Bibliography Background About KRIS

Eel River Fisheries Articles and Excerpts 1914-1920

Compiled by Susie Van Kirk, 1996

Arcata Union (AU) Arcata, 1886-1995
Blue Lake Advocate (BLA) Blue Lake, 1888-1969
Daily Humboldt Times (DHT) Eureka, 1874-1967 [Times-Standard]
Daily Times-Telephone (DTT) Eureka [DHT during 1880s]
Ferndale Enterprise (FE) Ferndale, 1878-present
Humboldt Standard (HS) Eureka, 1876-1967
Humboldt Times (HT) Eureka, 1854-1967 [Times-Standard]
Weekly Humboldt Times (WHT) Eureka [HT after daily started]
Weekly Times-Telephone (WTT) Eureka [weekly HT during 1880s]


FE (2 Jan. 1914) Charged with having 300 pounds of steelhead in his possession when the state law permits a daily catch of but 30 pounds, Ellis Robinson of Fortuna was placed under arrest Tuesday morning by Deputy Fish and Game Warden Earl Barnes and was brought before Justice of the Peace John Gray in Eureka. Robinson's bail was fixed at $200, the amount being furnished. Robinson declares that he is prepared to fight the case on the grounds that the state must prove what a steelhead really is.


FE (10 March 1914) Ellis Robinson was Acquitted--Last Friday a jury in Justice of the Peace Gray's court at Eureka acquitted Ellis Robinson of the charge of having illegally taken steelhead with a net in the waters of Eel river. The jury decided that he had taken "steelhead salmon," a species heretofore unknown, and not steelhead trout...The fish were what everybody living along Eel river have always called steelheads and they were so pronounced by Prof. Scofield, T.A. Varian and others at the trial...It is the general opinion that the verdict in the case will result in the next legislature closing Eel river against all net fishing. Public sentiment demands the protection of the steelheads, and if under present conditions they may be taken with impunity in the nets, a demand will be made for the closing, according to street talk.

Attorney Duke of the Fish and Game Commission states that parties taking steelhead will be prosecuted in the future and that the acquittal of Robinson will make no difference...Attorney Duke says: "As long as this law is on the statute books, I will take the liberty of stating on behalf of the Fish Commission, that it will be enforced. If the law is not a just or proper one, the remedy lies in the legislature, and not in the courts..." Robinson has been arrested time and again for violations of the fish laws but generally manages to escape through the clutches of the law.


FE (10 March 1914) The state fish hatchery at Weymouth's Inn on Price Creek is now liberating 4,000,000 salmon fry, which will find their way into Eel river. The eggs of this hatch were taken, 1,000,000 from Eel river and 3,000,000 from the Sacramento river.


FE (27 March 1914) Five hundred thousand steelhead eggs from Ukiah station have just been received by W.O. Fassett of the Price Creek hatchery and will be hatched at that institution and turned loose into the streams of Humboldt.


FE (30 March 1914) Fishing Season Opens Tomorrow--The open season for catching trout with hook and line opens tomorrow April 1st. This applies to steelhead trout only, it being unlawful to take other varieties of trout until April 16th. To avoid confusion, the Fish and Game Commission, as in past years, classes all trout in this district as steelhead trout...


FE (8 May 1914) Fifty thousand more steelhead fry were planted in Mad river this week by Supt. Fassett of the Price Creek hatchery. Three hundred thousand fry have been planted altogether by Mr. Fassett in Mad river this season.


FE (19 June 1914) A correspondent from Weymouth's Inn writes:


"Local anglers anticipate an old time fishing season here this year as the Weymouth pool is very deep and in the condition of several years ago when it furnished the best of fishing. The river between the Weymouth and Van Duzen pools is again in one channel, which will give the fish an opportunity to get over the riffles."


FE (17 July 1914) The annual run of steelheads has commenced in Eel river and several of the finny beauties have been taken by anglers during the last few days.


FE (18 Sept. 1914) Petition Affects Net Fishing in Eel River--A petition started by T.A. Varian of Ferndale and which is being liberally signed in different parts of the county, if acted upon favorably by the next legislature, would prohibit seining and gillnetting at all times above a line near Dungan's ferry and below Salt river point, would make the open season from October 15th to December 23d and would continue in force the law prohibiting the taking of steelhead in any other manner than with hook and line.


Mr. Varian believes that the fish should be given a chance to get into the river, hence the provision in his petition providing that no netting shall be done below Salt river point. He states that the practice of going right out into the breakers with nets keeps the fish out of the river and should be stopped.


He also thinks that from Dungan's ferry up the river should be given over to the hook and line fishermen, particularly as the salmon taken with nets from the pools above are usually unfit for food and are a drug upon the market. By allowing these fish to continue on to their spawning grounds the river would be kept stocked with fish without expense to the state in hatching the fry...[it would be unlawful to catch salmon with seine or gillnet above section line running north and south between sections 24 and 25, above Erickson's ferry, 3N2W, and below Salt river point].


FE (18 Sept. 1914) Salmon trollers have been enjoying fine sport at the Fulmor pool this week and many fish have been taken.


FE (18 Sept. 1914) Reports reach the Enterprise office that some parties have been gillnetting salmon in the Fulmor pool the last week. This is against the law and if true, the offenders should be dealt with according to law. The attention of the game wardens have been called to the matter.


FE (2 Oct. 1914) Tons of salmon are lying in Eel river near the ocean waiting for the first rains when they will go upstream to spawn, according to Deputy Fish and Game Warden Earl P. Barnes. Barnes says the Eel river fishermen are looking for an unusually large run of salmon again this year, basing their estimates on the present conditions.


FE (9 Oct. 1914) The Biggest Salmon--What is said to be the biggest salmon taken out of Eel river this season was landed yesterday by Mrs. Joseph Goble at the Fulmor pool, the big fish tipping the scales at 56 1\2 pounds. Mrs. Goble is receiving the congratulations of her friends on her skill in landing the biggest salmon which was a gamey fighter and put up a noble scrap before being brought to gaff.


FE (16 Oct. 1914) Petition to have Seining Stopped--A petition bearing 2,054 names was presented to the Supervisors last Tuesday asking the Board to prohibit all seining in Eel river, but allowing gillnetting and hook and line fishing. The Supervisors will take up the matter with the State Fish and Game Commission. It seems to be the general opinion around Ferndale that if seining is prohibited gillnetting should also be stopped, leaving the river open to hook and line fishing only. It is claimed there is no reason why one form of net fishing should be discriminated against in favor of the other.


FE (10 Nov. 1914) Good salmon trolling in lower Eel river has been reported the last few days.


FE (1 Dec. 1914) Railroad Service to Begin this Morning [between Eureka and San Francisco].


FE (8 Jan. 1915) W.O. Fassett, superintendent of the Price Creek fish hatchery...reports that he recently received at the hatchery three million Quinnat salmon eggs, which will be hatched and early in March will be distributed to the streams of the county.


FE (12 Jan. 1915) Recommend Changes in Fishing Laws--Last Saturday a meeting of the committee appointed by the Federated Commercial Bodies to investigate conditions on Eel river and recommend changes in the law governing the taking of salmon and steelhead was held in Fortuna. This committee is composed of T.A. Varian of Ferndale, L.H. Olsen of Loleta and P.W. Hunter of Fortuna...the following recommendations were adopted:


First--To move tide line to the section line running north and south between sections 24 and 25 above Ericksen's ferry.


Second--To allow gillnetting and seining below said tide line between October 1st to November 30th of each year.


Third--To allow gillnetting only above tide line from November 15th to November 30th each year.


Fourth--To allow gillnetting only from January 1st to February 1st from the mouth of Eel river to East's ferry.


Fifth--To permit during the open season the taking of steelhead and salmon.


As will be noticed there are some quite radical changes recommended, particularly the taking of steelhead in nets and the changing of the tide line and there will quite likely be a lively discussion when the brought before the meeting of the Federated Bodies in Blue Lake next Saturday.


FE (22 Jan. 1915) The Federated Commercial Bodies in session at Blue Lake last Saturday endorsed the proposed changes in the fishing laws recommended by the committee...



FE (26 Jan. 1915) Opposition to Early Seining is Reported--...It

seems to be the general opinion that a bitter fight will be made to prevent the opening of the seining season on October 1st, as trollers claim that this would practically limit their sport to about two weeks' time. They point out that the salmon run does not usually commence much before the middle of September and also say that the sport is practically at an end as soon as the seines begin operating.


It is understood that an organized effort is to be made to prevent the early opening of the seining season, it being reported that Eureka parties are taking the initiative in the matter.


The recommendation that the tide line be established farther down the river at a point near Ericksen's ferry, seems to have met with general favor and the recommendation that it be made lawful to take steelheads in nets seems not to have met with the opposition expected. It seems to be the general opinion that if steelheads are caught within a net they will die, even though they are returned to the water...


FE (2 Feb. 1915) Dam goes out--The dam at the Price Creek hatchery was reported as having gone out yesterday afternoon as a result of the high water in that creek. Many salmon eggs in process of hatching were being held in surface water, but if the storm continues, these will probably be lost.


FE (19 Feb. 1915) No Fish lost at Price Creek--"Will you kindly state in the columns of your paper that while our dam was washed out, the fish were all saved by putting in temporary flumes and that everything is running as usual. Visitors are always welcome..." Willard O. Fassett.


FE (26 Feb. 1915) The Price Creek Fish Hatchery--In his annual report to the State Fish and Game Commission, W.H. Shebley, Superintendent of Hatcheries, speaks of the Price Creek hatchery as follows:

Price Creek hatchery has been under the supervision of Mr. W.O. Fassett, who has successfully operated this station for the past fourteen years. We are pleased to note that the salmon are yet plentiful in Eel river and do not show any signs of a decrease, although the fishing has been as heavy as in past years. This hatchery was established in 1898, at a time when the average number of salmon shipped did not exceed 500,000 pounds. Five years after the artificial propagation of the salmon the number had increased to over 1,500,000 pounds annually. The salmon eggs that restored the run of salmon in Eel river were the surplus eggs shipped from the Sacramento river station.


In the fall of 1912 we made arrangements to collect the salmon eggs for the Price Creek hatchery by purchasing the mature fish from the fishermen at a nominal cost, but we were not successful. The fishermen did not respond as readily as we expected. They were too anxious to get their fish to the market to assist us by furnishing us the mature fish to supply the eggs so that we could keep up the supply of salmon in the river without a decrease in numbers. During the fall of 1913 we made arrangements to collect the eggs with our own crews. Accordingly, Superintendent Fassett was instructed to construct the necessary live cars to hold the fish and plan to seine the pools for mature fish. A skilled egg collector was sent to assist him in the work. The work started off auspiciously, but just as the run was at its best, an unusual storm set in that caused the river to rise and allowed the spawning salmon to leave the pools in the lower reaches of the river, where they congregate before ascending the river to spawn. Before the freshet caused the river to rise, a number of mature fish were taken and 472,250 eggs were collected. These, with 3,611,000 eggs shipped from Mill Creek station were successfully hatched and the fry liberated in Mad river, Elk river, Jacoby creek, Freshwater creek and Eel river and Price creek, as will be shown by the table of salmon fry distribution.


