The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Detroit Gazette (Detroit, MI), 12 Nov. 1824, page 2

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White Fish.--The most sanguine hopes of our Fishermen have been more than realized this season. Already, according to a moderate computation, 1600 barrels have been taken at the fisheries on Grosse Isle alone, and about the same quantity have been taken at the fisheries this side of that Island, on the American shore. The season for fishing, however, has not yet closed, and it may be safely calculated that, in the whole, there will be about 4 or 5000 barrels put up. This will yield a handsome income to our Territory, for every barrel may be said to be worth six dollars, and with our sparse population, 25 or 30,000 dollars is an important help. By the bye, we had forgotten that the people of Michigan will not receive all the advantages which this profitable source of wealth yields; it will, in a considerable degree, be shared by our neighbors of ohio, many of whom resort here annually, to swing their nets in our waters-- But they are welcome to come, until we are sufficiently numerous to man every ground from Grosse Isle to Lake Huron.

White Fish (as we have been told by an old inhabitant) were first taken with nets in the Detroit river, about 50 years ago. It is said that a British lieutenant, who was stationed at that time at this post, first discovered the movements of the white fish, and suggested the idea of taking them with nets. He was one night on a visit to the sentinels, and was told by one who was stationed near the shore, that he had heard at times a rushing noise in the water. The lieutenant waited a few minutes, and had the pleasure of hearing the rushing, which, as he was somewhat acquainted with fishing, he knew to be caused by an immense number of fish rising to the surface of the water. A small net was immediately got in readiness, and such was the number caught, that from four dollars, the price soon fell to four shillings a hundred. Since that time, many persons have been engaged along our strait every fall, in taking and salting white fish. Yet the business of fishing, in this part of the country, is still in its infancy, and there can be no doubt but many improvements will be made in taking them, so as to greatly increase the quantity taken. It is, however, far more necessary and desirable, that improvements should be made in curing them; for the slovenly practice of washing them, by stirring them in a barrel with a stake, still continues. Very many suggestions might be made to our fishermen, but we feel almost certain, that suggestions are useless; for in their eagerness to increase their number of barrels, they lose all consideration for the quality of their fish.--When they will have lost some fifty or a hundred barrels of fish, in consequence of their negligence in putting them up--or when they will be unable to find purchasers, on account of the bad quality of their fish, they will begin to discover the proper mode of curing them.

[speculations on natural history of the whitefish]

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12 Nov. 1824
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Dave Swayze
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Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Detroit Gazette (Detroit, MI), 12 Nov. 1824, page 2