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Title: Fly Fishing in Wonderland
Author: Klahowya
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Fly Fishing in Wonderland" ***

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[Illustration: FLY FISHING in WONDERLAND Cover]


  _Snakin' wood down the mount'ins,
    Fishin' the little streams;
  Smokin' my pipe in the twilight,
    An' dreamin' over old dreams;_

  _Breathin' the breath o' the cool snows,
    Sniffin' the scent o' the pine;
  Watchin' the hurryin' river,
  An' hearin' the coyotes whine._

  _This is life in the mount'ins,
    Summer an' winter an' fall,
  Up to the rainy springtime,
    When the birds begin to call._

  _Then I fix my rod and tackle,
    I read, I smoke an' I sing.
  Glad like the birds to be livin'--
    Livin' the life of a king!_
        --_Louise Paley in The Saturday Evening Post._

  COPYRIGHT, 1910,






    _GOOD FISHING! A FOREWORD_                    _6_
    _IN THE DIM, RED DAWN_                        _9_
    _THE TROUT--NATIVE AND PLANTED_              _14_
    _LET'S GO A-FISHING!_                        _21_
    _A CHAPTER ON TROUT FLIES_                   _28_
    _GRIZZLY LAKE AND LAKE ROSE_                 _35_
    _A MORNING ON IRON CREEK_                    _40_
    _AN AFTERNOON ON THE FIREHOLE_               _45_



_This little writing has to do with the streams and the trout therein of
that portion of our country extending southward from the southern
boundary of Montana to the Teton mountains, and eastward from the
eastern boundary of Idaho to the Absaroka range. Lying on both sides of
the continental divide, its surface is veined by the courses of a
multitude of streams flowing either to the Pacific Ocean or to the Gulf
of Mexico, while from the southern rim of this realm of wonders the
waters reach the Gulf of California through the mighty canyons carved by
the Colorado._

_This region has abundant attractions for seekers of outdoor pleasures,
and for none more than for the angler. Here, within a space about
seventy miles square, nature has placed a bewildering diversity of
rivers, mountains, lakes, canyons, geysers and waterfalls not found
elsewhere in the world. Fortunately, Congress early reserved the greater
part of this domain as a public pleasure ground. Under the wise
administration of government officials the natural beauties are
protected and made accessible by superb roads. The streams also, many of
which were barren of fish, have, by successful plantings and intelligent
protection, become all that the sportsman can wish. The angler who
wanders through the woods in almost any direction will scarcely fail to
find some picturesque lake or swift flowing stream where the best of
sport may be had with the rod._

_Several years ago I made my first visit to this country, and it has
been my privilege to return thither annually on fishing excursions of
varying duration. These outings have been so enjoyable and have yielded
so much pleasure at the time and afterwards, that I should like to sound
the angler's pack-cry, "Good Fishing!" loudly enough to lead others to
go also._

_The photographs from which the illustrations were made, except where
due credit is given to others, were taken with a small hand camera which
has hung at my belt in crossing mountains and wading streams, and are
mainly of such scenes as one comes upon in out-of-the-way places while
following that "most virtuous pastime" of fly-casting._

                                                      _THE AUTHOR._


[Illustration: _THE DIM, RED DAWN_]


[Illustration: _A Leaping Salmon_

_Photo by Hugh M. Smith_]

BEFORE exercising the right of eminent domain over these waters, it may
be profitable to say a word in explanation of the fact that hardly more
than a score of years ago many of these beautiful lakes and streams were
absolutely without fish life. This will aid us in understanding what the
government has done and is still doing to create an ideal paradise for
the angler among these mountains and plateaus.

There was a time, and this too in comparatively recent geological eras,
when the waters of that region now under consideration abounded with
fish of many species. The clumsy catfish floundered along the shallows
and reedy bayous in company with the solemn red-horse and a long line of
other fishes of present and past generations. The lordly salmon found
ideal spawning grounds in the gravelly beds of the streams draining to
the westward, and doubtless came hither annually in great numbers. It
may be that the habit of the Columbia river salmon to return yearly from
the Pacific and ascend that stream was bred into the species during the
days when its waters ran in an uninterrupted channel from source to sea.
It is true that elsewhere salmon manifest this anadromous impulse in as
marked a degree as in the Columbia and its tributaries, yet, the
conclusion that these heroic pilgrimages are _habit_ resulting from
similar movements, accidental at first, but extending over countless
years, is natural, and probably correct. When one sees these noble fish
congested by thousands at the foot of some waterfall up which not one in
a hundred is able to leap, or observes them ascending the brooks in the
distant mountains where there is not sufficient water to cover them,
gasping, bleeding, dying, but pushing upward with their last breath, the
figure of the crusaders in quest of an ancient patrimony arises in the
mind, so strong is the simile and so active is your sympathy with the

[Illustration: _Mammoth Hot Springs_]

In those distant days the altitude of this region was not great, nor was
the ocean as remote from its borders as now. The forces which already
had lifted considerable areas above the sea and fashioned them into an
embryo continent were still at work. The earth-shell, yet soft and
plastic, was not strong enough to resist the double strain caused by its
cooling, shrinking outer crust and the expanding, molten interior.
Volcanic eruptions, magnificent in extent, resulted and continued at
intervals throughout the Pliocene period. These eruptions were
accompanied by prodigious outpours of lava that altered the topography
of the entire mountain section. Nowhere else in all creation has such an
amount of matter been forced up from the interior of the earth to flow
in red-hot rivers to the distant seas as in the western part of the
United States. What a panorama of flame it was, and what a sublime
impression it must have made on the minds of the primeval men who
witnessed it from afar as they paddled their canoes over the troubled
waters that reflected the red-litten heavens beneath them! Is it
remarkable that the geyser region of the Park is a place of evil repute
among the savages and a thing to be passed by on the other side, even to
the present day?