I would recommend that if the funds are available, a well built restraining rack be constructed across Eel river to hold the salmon, and another attempt made this fall to collect the eggs of the salmon from this river. Eel river is one of the most difficult rivers on the coast to construct racks in, as it rises suddenly, and the bed of the river is formed of such a deep deposit of loose gravel and sand that is always shifting whenever there is a rise in the river, which makes it a very expensive piece of work to construct racks that will hold the salmon. The best that can be expected would be a rack that would stand a rise of two or three feet at the most...If the funds are available, I would recommend the construction of a rack as described above, and preparations made to collect the salmon eggs from Eel river this fall to supply the Price Creek hatchery.


FE (2 March 1915) Ask Changes in Fishing Laws--Salmon and steelhead will not be caught by commercial fishermen in Eel and Mad river from Friday morning until sundown Sunday between October 15 and December 31, inclusive, if the local fishermen's amendment to the Fish and Game Commission's bill governing fishing in the streams of Humboldt is adopted.


At a meeting of twenty commercial fishermen and sportsmen with Senator Kehoe and Assemblyman Quinn in the former's office last Thursday night, the above was unanimously agreed to, so says the Times. In the bill introduced in the legislature the commission proposes to make the season from October 1 to December 1 and prohibits fishing on Saturdays and Sundays. The proposed change will actually lengthen the season but two days and a half, yet will prove a boon, it is believed, to both commercial and sporting fishermen.

Ray Davidson and Peter Ferrari, representing the commercial fishermen, pointed out that many of the fishermen on Eel river were Indians. When the season opens the Indians have to be financed. Boats and nets are purchased for them, representing an outlay of $200 or more. If the season was but two months, with about sixteen days taken out for Saturdays and Sundays, there was a probability that money would be lost especially in the event of a period of high water. Both sides agreed that the tide line should remain as desired by the commission, about a mile and a half below the concrete bridge. Under the proposition agreed to Thursday the commercial fishermen are prohibited from fishing at any time between sunrise on Friday and sunset on Sunday.


This will give the sportsmen an opportunity to get some good fishing at that period of the week when a large majority of them are free to visit Eel and Mad rivers. By stretching the season from October 15 to December 31 and adding another day to the prohibited period each week, less than three days are added to the open season. Yet the commercial men run less risk than of losing money through stormy periods. Senator Kehoe and Assemblyman Quinn will take the proposed changes up with the Fish and Game Commission and try to induce them to change their bill to conform with the wishes of the local men...


FE (16 March 1915) Kehoe Writes of Fish Law--Under date of March 11th, State Senator Kehoe writes as follows regarding certain changes in the fish laws which are up for consideration by the legislature:

"During the recess of the legislature, a number of persons interested in fish and game laws relating to Humboldt county met at my office and suggested certain changes in the bills introduced by the Fish and Game Commission into the legislature. The principal change related to the season for taking salmon and steelhead in Eel river. The bills introduced by the commission provided that the season should open October 1st and close December 1st.


"Those who attended the meeting agreed that the Humboldt representatives should endeavor to have the bills amended so that the season should open October 15th and close December 31st; provided, however, that no fishing with nets should be permitted during that period from sunrise Friday morning until sunset Sunday night.


"On reaching San Francisco, I called upon the Fish and Game Commission and talked these amendments over with them. As was to be expected, the amendments did not meet with the approval of the Fish and Game Commission, but for a different reason than I had anticipated. They produced their maps showing the months that the salmon run in Eel river. According to that showing, if fishing is permitted during the entire months of October, November, and December it will cover the entire run of the Quinnat and Silverside salmon which constitute the two varieties that run in our streams.


"It is the contention of the commission that with such a law in effect commercial fishing in Eel river will soon become a thing of the past, as they claim that there would be no opportunity for the salmon to get up the stream to spawn. In extending the length of time at the end of each week that fishermen are not to be permitted to fish, it was the sense of the meeting that the period from Friday morning at sunrise to Sunday night at sunset would give the fish ample time to get above the place where they can be taken by the fishermen especially so since it is the intention to move the tide line farther down the river than at present.


"The commission holds to the opinion, however, that such extension of one day would furnish the fish no protection whatsoever. It claims that the only effect of closing the fishing at the end of the week is to enable the fishermen to make larger hauls Sunday night and that statistics will show such to be the case. It claims that the habit of the fish is such that when it leaves the ocean and comes into the river, it stays in the salt water several days before entering the fresh water; that it does not make its way rapidly up the stream, but goes at it leisurely, for which reason the two and one-half days close season at the end of the week would not permit the salmon to ascend the streams above tide water.


"The commission takes the position that Eel river is large enough to support both the commercial and sporting fishing and that if we carry out the ideas expressed in the amendments we will be destroying the commercial fishing.


"At the meeting it was stated by some of the commercial fishermen present that their largest catches of salmon are made in the month of December and that their books would so show. The commission showed me their statistics obtained from the shippers of fish from Humboldt county and according to these statistics the shipments of salmon in the month of December are very light. The large shipments seem to be made in October and November.


"I believe it should be the desire of all to protect both the commercial and sporting fishing in our streams and I would therefore request those interested in fish and game in Humboldt county to give the idea of the Fish and Game Commission their immediate attention and to communicate to me their views relative to the same." ...Wm. Kehoe.


FE (2 April 1915) The Trout Season Opened Yesterday--Yesterday was April 1st, April Fools Day and the opening of the trout season, the latter being the much more important event in the minds of the numerous "Isaac Waltons" of this community. The anglers were out in force, but confined their operations mainly to the numerous sloughs around the valley, as the creeks were rather muddy.

Some good catches are reported in the sloughs, though as a rule the fish were small. In a few days the creeks should be clear and then some larger fish will be taken.


FE (4 June 1915) Seventy-thousand steelhead fry, the last shipment for distribution in the streams flowing into Humboldt Bay, were received Monday afternoon from the Price Creek hatchery for distribution in Elk River. This shipment is the last of 420,000 steelhead to be planted this year in Jacoby Creek, Elk River and Freshwater. About 500,000 salmon fry were received and distributed in the three streams earlier in the spring.--Humboldt Times.


FE (8 June 1915) Season is open Oct. 7 to Dec. 7--...the open season for net fishing in Eel river is from October 7th to December 7th of each year and nets with a minimum of 6 1\2 inch mesh are allowed... It is believed from present information obtainable that the tide line has been fixed at Dungan's ferry or near thereto, at the same point it was located until a few years ago.


FE (29 June 1915) Is Seining on Eel River Prohibited?--According to word received from the Fish and Game Commission Senate Bill No. 973 has been signed by the governor...This bill prohibits the use of "beach seines" in District No. 7, in which Eel river and Mad river are situated.

The whole thing now hinges on the interpretation of "beach seine." If this is the seine commonly used on the river here, then seining is at an end after August 7th... Steps have been taken to ascertain the legal interpretation of "beach seine" and if it proves that the seines in common use on Eel river are thus designated...then seining on Eel river will be contrary to law and the gillnetters will have a monopoly on the commercial fishing...


FE (31 Aug. 1915) W.H. Shebley and [Ernest] Schaeffle of the California State Fish and Game Commission paid a visit to the Price Creek hatchery last week. The gentlemen gave out that the dam there, destroyed by last winter's freshet, will be rebuilt in time for this season's operations.


FE (17 Sept. 1915) Jas. Potts of Dinsmore's jewelry store landed a 30-lb. salmon Sunday while trolling in Eel river.


FE (17 Sept. 1915) Salmon are running in Eel river, a number having been taken by trollers during the past week.


FE (17 Sept. 1915) Fish and Game Warden Benson of Fortuna informs the Enterprise that he captured a net a few nights ago in Eel river near Ferndale. Under the present law netting of any kind is not allowed at any time above the tide line near Dungan's ferry.


FE (5 Oct. 1915) The gillnetters will commence operations in Eel river next Thursday. No seining will be allowed and the gillnetters are only permitted to operate on the river as far up as the tide line near Dungan's ferry.


AU (7 Oct. 1915) Eel river is alive with salmon from Dago Bend to Greig's but they can only be netted as far as Dungan's ferry. Thousands of salmon are reported in the big pool under the concrete bridge. Peter Ferarri and Ray Davidson, Eel river fish buyers, expected to get between 75 and 100 tons during the early hours of this morning. No seines can be legally used on Eel river this season, so the gill-netter has the chance coming to him he has so long looked for.


FE (8 Oct. 1915) Jim McCloskey of Ferndale probably established a record Wednesday while trolling alone on Eel river. He had two lines out and hooked two salmon at the same time. He shut down his engine and by clever handling landed both fish unassisted. The salmon weighed about twenty pounds each...


FE (19 Oct. 1915)...Salmon have been unusually plentiful this year and many of the sports from this place have gone over at midnight and had excellent fun on the riffles spearing the big ones as they pass up the river. Dr. Hoskins, A.W. Blackburn, Lee Cathey, Robert Roberts and others formed a party Friday night which had big success with spearing. The doctor landed a big one, after he had speared the salmon and been towed around the river for an hour or so by the fish. It finally gave up and headed for shore where his companions succeeded in getting them both on dry land.


FE (19 Oct. 1915) The fishermen on Eel river are receiving

2 cents a pound for their fish, delivered at the buying stations along the river.


FE (16 Nov. 1915) Gillnet Fishing Slack on River--Report has it that the gillnetters on lower Eel river caught but few salmon during the past week, the majority of them making only expenses. The first of the present week a "run" came into the river and since that time the catches have been better.

The upper pools of the river are full of salmon and steelhead and for several days many salmon have been taken with spear and gaff on the riffles between Fortuna and tidewater. It is estimated by some that the Fortuna pools contain at least 80 tons of salmon. A greater number of these are unfit for food as they have been in fresh water too long and have turned black.--Fortuna Advance.


FE (26 Nov. 1915) Season Closes for Net Fishing Dec. 7--The present season on Eel river has not been a very profitable one for the gill net fishermen, only a few of the fishermen catching enough to make the game pay them better than wages. The reason [for] this is attributed to two causes, the low price paid by the representatives of the San Francisco markets and the small catch made owing to the bright moonlight nights that have been prevalent for the greater portion of the season. The prices paid on the bank of Eel river for salmon this season have ranged from two cents per pound, at the opening of the season, to four cents, the present price. Thus far there has been no muddy water in the river and at night when the moon is shining brightly the nets can be seen in the water very plainly and the fish avoid them, and the catch is light even though salmon are plentiful in the stream.

According to Ellis Robinson there have been in the neighborhood of 150 gill net boats engaged in salmon fishing and but few of the fishermen have made good wages. During the past week l,500 pounds would cover the best catch. The season on Eel river will close for net fishing on Dec. 7th.--Fortuna Advance.


