Artificial Propagation of the Black Basses, Chappies, and Rock Bass

Artificial Propagation of the Black Basses, Chappiesand Rock Bass

Artificial Propagation of the Black Basses, Chappies, and Rock Bass – The species treated of in this chapter are triose members of the Centrarchidae (or fresh-water sunfishes) which have come under the scope of Fish culture, namely, the large-mouth black bass {Micropterns sahnoides), the small-mouth black bass {Microptcrns dolomieu), the rock bass {Amhloplites riipestru), the crappie {Pomoxis annularis), and the calico bass {Pomoxis sparoides).

Whatever is said of the rock bass will apply equally well to other sunfishes, which might be here considered but which have not been artificially reared.

The principal physical characteristics of these fishes are indicated in the following key, which serves to distinguish the two species of black bass and the two species of crappie from each other as well as from less closely related species.

Large-mouth black bass: Body comparatively long, the depth about one-third the length; back little elevated; head large, 3 to 3; ^ in body; eye 5 to (3 in head; mouth very large, the maxillary in adults extending beyond eye, smaller in young. Ten rows of scales on the cheeks; body scales large, about OS in the lateral line, and 7 above and 16 below the line.

Dorsal fin low, deeply notched, larger than anal, with 10 spines and 12 or 13 soft rays; anal with 3 spines and 10 or 11 rays. Color above dark-green, sides greenish-silvery, belly white; young with a blackish band along sides from opercula to tail, the baud breaking up and growing paler with age; caudal fin pale at base, white on edge and black between; older specimens almost uniformly dull greenish; three dark obliques stripes across opercula and cheek; dark blotch on opercula.

Small-mouth blade bass: Similar in form to largemouth bass. Mouth smaller, the maxillary terminating in front of posterior edge of eye, except in very old specimens.

About 17 rows of small scales on the cheeks; body scales small, 11-74-17. The Dorsal fin is less deeply notched than in other species, with 10 six) lines and 13 to 15 rays: anal with 3 spines and 12 or 13 rays.

General color dull golden-green, belly white; young with dark spots along ‘aids tending to form irregular vertical bars, but never a lateral ban*; caudal fin yellowish at base, white at tip, with dark intervening area; dorsal with bronze spots and dusky edge; three radiating bronze stripes extending backward from eye’, dusky spot-on point of opercula.

Crappie: Body short, greatly compressed, back much elevated; depth 2tJ in length; eye large, one-fourth length of head; head long, 3 in length; i)profile with double curve; mouth large, snout projection.

Scales on cheeks in 4 or 5 rows; scales in lateral line 36 to 48. The Dorsal fin is smaller than anal, with 6 spines and 15 rays, the spinous part the shorter; anal with 6 spines and 18 rays; dorsal and anal fins very high.

Color silvery white or olive, with mottling’s of dark green; the
markings mostly on upper part of body and tending to form narrow, irregular vertical bars; dorsal and caudal fins with dark markings; anal nearly plain. The figure of this species on the opposite page is scarcely typical in the pattern of markings.

Calico bass: Similar in form to crappie, but the body shorter, back more elevated, and profile of head straighter; depth, one-half length; head one-third length; mouth smaller than in crappie; snout less projecting. Six rows of scales on cheeks, and 40 to 45 along lateral line.

Dorsal and anal fins higher than in crappie; dorsal spines 7 or 8, rays 15; anal spines C, rays 17 or 18. Color light silvery-green, with dark green irregular mottling’s over entire body; dorsal, caudal, and anal fins with dark-olive reticulations surrounding pale areas; whole body sometimes with a delicate pink reflection (whence the name strawberry bass).

Rock bass: Body oblong, compressed, back moderately elevated; depth 2 to 2^ in length; head large, 2f in length; eye very large, 3J in head. Scales 5-39-12, in 6 to 8 rows on cheeks. The Dorsal fin is much larger than the anal, with 11 spines and 10 rays: the anal, with G spines and 10 rays. Opercula ending in two flat points; gill rakers less than 10. Color olive-green, with brassy reflections; young irregularly barred and blotched with black; adult with a stained spot at base of each scale, forming interrupted and inconspicuous stripes; a black spot-on operculum; anal, caudal, and soft dorsal fins with dark mottling’s.

The most reliable characteristic for distinguishing the large mouth from the small-mouth bass is the number of rows of scales on the cheeks. The colors of each species vary with age and the size of the mouth varies with the size of the fish, but the scales are constant under all conditions. With the crappies, the leading deferential feature is the number of dorsal spines.

By reason of their wide geographical range, the black basses have received a multiplicity of popular names. The largemouth black bass is known as Oswego bass, lake bass, green bass, yellow bass, moss bass, bayou bass, trout, jumper, chub, and Welshman.

In the North it is generally called black bass; in Virginia and North Carolina it is usually designated as the chub, and in Florida and the Southern States it is often called trout.

The small-mouth black bass has received the common names of lake bass, brown bass, ninny bass, hog bass, black perch (used in the mountain sections of Virginia, Tennessee, and North Carolina) trout perch, brown trout, jumper, mountain trout, together with other names of purely local use.

Rock bass are variously known as red-eye, red-eye perch, and goggle eye, and are sometimes confounded with the warmouth {ChinaByte’s glomus), which bears some of the same common names.

The calico bass has also received the qualities of strawberry bass, grass bass, bitter-head, barfish. lamplighter, goggle-eye, goggle-eye perch, speckled perch, and speckled trout.

The crappie is known in its native waters as crappie, new light, Campbellite, sac-a-lait, bachelor, chinquapin perch, crepane, and cropet.

On account of the similarity of calico bass and crappie, anglers and fish-culturists frequently confound the two, the common and local names often being used interchangeably throughout the regions to which both are native.

Possibly no common name of the black bass is more appropriate than “jumper” which is applied in certain parts of Kentucky. It is difficult to capture them with a seine rigged in the ordinary manner, especially “when they have the vitality and activity which is usual when living in water of moderate temperature, and in collecting brood stock it is well to use a seine about three times the depth of the water, as the bagging of a seine so rigged confuses the fish and deters them from jumping.

While the black bass of the colder northern waters make a fight worthy of the salmon, they may be taken from the waters of the south with hardly a struggle.

Rock bass are exceedingly pugnacious, and sometimes seem to take the hook rather on this account than from a desire for food. They are well adapted for pond-culture, and under proper conditions will repay the culturist in a large crop of young with the expenditure of very little labor and time.


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