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Notes for Piscatory Archery
1. The writer would mention, as a preliminary, that in speaking of fishes; no scientific names are used; he refers to some that are familiar, the carp, for instance, of others that he believes are not yet classified by naturalists. 'As far as possible, the technical names peculiar to the sport described are used, as they are always more characteristic than any other.
a, The level of the Mississippi, at its ordinary stage of water. b, The height of the spring rise. c, d, The "dry lakes." By examination of the above drawing, an idea may be formed of the manner of the rises of the Mississippi. The observer will notice that when the water is at a, the lakes c and d will be dry, affording a fine hunting-ground for deer, etc. When the water is at b, the lakes are formed, and arrow-fishing is pursued. (See description.) A correct idea may also be formed by what is meant by a water-line on the trees, indicating the last rise; the water-line will be formed of the sediment settling on the trees at the line b, marked above.
2. 2. It may not be uninteresting to naturalists to be informed, that these fish run into the inland lakes to spawn, and they do it with the rise of the water of course. These overflows are annual A few years since the season was very singular, and there were three distinct rises and falls of water, and at each rise the fish followed the water inland, and spawned: a remarkable example where the usual order of nature was reversed in one instance, and yet continuing blindly consistent in another. It is also very remarkable that the young fish, native of the lakes, are as interested to mark the indications of falling water as those that come into them; and in a long series of years of observation, but one fall was ever known where the fish were in the lakes.
3. The carp to which we allude is so accurately described in its habits in " Blane's Encyclopedia of Rural Sports," when speaking of the European carp, that we are tempted to make one or two extracts, that are remarkable for their truthfulness as applied to the section of the United States where arrow-fishing is a sport In the work we allude to we have the following: "The usual length of the carp in our own country (England) is from about twelve to fifteen or sixteen inches; but in warm climates, it often arrives at the length of two, three, or four feet, and to the weight of twenty, thirty, or even forty pounds." Par. 8448. Again, " The haunts of the carp of stagnant water are, during the spring and autumn months, in the deepest parts, particularly near the flood-gates by which water is received and let off. In the summer months they frequent the weed beds, and come near to the surface, and particularly are fond of aquatic plants, which spring from the bottom and rise to the top." Par. 3453. We find the fish retains the same distinctive habits in both hemispheres, altering only from the peculiarities of the country.