FE (10 Dec. 1915) Price Creek Hatchery to be Removed--The Price Creek fish hatchery which has been in operation at Price Creek near Weymouth Inn for many years past, will be removed to a site on Eel river near Fort Seward in the near future.

It is stated that negotiations for the site at Fort Seward are now under way and as soon as the deeds are secured the work of moving the hatchery will be commenced. It is not known as to whether or not it will be possible to have the hatchery in operation at Fort Seward the coming season, but as the first shipment of eggs is usually received about Christmas, this is not considered probable. The dam at Price Creek went out last winter, and as this would have to be rebuilt in order to continue the hatchery at its present site, it is possible this may have had some influence in regard to the change of location at this time. It will be a matter of general regret in this part of the county that the hatchery is to be removed, as it has always been a favorite place for visitors and much interest has been manifested in its operations.

FE (14 Dec. 1915) Facts About the Salmon--The Enterprise has received from the State Fish and Game Commission a communication dealing with the life history and habits of the Pacific Coast salmon. As most of our readers are more or less interested in this lordly fish which inhabits Eel river the communication is printed below in full:

While the Salmon is our greatest and best known food fish the average person knows little or nothing of its life history or habits. There are five well known species to be found on this coast--the Quinnat, Silver, Sock-eye, Humpback and Dog Salmon. While the salmon spends fully three-fourths of its life in salt water, they return at maturity to spawn or deposit the eggs for hatching in fresh water. Several species of salmon are found in the waters of the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers and their tributaries, but the Quinnat is the only found in any great numbers. The young salmon, whether hatching under natural conditions or artificially propagated, will at about one year old begin its journey to the ocean there to remain until maturity which is generally estimated at four or five years, and then return to fresh water to complete its life history, for when the female has deposited her eggs and the male has fertilized them, their life work has ended and they die.

A mature salmon will yield on an average of about six thousand eggs. Under natural conditions not over five per cent of these eggs will successfully hatch, yet artificially propagated (when the eggs are taken, fertilized and cared for) it is conservatively estimated that ninety-five per cent will develop into strong young fish. There are many reasons for the small percentage of fish propagated under natural conditions. The newly hatched salmon is a helpless, jelly-like mass, incapable of motion; in fact, it is thirty or fifty days before they are able to swim. Any unusual stream disturbance, high water, moving sand, gravel, or other debris, will cause immense losses of these helpless little creatures, while predatory fish eat a very large percentage of them, all of which is obviated when artificial propagation is practiced. At the State Fish and Game Commission hatchery at Sisson, Siskiyou county, many million of Quinnat salmon are artificially propagated and liberated each year. The 1915 output was over thirty-two million.


The salmon has the homing instinct almost as strong as that of the pigeon of that name. After three or four years of wandering in the ocean depths they invariably find their way back to the identical stream in which their progenitors have bred for ages. This is true under normal conditions. If extreme floods or unusually roily water prevails during the spawning season the fish will ascend any stream that they happen to be near, but when conditions are normal the greater number return to the parent stream. They come back to this stream to fulfill the laws of reproduction and to give up their lives.


FE (31 Dec. 1915) $50,000 left by Salmon Fishing--The Fortuna Advance tells of the season's catch of salmon in Eel river by the net fishermen as follows:


Commercial fishing on Eel river closed Dec. 7th and although the season was but two months' duration, the county is richer by $50,000 and the sporting interest in the stream has not been interfered with or injured one iota. The total shipments of salmon from Eel river this season showed an increase over last season of 65 tons and with an open season two months shorter. In the neighborhood of $50,000 was paid out to the fishermen of Eel river and those connected with the fishing industry this season...

The fishermen were paid an average of four cents per pound for their salmon catch at the river by Davidson & Ferrari, who purchased the greater portion of the season's catch. In all there were 100 fishermen engaged during the past season on Eel river. Of this number there were twelve Italian fishermen who came here from San Francisco, the remaining 88 being residents of this county.

Ellis Robinson carried off the laurels as high boat for the season with a $900 catch to his credit, while John Seidner of Loleta was a close second.


FE (25 Feb. 1916) Hatchery is Being torn down--Work has been commenced at the Price Creek fish hatchery tearing out the troughs and flumes and getting things in readiness for the removal of the hatchery to a site near Fort Seward.

Mr. B. Doney, head carpenter for the state fish and game commission, arrived a few days ago to attend to the work. In order to operate the hatchery this year it must be in readiness by the first of April, and as something like a month will be required to move the apparatus and set it up at its new site, erect buildings, etc., there is no time to be lost.

Superintendent W.O. Fassett will continue in charge of the hatchery, and his efficient work of the past gives assurance that the fish supply of Eel river will not suffer by the removal of the hatchery, though the people of this section regret that it has been found advisable to make a change in location.


FE (14 April 1916) The work of moving the Price Creek fish hatchery to its new location near Fort Seward has been completed and the hatchery is now in readiness for operation. It is located on a 40-acre tract and has a capacity of ten million fry. W.O. Fassett will continue in charge of the hatchery.


FE (5 May 1916) J.A. Shaw has the honor of landing the biggest trout on the opening day of the season last Monday. He picked a speckled beauty out of Guthrie Creek which measured 19 inches in length. Jack Walsh carries off second honors with a big trout he caught in Russ Creek. Bob Roberts reports that he caught one larger than either of them in Coosky Creek, but as he failed to bring the fish to Ferndale, Messrs. Shaw and Walsh refuse to acknowledge his claim.


FE (11 Aug. 1916) Trout and Steelhead for the Mattole--Last Wednesday evening Messrs. Joseph Bagley and Ellis Hunter took down to the Mattole valley a shipment of about 35,000 young steelhead and rainbow trout to be turned loose in the stream of that section. There were seven cans, Messrs. Hunter and Bagley carrying them down in their autos. The fish were secured from the Fort Seward hatchery through the efforts of Mr. Bagley, who spent considerable time and was at some expense getting the allotment. They were released in the waters of the main Mattole river, the North Fork and Squaw Creek...


FE (4 Sept. 1916) Crabs are Dying by Hundreds--Some mysterious malady has been visited upon the crabs of Eel river, and the crustaceans are reported dying by the hundreds. Along the sloughs, the banks are lined with the dead ones...


FE (8 Sept. 1916) Reports Illegal Seining--A gentleman who spends some little time each week trolling and fly fishing at the old Singley pool on Eel river, reports that last Tuesday morning there was evidence of a seine having been pulled there some time during the night. The marks of the seine and the tracks of those who had pulled it were plainly visible on the sandy shore.

FE (8 Sept. 1916) A big run of salmon arrived in Eel river this week and many large fish have been landed by trollers.


FE (12 Sept. 1916) Sixteen Fish for Every Person--Some interesting statistics are furnished by Frank M. Newbert, a member of the California Fish and Game Commission, regarding the propagation of fish and their distribution among the streams and lakes of the state.

Contrary to public opinion..., when the first white man came to the state he found fish only in the ocean, the bays, and the streams up to the first waterfalls, and of comparatively few species. Since then the Federal and State authorities have introduced many valuable and interesting varieties and have planted and transplanted almost every species, so that today California is one of the greatest fishing regions of the world, the result of intense propagation and conscientious protection.

The first planting of fish was made in 1871. From 1871 to 1915, inclusive, the state has imported, propagated, and released to the waters of California, 746,731,295 game and [food] fishes, shad, striped and black bass, trout of many varieties, crappie, bluegille, perch, sunfish, and the plebeian, but toothsome catfish.

In 1914 the Fish and Game Commission propagated and distributed 48,000,000 fish (30,000,000 salmon and 14,000,000 trout), enough fish to weigh 40,000 tons and to fill four standard freight trains of forty-three cars each. The total would provide each man, woman and child in the state with sixteen fish. In 1915 the Fish and Game Commission propagated and distributed 52,5l9,445 fish. The people of the state say they want 100,000,000 fish distributed each year, and the Fish and Game Commission is doing its best to get them.


A $60,000 fish hatchery is now being built in Inyo county while plans are being made for an efficient plant in the Feather river district and other points in the state. The entire cost of rearing, distributing, and protecting fish and game in this state is paid by the hunter and fisherman. Not one cent is contributed by the taxpayer through legislative appropriation.


FE (12 Sept. 1916) Big catches of salmon are being made in Eel river these days. The fish run unusually large. Salmon trout and steelhead are also plentiful at present.


FE (29 Sept. 1916) The open season for gillnetters on Eel river commences Oct. 7th and lasts for two months.


FE (6 Oct. 1916) Three members of the California Fish and Game Commission were in Humboldt this week. It is understood that while here they went on record as being in favor of closing Eel river to net fishing entirely.


jFE (17 Oct. 1916) A. Hammett, an Eel river market fisherman, was arrested by Deputy State Game Warden Earl P. Barnes on the river Thursday evening for having a net stretch across a riffle near the tide line at Loleta. The net was seized and Hammett was released on his [own] recognizance.


FE (7 Nov. 1916) A party of trollers who were on lower Eel river Friday report to the Enterprise that they ran across two set nets while on the stream. An attempt was made to get into communication with the game wardens and call their attention to the matter, but unfortunately they could not be located at the time. It is the illegal methods of some few of the fishermen which have caused a sentiment in favor of closing the river altogether.


FE (5 Dec. 1916) Fishermen out with Petition--Toni Garoni, the well known Ferndale fisherman, was circulating a petition...which is reproduced below:


We, the undersigned residents of Humboldt county, are opposed to the closing of Eel river to commercial fishing because it would deprive the people of a food product and throw a great many men out of employment. Statistics show that salmon are increasing rapidly in Eel river, therefore, there is no good reason why they should not be taken under proper restriction for commercial purposes.


FE (19 Dec. 1916) O. Miller, a fisherman arrested with Ellis Robinson several weeks ago on a charge of fishing above tide line, was fined $100 by Justice of the Peace J.W. Ryan in Eureka after he had pleaded guilty. The charge against Robinson was dismissed, although it was said he was in the same boat with Miller...


FE (29 Dec. 1916) A shipment of 500,000 salmon eggs was received this week at the Steelhead fish hatchery near Fort Seward.


FE (29 Dec. 1916) Fish Matters are Discussed--Since a strong movement has been started in this county to close Eel river entirely to net fishing, it has been stated that the State Fish and Game Commission favors the move and would lend its support...

A letter received by P.E. Ferrari recently from N.B. Scofield, an expert in the employ of the Commission and who has visited Humboldt several times to look over conditions here, seems to indicate that the Commission believes that the law as it now stands is ideal and that no changes should be made. Here is what Mr. Scofield writes:


"You have asked for any statistics we may have on the salmon catch on Eel river, with the object of showing that the salmon run on that river is increasing. According to the journal kept by Mr. J.A. Swett of Ferndale, Eel river was pretty thoroughly fished with seines as early as 1874. From 1874 to 1882, the time covered by the journal, the yearly take of salmon ranged from 300,000 to 900,000 pounds. At that time there was a good market for salt salmon and they caught all they could; fishing unhindered by any law throughout the entire running time of the salmon.

