Page images

tained from no other produce to which such sort of Land can be appropriated *.

* The Produce or Profit to be derived from Fish-ponds has not yet, perhaps, been sufficiently attended to in various situations, so as to afford correct conclusions; nor is it well ascertained what is the Annual Increase in Weight of specific kinds of Fish in different periods of their Growth, and under different circumstances of Soil and Water.

Sir HARRY FETHERSTONHAUGH, in a Pond of twenty Acres, but which the Mud has reduced to fifteen or sixteen acres of clear Water, generally has a Stock of twelve hundred Carp, and an equal number of Tench: this is at the rate of seventy-five brace per Acre; and in this proportion they thrive well. Suppose this water adds half a pound per annum to each of the 2400 fish which it feeds, it is 1200 lbs. weight; this, at sixpence per pound, is 30l. and for fifteen acres, forty shillings per Acre, at ninepence per pound, three pounds per Acre.

Mr. LOVEDEN, in 1803, gave the following account of the value of the Stock of Fish-ponds in different situations. He describes one in his own Park at Buscor in Berkshire, which has no supply of Water, except by Rains; but receives all the Drains of the House and Stables, from which in December 1802, he let off the water, and took 386 Carp, eight Pike, (which had been put in by mistake,) and seven Perch. Ninety-four Carp were from 3 to 3 and 4lb. each. The Eels were from three to four pounds: the biggest Pike only four pounds. It was fished, and nearly the like quantity of Carp taken six years before: the Carp were then nearly equal in size, from two to three pounds each: this time there were several of one pound, none under; and Mr. L. was persuaded if the Stock put in had been all of similar Size and Age, at the last fishing very little or no difference would have been found in the Appearance or Weight of any. The Eels from this Pond were manifestly distinct breeds: one proceeding from the Silver Ecl of the Thames, which the Game-keeper had put in; the other of a much browner colour, and a toad-like head, which must have originated in the

In forming a piece of Water of large dimension, some competent person will doubtless be employed

Pond, which produces great quantities of Muscles*. Mr. L. proceeds to state that in the upper parts of Berkshire, the Lords of Manors have many Ponds on the Commons, from which they take Carp and Tench at stated Periods, and sell them to the Innkeepers at Reading, Henley, Maidenhead, Salt-hill, Windsor, &c. who keep them in Stews for a regular supply to their Customers. These Ponds are stocked with one hundred Carp or Tench to an Acre, and usually continue five years before they are drawn. The price of the Fish when sold by the pound, (and which is the best way of selling them,) is One Shilling for the Tench and Ten-pence for the Carp; when sold by number, they are measured from Eye to Tail, and sold as under:

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

In 1800, Mr. L. (says Mr. PALMER of Holme-Park, near Reading) drew a Pond of 34 Acres, which had been stocked only three years, but the fish were one year old when put into it. The produce was,

195 pounds weight of Carp.
230 ditto of Tench.

425 pounds.

Which sold for 20l. 10s. or near 1. 19s. 6d. Annually per Acre. He drew the same Pond in April 1803, when stocked with Tench only. The produce 261. or about two pounds ten shillings per acre. Besides the fish fit to kill, Mr. L. had stores innumerable. Hav

Surely this must be erroneous, for it does not strike the Compiler that the abundance of Muscles in the Pond could in the least affect the form or colour of the Eels bred in it.

to inspect and insure that the Bank is made durable, and will likewise so guard against Floods, that it be endangered by no sudden pressure against it. A common tumbling bay at each extremity of the head, fixed at the usual level of the water, with iron grating a foot or eighteen inches above that level, will allow a proper Vent for the superfluous water, and also stop any Fish from escaping through, if disposed to move in consequence of any rapid influx. The width of the Grating must be according to the quantity of water, which sudden Rains can occasion to flow through the Pool, and if made to present the point of a Triangle towards the pond, it will perhaps yield a quicker passage to the Stream than if the Grating was set straight, and only to cover the breadth of the Tumbling bay.

The Sluice-pipe should be laid low enough to draw off all the water, and be extraordinarily well rammed with clay at the bottom; the plug must be heart of Oak, as indeed should all the timberwork; the planks which surround the plug should be so perforated, as to allow the water, but the holes be too small to admit any Fish to pass; and the whole

ing found the Ponds upon the Waste liable to be poached, and particularly with regard to Carp, he now stocks them with Tench, and finds they grow fastest where there is plenty of Mud.

Lord BRAYBROOK's ponds produced in 1803 Eighty Carp, weighing 240lbs.; and sixty Tench, weighing 64 lbs. The fish were sold to Mr. DICKSON of Henley; were three years old; and were weighed in lots of Ten fish each: the largest Carp 37 and the smallest 26lbs. the lot. The two parcels of Tengh weighed 33 and 31lbs.

should be surrounded with a Frame, to prevent its being strained by a boat's running against it, which might cause it to be leaky.

All ponds should have a Rivulet or Brook running through them, or considerable fresh springs arising in them, so that there is a Current, although ever so diminutive, passing through them. One or other ' is indispensable, not only as it assists the feed and

comfort of the Fish during the heats of Summer; but as it operates against the effects of Frost, which, without a Current of water (that always conveys Air,) will frequently be fatal to a whole Pond of valuable Fish. The Tench is the only Fish that is Frostproof; amongst the other sorts there is little difference; when one complains, they are all in imminent danger, but the smallest Current of water will avert it; and Fish are never known to suffer by Frost in ponds so supplied, and where the water is so deep as not to be wholly congealed down to the mud. In ponds that have Sluices, the starting the plug so as to lower the water slowly a few inches will afford that current of Air as to revive the Fish.

Many persons break holes in the ice, putting in straw, dung, wood-faggots, &c. and do not suffer the holes to be frozen over by frequently moving them; but all these Expedients are ineffectual, and the only way of saving fish in waters shut out from all natural supply of Air by Frost, is to remove them quickly as possible after shewing themselves under the Ice, (for fish naturally, in cold weather, lie as deep as they can, and nothing but the pangs of death make them move,) into other waters supplied by a Current.

After a pond has been shut up by ten Days freezing, if any suspicion concerning the state of the fish arises, by cutting a Hole in the middle, and two or three at the sides, their Condition may be known: if unwell they will appear, and there is no Alternative but with all the hands that can be mustered to take out every fish that comes to the Holes: those taken out may be preserved; all that are left behind will most probably be lost. Fish thus rescued, when other 'waters are not immediately at hand, have been put into large Tubs in some outhouse, not far from a fire, until they appear recovered, (which will be plainly perceived by the numbness being removed;) when, by freshening the water every twelve hours, they may be kept until there is opportunity to convey them to other waters:

The following fact is credibly asserted, which shews that the Flesh of fishes may be relieved from the effects of violent Cold, by a different process to that used with most other Creatures :-" That fish frozen with a shell of Ice upon them have been put into a tub with water warmed to its Midsummer heat, and in six or seven hours the Ice has dissolved, and the fish were brisk and well.”

Another circumstance essential in the formation of pieces of water, is that if the place admit, there should be one or more Islands in the middle: but the water round these Islands should be at least five feet 'deep: they will then be what they ought, a Shelter to the fish. As these Islands are generally made, the water round them is shallow; an experienced

« PreviousContinue »