[Illustration: _Detail from Jupiter Terrace_]

When the elemental forces subsided the waters were fishless, and all
aquatic life had been destroyed in the creation of the glories of the
Park and its surroundings. Streams that once had their origins in
sluggish, lily-laden lagoons, now took their sources from the lofty
continental plateaus. In reaching the lower levels these streams, in
most instances, fell over cataracts so high as to be impassable to fish,
thus precluding their being restocked by natural processes. From this
cause the upper Gardiner, the Gibbon and the Firehole rivers and their
tributaries--streams oftenest seen by the tourist--were found to contain
no trout when man entered upon the scene. From a sportsman's viewpoint
the troutless condition of the very choicest waters was fortunate, as it
left them free for the planting of such varieties as are best adapted to
the food and character of each stream.

The blob or miller's thumb existed in the Gibbon river, and perhaps in
other streams, above the falls. Its presence in such places is due to
its ability to ascend very precipitous water courses by means of the
filamentous algae which usually border such torrents. I once discovered
specimens of this odd fish in the algous growth covering the rocky face
of the falls of the Des Chutes river, at Tumwater, in the state of
Washington, and there is little doubt that they do ascend nearly
vertical walls where the conditions are favorable.

[Illustration: _Tumwater Falls_]

The presence of the red-throat trout of the Snake river in the head
waters of the Missouri is easily explained by the imperfect character of
the water-shed between the Snake and Yellowstone rivers. Atlantic Creek,
tributary to the Yellowstone, and Pacific Creek, tributary to the Snake,
both rise in the same marshy meadow on the continental divide. From this
it is argued that, during the sudden melting of heavy snows in early
times, it was possible for specimens to cross from one side to the
other, and it is claimed that an interchange of individuals might occur
by this route at the present day.[A] Certain it is that these courageous
fish exhibit the same disregard for their lives that is spoken of
previously as characteristic of their congeners, the salmon. Trout are
frequently found lying dead on the grass of a pasture or meadow where
they were stranded the night previous in an attempt to explore a
rivulet caused by a passing shower. The mortality among fish of this
species in irrigated districts is alarming. At each opening of the
sluice gates they go out with the current and perish in the fields.
Unless there is a more rigid enforcement of the law requiring that the
opening into the ditches be screened, trout must soon disappear from the
irrigated sections.

The supposition that these fish have crossed the continental divide, as
it were, overland, serves the double purpose of explaining the presence
of the trout, and the absence of the chub, sucker and white-fish of the
Snake River from Yellowstone Lake. The latter are feeble fish at best,
and generally display a preference for the quiet waters of the deeper
pools where they feed near the bottom and with little exertion. Neither
the chub, sucker nor white-fish possesses enough hardihood to undertake
so precarious a journey nor sufficient vitality to survive it.

[Illustration: _Gibbon Falls_]


[Footnote A: NOTE--"As already stated, the trout of Yellowstone Lake
certainly came into the Missouri basin by way of Two-Ocean Pass from the
Upper Snake River basin. One of the present writers has caught them in
the very act of going over Two-Ocean Pass from Pacific into Atlantic
drainage. The trout of the two sides of the pass cannot be separated,
and constitute a single species."
                                                   Jordan & Evermann.]


[Illustration: _A Place to be Remembered_]

TO MANY people a trout is merely a _trout_, with no distinction as to
variety or origin; and some there be who know him only as a _fish_, to
be eaten without grace and with much gossip. Again, there are those who
have written at great length of this and that species and sub-species,
with many words and nice distinctions relative to vomerine teeth,
branchiostegal rays and other anatomical differences. I would not lead
you, even if your patience permitted, along the tedious path of the
scientist, but will follow the middle path and note only such
differences in the members of this interesting family as may be apparent
to the unpracticed eye and by which the novice may distinguish between
the varieties that come to his creel.

In a letter to Doctor David Starr Jordan, in September, 1889, Hon.
Marshall McDonald, then U. S. Commissioner of Fish and Fisheries, wrote,
"I have proposed to undertake to stock these waters with different
species of Salmonidae, reserving a distinct river basin for each." Every
one will commend the wisdom of the original intent as it existed in the
mind of Mr. McDonald. It implied that a careful study would be made of
the waters of each basin to determine the volume and character of the
current, its temperature, the depth to which it froze during the
sub-arctic winters, and the kinds and quantities of fish-food found in
each. With this data well established, and knowing, as fish culturists
have for centuries, what conditions are favorable to the most desirable
kinds of trout, there was a field for experimentation and improvement
probably not existing elsewhere.

