Date of this Version
During the summer of 1893 the Michigan Fish Commission entered upon a biological study of the Great Lakes by maintaining a party on Lake St. Clair. In the report of that two months, written by the director of the laboratory, Professor J. E. Reighard, are given in full the reasons which led to the inception of the undertaking and the aims which its promoters held in view. A study of the life of the lake in all its manifold interrelations and especially of those factors which bore upon the welfare of the food fishes in general and the young whitefish in particular were the ends sought. On the attainment of these ends depends the determining of those conditions most favorable for the fry, and hence the character of the places in which they should be planted. Those who may doubt the propriety of such undertakings as this will find in the report just cited (Reighard, 95*, p. 1-5) an extended and convincing discussion of the question in its various bearings.
Ever since its establishment by legislative enactment, which named specifioally "the cultivation of the whitefish" among its duties, the Michigan Fish Commission has been active in effort in behalf of this important and diminishing food supply. The work of the first year of lake investigation on Lake St. Clair had been carried on in the waters of a great spawning ground of the whitefish, and it seemed wise in the second year to transfer operations to a locality which was the home of this species throughout the entire year, and which afforded hence an opportunity of studying it continuously in its natural environment. The absence of Professor Reighard in Europe prevented his taking charge of the work, and the writer, who had been his assistant during the previous summer, was asked to assume control. The opportunity was all the more readily accepted since it was joined with the express desire on the side of the Commission that the general aims of the past be kept in view and that the whitefish be made the object of especial study for the purpose of ascertaining definitely the character of its food and the life of the young which had been hitherto an absolutely unknown quantity.