The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Chronicle & Gazette (Kingston, ON), March 5, 1842

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p.2 Note - (numbers are hard to read on microfilm - this copy from Kingston Herald, April 5th, 1842.)

[Detroit Daily Advertiser]


Detroit River, St. Clair River, Lake Huron, Michigan, and Superior

With the immense business which is destined to be done on our lakes, that of the fisheries should not be overlooked, as it has already become a considerable item in our exports. The number and variety of fish taken, are worthy of notice, and it is stated that no fresh waters known can, in any respect, fear a comparison.

From the earliest period of the settlement on the shores of the lakes, fishing has been carried on to supply the inhabitants with a part of their food, but not till within the past five years have they become an article of export. Since that time the business has rapidly increased. The number of barrels taken, so far as information can be gathered, in 1835, was 8,000, and in 1840 it reached 32,005 barrels.

The weight to which some of the fish attain, is unparalleled, except on the Mississippi, as follows:

Names of Fish Greatest Weight Average

Sturgeon 120 lbs. 70 lbs.

Trout 60 10 to 20

Muskenunjah 40 10 to 15

Pickerel 15 5 to 6

Mullen 10 3 to 6

White Fish 2 to 3

At the Sault Ste. Marie 4 to 5

Perch 1

Ronch 1

Black Bass 2 to 3

Bill Fish 6 to 8

Cat Fish 10 to 20

Sisquoette 8 to 10

The varieties usually taken for pickling are Trout, Pickerel, White Fish, and Sisquoette; the latter, however, is only to be found in Lake Superior.

Since the proposed canal at the Sault Ste. Marie canal has been suspended, Yankee enterprise, at great expense, in the absence of artificial locks, has surmounted the difficulty in getting over the falls, leading from Lake Michigan to Lake Superior, and within the two past years, two vessels, by means of slides, rollers, etc., have reached the upper lake. One of them is owned by J.L. Antrim (Ankrim ?) and others, and the other by a Cleveland company.

Three vessels have also been built on Lake Superior by the American Fur Company. The two former vessels will hereafter be engaged in the fishing trade, in freighting salt, provisions, etc., to various points on the lakes and returning with fish. Heretofore the American Fur Company have monopolized the trade. This will open a new era in the upper lake fisheries, as they are said to be inexhaustible.

From the following table of the amount barrelled, which was obtained from various sources, the rapid increase of the business will be seen:

1836 1837 1840

Lake Superior 2,000 5,500 10,000

Mackinac 1,200 800 4,000

Sault Ste. Marie 300 900 2,555

Green Bay 600

Various points on Lake Huron 500

Fort Gratiot 3,100 4,100 3,000

Shores of Lake Huron 500 600

On Detroit River 4,000 2,500 3,550

Shores of Sanilac County 500

St. Clair River 1,000

Drummond's Island 800

Twin Rivers 1,500

Mouth Manistee River 1,000

Mouth Sheboygan River 275

Racine River 225

Saginaw Bay 500

Thunder Bay 500

South Saginaw Bay 500

Number of Barrels 12,200 14,100 32,005

The average price of fish per barrel, for the five past years in this city, is $8, which gives a total value of the business in 1840, at $256,040. Thus in its infancy, it adds this amount annually to the wealth of Michigan, gives employment to a great number of persons, and allowing 600 barrels as freight for a vessel, it would require 54 to transport the article to market. Its importance in augmenting the wealth of the west, particularly in a few years, when the business is more extensively pursued is not surpassed by any other species of traffic, and presents a marked example of productive labor.

There is one obstacle in connection with it, that should be removed. The British side of the lake also abounds in fine fishing grounds, but in consequence of a duty of $1 per barrel, which our government imposes on fish taken in British waters, but little has been done. It is to be hoped our Senators and representatives in Congress will bring forward the subject at the present session, and allow the American fishermen, on American bottoms, to enter American ports, free of duty.

p.3 Notice - The Annual Meeting of the Kingston Marine Railway Company, for the purpose of electing Directors for the ensuing year, according to the Act of Incorporation, will be held in the office of the Company, on Monday the 4th day of April, at 12 o'clock noon.

By order, S.D. Fowler, Clerk.

Kingston, 2nd March, 1842 Office of the Kingston Marine Railway.

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March 5, 1842
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Rick Neilson
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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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Chronicle & Gazette (Kingston, ON), March 5, 1842