[Illustration: _Willow Park Camp_]

[Illustration: _Klahowya_]

The commission began its labors in 1889, and the record for that year
shows among other plants, the placing of a quantity of Loch Leven trout
in the Firehole above the Kepler Cascade. The year following nearly ten
thousand German trout fry were planted in Nez Perce Creek, the principal
tributary of the Firehole. Either the agents of the commission
authorized to make these plants were ignorant of the purpose of the
Commissioner at Washington, or they did not know with what immunity fish
will pass over the highest falls. Whatever the reason for this error,
the die is cast, and the only streams that have a single distinct
variety are the upper Gardiner and its tributaries, where the eastern
brook trout has the field, or rather the waters, to himself. The first
attempt to stock any stream was a transfer of the native trout of
another stream to Lava Creek above the falls. I mention this because the
presence of the native trout in this locality has led some to believe
that they were there from the first, and thus constituted an exception
to the rule that no trout were found in streams above vertical

[Illustration: _On the Trail to Grizzly Lake_]

[Illustration: _The Little Firehole_]

Many are confused by the variety of names applied to the native trout of
the Yellowstone, _Salmo lewisi_. Red-throat trout, cut-throat trout,
black-spotted trout, mountain trout, Rocky Mountain trout, salmon trout,
and a host of other less generally known local names have been applied
to him. This is in a measure due to the widely different localities and
conditions under which he is found, and to the very close resemblance he
bears to his first cousins, _Salmo clarkii_, of the streams flowing into
the Pacific from northern California to southern Alaska; and to _Salmo
mykiss_ of the Kamchatkan rivers. Perhaps the very abundance of this
trout has cheapened the estimate in which he is held by some anglers.
Nevertheless, he is a royal fish. In streams with rapid currents he is
always a hard fighter, and his meat is high-colored and well-flavored.

The name "black-spotted" trout describes this fish more accurately than
any other of his cognomens. The spots are carbon-black and have none of
the vermilion and purple colors that characterize the brook trout. The
spots are not, however, always uniform in size and number. In some
instances they are entirely wanting on the anterior part of the body,
but their absence is not sufficiently important to constitute a varietal
distinction. The red dash under the throat (inner edge of the mandible)
from which the names "cut-throat" and "red-throat" are derived, is never
absent in specimens taken here, and, as no other trout of this locality
is so marked, it affords the tyro an unfailing means of determining the
nature of his catch.

[Illustration: _The Path Through the Pines_]

If the eastern brook trout, _Salvelinus fontinalis_, could read and
understand but a part of the praises that have been sung of him in prose
and verse through all the years, what a pampered princeling and nuisance
he would become! But to his credit, he has gone on being the same
sensible, shrewd, wary and delightful fish, adapting himself to all
sorts of mountain streams, lakes, ponds and rivers, and always giving
the largest returns to the angler in the way of health and happiness.
The literature concerning the methods employed in his capture alone
would make a library in which we should find the names of soldiers,
statesmen and sovereigns, and the great of the earth. Aelian, who lived
in the second century A. D., describes, in his _De Animalium Natura_,
how the Macedonians took a fish with speckled skin from a certain river
by means of a hook tied about with red wool, to which were fitted two
feathers from a cock's wattle. More than four hundred years prior to
this Theocritus mentioned a method of fishing with a "fallacious bait
suspended from a rod," but unfortunately failed to tell us how the fly
was made. If by any chance you have never met the brook trout you may
know him infallibly from his brethren by the dark olive, worm-like
lines, technically called "vermiculations," along the back, as he alone
displays these heraldic markings.

[Illustration: _The Melan Bridge_]

Throughout the northwest the brown trout, _Salmo fario_, is generally
known as the "von Behr" trout, from the name of the German
fish-culturist who sent the first shipment of their eggs to this
country. This fish may be distinguished at sight by the coarse scales
which give his body a dark grayish appearance, slightly resembling a
mullet, and by the large dull red spots along the lateral line. There
are also three beautiful red spots on the adipose fin.

The Loch Leven trout, _Salmo levenensis_, comes from a lake of that name
in southern Scotland. He is a canny, uncertain fellow, and nothing like
as hardy as we might expect from his origin. In the Park waters he has
not justified the fame for gameness which he brings from abroad, but
there are occasions, particularly in the vicinity of the Lone Star
geyser, when he comes on with a very pretty rush. In general appearance
he somewhat resembles the von Behr trout, but is a more graceful and
finely organized fish than the latter. He is the only trout of this
locality that has no red on his body, and its absence is sufficient to
distinguish him from all others.

[Illustration: _Distant View of Mt. Holmes_]

No one can possibly mistake the rainbow trout, _Salmo irideus_, for any
other species. The large, brilliant spots with which his silvery-bluish
body is covered, and that filmy iridescence so admired by every one,
will identify him anywhere. There is, however, a marked difference in
the brilliance of this iridescence between fish of different ages as
well as between stream-raised and hatchery-bred specimens, and even
among fish from the upper and lower courses of the same stream.

