Dosing fish with LSD, from a 1964 issue of Sports Illustrated

Turn off your mind, relax, and float downstream. In the 1960s, aquatic biologist Howard Loeb dosed fish with LSD to see if the psychedelic could revolutionize angling and commercial fishing. The idea was that tripping fish would surface, making them easy to catch by fishers pruning lakes of undesirable species. Sports Illustrated wrote about Loeb in 1964:
 Albums Lsd-Blotter-Circa-1980S Lsd Blotter Fish An imaginative ex-paratrooper who has been in fish biology for 16 of his 42 years, Loeb often comes up with the unusual, working on what he calls "the fun stuff–the thing that nobody knows anything about." He devised the electric pond-shocker that conservation workers use to obtain fish samples. He has worked on selective poison baits for carp, a trash fish that has ruined many game-fish waters in New York and other states, and is assisting an associate. Bill Kelly, in working on long-lasting dyes for marking trout. Several years ago Dr. Harold A. Abramson, Director of Psychiatric Research at South Oaks Psychiatric Hospital in Amityville, N.Y., chanced to read of Loeb's work on carp poisons, and he offered a suggestion: use LSD-25, a hallucinogenic drug derived from d-lysergic acid, originally found in the ergot fungus that grows on rye...

If LSD could work on carp and other fish, the opportunities were unlimited for conservation authorities and sportsmen. For example, a pond loaded with carp poses problems. If any of the standard chemicals, such as rotenone, are used, all the fish, both carp and game fish, usually die, aquatic insects suffer and the poison sometimes lingers for months, preventing the restocking of game fish. But if a chemical could cause all the fish to surface for several hours without killing them, then the undesirable fish could be picked out and the game fish left to prosper. Again, a surfacing chemical would enable biologists to take a highly accurate fish census of a body of water without harming a fin. A low-flying plane could photograph a treated body of water, and biologists, interpreting the pictures, could get a count of species and populations.

"A Dreamy New Era For Fish" (via Dose Nation)

(Image from


  1. 1964 was right at the cusp. Two years later, not only would the definition, “a hallucinogenic drug derived from d-lysergic acid, originally found in the ergot fungus” been superflous, but the article itself could probably not have been published.

  2. My brother works/ed at a pond store called Scherer’s that is pretty famous for selling quality koi fish and plant’s in the New York area. Apparently in the 50’s and early 60’s this exact research was carried out there by scientists and you can still find said research published somewhere in a dark corner of the interweb. It’s a running joke at the store apparently, although i’ve never been able to find the abstract.

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