"The present output of the river compares very favorably with that of early times, as the river is quite sure to produce 900,000 pounds of salmon this year.


"By the year 1890 the river began to show a decided decrease in the run of salmon, for the law allowed seines and gill-nets any place in the river and as long as there were any salmon in the river.


"After the state hatchery was established on the river in 1897 and salmon fry were liberated in the river each year thereafter, the salmon run increased decidedly.


"It is remarkable that the river has been able, even with the aid of a hatchery, to hold its own, for the laws before the present one, have not given proper protection. The law in operation up to 1914 allowed netting before the salmon had gotten above the pools in the lower river and permitted fishing until the end of January, thus, giving none of the salmon a fair chance to reach the spawning beds. With the present law in operation, the last part of the salmon run reaches the spawning beds unhindered, and if it is only kept in operation, it is bound, with the aid of the new hatchery at Fort Seward, to greatly increase the salmon run on the river.


"We believe that the present law amply protects the steelhead. If it is ever found that the steelhead needs more protection, the season can be closed earlier. We believe the present law is the best for all concerned the river has ever had. We also believe that it would be a very grave mistake to close the river to commercial fishing. We also believe that the present netting season does not interfere seriously with the sport fishing and that salmon trolling is even better on the lower river than it was under the late opening of the netting season." ...Fish and Game Commission, N.B. Scofield.

The side of the question which Mr. Scofield takes is probably correct from his viewpoint. And were it not for one single feature we believe there would be practically no agitation in favor of closing the river entirely. The one thing which has stirred up the people is the fact that the laws have been broken so often with impunity by certain of the net fishermen. It is common knowledge that set nets are used, that fish are taken in nets before the opening of the season, and that nets are used in pools up the river where netting is always prohibited.

We have heard many a man who signed the petition to close the river say that if the laws could be enforced, he would like to see commercial fishing allowed under proper regulation. But dispairing of this, he is now in favor of shutting off netting entirely, and if it is constitutional, to have a law passed making it illegal to have a net in one's possession in this county.


It behooves the commercial fishermen who obey the law to assist in its enforcement against those who persistently break it, or public opinion is certain to put them all out of business. Nothing illegal can exist forever when opposed by public sentiment, and the sooner all concerned recognize this the better it will be. And then the continued agitation regarding Eel river fishing will be settled.


FE (2 Jan. 1917) Propagation of Eel River Fish--The annual report of the California Fish and Game Commission, just issued, contains an interesting chapter relative to the work of the Fort Seward hatchery, which was formerly located on Price Creek, near Weymouth's. It is given out that salmon, steelhead, rainbow trout and black spotted trout are to be propagated for planting in the streams of Humboldt county.


The reasons for the removal of the hatchery from Price Creek are given, showing that it was done on account of the physical conditions and not on account of political pull, as was charged at the time. The section of the report dealing with the Humboldt hatchery will be found of interest to sportsmen here, and is as follows:


Owing to the undesirable location of the Price Creek hatchery, it was decided to remove it to a more favorable site. Price Creek hatchery was located on Price Creek, one-half mile from its junction with Eel river. The creek has its source in the hills near the mouth of Eel river. The country through which it flows is a loose, friable and disorganized formation that is constantly sliding and washing away. During the winter months the creek was so full of sediment that it was only with the greatest skill and care that fish could be reared at all. In the spring the water dried up rapidly and became very warm so that it was impossible to hold the fry later than June. The commission decided to remove the hatchery to a more favorable location. The Department of Fish Culture was instructed to select a suitable site and to move the station. After a careful survey of the streams on the line of the Northwestern Pacific railroad, we selected Fort Seward creek, a cold clear stream flowing into Eel river about four and one-half miles above old Fort Seward, Humboldt county.


The commission purchased forty acres of land near the mouth of the creek and selected a site for the hatchery about one-quarter of a mile from the Northwestern Pacific railroad. Early in 1916, the work of moving the building, tanks, flumes, etc., from Price Creek to the new site on Fort Seward Creek was begun, and in due time it was completed and ready for the spring hatch of trout eggs. W.O. Fassett, who has been superintendent of the Price Creek hatchery for a number of years past, was placed in charge of the new station and he has successfully carried on the work as in former years. A cottage for the superintendent and a cabin for the men was erected and finished in a rough way until more comfortable quarters could be arranged.


The building and troughs were ready for the steelhead eggs collected at Snow Mountain egg collecting station during the spring. One million steelhead eggs were shipped to the station and the resulting fry are to be distributed in the streams of Mendocino and Humboldt counties. Besides the steelhead eggs, 100,000 rainbow trout eggs from the Lake Almanor station and 140,000 black-spotted trout eggs from the Tahoe hatcheries were shipped to the new station for distribution in the tributaries of Mad river and Eel river.


This hatchery can be used for salmon culture as well as for trout work. Plans are being made to construct a rack across Eel river for the purpose of collecting salmon eggs for the hatchery at Fort Seward Creek. This will enable us to stock Eel river, Mad river, Elk river and several large streams on the Humboldt county coast with salmon fry. Formerly the salmon eggs from this section were shipped from the Sacramento river station. If we are successful in this undertaking, an ample supply of eggs can be collected from Eel river without taking any from other hatcheries. Fort Seward hatchery promises to be one of the most important stations of the commission.


FE (5 Jan. 1917) Would Prohibit Salmon Spearing--Three important changes are contemplated in the fishing laws of this state. Last night at a special meeting of the Fish and Game Commission, which was attended by representative sportsmen of San Francisco, the bill containing the changes was discussed.


It is proposed to open the trout season on April 1, setting the time for fishing a month earlier than now prevails. Winter fishing for steelhead is proposed for both districts 1 and 2. This will allow these fish to be taken in coast streams as far south as Santa Barbara. The use of salmon eggs as bait and spearing [are] forbidden. These changes are embodied in a bill which is to be pushed by the commission at the coming session of the Legislature.


O. Spence, president of the California Anglers' Association, Stanley Forbes of San Francisco Fly Casting Club and Charles Kewell of the San Francisco Bass Club were organization representatives. A number of unattached sportsmen attended. The majority of those present were in favor of the proposed changes.--San Francisco Chronicle, Dec. 28th.


FE (5 Jan. 1917) Thousands of Salmon on Spawning Grounds--Before the recent heavy rains which have swelled the waters of Eel river considerably, the deep pools in the river between Fortuna and Shively were literally filled with salmon which had succeeded in passing the gillnets of the commercial fishermen at the mouth of the river.


We are informed that in the big pool at Rio Dell, if seining had been permitted at that place, a hundred tons of salmon could have been hauled from the stream. The same is true of other pools on the river. These pools are on the spawning grounds and it was a wise act of the legislature that prohibited the taking of salmon after they had reached the spawning beds above tide water. And since seining has been prohibited a large proportion of the annual run of salmon in this stream is permitted to reach the spawning grounds.

The beneficial effects of this law cannot be estimated at this time because of the short period that it has been in operation, but can be better arrived at in from three to four years hence when the run of salmon in Eel river will be greatly increased. During the past season many salmon were stranded upon the riffles of the lower river and became the prey of the seagulls and the crows. This was due to the shallowness of the water on the riffles. Channels should be made through these shallow places and prevent this waste. This could be done at no great expense and the matter should be brought to the attention of the Fish and Game Commission.--Fortuna Advance.


FE (9 Jan. 1917) Andrew Angus, a fisherman on lower Eel river, pleaded guilty in the justice court at Eureka the last of the week to the charge of taking salmon and steelhead out of season and was sentenced to pay a fine of $100 or serve a term in the county jail. He is now serving the jail term.


FE (16 Jan. 1917) Commission on Trial Before the People--The Fish and Game Commission of the State of California is on trial. The people of the State of California are the jury. By its actions shall the Commission be judged and from the verdict of the people there can be no appeal. Within the next few months it will be known whether the Commission is an organization maintained and supported by the people of the state for the benefit and enjoyment of a few millionaire sportsmen or whether it is, as it is supposed to be, for the masses of the people.

Newspaper reports have informed the people that recently Mr. O. Spence, president of the California Anglers' Association; Mr. Stanley Forbes of the San Francisco Fly Casting Club, and Mr. Charles Kewell of the San Francisco Bass Club, met with the Fish and Game Commission in San Francisco and recommended a number of changes which they wished to have made in the fishing laws of the state.

One of these changes would make it unlawful to use spawn for bait in angling for trout or steelhead, and another would prohibit the spearing of salmon and steelhead. And we are further informed: "These changes are embodied in a bill which is to be pushed by the Commission at the coming session of the Legislature."...Should the Fish and Game Commission recommend and urge the passage of this legislation it would make a mistake which would cost it the confidence of the people of California and would bring into disrepute any measures which it might hereafter recommend even though they were ever so meritorious.

For seventy years the people living along the streams inhabited by salmon have had the privilege of spearing these fish for their own use, and in hundreds of mountain homes the fish thus caught furnish an important addition to the winter supplies. The fish are salted and smoked, and to be prohibited from taking them would mean a serious probability of a shortage of food for many families during the long winter season.

There is no way of obtaining the salmon up the rivers in this county except by use of the spear. The fish do not take bait or troll when they reach the upper stretches of the river, and we presume the same conditions exist elsewhere in the state. Then to stop the spearing of the salmon would mean that the fish could not be taken at all. And the food supply of thousands of people would be cut off.

What argument the various "representative" sportsmen put forward when they appeared before the Fish and Game Commission we are not informed. Was it that the supply of salmon was diminishing and that spearing was the cause of the decrease? If so, it might be pointed out to the Commission that a liberal estimate would show that in the water of Eel river there are not, in an entire season, more than 3,000 salmon speared and this estimate is probably far above the actual catch. Allowing the fish an average weight of 20 pounds each, we find that thirty tons of fish are taken per year in the waters of Eel river. And as stated previously, there is probably not anywhere near this amount.

But on the opening night of the season, the gillnetters took over one hundred tons, common report having it that close to two hundred tons was the catch. And the nets are operated for two months in the year, so an estimate of the salmon taken in this way can be arrived at. According to Mr. N.B. Scofield of the Fish and Game Commission, from 1877 to 1882, the yearly catch of salmon in Eel river ranged from 300,000 to 900,000 pounds. Mr. Scofield further predicts: "The present output of the river compares very favorably with that of early times as the river is quite sure to produce 900,000 pounds of salmon this year."

It should be remembered that these figures refer only to net fishing, that all fish taken on the troll or by spear are in addition. And anyone familiar with the fishing situation on Eel river will agree that there are ten fish caught on the troll to where one is taken by the spear. So why the discrimination against the use of the spear? The answer is simple.

Each year there gather at the resorts along Eel river numerous imported sportsmen, many of them only so-called by courtesy, and this latter class appears to have the idea that the world and all it contains, including the waters of Eel river, were created by the Almighty for the especial benefit of the aforesaid so-called sportsmen. Now on nights when conditions are favorable there gather on the riffles along the river the men and boys who like the spearing game. The aforesaid so-called sportsmen claim that the gatherings on the riffles tend to interfere with their fly fishing during the day. Hence they are going to have the Fish and Game Commission stop spearing.