[Illustration: _Learning to Cast_]

The question as to which is the more beautiful, the rainbow or the brook
trout, has often been debated with much feeling by their respective
champions, and will doubtless remain undecided so long as both may be
taken from clear-flowing brooks, where sky and landscape blend with the
soul of man to make him as supremely happy as it is ever the lot of
mortals to become. For it is the joy within and around you that supplies
a mingled pleasure far deeper than that afforded by the mere beauty of
the fish. You will remember that "Doctor Boteler" said of the
strawberry, "Doubtless God could have made a better berry, but
doubtless God never did." So, I have said at different times of _both_
brook and rainbow trout, "Doubtless God could have made a more beautiful
fish than this, but doubtless God never did."

[Illustration: _Scene on the Gibbon River_]

[Illustration: _Above Kepler Cascade_]

During a recent trip through the Rocky Mountains I remained over night
in a town of considerable mining importance. In the evening I walked up
the main street passing an almost unbroken line of saloons, gambling
houses and dance halls, then crossed the street to return, and found the
same conditions on that side, except that, if possible, the crowds were
noisier. Just before reaching the hotel, I came upon a small restaurant
in the window of which was an aquarium containing a number of rainbow
trout. One beautiful fish rested quivering, pulsating, resplendent,
poised apparently in mid air, while the rays from an electric light
within were so refracted that they formed an aureola about the fish,
seemingly transfiguring it. I paused long in meditation on the scene,
till aroused from my revery by the blare of a graphophone from a resort
across the street. It sang:

  "Last night as I lay sleeping, there came a dream so fair,
   I stood in old Jerusalem, beside the temple there;
   I heard the children singing and ever as they sang
   Methought the voice of angels from heaven in answer rang,
       Jerusalem, Jerusalem, lift up your gates and sing
       Hosanna in the highest, hosanna to your king."

I made the sign of Calvary in the vapor on the glass and departed into
the night pondering of many things.


      "No man is in perfect condition to enjoy scenery
      unless he has a fly-rod in his hand and a fly-hook in
      his pocket."
                                             _Wm. C. Prime_

[Illustration: _Lower Falls of the Yellowstone_]

MANY who know these mountains and valleys best have gained their
knowledge with a rod in hand, and you will hear these individuals often
express surprise that a greater number of tourists do not avail
themselves of the splendid opportunities offered for fishing. In no
other way can so much pleasure be found on the trip, and by no other
means can you put yourself so immediately and completely in sympathy
with the spirit of the wilderness. Besides, it is this doing something
more than being a mere passenger that gives the real interest and zest
to existence and that yields the best returns in the memories of
delightful days. The ladies may be taken along without the least
inconvenience and to the greater enjoyment of the outing. What if the
good dame has never seen an artificial fly! Take her anyway, if she will
go, and we will make her acquainted with streams where she shall have
moderate success if she but stand in the shadow of the willows and
tickle the surface of the pool with a single fly. You will feel
mutually grateful, each for the presence of the other; and, depend upon
it, it will make the recollection doubly enjoyable.

We shall never know and name all the hot springs and geysers of this
wonderland, but we may become acquainted with the voice of a stream and
know it as the speech of a friend. We may establish fairly intimate
relations with the creatures of the wood and be admitted to some sort of
brotherhood with them if we conduct ourselves becomingly. The timid
grouse will acknowledge the caress of our bamboo with an arching of the
neck, and the beaver will bring for our inspection his freight of willow
or alder, and will at times swim confidently between our legs when we
are wading in deep water.

[Illustration: _The Black Giant Geyser_]

The author of "Little Rivers" draws this pleasing picture of the
delights of fishing: "You never get so close to the birds as when you
are wading quietly down a little river, casting your fly deftly under
the branches for the wary trout, but ever on the lookout for all the
pleasant things that nature has to bestow upon you. Here you shall come
upon the catbird at her morning bath, and hear her sing, in a clump of
pussy-willows, that low, tender, confidential song which she keeps for
the hours of domestic intimacy. The spotted sand-piper will run along
the stones before you, crying, 'wet-feet, wet-feet!' and bowing and
teetering in the friendliest manner, as if to show you the best pools."
Surely, if this invitation move you not, no voice of mine will serve to
stir your laggard legs.

One should not, however, go to the wilderness and expect it to receive
him at once with open arms. It was there before him and will remain long
after he is forgotten. But approach it humbly and its asperities will
soften and in time become akin to affection. As one looks for the first
time through the black, basaltic archway at the entrance to the Park,
the nearby mountains have an air of distance and unfriendliness, nor do
they speedily assume a more sympathetic relation toward the visitor. A
region in which the world's formative forces linger ten thousand years
after they have disappeared elsewhere will make no hasty alliance with
strangers. The heavy foot of time treads so slowly here that one must
come often and with observant eye to note the advance from season to
season and to feel that he has any part or interest in it.

[Illustration: _Park Gateway_]

When we can judge correctly from the height of the up-springing
vegetation whether the forest fire that blackened this hillside raged
one year ago or ten; when we have noted that the bowl of this terrace,
increasing in height by the insensible deposit of carbonate of lime from
the overflowing waters, appears to outstrip from year to year the growth
of the neighboring cedars; when these and a multitude of kindred
phenomena are comprehended, how interested we become!

