Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Moses Lake Carp Prized In New York City Homes

From the Spokane "Chronicle."

April 8, 1931

Moses Lake Carp Prized In New York City Homes


During the early days of the Great Depression, Fish hawkers in New York shout their wares in husky voices and gentlemen of commerce stop to admire the great delicacy-and buy. While far across the continent from New York, in central Washington, fishermen drag huge nets through a silver lake and large ugly looking fish, carp, are seined by the ton.

Once in the hands of the fish vendor their unsightly skins removed, they become a delicacy. Every year the Milwaukee Road  hauled gigantic refrigerator cars loaded to hilt to points east via fast express trains, where they were quickly handed off to eastern railroads for markets like New York, hungry for this delicious fish.

Moses Lake, with its then 105-mile shore line of beautiful orchards and fertile farm lands, makes it truly the oasis of the Columbia Basin Project.

During a high-water period some years ago, Moses lake broke through the sand hills and connected up with the Columbia River. When the waters receded, the lake found itself well stocked with carp. These fish multiply very rapidly and had it not been for the Minnawash Fish Company conceiving the idea of using them for commercial purposes, the fish could never have attained their present size.

Nets from 1400 to 1500 feet in length were used in seining the fish, which are then put into large boats and towed by motor to fish ponds made up for this purpose. There they are fed and fattened for the market.

In 1927 922,347 pounds of carp were shipped over the Milwaukee to points in the east.

Carp is not a game fish, and not being of a spectacular type, wasn't very well known to angler. However, it was not uncommon to see hundreds of people fishing for carp along the shore and nearly every one is rewarded with a good catch. 

The most common bait used was a dough ball made by boiling corn meal to a good stiff mash, then working ordinary cotton batting into it until it becomes hard and stiff, adnd then rolling into little round pellets about the size of a marble.

Serious carp removal projects have continued over the years, including a tournament held a few weeks ago. The largest known specimen to have been removed from the lake weighed just shy of 50lbs.

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