There "aforesaid so-called" don't care if the food supply of hundreds of people is curtailed, don't care if men and boys who work all day and have only the evening hours for relaxation are prohibited from enjoying their favorite sport, don't care for anything but themselves. Which is a trait of the bristled species in whatever form it exists whether it walks on two legs or four... To sum up the case: Commercial fishermen may come to Eel river and scoop out the salmon by the hundreds of tons, but our local men and boys are not to be allowed to take a few fish for their own use and for the use of their friends. And why? Because it interferes with the pleasure, so they say, of a handful of wealthy, so-called sportsmen, also from realms outside Humboldt.

If such a fool law were passed, nobody would have any respect for it and the Fish and Game Commission doesn't get enough revenue in a hundred years to employ the force of deputies which would be needed to enforce it for one season.


FE (26 Jan. 1917) Scofield Writes of Van Duzen Fish--In response to a letter from H.E. Wilder of Carlotta regarding the large fish taken from the pools on the Van Duzen river above Bridgeville, N.B. Scofield of the Fish and Game Commission has written to Mr. Wilder a letter which will be of interest to all who are familiar with these gamey fish.


Mr. Scofield's theory regarding the fish not eating does not coincide with the experience of local anglers, who have taken them with flies and with preserved spawn. He writes in part as follows:


"We are interested in your account of the trout in the upper Van Duzen and as to the fact that these large trout spawn in the fall and not in the spring like the steelhead. We have not visited the upper Van Duzen but we have had a very good description of the stream and of the large trout from Mr. Adolph Sutro, who sent us one of the fish last September. It is our belief that these trout come in from the sea during the high water of the winter or spring and get caught above the 'falls' and remain over summer and spawn as you say in the fall. We can do no better than quote from our letter to Mr. Sutro:


"In regard to the trout taken by you on September 16, 1916 in a deep hole in the Van Duzen, 12 miles above Bridgeville, we have the following report to make.


"The trout is a rainbow (Salmo irideus) 24 inches long, measured from the tip of the snout to the tips of the short central rays of the tail fin. According to your examination in dressing the fish, it was a male with the spermaries white and well developed. An examination of the scales under the microscope reveals the following facts: The fish was in its fourth year. Its first two years were spent in the stream, the third year and part of the fourth year were spent in the sea. It no doubt arrived in the Van Duzen during the high water of the spring. After entering the stream it took little or no food and the tissues and fat of the body were drawn upon during the summer to develop the spermaries. This is the same thing that happens with salmon that enter a stream in the spring. The evidence of all this is shown in the scales. In this instance nearly all of the fourth year's growth around the edge of the scales had wasted away, there being only enough of the fourth year left to determine that the beginning of the spring growth took place in the sea. This coincides with the statement of people there that large trout, left during the summer in the deep holes, seldom or never have food in their stomachs. It is certain that the trout you sent us reached its large size in the sea and was able to get above the falls in the Van Duzen during high water. It is remarkable that the spermaries were developed to near maturity. It seems impossible that it could have spawned last spring and be prepared without returning to the sea, to spawn again this winter. We prefer to believe that it was sexually immature when it entered the stream from the sea.


"It is barely possible that if we were to examine more specimens of these large trout that we would find some of them have never been to sea, but that is hardly probable. We have heard reports before of large rainbows remaining in the stream through the summer, but it has been taken for granted that they had spawned and were unable to get out…. In order not to be misunderstood, we wish to state that we believe there is no specific difference between the steelhead and the rainbow of Eel river; that the steelhead is a rainbow that has run to sea."


FE (6 Feb. 1917) Fish and Game Commission is Under Fire in Newspapers--The agitation against the enactment of more fish and game laws for the benefit of the rich so-called sportsmen of the state is discrimination against the masses of the people continues to spread, and many columns of space in the newspapers are being given over to the discussion.

Never before in the history of California, since the establishment of the Fish and Game Commission, has there been such an uprising against the hoggish sportsmen who want everything for themselves. They have overstepped the boundary line, and in attempting to stop spearing and bait fishing have forced the hand of the Commission which must now go [on] record as being either for the masses of the people or for the favored few. The decision of the Commission will be awaited with interest...


FE (16 Feb. 1917) Cook Argues for Fishing Regulations, by Dr. W.E. Cook:

That the people of Humboldt county may better understand what a number of citizens are trying to accomplish...the following statement is submitted...

First a petition that is self explanatory: We, the undersigned, residents of Humboldt county respectfully petition your honorable body to pass such legislation as necessary to prohibit the seining and netting of fish in Eel river, Mad river and their tributaries.


The petition is signed by more than three thousand resident voters of the county and is the largest and most representative of any petition ever presented by the people of the county on any proposition. A great percent of those living along the river and familiar with the conditions and know what they ask for, have signed this petition.


As an attraction for tourists: If Eel river were in Los Angeles county, netting in its waters would long ago be unthought of. Its reputation as a sporting stream would not only be national, but world-wide and would be considered one of southern California's greatest assets. It is estimated by those in a position to know that there was spent in the state in the year 1915 by tourists $20,000,000. Now that the state highway is about complete leading to the county and that the railroad is a fact and because of our other great attractions for tourists, it is conservatively estimated that one-twentieth of the money spent in the state by tourists coming to the state and within the state, would be spent in Humboldt county. One of the prominent citizens of the state is quoted as saying he had fished from Alaska to [Glasgow] and no sport equals that of Eel river. Congressman Kent is also quoted as saying there is nothing in the world that would equal Eel river as a sporting stream...Netting is now prohibited in most of the state...


As a food supply for the people our county: San Francisco market men will always pay more for the fish and crabs of our county than can our local people. Under the present condition, the fish and shell fish are a luxury, instead of a healthful, abundant and cheap food supply. The old saying, "That San Francisco wears the diamonds and Humboldt county furnishes the wherewith" was never more true than in regard to the present condition of this commodity. Through their agents, contracts with those net fishermen of the county, and those that come into the county for the fishing season, the fish companies of San Francisco have most perfect control of the salmon of the county...


In the statement of the California Fish and Game Report for the year 1915...[in] Eel river, Mad river, Klamath and Smith rivers, during the year 1915, 1,649,189 pounds were taken by netting...

That the state should continue to spend money to maintain hatcheries and the salmon planted in Eel river practically all to be taken within three miles and a half of the mouth of Eel river and the people who live along the rivers for many miles not be able to find one for family use and out of town people deprived of the benefits above mentioned, seems most ridiculous...


FE (27 Feb. 1917) The Spearing of Steelhead Trout Opposed--The Enterprise is in receipt of a communication from the California Fish and Game Commission, giving the view of that body as to the use of gaffs and spears in catching steelhead. It will be interesting reading to the residents of this county who are familiar with conditions. The Commission's letter says:

"The most fundamental law of fish and game conservation is the one which provides that fish and game shall be allowed to breed undisturbed. We demand that all our best game birds and mammals be given the best of protection during the breeding season and the closed season is always made to conform to the breeding season. In spite of this situation there are a number of people in the upper coast counties who are demanding the right to spear steelhead trout while they are on the spawning grounds. Furthermore, they are demanding the right to take fish with a gaff in all districts, thus increasing many times the destructive forces already at work.

"Just as people are seeking a better grade of sportsmanship by advocating the use of a fly rather than bait in capturing fish, just so the tendency should be towards the elimination of such a destructive instrument as a gaff. This instrument can be carried to a pool where large spawning fish are abundant and by feeling around with the end of the hook the whole pool can be stripped of its fish. This is seldom possible when a spear is used. The law as it now stands provides that the people of the counties mentioned can capture two fish a day between December 15 and February 15, a sufficient number for use as food. The demand for a more liberal law as regards the method of capture is in reality a demand for a larger catch at the time of the year when fish should have total protection. Every spawning fish killed means a direct loss of thousands of young fish. Furthermore, it is always the largest and therefore the heaviest spawners that are taken by means of a spear or gaff.

"As far as possible each section of the country should be allowed to utilize its wild life resources, but it should not be permitted to destroy such resources. It will be necessary ultimately, to prohibit the destruction of fish during the spawning season. The move to take a larger toll of the spawning steelhead throughout the state is therefore directly contrary to the preservation of fish life and a depletion of the streams is sure to follow."

Many people in Humboldt have taken a deep interest in the question of salmon spearing, which method of taking the fish is the only one possible for the residents along the upper stretches of Eel river and other streams of this county. The question of spearing steelhead has never been brought up to any considerable degree.

Men who are familiar with the game say they believe it impossible for anybody to scoop around a pool in the river with a gaff hook and exterminate all the fish therein, and in fact, he would be indeed lucky who could land even one fish in this way. It takes work and lots of it, to gaff a fish in the pools along the upper river. A fish going over the riffles is comparatively easy prey, but once in a pool he is, to say the least, fairly safe.


The commissioner's letter, it will be noted, comments that "people are seeking a better grade of sportsmanship by use of the fly rather than bait in capturing fish." We suspicion that "THE PEOPLE" in the persons of the millionaire sportsmen are only a small minority who are demanding this change. Many thousands of men, women and children only go fishing three or four times in a season, have no fly fishing outfit and probably on the days they go, conditions might not be right for fly fishing anyway.


The sport who stays at a summer resort along the bank of some fine fishing stream for weeks at a time can get a day of good fishing several times a week, but there are days when conditions are not right and no fish can be taken. Why cut off the common ordinary fellow altogether?

As a protection for the trout we suggest that a law be passed limiting the catch to so many a day, as at present, and also LIMIT THE WEEKLY CATCH as is now done in the case of ducks. The millionaire sportsman who can spend several weeks at a time would thus be prohibited from getting more than his rightful share, and the common ordinary fellow who goes a few times a year might find that he could take a few without spoiling the fishing altogether.


FE (17 April 1917) Steelhead in Yager--A correspondent from Yager writes:


"The annual run of steelhead salmon is on in Yager and the same conditions prevail as in the past as in regard to the barrier opposite the Porter place. The fish unable to get over the falls gather in great numbers at the foot of the falls and batter themselves against the rocks in their attempts to get over and will soon become unfit for food. The bones will soon be seen lining the banks of the river. Repeatedly the attention of the Game and Fish Commission has been called to this matter but no investigation has been made. As before stated, this condition could be remedied by the expenditure of a small amount of money and by removing the obstruction the salmon could go for several miles further up the river and also enter several of its tributaries."


FE (1 May 1917) River not Closed to Netting--The editor of the Enterprise is in receipt of a letter from State Senator Kehoe, conveying the information that the law which has passed the Senate and Assembly does not provide for the closing of Eel river to net fishing.


A petition with several thousand signers had been presented to the legislature asking that net fishing of all kinds be prohibited in that stream. The Fish and Game Commission desired, however, to try out the present law for another two years, and this policy was decided upon.