Nothing said here is intended to encourage undue familiarity with the
wild game. "Shinny on your own side," is a good motto with any game, and
more than one can testify of sudden and unexpected trouble brought on
themselves by meddlesomeness. In following an elk trail through the
woods one afternoon, I found a pine tree had fallen across the path
making a barrier about hip-high. While looking about to see whether any
elk had gone over the trail since the tree fell, and, if so, whether
they had leaped the barrier or had passed around it by way of the root
or top, a squirrel with a pine cone in his teeth, sprang on the butt of
the tree and came jauntily along the log. Some twenty feet away he spied
me, and suddenly his whole manner and bearing changed. He dropped the
cone and came on with a bow-legged, swaggering air, the very embodiment
of insolent proprietorship. The top of my rod extended over the log,
and as he came under it I gave him a smart switch across the back. Now,
there had been nothing in my previous acquaintance with squirrels to
lead me to think them other than most timid animals. But the slight blow
of the rod-tip transformed this one into a Fury. With a peculiar
half-bark, half-scream, he leaped at my face and slashed at my neck and
ears with his powerful jaws. So strong was he that I could not drag him
loose when his teeth were buried in my coat collar. I finally choked him
till he loosened his hold and flung him ten feet away. Back he came to
the attack with the speed of a wild cat. It was either retreat for me or
death to the squirrel, and I retreated. Never before had I witnessed
such an exhibition of diabolical malevolence, and, though I have laughed
over it since, I was too much upset for an hour afterward to see the
funny side of the encounter.

[Illustration: _Bear Cubs_

_Photo by F. J. Haynes_]

The ways of the wilderness have ever been pleasant to my feet, and
whether it was taking the ouananiche in Canada or the Beardslee trout in
the shadow of the Olympics, it has all been good. Without detracting
from the sport afforded by any other locality, I honestly believe that,
taking into consideration climate, comfort, scenery, environment, and
the opportunities for observing wild life, this region has no equal for
trout fishing under the sun. I am aware that he who praises the fishing
on any stream will ever have two classes of critics--the unthinking and
the unsuccessful. To these I would say, "Whether your success shall be
greater or less than mine will depend upon the conditions of weather and
stream and on your own skill, and none of these do I control." In that
splendid book, "Fly-Rods and Fly-Tackle," Mr. Henry P. Wells relates an
instance in which he and his guide took an angler to a distant lake with
the certain promise and expectation of fine fishing. After recording the
keen disappointment he felt that not a single trout would show itself,
he says, "Then I vowed a vow, which I commend to the careful
consideration of all anglers, old and new alike--never again, under any
circumstances, will I recommend any fishing locality in terms
substantially stronger than these 'At that place I have done so and so;
under like conditions it is believed that you can repeat it.' We are apt
to speak of a place and the sport it affords as we found it, whereas
reflection and experience should teach us that it is seldom exactly the
same, even for two successive days."

[Illustration: _Elk In Winter_

  _Photo by F. J. Haynes_]

There is a large number of fly-fishermen in the east who sincerely
believe that the best sport cannot be had in the streams of the Rocky
Mountains, and this belief has a grain of truth when the fishing is
confined solely to native trout and to streams of indifferent interest.
But when the waters flow through such picturesque surroundings as are
found in the Yellowstone National Park, when from among these waters one
may select the stream that shall furnish the trout he loves most to
take, the objection is most fully answered. The writer can attest how
difficult it was to outgrow the conviction that a certain brook of the
Alleghanies had no equal, but he now gladly concedes that there are
streams in the west just as prolific of fish and as pleasant to look
upon as the one he followed in boyhood. It is proper enough to maintain
that: "The fields are greenest where our childish feet have strayed,"
but when we permit a mere sentiment to prevent the fullest enjoyment of
the later opportunities of life, your beautiful sentiment becomes a
harmful prejudice.

When the prophet required Naaman to go down and bathe in the river
Jordan, Naaman was exceeding wroth, and exclaimed, "Are not Abana and
Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than any in Israel?" The record hath
it that Naaman went and bathed in the Jordan, and that his _body_ was
healed of its _leprosy_ and his _mind_ of its _conceit_. So, when my
angling friend from New Brunswick inquires whether I have fished the
Waskahegan or have tried the lower pools of the Assametaquaghan for
salmon, I am compelled to answer _no_. But there comes a longing to give
him a day's outing on Hell-Roaring Creek or to see him a-foul of a
five-pound von Behr trout amid the steam of the Riverside Geyser. The
streams of Maine and Canada are delightful and possess a charm that
lingers in the mind like the minor chords of almost forgotten music, but
they cannot be compared with the full-throated torrents of the
Absarokas. As well liken a fugue with flute and cymbals to an oratorio
with bombardon and sky-rockets!

[Illustration: _Having Eaten and Drunk_]

[Illustration: _Who Hath Seen the Beaver Busied?_

  _Photo by Biological Survey_]

  Who hath seen the beaver busied? Who hath watched the black-tail
  Who hath lain alone to hear the wild-goose cry?
  Who hath worked the chosen water where the ouananiche is waiting,
  Or the sea-trout's jumping-crazy for the fly?
  He must go--go--go--away from here!
  On the other side the world he's overdue.
  'Send your road is clear before you when the old Spring-fret comes
          o'er you
    And the Red Gods call for you!

