Fish in the Farm Fields

   Posted by: admin   in Farm life, Tall tales, Webster City

The Fort Dodge Messenger: Nov. 3, 1903

Fish in the Farm Fields

An Interesting “Fish Story” From Hamilton County

After Past Wet Seasons Fish Have Been Deposited on Drying Farm Meadows

Webster City, Ia., Nov. 3 – Catfish and bullheads are so plentiful in the ponds, marshes and low places in the southern part of Hamilton county that women go out in the fields to the nearest ponds and gather them up on their aprons as they would chips. This extraordinary condition of affairs has just been discovered by the farmers of the section and “fish gathering” within the past few days has become quite the order of the day.

The fearfully wet seasons of 1902 and 1903 has brought about this strange phenomenon. All the streams during these two years have been so high that the fish, in seeking the headwaters have followed up the creeks, drain ditches and even the drain tile, although it is averred in some parts that the natural evaporation and precipitation of water has been carried on so quickly that small fish and spawn have been lifted from the rivers and have fallen with the rain. Those which fell in the lower places have lived and begot their kind. Of  course this story is more or less discredited, yet the fact remains that the farms in the southern part of the county are well supplied with fish. When the waters receded the fish were unable to get out of the ponds and marshes and can now be easily caught. Many of these ponds have receded to such an extent that the fish can be picked out of them with their hands.

There is something very peculiar about the way the bullheads act as the waters begin to dry up. The other day Sam Varland, a prosperous farmer living near Radcliffe, was crossing one of his fields when he came upon a small pond almost dry. Thinking, perhaps, there were fish in it, he removed his shoes and stockings and waded in. He found it literally crowded with bullheads and cat. While engaged in throwing them out with his hand he felt something hard and slimy deep down in the mud. He ran his hand down and what was his surprise to pull out a big bullhead weighing about four pounds. He kept on digging about, and before he left the pond he had succeeded in pulling twenty-five big fish out of the mud.

Fishermen explain this by saying that the bullhead, as soon as the waters begin to recede and freeze, will dig deep down into the mud, where it will live all winter and come forth again in the spring. Fishing in the larger ponds of the country has been common all summer but no one dreamed until recently that they were so full of fish as they now seem to be. All the farmers are now making a specialty of cleaning out their ponds and all the low places upon th efarm.

Much interest is manifest all over the county in the matter of fishing. It is likely that the farmers will get such a fill of fish that they will have no liking for the finny tribe after the present season is over.

Tags: ,

This entry was posted on Thursday, November 3rd, 2011 at 6:00 am and is filed under Farm life, Tall tales, Webster City. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

Leave a reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.