An interesting feature of Senator Kehoe's letter is where he points out to the commercial fishermen that unless they observe the laws with more repsect than they have in the past, they will put themselves out of business through the force of public sentiment.


There is no doubt that fully half of the people who signed the petition to have the river closed did so because they were tired of seeing net fishing out of season, in pools above the bridge where the law prohibits net fishing at all times and in general an utter disregard of the law by certain commercial fishermen on the river...


Here is what Senator Kehoe writes regarding legislation affecting Eel river...


"...When seining was stopped two years ago, the season shortened and the tide line established where it now is, it was the contention of the expert of the Fish and Game Commission that under such regulations Eel river could be made the best sporting stream in the state and at the same time, the commercial fishing could be preserved.


"He stated at that time that it would require four years' operation under the laws to ascertain their effects, inasmuch as the fish return, according to him, four years after they are hatched. In view of these statements, and of the fact that we have embarked upon the experiment and have had but one-half of the time necessary to learn the efficacy of that experiment, it did not seem advisable at this time to close the river to net fishing..."


FE (8 May 1917) The Fish Hatchery at Fort Seward--A half million Quinnat salmon eggs were hatched at Fort Seward Hatchery during the latter part of January. Previous to the receipt of this shipment of eggs, Fort Seward Hatchery had been fitted up for fish cultural operations for the season of 1917. The construction work commenced during September of last year, and the repairs to the hatching equipment were completed during the fore part of December. The salmon eggs are all hatched out and the fish are in excellent condition. As soon as the fish have reached the free swimming stage, they will be distributed in Mad and Eel rivers.


FE (8 May 1917) Suggest Change of Present Trout Law--As the number of fishermen increase along the north fork of Eel river it becomes more and more noticeable that the classing of the Eel river steelhead as a trout is working some hardship on the sportsmen. As the law is now, the limit is 50 fish or 10 pounds and one fish, or one fish of 10 pounds or over. As very many of these fish weigh over 10 pounds, a sportsman catching one of say 11 pounds weight, would be obliged to stop for the day. This, it seems to me, is somewhat of an injustice, and I would suggest some plan whereby the limit would be three fish per day regardless of weight.--C.V. Brereton.


FE (15 May 1917) Valuable Food Product Going to Waste here--[war effort to develop local food supplies]...we are neglecting and letting go to waste tons, yes I might say hundreds of tons, of the best food ever placed on man's table, for by our laws we cannot use it.

I refer to the large run in Eel river in the summer of smelt, herring and sardines. As every one knows these are not game fish and can only be caught with nets. Some say, "Oh, you will catch the trout," but I know better. For a number of years when J.A. Swett used the seine net and caught these fish, I visited him once each year. When the run was in the morning we caught the fish and then had lunch and when the run was in the afternoon we had lunch and went out afterwards and caught them so the fish went on the market fresh. Now in all my visits with Mr. Swett, I never was able to get a mess of trout for use, never caught any. These fish are caught other places, why not here...E.C. Damon.


No Enterprise issues available 18 May 1917-19 Oct. 1917


FE (19 Oct. 1917) Bank Fish Sales beat all Records--Never in the history of Humboldt county has there been so many salmon retailed as this year. Ferrari & Davidson last week sold over $1,700 worth of salmon to individual people. This means over 16 tons of fish canned and salted by the housewives of Humboldt county. Salmon are still being bought this week but the price has advanced from 4 1\2 to 7 cents. Last Sunday seemed to be a good day for trollers as there was hardly a boat on the river without fish. A new run of fish came up from the ocean and were biting fine on the high tide.


FE (23 Oct. 1917) Thursday was a fine day and tempted quite a number to the river [for] salmon fishing, not many hauls were made, [but] among the lucky ones were Wallace and Florence Crosby who caught two big ones, one forty-three pounds, one thirty, and a small one.


FE (26 Oct. 1917) Waddington and Grizzly Bluff--...No sign of rain for which every one is wishing...Only a few fish are being caught in the river, and our local fishermen are getting a bit discouraged; they keep trying, however.


FE (13 Nov. 1917) Want Steelhead Season Extended--Ferrari & Davidson, the fish buyers of Loleta, have issued the following statement saying that a great amount of the salmon catch in Eel river this year has been sold locally to people who have canned it for winter consumption and asking that the steelhead season be lengthened:

For two weeks beginning with the opening of the fishing season on Eel river this company handled approximately 300,000 pounds of salmon. Of this amount 75,122 pounds were sold to residents of this county in amounts ranging from 50 to 1,000 pounds for their own use, this being fully 90 percent greater than any year previous in which this company has operated.

During the first session of the State Legislature this year, certain parties representing the sporting interests of this county placed a lobby at Sacramento for the sole purpose of closing this river to commercial fishing, thus depriving a large majority of our residents of this valuable food fish. It would seem almost a crime to deny the people the use of this food as but very few can avail themselves of the opportunity of catching the salmon by trolling. It would be much better to stop the catching of the small fish five or six inches long and let them grow until they are of some use.

Captain Coggeshall advanced a good idea the other day at the meeting of the Commercial Bodies in Loleta regarding the selecting of a committee of men who are known to have the welfare of the river at heart, who would recommend legislation after careful investigation from year to year... Another thing that would seem a very good idea would be to open the river to net fishing for steelhead salmon during December and January.

These valuable food fish are practically no use to the people at present as they go up and spawn year after year without being caught except possibly some of the very young before they leave the river. They generally come in after the raise in the river and cannot be caught with hook and line on account of the muddy water. Would it not be well to do something now while we need the food?


FE (13 Nov. 1917) Albert James, son of Jerry James, chief of the bay tribe of Indians,...has been fishing at the mouth of Eel river.


FE (27 Nov. 1917) Eel river crabs have been sold on the Eureka market the past few days...


FE (8 Jan. 1918) Salmon have been taken on the troll during the past few days in Eel river. It is a remarkable season when trollers may pursue their sport here during the month of January.


FE (5 Feb. 1918) Eel river is said to be alive with steelheads, but as the season is closed they are immune from the angler's troll. They would be a valuable source of food supply at the present time.


FE (29 March 1918) Anglers get Their Tackle in Readiness--The trout season opens next Monday and local anglers are manifesting great interest in the first day's sport. The creeks have been somewhat muddy as a result of the recent light rains, but it is thought a couple of days clear weather will make them right for anglers.

J.A. Shaw of Oakland, who took the largest trout on opening day in 1916, will be here again this year, prepared to make another try for the championship which was won last year by Rudolph Jacobsen. Mr. Jacobsen is prepared to defend his title...


FE (16 April 1918) Resumption of Seining of Non-game Fish


Wanted--Within a short time it is probable that a petition liberally signed by the people of Eel river valley will be presented to the State Fish and Game Commission asking that the seining of smelt and non-game fish in Eel river be allowed. Some years ago, it will be remembered, a law was passed prohibiting the drawing of a seine in Eel river. At the time this law passed, it was only intended to stop the seining of salmon, but through an oversight the act was so worded that all seining was prohibited.

In Eel river at certain times of the year there is an abundance of smelt and other non-game fish, which in the past have furnished the people of this community with a valuable food supply. Since seining has been stopped the opportunity of enjoying this food has been shut off. At the present time, when the matter of food is receiving such serious consideration all over the country [because of the war], it seems the height of folly that thousands of pounds of non-game fish should abound in Eel river and that no one is benefitted.

It has been said that if the matter is presented through the Food Administration to the Fish and Game Commission in its true light that it will be possible to have the condition remedied. It is a matter of much interest to the people of this section and steps will be taken to have the law suspended at least during the food crisis.


FE (3 May 1918) Hundreds sign Fish Petition--The petition asking that the seining of non-game fish in Eel river be allowed is being generally signed in this valley...The petition which reads as follows will shortly be forwarded to the proper authorities:

Whereas at this time of National peril and danger, it is for the best interests of the state and Nation that all available food supplies be conserved and made available to the people and especially fish not suited for export to our allies, and

Whereas there is much good food fish, such as herring, smelt, perch, flounders and other small non-game fish in the waters of lower Eel river...which cannot be taken in sufficient quantities for the market without the use of small mesh seines operated from the beach, known as beach seines, and

Whereas under the fish and game laws of the State of California in fish and game District No. 1, which District covers Eel river only, such beach seines are not permitted to be used and hence the above named food fish can no longer be obtained for the markets of this vicinity,

Now therefore the undersigned residents of Ferndale and Eel River Valley do hereby petition the food administration of the State of California...the Fish and Game Commission and Hon. Harris Weinstock, market director of the State, to the end that they may devise some means whereby said food fish aforesaid, now unused, be made available to the people of this vicinity and elsewhere during the period from April 15th to September 1st, which period would not interfere with the salmon fishing season and said seining not to extend up Eel river further than what is known as "Dago Bend" on the lower camp of the Western Fish Market.


FE (4 June 1918) Game must be Saved Despite Emergency--On the plea that letting down the bars on fish and game will help furnish additional food supply, a dangerous attempt has been made to destroy the protection which has taken years to build. The conservationists in almost every state have had to fight these attempts to break down protective laws...Typical of those who would make capital of the present emergency is a spokesman of the fish industry in Texas who exclaimed, "Damn posterity; let's get the fish...


FE (9 July 1918) Many crabs have been taken from Eel river of late. The season closes July 30th and will reopen again on Nov. 15th.


FE (10 Sept. 1918) Salmon have made their appearance in Eel river and quite a few have been taken during the last few days on the troll. The spearers have also been successful in landing some on the riffles.


FE (11 Oct. 1918) The commercial fishing season opened in Eel river Monday night and the largest catch of many years was made. One hundred twenty boats are engaged in fishing, the catches ran from 700 to 2,000 pounds to a boat and the fish weighed from 10 pounds to 50 pounds each. At midnight 25 truck loads had been taken, some to Eureka, but most of it to Loleta to be shipped to San Francisco. The estimated food value of the night's catch is $50,000. Hundreds of people watched the laying out of the nets and the big catch and many took advantage of the opportunity to buy fish. The price set by the market commissioner was six cents per pound.


(ll Nov. 1918) Armistice Day


FE (20 Dec. 1918) Salmon Catch in Eel river 150 Tons Short--Eel river must give back to the world as many salmon as it takes according to state superintendent of fisheries, W.H. Shebley, who has completed investigation of spawning conditions in that stream, and who announces, as a result of his probe, that in all probability arrangements will be made for trapping salmon and securing spawn for recouping losses through commercial fishing.

The present season has been a poor one, say commercial fishermen who believe for the most part that enough salmon escape the nets yearly to keep the stream populated. Others, however, say that the river is becoming depleted because of netting operations, and advise abolition of that practice. Some individuals even go so far as to say that salmon should not be taken in the river, but off the coast.

Shebley believes that enough salmon can be taken from Eel river at the close of the commercial fishing season to supply the hatchery at Steelhead, Cal. with spawn, rendering it unnecessary to ship spawn or fry from other streams. There is danger, according to some professing to a knowledge of salmon and their habits, that Eel river will become "fished out" if present methods of commercial fishing are continued without greater effort toward restocking. In this connection, the legislature heretofore has attempted remedial legislation. The Eel river catch fell about 150 tons of normal this season.