  Do you know the blackened timber--do you know that racing stream
    With the raw right-angled log-jam at the end:
  And the bar of sun-warmed shingle where a man may bask and dream
    To the click of shod canoe poles round the bend?
  It is there that we are going with our rods and reels and traces,
    To a silent smoky Indian that we know--
  To a couch of new-pulled hemlock with the starlight on our faces,
    For the Red Gods call us out and we must go!
                            The Feet of the Young Men--_Kipling._


      "Thyse ben xij. flyes wyth whytch ye shall angle to ye
      trought and graylling, and dubbe lyke as ye shall now
      hear me tell."
                                     _Dame Juliana Berners._

[Illustration: Water is the Master Mason]

FIVE centuries have passed since the dignified and devout prioress of
St. Albans indited the above sentence, and the tribute to the sterling
good sense therein is that the growing years have but added to its
authority. A dozen well selected varieties of flies, dubbe them how ye
lyke, are well-nigh sufficient for any locality. There may be streams
that require a wider range of choice, but these are so rare that they
may safely be considered as exceptional. Not that any particular harm
has resulted from the unreasonable increase in the number and varieties
of artificial flies. They amuse and gratify the tyro and in no wise
disturb the master of the art. But an over-plethoric fly book in the
possession of a stranger will, with the knowing, place the angling
ability of the owner under suspicion. Better a thousand-fold, are the
single half-dozen flies the uses and seasons of which are fully
understood than a multitude of meaningless creations.

The angler should strive to attain an intelligent understanding of the
principal features of the artificial fly and how a change in the form
and color of these features affects the behavior of the fish for which
he angles. In studying this matter men have gone down in diving suits
that they might better see the fly as it appeared when presented to the
fish, and there is nothing in their reports to encourage extremely fine
niceties in fly-dressing. One may know a great deal of artists and their
work and yet truly know but little of the value of _art_ itself; or have
been a great reader of economics, and yet have little practical
knowledge of that complex product of society called _civilization_. So,
I had rather possess the knowledge a dear friend of mine has of Dickens,
Shakespeare, and the Bible alone than to be able to discuss "literature"
in general before clubs and societies.

Several years of angling experience in the far west have convinced the
writer that flies of full bodies and positive colors are the most
killing, and that the palmers are slightly better than the hackles. Of
the standard patterns of flies the most successful are the coachman,
royal coachman, black hackle, Parmacheene Belle, with the silver doctor
for lake fishing, in the order named. The trout here, with the exception
of those in Lake Yellowstone, are fairly vigorous fighters, and it is
important that your tackle should be strong and sure rather than

With a view of determining whether it were possible to make a fly that
would answer nearly all the needs of the mountain fisherman, I began, in
1897, a series of experiments in fly-tying that continued over a period
of five years. The result is the production of what is widely known in
the west as the Pitcher fly. As before indicated, this fly did not
spring full panoplied into being, but was evolved from standard types by
gradual modifications. The body is a furnace hackle, tied palmer; tail
of barred wood-duck feather; wing snow-white, to which is added a blue
cheek. The name, "Pitcher," was given to it as a compliment to Major
John Pitcher, who, as acting superintendent of the Yellowstone National
Park, has done much to improve the quality of the fishing in these

From a dozen states anglers have written testifying to the killing
qualities of the Pitcher Fly, and the extracts following show that its
success is not confined to any locality nor to any single species of

"The Pitcher flies you gave me have aided me in filling my twenty-pound
basket three times in the last three weeks. Have had the best sport this
season I have ever enjoyed on the Coeur d'Alene waters, and I can
truthfully say I owe it all to the Pitcher fly and its designer."

                                       E. R. DENNY,
                                             Wallace, Idaho.

[Illustration: _Following a Little River_]

[Illustration: _At the Head of the Meadow_]

[Illustration: _The Tongue River_

  _Photo by N. H. Darton_]

"One afternoon I had put up my rod and strolled down to the river where
one of our party was whipping a pool of the Big Hole, trying to induce a
fish to strike. He said: 'There's an old villain in there; he wants to
strike but can't make up his mind to do it.' I said: 'I have a fly that
will make him strike,' and as I had my book in my pocket I handed him a
No. 8 Pitcher. He made two casts and hooked a beautiful trout, that
weighed nineteen ounces, down. I regard the Pitcher as the best killer
in my book."

