Fishes of the Yellowstone National Park: With Description of the Park Waters and Notes on Fishing (Classic Reprint)by Hugh M. Smith
The present report is a revised and amplified edition of the one published by the Bureau of Fisheries in 1915. The exhaustion of the supply of that document and the continued public demand for information on this subject, together with the availability
Excerpt from Fishes of the Yellowstone National Park: With Description of the Park Waters and Notes on Fishing
The present report is a revised and amplified edition of the one published by the Bureau of Fisheries in 1915. The exhaustion of the supply of that document and the continued public demand for information on this subject, together with the availability of new data on the fishes, make this publication desirable.
The native fish life of the park was profoundly affected by the great lava flow which occurred over a large part of the park in Pliocene times. Whatever fishes were then present were necessarily killed, and, with the reestablishment of the watercourses after the cooling of the surface of the lava, fishes in outside waters were to a great extent prevented from reaching the lofty plateau, which comprises most of the area of the park, by the high and steep falls over which the streams leave the lava beds.
It thus follows that the native fish fauna of the park is very limited. Except in Yellowstone River and its tributaries practically no fishes occur naturally above the falls, and in the extensive basin of that river the few species that do exist gained access to the region above the falls because of the imperfect watershed separating the Yellowstone and the Snake River basins.
The original comparative barrenness of the park in fish life was due entirely to topographical conditions. The physical character of the waters is, in general, highly favorable for fishes, and an examination of the streams and lakes of the park by Prof. Forbes in 1890 disclosed the presence in certain barren waters of an abundant insect and crustacean food well suited for sustaining certain kinds of fishes. The theory that would account for the original absence of fishes in particular park waters as due to the high temperature and chemical constituents of the great volumes of water flowing from the geysers and hot springs is entirely untenable for several reasons: First, native trout abound and flourish in various streams and lakes in close proximity to the outpourings of geysers and hot springs, and, secondly, both native and exotic trouts have been successfully planted in barren waters receiving the discharge of geysers and hot springs.
The fishes of natural occurrence in the park represent 10 species, as follows: Longnose sucker, rosyside sucker, chub, silverside minnow, longnose dace, dusky dace. Rocky Mountain whitefish, redthroat trout, Montana grayling, and blob. Of these only the trout and the grayling have generally been recognized as game fishes, although the whitefish might properly be so considered. While these were very abundant in certain waters, the annually increasing numbers of angler-tourists in the park made it desirable to augment the natural supply of game fishes by the introduction into barren waters of selected species of other game fishes.
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