FE (21 Feb. 1919) Fort Seward Hatchery had busy Season--From the report of the State Fish and Game Commission, it is learned that the streams of Humboldt and Trinity counties were stocked with rainbow and steelhead trout fry to the number of 200,000 and 1,000,000 respectively from Fort Seward Hatchery this season. Mad river, tributaries of Humboldt bay, and Eel river and tributaries received most of the fish.

Quinnat salmon eggs received from egg collecting operations on Eel river near Bryan's Rest last fall were hatched at Fort Seward, together with shipments of eggs of the same species from Mount Shasta Hatchery, and the resulting fry to the number of 1,000,000 were planted in Mad river, tributaries of Humboldt bay, and Eel river. As egg collecting operations near Bryan's Rest were not satisfactory, a new experimental station was established last fall on Bull Creek, a tributary of Eel river near Dyerville. Owing to the fact that there was not enough rainfall to raise the river sufficiently to enable the spawning fish to ascend the stream, no Quinnat salmon eggs were taken early in the season, but later rains during the month of November improved conditions.


FE (21 March 1919) Chamber is Opposed to Changes in Fish Laws--At a meeting of the Ferndale Chamber of Commerce last Wednesday a resolution was adopted asking Assemblyman Frank J. Cummings to use his influence for the defeat of the proposed change to the fish laws which would make the open season for netting in Eel river September 20th to November 20th. It was claimed at the meeting that if this change was made effective, it would practically do away with the sport of trolling...

FE (4 April 1919) Opposed to Sept. 20th as Beginning of Season--

...It will be remembered that...the Chamber went on record as being opposed to the bill now before the legislature which changes the opening from October 7th to September 20th...

At Wednesday evening's meeting Messrs. Ray Davidson, Peter Ferrari and Delbert Swortzel addressed the Chamber asking that opposition to the bill be withdrawn, giving their reasons for the request. They stated, in behalf of the net fishermen, that the early opening of the season would allow them to take the fish while they were fresh and claimed that the sport of the trollers would not be interfered with.

This claim was not correct in the opinion of some trollers present, and an interesting debate followed, the claims of the trollers being presented by Eric Ericksen, F.G. Williams, A.V. Chapin and J.C. Ericksen. Upon a vote being taken it was decided unanimously to stand by the former action of the Chamber...but consenting to a longer season to extend to January 15th...


FE (4 April 1919) The trout season opened Tuesday and all the streams were lined with anglers, old and young. Some fair catches were made but many of the streams gave evidence of having been fished out before the open season.


FE (2 May 1919) Opening of Net Season will Remain October 7.


FE (30 May 1919) May take Smelt with Nets; Gov. Signs Bill--

Assemblyman Frank J. Cummings of Ferndale received word this week that Governor Stephens has signed his bill permitting the taking of smelt and other small non-game fish in Eel river with nets from April 1st to August 1st of each year.

This will be welcome news to the people of this community who desire these fish as an article of food. Since the seining was prohibited, it has been but rarely that the people here have had an opportunity to purchase these fish...


FE (8 Aug. 1919) Steelheads in Nov. and Dec.--Anglers in this section will be interested in a change made by the last legislature in the law governing the taking of steelheads with hook and line in Humboldt. The new law allows the taking of five steelheads a day (regardless of size) during the months of November and December. The present law classed steelhead as trout, and the open season on them expired on October 31st, the date of expiration of the trout law which still remains in force...


FE (12 Sept. 1919) The annual run of salmon has commenced in Eel river and some good catches have been made on the troll this week. The spearers are also getting busy and have succeeded in taking a few fish. It had been thought that the salmon run would be light this year on account of so many fish being taken in the ocean off Shelter Cove, but the way the fish have been running this week makes it appear that they will be as numerous as usual.


FE (19 Sept. 1919) Spearing is Prohibited--That the spearing of salmon in Eel river above the tide line is prohibited by law is the information given out by Game Warden Benson, who states that he has received orders from the Fish and Game Commission to enforce this law.

Many local people have been spearing salmon without any intent of breaking the law, as it had not been known that spearing had been made unlawful. It seems to have been something in the nature of a fluke that gave the opponents of spearing an opportunity to have it declared unlawful.

It seems that in order to allow the taking of trout and steelhead in Eel river during the months of November and December, a new district was created, to be known as District No. 1 1\2. The legislature then failed to pass a set of fish laws to govern this district, so that as the law is interpreted everything but hook and line fishing is prohibited...

It is pointed out that with the spearing of salmon prohibited, those people in the hills whose only method of securing a few salmon to eat and for canning purposes is by spearing, will be cut off from their supply and that it will work a hardship on them...


FE (10 Oct. 1919) Netters Begin Work Wed. Eve.--Owing to the refusal of the gill-netters to sell their fish to Ferrari & Davdison for less than six cents a pound, which price the buyers refused to pay, the netters did not begin work until Wednesday evening at sundown.

Meetings of the union fishermen were held with the buyers several days before the opening of the season. The netters held out for six cents a pound for the opening night and seven and eight cents thereafter. Davidson & Ferrari held firm to their price of five cents for opening night and six and seven cents thereafter.

On Wednesday afternoon after the fishermen had made formal decision and had decided to sell their catch on the river bank to whoever wanted them at six cents a pound, Davidson & Ferrari got into communication with San Francisco and offered to pay six cents a pound, with a limit of 500 pounds to the boat, so operations were started and a good catch made the opening night. The fishermen maintained stands at three points on the river, where they sold many fish at six cents a pound to local people, thus disposing of their surplus of over 500 pounds to the boat.


FE (10 Oct. 1919) Policy of Silence is Maintained by Fish and Game Commission--The California Fish and Game Commission persists in its policy of silence regarding an interpretation of the fishing laws in District No. 1 1\2, which includes nearly all of Humboldt county.

Following its interpretation of the law whereby it gave notice that the spearing of salmon is prohibited, the Commission has been thrice asked the question as whether or not, by the same interpretation, bait fishing and fly casting should not also be prohibited. The courtesy of a reply has not been extended by the Commission. Rumors are afloat that there will be no attempt made to stop the spearing of salmon. It is not stated as a fact, however, though up to the present time not an arrest has been made...

Of course, it is not at all probable that the Commission, finding its interpretation of the law would apply to other kinds of fishing as well as spearing, has decided to drop the matter with the best grace possible. This could not be, even though the opinion is freely expressed that such is the case...


Probably a shortage of stenographers is responsible and that the Commission is a month behind in its correspondence...Failing to get a reply from the Fish and Game Commission within the next week the facts in the case will be placed before Governor Stephens...


FE (17 Oct. 1919) Commission Reverses Its Ruling on Spearing--The State Fish and Game Commission has reversed its former decision to enforce a fluke law of which it had interpreted that spearing of salmon in Eel river was prohibited and has instructed its deputy wardens to make no attempt to stop spearing.


In the words of the letter, "after thinking the salmon spearing matter over and discussing it fully," it was decided "it would be unwise to attempt to enforce the obscure law..."


FE (24 Oct. 1919) Salmon Fishermen of Eel River on Strike--Eel river salmon fishermen have again gone on strike for higher pay and since Sunday night have taken no fish from the river. The fishermen now demand seven cents a pound with the stipulation that the buyers take their entire catch.


The fishermen stopped operations Sunday night, making a demand that the buyers pay them seven cents a pound for salmon and take their entire catch. P. Ferrari, the local buyer, offered five cents a pound for the entire catch or seven cents a pound on the provision that he take as much as he desired, but this did not prove acceptable to the union, with the result that a decision was made to endeavor to dispose of fish direct to wholesalers in San Francisco.


A committee of three of the fishermen left yesterday, according to announcements, for San Francisco, in an endeavor to sell direct to the canneries and wholesalers there. Pending their return, it is stated no salmon will be taken by union fishermen. A meeting was held Wednesday afternoon in Loleta between the fishermen and Mr. Ferrari, but no agreement could be reached, hence the decision to dispose of the fish to San Francisco buyers direct.


In the meantime, the salmon are working up the river and will reach the headwaters to spawn, so the supply for future years should be greatly increased.


FE (31 Oct. 1919) Fishermen to sell at 5 cts.--The net fishermen of Eel river who had been laying off for several nights on account of a failure to agree with the buyers as to the price to be paid for their catch, resumed operations this week.


A committee of fishermen went to San Francisco in an endeavor to sell salmon direct to the wholesalers and canneries there but found the market glutted. For this reason they decided to accept the offer of Ferrari & Davidson of five cents a pound...


FE (14 Nov. 1919) Don't Spear poor Fish--Reports come in quite frequently of late that many salmon have been speared on the riffles of the upper stretches of Eel river and that the fish have been found unfit for food.


It is hoped that the practice of spearing poor salmon will be stopped, and it is this which has caused a considerable public sentiment against all spearing. Those who wish fish for canning purposes or smoking will have an ample opportunity later, after the river rises to a degree to allow the fresh fish up, and no salmon will be wasted.


It is no sport to spear fish and then throw them away, and merely serves to deplete the fish supply and arouse sentiment against spearing. Go to the lower riffles, where the fish are good or wait until the river raises to allow the fish to reach the upper riffles while they are yet fresh.


Don't furnish the opponents of spearing with ammunition to fight you at the next session of the legislature.


FE (14 Nov. 1919) Supt. Fassett of the Fort Seward fish hatchery has been engaged of late in seining salmon from the upper pools of the river for the purpose of obtaining spawn for the hatchery.


FE (28 Nov. 1919) Comment Heard on Fish Law--Since the arrest of Ben Perrott of Rohnerville on the charge of having caught more than five trout in a day with hook and line, there has been heard considerable comment regarding the fishing laws now on the statute books.

It is pointed out that a net fisherman is allowed to take as many steelhead as he can get, while a hook and line fisherman is limited to five. This is not quite so bad as last year, however, when an angler was not allowed to take steelhead at all with hook and line after October 31st, while it was legal to take them with nets in any quantity.

And then again it is legal to fish all night with a net while you will break the law if you catch a fish with a hook and line a half hour after the sun has gone down. These are only a couple of the many inconsistencies which have brought the fish laws into disrepute and cause the average man to have no qualms of conscience in disregarding them whenever he feels like catching a few fish. Sensible fishing laws would command far more respect and be much easier of enforcement.


FE (5 Dec. 1919) No Conviction of Fisherman; Law is Foolish--Ben Perrott of Rohnerville, arrested for having taken more than five trout with a hook and line in the waters of Eel river, was acquitted by a jury in the justice court of Fortuna Friday.


Perrott admitted on the witness stand that he had taken nineteen trout but pleaded ignorance of the law. And the jury promptly found him not guilty. It was apparent to everyone that it would be impossible to get a conviction under this ridiculous law which Perrott was charged with violating.