                         J. E. MONROE, Dillon, Montana.

       *       *       *       *       *

"I determined to follow the stream up into the mountains, but as I
neared the woods at the upper end of the meadow I stopped to cast into a
long, straight reach of the river where the breeze from the ocean was
rippling the surface of the stream. The grassy bank rose steep behind me
and only a little fringe of wild roses partly concealed me from the
water. I cast the Pitcher flies you gave me well out on the rough water,
allowed them to sink a hand-breadth, and at the first movement of the
line I saw that heart-expanding flash of a broad silver side gleaming
from the clear depths. The trout fastened on savagely, and as he was
coming my way, I assisted his momentum with all the spring of the rod,
and he came flying out into the clean, fresh grass of the meadow behind
me. It was a half-pound speckled brook trout. I did not stop to pouch
him, but cast again. In a moment I was fast to another such, and again I
sprung him bodily out, glistening like a silver ingot, to where his
brother lay. In my first twelve casts I took ten such fish, all from ten
to twelve inches long, mostly without any playing. I took twenty-two
fine fish without missing one strike, and landed every one safely. I was
not an hour in taking the lot. Then oddly enough, I whipped the water
for fifty yards without another rise. Satisfied that the circus was
over, I climbed up into the meadow and gathered the spoils into my
basket. Nearly all were brook trout, but two or three silvery salmon
trout among them had struck quite as gamely. I had such a weight of fish
as I never took before on the Nekanicum in our most fortunate fishing."

[Illustration: _Talking It Over_]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Beaver Dam and Reservoir_]

"Walking back along the trail, I came again to the long reach where I
had my luck an hour before, and cast again to see if there might be
another fish. Two silver glints shone up through the waves in the same
instant. I struck one of the two fish, though I might have had both if I
had left the flies unmoved the fraction of a second. Three times I
refused such doublets, for I had not changed an inch of tackle, and
scarcely even looked the casting line over. It was no time to allow two
good fish to go raking that populous pool. However I did take chances
with one doublet. So out of the same lucky spot on my return, I took ten
more fish each about a foot long. I brought nearly every one flying out
as I struck him, and I never put such a merciless strain on a rod

[Illustration: "_That Populous Pool_"

  _Photo by John Gill_]

"I had concluded again that the new tenantry had all been evicted, and
was casting 'most extended' trying the powers of the rod and reaching, I
should say, sixty feet out. As the flies came half-way in and I was just
about snatching them out for a long back cast, the father of the family
soared after them in a gleaming arc. He missed by not three inches and
bored his way straight down into the depths of the clear green water.
'My heart went out to him,' as our friend Wells said, but coaxing was
in vain. I tried them above and below, sinking the flies deeply, or
dropping them airily upon the waves, but to no purpose. I had the
comforting thought that we may pick him up when you are here this

                              JOHN GILL, Portland, Oregon.


      Away frae the smoke an' the smother,
        Away frae the crush o' the thrang!
      Away frae the labour an' pother
        That have fettered our freedom sae lang!
      For the May's i' full bloom i' the hedges
        And the laverock's aloft i' the blue,
      An' the south wind sings low i' the sedges,
        By haughs that are silvery wi' dew.
      Up, angler, off wi' each shackle!
        Up, gad and gaff, and awa'!
      Cry 'Hurrah for the canny red heckle,
        The heckle that tackled them a'!'

       *       *       *       *       *

      Then back to the smoke and the smother,
        The uproar and crush o' the thrang;
      An' back to the labour and pother,
        But happy and hearty and strang.
      Wi' a braw light o' mountain and muirland,
        Outflashing frae forehead and e'e,
      Wi' a blessing flung back to the norland,
        An' a thousand, dear Coquet, to thee!
      As again we resume the old shackle,
        Our gad an' our gaff stowed awa',
      An'--goodbye to the canny 'red heckle,'
        The heckle that tackled them a'!'
             --From "The Lay of the Lea." By _Thomas Westwood_.

      NOTE--I am indebted to Mrs. Mary Orvis Marbury, author
      of "Favorite Flies," for copies of "Hey for Coquet,"
      and "Farewell to Coquet," from the former of which the
      foregoing are extracts.


  "And best of all, through twilight's calm
  The hermit-thrush repeats his psalm."
                           _Henry Van Dyke_

[Illustration: _Grizzly Lake_]

GRIZZLY LAKE lies secluded among the timbered hills, four miles
south--south and west--from Willow Park. The long narrow bed of the lake
was furrowed by a glacier that once debouched here from the mountains to
the west, and through the gravel and detritus that surround it the
melting snows and rain are filtered till the water is fit for the
Olympian deities. No more profitable place can be found for the angler
to visit. The lake swarms with brook trout weighing from one to five
pounds, and in the ice-cold water which is supplied with an abundance of
insect and crustacean food the fish are in prime condition after July
first. The best fishing is at the southern end, near where Straight
Creek enters the lake. A little investigation will discover close at
hand, several large springs that flow into the lake at this point, and
here the trout congregate after the spawning season.

[Illustration: _Lake Rose_]

In order to reach this location conveniently, I, early in 1902,
constructed a light raft of dry pine logs, about six by ten feet, well
spiked together with drift bolts; since which time other parties have
added a substantial row boat. Both the boat and the raft may be found at
the lower end of the lake, just where the trail brings you to it. The
canvas boat that was set up on the lake earlier, was destroyed the first
winter by bears, but the boat and raft now there will probably hold
their own against the beasts of the field for some time. If you use
either of them you will, of course, return it to the outlet of the lake,
that he who cometh after may also enjoy.

