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ng the Fish That We Expect ti Requires More Patience Than Waiting for a Bite Says Man Who Feeds a Million With a Feather THE man with a million babies' Yes, millions of tunl Think of it a million babies or so to feed for breakfast 1 And not the tiniest infant in all . wor, demand the patience and tender care that f se babies require of this mere man. Such is the !ne wh. runs a fish hatchery. Take the case of Oliver . Mix. Mr. Mix is the foreman of the state fish hatchery at St. Paul, Min ' Every year he turns out into the waters of Eesotaa total ol some 65.000.0fiO tiny fish, part of a vast li i hatched yearly by the state to re populate its lakes and streams. Last year. eight state hatcnencs m Aiinncs.ua hatched and placed in the waters of Tstate some 258.000,000 fish. With it- 10,000 lakes and numerous stream. Minnesota is one of the rreat fishing resorts ol the countr. and the extensive fish propagation work undertaken by the state II part of a prograiB to preserve and develop this resource. aI,, states have entered into the interesting and highly impor tant task of raising fish to repten ish the supply in their lakes and streams. Incidentally, they are do ing the job taster and better than nature could do it. But few states have the p sibilities for develop ment held by the almost limitless waters of Minnesota. Two hundred and fifty million fish that" I staggering total when you try to measure its extent, and it is lUggestive only of the amount of work involved, the amount of patience and care required being to the uninitiated quite as incompre hensible as the total. The trout hatching season is now at it height While snow and :e covet the streams and the lakes, and fishermen are Idling their stories about the winter fires, the fish btchery starts turning out its yearly horde. Tiny brown fry. a half inch long, more or less, flounder about in the water at the hatcheries by the thousands, yes Bullions, the origin of uncounted delights for the men who follow the lure of the trout streams. The hatchery over which Mr. Mix presides at St. Paul, the biggest in the state of Minnesota, turns out 5.000,000 trout every winter. In the spring, Mr. M ix will be hatching the pike perch, and doing the job better than nature could do it. That will add more millions to his yearlv foibles, some f 0,000.000 or 70,000,000. And to all these millions of tiny fish, Mr Mix must givi his personal attention. "It I just like so many babies," he said. 'These trout here, for instance, begin coming to the top of the water for food when they are three s old. We plan to ship them out to the streams before that time, but often w are una! to do so. Then we usually wait til we have a carload ready to ship at a time. They must be fed when they come to the jP The ia or yolk of the egg remains at d to each little trout after hatching, pro ving food for the first three weeks. After ! disappears, they begin coming to the JJof the water for food, and we have to be J ob with the food. flJust n w. I am feeding only about J00 lT "?1 isn't so bad. But sometimes I lied a million or By EARL CHRISTMAS testimony. Sometimes before breakfast, however, Mr Mix mm count the tiny fish in one of the pans at the hatchery just to see if his estimates are running true to form. In one of these pans, used in the hatching of trout, there are 10,000 fry. The pan is on foot wide and about two feet long. Sometimes Mr Mix finds he has miscalculated by 50 or 100 or sometimes bv only 10. cm EK 111 WW yjflBL mes whni I had to feed the whole hatchery. i ieatner and teed them three tunes many does the hatcherv hold?' an! . "But h a 1 asked. .Sometime more than 5,000,000," he said, day-lw li"" 5(MKMMK) f,sh wih a feather three times a urn. What woul(1 'ou do with your spare Oh I season" lflnanat to keep busv during the hatching Meed MlX continiu'd- "We never would have OH ()WS" ni v ttnT the present plan, where we have portatio" un,ess something in the way of a trans it car" t !? rcsuIte(1 Sometimes, when we couldn't ourseiVcS -k ,imc we wanted them, we would find "Xow tki 'arKc "umbers to feed on our hands. make the 1 5?!f owns a sPccial car and the crews might h ilstnl)l,tions rnore regularly. Sometimes, we would LVi l f(?ec a million this way, but usually it "YouVUUlul a ha,f mi,,,on or ,css over the 1 flatner and spread the food around chance If ( Vcnlr' s that all the fish will get a other if ou fion't thy will go to eating one an- with the a yU don t sPread the fiod over the water peedin CSt care' many of thc litt,c ffy wil1 tiic" ri,y would SCVCral miIhon fish with a feather ordina many wom Commcn(1 the patience of any man, and not m would be disposed to question its eloquent Tup The eggs ol 1 ir foul arc placed in pans in running water. The egga are about ao eighth of an inch in diameter. Center OLIVER W. MIX, who fiode that run ning m big elate fish hatchery qualifies a roan for a medal when it ooroea to patience. Bottom- This picture shows a section of one pan of the liny trout in the fry atage, about three weeks after hatching Less than an inch in length, they are called fry; longer than an inch, hngerlings. Most fish are shipped from hatcheries in the fry stage. Full of strange and interesting insights into the wonders of nature is the fish hatchery. For instance, if you !ihi1(1 go down to a trout hatchery and find a man feeding his fisll with a feather, you probably never would guess what he is feeding them. The miniature trout, when they get big enough to cat. demand a diet of liver. And liver they get de spite the high cost of meat. The liver is ground into tine particles and mixed with water. The mixture is iprcad evenly over the surface of the water with a feather, and the fish do the rest. The tiny fish require from 50 to 100 pounds of lier i week, when about half a million are being fed. When the number is larger, the food bill at the hatchery be comes a serious item. "Hut the tiny fry and fingerlings aren't the only fish that need meat." Mr Mix explained. "The meat for the brood stock sometimes runs as high as $148 a month In thc summer, they cat 600 pounds of beef lungs and liver a week. If we stop giving them meat, thc fish begin to disappear. You see, they eat the young and weaker. L . "Even the little pike start eating each other if wc don't ship them out soon after they hatch. 1 have seen a string of them, two or three inches long. One fish would try to eat another, and as the head of the little pike is comparatively large, it couldn't be done. He WOttld get the job just about half finished, when he'd get stuck. Another hungry little pike would come along and try to eat the second, swallowing away at his tail until he. too, got stuck. Others would try the same thing, until there would be seven or eight in the string, all dead." But feeding the fish isn't the only concern of the man who runs a fish hatchery. 'The water must be k- pt at the right temperature, and there must .be a proper circulation of the wa ter while the eggs are hatching," Mr. Mix explained. "If there isn't proper circulation, the little trout may be crippled. As it is. there are all kinds of freaks. Sometimes there are fish with two heads, some with three heads. Some are twins, "The spawning season for the trout usually begins in October. It requires from 90 to 100 days for the eggs to hatch. The tiny eggs, stripped from the trout, are kept in little square pans in running wa ter until they hatch. Running wa ter is necessary, because the pres ence of air in the water is neces- sary. When the fish hatch, they go into oblong pans in the long troughs of running water in the hatchery. In each of these pans, a foot wide and about two feel long, 10,000 tiny trout wiggle ab ut while the white sac is disappearing from their bodies. If they begin to lose the precious sac of food too SOOH, a stream of ice water, turned into the trough, serves to check their growth while the railroad hurries its cars. For the pike perch, with eggs much more numerous, a different system is used. The pike eggs are placed in jars. When the fish hatch, they come to the top, and flow off through numerous tanks and pipes into the ship ping tank. The pike hatch in much less time than the trout, and must be shipped out at once, hav ing no such three weeks' food supply as the tiny trout. So the pike hatching season, be ginning usually some time in April and last ing a month, is a frantic rush at the fish hatchery. In that month, some 65,000,000 pike are hatched and sent out from the hatchery over which Mr. Mix presides. Brook trout constitute the great bulk of trout hatched at the Minnesota hatcheries, though brown trout, lake trout and steelhead trout are hatched in lesser numbers. Pike perch, however, because of their more pro lific nature, form the greatest part of the yearly production. Of the 2S841423 fish planted last year, pike perch numbered 248, 788.000, while brook trout numbered 7.041, 096. "Replenishing our fish supply is a task of tremendous importance.' said E. W. Cobb, state superintendent of fisheries. "Minnesota and other states with good lakes and treams for fish might well spend two or three times as much as they do in this work. Our fish are just like our forests. We realize their importance after they are gone. Unless we pay greater attention to protecting our fish and propagating more, they will go the way of our great forests." Anyway, while serving as a much-needed institution of conservation, the fish hatchery is a most interesting place. For instance, the hatchery at St. Paul has developed a species of white brook trout. With a beautiful white skin and lithe bodjTi they skim through the darkened avt of the pO K the cynosure of all eyes of the fih kingdom, you might imagine as you watch them dart here and there. But this time beauty is a delusion and a snare. The white fish "Albinos." they call them at the hatchery have a very high visibility and a correspondingly high mortality. All their enemies can set tlum too well. The kingfishers sit in a tree overlooking the pond, and when a white streak appears in the water below, dart like an arrow into the water, pinning thc fish with iluir sharp bills. Perhaps man wasn't so kind in developing a race of white fish. However, Mr. Mix has provided a covering for part of the pool where the Albinos live, and they can seek refuge there when the kingfishers get too thick. And a rifle helps keep the casual ities as low as possible. All this and more falls to the lot of the man who runs a fish hatchery. Perhaps no other man handles the destinies of so many living beings, and he has the champion long-distance record for patience.