In fact, District Attorney Hill in his address to the jury pointed out the foolishness of the law. In the lower river a large catch of trout is permitted, while further up the fisherman is limited to five. By anchoring a boat on the dividing line a fisherman in one end of the boat may take fifty trout, while his companion in the other end of the craft would be allowed but five.


FE (16 Jan. 1920) Mr. and Mrs. W.O. Fassett and the lady's mother Mrs. Ellen Weymouth are now making their home at Ukiah, where Mr. Fassett is in charge of the Ukiah fish hatchery. The gentleman also retains the management of the hatchery at Steelhead.


FE (6 Feb. 1920) Steelheads go up the River--Owing to the extremely low water in Eel river for this time of the year, it has been possible this season to get an idea of the number of steelheads which go up the river in the winter run.


For weeks it has been possible to stand on the big bridge at Fernbridge and look down at the fish going up. They are plainly visible and make an interesting sight. Last Sunday many autoists stopped on the bridge to see the fish as they passed up the stream and in less than an hour more than seventy-five were seen to pass. With the fish passing up at this rate for weeks, it can be readily seen that a great number go up and they must be plentiful somewhere in the upper river.


FE (21 May 1920) Report Says Fish Being Dynamited--A report is current that of late some parties have been engaged at night dynamiting or otherwise blasting fish in Salt river in the Port Kenyon vicinity and up the river nearly to Ballou Ford. It is stated that large quantities of small fish have been found dead on the water during the day time and that the parties who were doing the blasting have been almost caught in the act once or twice...

FE (10 Sept. 1920) The annual run of salmon in Eel river has commenced, several fish having been taken during the past few days.


FE (19 Nov. 1920) Local people who were at the mouth of Eel river last Sunday report that a large number of gillnetters were operating during the day in violation of the law which prohibits netting from sundown Saturday evening to sundown Sunday evening. It might be a good idea for the fish and game wardens to investigate the matter.


FE (28 Jan. 1921) May Close Eel River to Nets--Assemblyman Frank J. Cummings, who returned Wednesday evening from Sacramento, states that a bill has been introduced in the Legislature providing for the closing of several rivers to net fishing. Eel river is included among the number.

The Commission has figures and statistics showing the great number of salmon taken off the coast, and is of the opinion that in order to preserve the supply for propagating purposes it will be necessary to protect the fish after they get into the rivers. Mr. Cummings states that the bill seems to have strong support and that it will more than likely become a law, in which case, there will be no more netting in Eel river...


FE (25 Feb. 1921) Concerning the Eel River Fish Problem--N.B. Scofield, of the California Fish and Game Commission, writes as follows concerning the taking of salmon in Eel river, which will be read with interest by the people of the community:

Just as the catching of salmon of the sea has been an added drain on the Sacramento salmon, so is the recent rapid growth of salmon trolling near Fort Bragg an added drain on the Eel river salmon, and fish of that river are in need of additional protection. This ocean catch is apparently having little effect on the run in the Klamath river, which is more than one hundred miles to the north.


It seems impossible to devise an open season for nets on Eel river which will satisfy the needs of sportsmen, the commercial fishermen and the salmon culturists, and at the same time properly conserve the two species of salmon and the steelheads which spawn in the river. The Quinnat salmon begin entering the river early in September, and as there is rarely sufficient water before November to permit them to get above the pools near the mouth, these fish remain there in the fresh water and after a time become of little value for food, although they are still of value for propagation purposes. If the netting season is opened early and closed early so as to let the latter part of the run ascend the river unhindered to the spawning beds, and so as to take these early salmon while they are still fit for food, it meets with the violent opposition of the sportsmen, who contend that it would ruin their steelhead fishing which is carried on in the lower river before the winter rains. If the open season for nets is moved to a time sufficiently late to permit these salmon lying in the pools to ascend the river beyond the reach of the nets, too many spawning steelheads and silver salmon, which begin entering the river about the first of November, would be taken. The present netting season of October 8 to December 7, inclusive, was a compromise season designed to meet the conservation requirements of the two species of salmon and the steelhead, and to partly satisfy the sportsmen and commercial fishermen. This open season has not satisfied the sportsmen or the commercial fishermen, and it has not met the needs of the salmon culturists; and, on account of the development of outside trolling it does not meet the conservation needs of the Quinnat salmon.


The season is not sufficiently early to take the first part of the run before the fish become inferior for food purposes and it closes too late to let a sufficient number of fish to reach the spawning beds up the river. On account of the depletion of the Sacramento run, salmon eggs can no longer be taken from that river to be used in stocking Eel river. If salmon culture is to be carried on in Eel river, the river must furnish its own eggs. Salmon racks cannot be maintained in those parts of the river which are suitable for taking salmon for propagation purposes after the river is in flood, and it appears that the only feasible way in which the eggs can be taken for this purpose is to permit the first of the run to ascend to the salmon racks after the first rise in the river, which is usually not sufficiently high to wash out the racks. If the netting season is placed sufficiently late to come after the first rise in the river and closes sufficiently early to avoid taking too many of the late running silver salmon, which date should not be later than December 1, the season would hardly be long enough to make netting profitable. We see no good way of harmonizing these varied interests. Whatever is done, it should be seen to that the conservation needs of the three species of fish involved get first consideration.


FE (4 March 1920) Salmon Fishing in Eel River--In the current number of "California Fish and Game," the magazine published by the California Fish and Game Commission, the following article relating to salmon fishing in Eel river was printed, which will be of much interest to the people of this community:


The commercial fishing at the mouth of the Eel river and the spearing of the breeding salmon on the riffles on the upper reaches of the river necessitated the propagation of salmon in larger numbers on Eel river. Experimental work was carried on at an experimental station on Bull Creek, one of the tributaries of the South Fork of the Eel river and also in the main river near the mouth. The results of these experiments of the last three years have not justified the expense of establishing a permanent egg-collecting station on the lower reaches of the river.


There are several conditions on the lower reaches of the river that in our judgment make it impracticable to establish an egg-collecting station in that region. The salmon when they enter the mouth of the river are compelled to remain in the large pond below Loleta until the river rises in the fall, as there is not enough water during the seasons of normal rainfall to allow the fish to pass over the wide, shallow riffles connecting the large pools from South Frok to the large pool at the mouth of the river.


As a rule the river rises to a considerable extent, but not before the majority of the salmon are caught by the commercial fishermen at the mouth of the river in the large pool. It has been suggested that eggs be collected from the fish in the large pool during the early fall before they ascend the river or are taken by the commercial fishermen, but we find that the fish do not ripen in numbers great enough to justify the expense of seining them up and separating the few ripe ones from those that are green and immature. Furthermore, there is no water near the mouth of the river suitable for hatchery purposes. If eggs could be taken in sufficient quantities to justify the expense of collecting them they would have to be taken direct to Fort Seward on the railroad, some sixty miles up the river. The eggs collected would in all probability be in such small lots that it would not pay to keep the necessary help and equipment.


Any attempt to place racks across the main Eel river or the South Fork, anywhere near its mouth, is almost impossible as the loose nature of the formation is not solid enough to hold the racks, and even if this were overcome, the tremendous amount of water that comes down Eel river during flood periods, carrying logs and debris of all kinds would make it impossible to retain any kind of a rack in the river. Furthermore, if a rack could be built that would stand the flood water of the river when the salmon were running, the number of fish that would be entering the river would all be fresh run from the ocean and would have to be held too long in order to have them mature.


An egg-collecting station on Eel river or its tributaries must be situated far up the stream, away from the tremendous floods and the floatage matter in the river, and must be in the upper reaches near the spawning grounds, where the fish have spent the necessary time in fresh water for the breeders to mature.


A careful examination has been made of Eel river and its tributaries for a suitable site and the experimental station has been located near Branscomb on the South Fork of the Eel river in Mendocino county, about one hundred and twenty-five miles from the mouth of the main river. The material for the racks, traps, cabin and temporary hatchery were ordered with the expectation that the station could be finished this fall in time to catch the salmon run that ascends the South Fork, the principal spawning stream of the Eel river system, but the unusually heavy rainfall during November delayed the hauling of the material and caused the river to rise to such a height that it became impossible to complete the work. Plans are being made to finish the work next season and to carry on the experimental work at this station to determine whether there are enough breeding salmon in this reach of the river to justify the expense of establishing a permanent station at this place to collect eggs for the Fort Seward Hatchery. At this hatchery the eggs can be hatched and the fry reared to a suitable size to stock the Eel river and its tributaries.


It takes less fry to stock Eel river and maintain the run of salmon than any other river on the coast as there are few natural enemies of the young of the salmon to be found in the river. There are few predatory fishes, no diverting canals to carry off the water where fry are lost, or overflow basins, and very few water snakes or other natural enemies. If only a few million eggs can be collected and the resulting fry planted each season the run of salmon in Eel river can be easily maintained provided the fishing at the mouth of the river is regulated as well as the ocean fishing, where large numbers of salmon are taken each season.


In our judgment all net fishing should be prohibited in Eel river, as the salmon supply of that region will not stand for the heavy toll taken in the ocean as well as in the Eel river when the fish enter the fresh water to spawn. A law should be passed prohibiting all fishing in Eel river except by trolling. The steelhead trout would then have a better chance, as a considerable number of the adult fish are taken by nets. The Eel river should be protected as a fish preserve to furnish both steelhead and salmon eggs for propagation.


Every precaution should be used by the Commission to prevent the introduction of any predaceous fish into the water of Eel river as the stream is one of the few that can be depended on to furnish a large supply of steelhead as well as salmon eggs, if properly protected against too great a drain by commercial fishermen.


The commercial fisheries are increasing off the coast each season and the number of salmon taken in the ocean must surely lessen the number that enter the river to breed. As fish are in prime condition when taken from the salt water, fishing in the ocean should be allowed, but a restriction on the number that can be taken should be made. On the other hand, all net fishing in the Eel river should be prohibited.


FE (4 March 1920) Hatchery for South Fork to be Rushed--The fish and game commission of the Eureka Chamber of Commerce has received the following letter from W.H. Shebley of the State Fish and Game Commission, which is self-explanatory:


"In regard to establishing an egg collecting station on the South Fork of the Eel river and if conditions are suitable to establish a hatchery. We selected a site near Branscomb last fall for an experimental station to determine whether the fish ascend the river that far up in sufficient numbers to justify us in building a station at that place. We ordered the material for the troughs, cabin, etc., and sent our crew to the site to start operations, but the heavy early fall rains in that section made the roads impassable and prevented the construction of the racks, traps, etc., so that material was stored and early this summer we expect to complete the work on the station so as to be ready for next season's run of fish.

"We are planning to enlarge and improve the hatchery near Fort Seward this season, so that the surplus eggs can be shipped to the Fort Seward Hatchery and the resulting fry planted in the waters of Humboldt and Mendocino counties.

"All arrangements have been made to put this plan through this coming season.


"If we can get a good egg collecting station established and have the laws changed so that the adult fish will have a chance when they enter Eel river during the late summer and fall, we will have no trouble in keeping Eel river stocked so that it will always be one of the finest streams for sport fishing in the state. We must all work together for this end."