (pp. 322-323)

    The fishes in this family are all warm-water fishes, and most of them are small. They possess rather large cycloid scales and have an imperfect or poorly developed lateral line. The head is rather flattened, and the mouth is small. The lower jaw is more or less projecting, and the upper jaw is protractile. Teeth are present on the jaws and sometimes on the vomer in the roof of the mouth. The gill membranes are free from the isthmus, and the gill rakers are short. Only 4 to 6 branchiostegal rays are present. A single dorsal fin with soft rays...

  36. Family POECILIIDAE The Livebearer Family
    (pp. 324-326)

    Members of this family resemble superficially those of the killifish family, Cyprinodontidae, but the livebearer males can be distinguished by the presence of a modified anal fin. The anal fin is modified as an intromittent organ in the male and is used to transfer sperm to the female during breeding. The eggs are fertilized in the oviduct of the female, and the eggs develop within the oviduct. The guppies, well known to most tropical fish fanciers, belong to this family. Many of the other members of the family are also popular aquarium fishes. A vast majority of the species in...

  37. Family GASTEROSTEIDAE The Stickleback Family
    (pp. 327-329)

    The members of this family are mostly marine, but several species are able to enter fresh water and one species lives exclusively in fresh water. Another species lives equally well in fresh water and in brackish water along the seacoasts.

    The sticklebacks are small fish with slender fusiform bodies and very slender caudal peduncles. The body is either naked or covered with bony plates. No scales are present. The anterior portion of the dorsal fin consists of stout spines, each with a small membrane but not attached to the adjacent spines.

    Posteriorly the dorsal fin is fully developed with soft...

  38. Family ATHERINIDAE The Silverside Family
    (pp. 330-331)

    The silverside family includes a large number of species, most of which are tropical and subtropical in distribution. Only a few are found in temperate zones, and most of these live in the sea and occupy coastal marine or estuarine habitats, although some may enter fresh waters. One strictly freshwater species occurs in Minnesota and the adjacent states.

    This genus contains only one species, the brook silverside,Labidesthes sieculus(Cope), which ranges from the Great Lakes area southward to Texas and Florida.

    The brook silverside (Figure 133) in Minnesota usually reaches a length of 2 inches, but occasionally specimens up...

  39. Family SCIAENIDAE The Drum Family
    (pp. 332-334)

    The drum family contains many important marine fishes; only one is a freshwater species. The sea trout, the saltwater drums, and the croakers found off the coasts are important game and commercial fishes. Most members of this family have elongate bodies which are more or less compressed. The lateral line extends over the caudal fin. The caudal fin is usually rounded. The head is large and scaly, and the skull bones are heavy and cavernous. The pharyngeal teeth tend to be large and molariform. Most species in this family have a complicated air bladder with special drumming muscles which are...

  40. Family PERCICHTHYIDAE The Temperate Bass Family
    (pp. 335-337)

    This family has recently been removed from the sea bass family, Serranidae (Gosline, 1966). It includes freshwater basses of the temperate zone and a few marine species such as the giant sea bass and the striped bass. The striped bass is anadromous and enters fresh water to spawn. Two species are restricted to fresh water, and both of these occur in Minnesota.

    Although superficially resembling black bass and crappies (family Centrarchidae), the members of the family Percichthyidae are in no way closely related to them and differ from them in a number of characters. The temperate bass are random spawners;...

  41. Family CENTRARCHIDAE The Sunfish Family
    (pp. 338-362)

    The sunfish family is one of the most important families of freshwater panfish and game fish; it contains the sunfishes, the crappies, the rock bass, and the black bass. Approximately thirty species are known, and at least ten of them are more or less common in Minnesota. These are the rock bass, the warmouth, the largemouth bass, the smallmouth bass, two species of crappies, and four species of sunfish. Many common names in addition to these have been applied to various species in the family.

    Members of this family superficially resemble the temperate bass family (Percichthyidae), but the Minnesota species...

  42. Family PERCIDAE The Perch Family
    (pp. 363-389)

    The perch family is represented by more species in Minnesota than any other family except the minnow family. It includes the well-known perch, the walleye, and the sauger. It also includes fifteen species of small fishes called darters, which many people think are some kind of minnow. The members of this family are more or less elongate fishes. The lateral line may be complete, incomplete, or obsolete. The mouth is either terminal or inferior. Teeth are present on the jaws and usually on the vomer and palatine bones; sharp pharyngeal teeth are also present. The opercle has a flat spine...

  43. Family COTTIDAE The Sculpin Family
    (pp. 390-396)

    This family contains a number of genera and species, most of which are marine. One genus is restricted to fresh water, but several marine genera have species which sometimes enter fresh water. Sculpins are rather grotesque in appearance. The body is elongate with a very large and depressed head. The eyes are high on the head, almost dorsal in position, and are close together. One or more spinous processes are usually present on the margin of the opercle. Teeth are present on the vomer and palatine bones. The upper jaw is protractile; the maxillary lacks a supplementary bone. The gill...

  44. References
    (pp. 399-404)
  45. Index
    (pp. 405-414)