The route to Grizzly Lake follows very closely the Bannock Indian trail
from the point where Straight Creek enters the meadows of Willow Park to
the outlet of the lake. The trail itself is interesting. It was the
great Indian thoroughfare between Idaho and the Big Horn Basin in
Wyoming, and was doubtless an ancient one at the time the Romans
dominated Britain. How plainly the record tells you that it was made by
an aboriginal people. Up hill and down hill, across marsh or meadow, it
is always a single trail, trodden into furrow-like distinctness by
moccasined feet. Nowhere does it permit the going abreast of the beasts
of draft or burden. At no place does it suggest the side-by-side travel
of the white man for companionship's sake, nor the hand-in-hand
converse of mother and child, lover and maid. Ease your pony a moment
here and dream. Here comes the silent procession on its way to barter in
the land of the stranger, and here again it will return in the autumn,
as it has done for a thousand years. In the van are the blanketed
braves, brimful of in-toeing, painful dignity. Behind these follow the
ponies drawing the lodge-poles and camp outfit, and then come the squaws
and the children. Just there is a bend in the trail and the lodge-poles
have abraded the tree in the angle till it is worn half through. A
little further on, in an open glade, they camped for the night. Decades
have come and gone since the last Indian party passed this way, yet a
cycle hence the trail will be distinct at intervals.

[Illustration: _The Bighorn Range_

  _Photo by N. H. Darton_]

By turning to the west at Winter Creek and passing over the sharp hills
that border that stream you will come, at the end of a nine-mile
journey, to Lake Rose. The way is upward through groves of pane,
thickets of aspen, and steep open glades surrounded by silver fir trees
that would be the delight of a landscape gardener if he could cause them
to grow in our city parks as they do here. Elk are everywhere. We ride
through and around bands of them, male, female, and odd-shapen calves
with wobbly legs and luminous, questioning eyes. As you pause now and
then to contemplate some new view of the wilderness unfolding before
you, the beauty, and freedom and serenity of it are irresistible, and
you comprehend for the first time the spirit of the Argonauts of '49 and
the nobility of the pæan they chanted to express their exalted

  "The days of old,
   The days of gold,
   The days of '49."

[Illustration: _Gorge of the Firehole River_]

[Illustration: _A Wooded Islet_]

Suddenly the ground slopes away before us and Lake Rose lies at our
feet, like an amethyst in a chalice of jade-green onyx. The surroundings
are picturesque. The mountains descend abruptly to the water's edge and
the snow never quite disappears from its banks in the longest summer.
Here in June may be seen that incredible thing, the wild strawberry
blossoming bravely above the slush-snow that still hides the plant
below, and the bitter-root putting forth buds in the lee of a snow bank.
A small stream enters the lake at the northwest, and here the trout are
most abundant. They rise eagerly to the silver doctor fly, a half dozen
often breaking at once, any one of which is a weight for a rod. Probably
not more than a score of anglers have ever cast a fly from this point,
and a word of caution may for this reason be pardoned. The low
temperature of the water retards the spawning season till midsummer,
consequently trout should not be taken here earlier than the third week
of July. Again, nature has given to every true sportsman the good sense
to stop when he has enough, and as this unwritten law is practically his
only restraint, he should feel that its observance is in safe hands and
that the sportsman's limit will be strictly observed.

[Illustration: _Bear Up!_]


[Illustration: _The Boy and the von Behr_]

WHEN the snows have disappeared from the valleys and lower hills, and
the streams have fallen to the level of their banks and their waters
have lost the brown stain filtered from decaying leaves, and have
resumed the chatty, confidential tones of summer, then is the time to
angle for the brown trout. If you would know the exact hour, listen for
the brigadier bird as he sings morning and evening from a tall tree at
the mouth of Iron Creek. When you hear his lonely wood-note, joint your
rod and take the path through the lodge-pole pines that brings you to
the creek about three hundred yards above its confluence with the river.
The lush grass of the meadow is ankle-deep with back water from the main
stream, and Iron Creek and the Little Firehole lie level-lipped and
currentless. As you look quietly on from the shade of a tree, the water
breaks into circles in a dozen places, and just at the edge of a bank
where the sod overhangs the stream there is a mighty splash which is
repeated several times. Move softly, for the ground is spongy and
vibrates under a heavy tread sufficiently to warn the fish for many
yards, then the stream becomes suddenly silent and you will wait long
for the trout to resume their feeding.

[Illustration: _Rapids of the Gibbon River_]

[Illustration: _Along Iron Creek_]

Stealthily drop the fly just over the edge of the bank, as though some
witless insect had lost his hold above and fallen!--Right Honorable Dean
of the Guild, I read the other day an article in which you stated that
the brown trout never leaps on a slack line. Surely you are right, and
this is not a trout after all, but a flying fish, for he went down
stream in three mighty and unexpected leaps that wrecked your theory and
the top joint of the rod before the line could be retrieved. Then the
fly comes limply home and nothing remains of the sproat hook but the

[Illustration: _Divinity and Infinity_]

These things happened to a friend in less time than is taken in the
telling. When he had recovered from the shock he remarked, smilingly,
"That wasn't half bad for a Dutchman, now, was it?" As he is a sensible
fellow and has no "tendency toward effeminate attenuation" in tackle, he
graciously accepted and used the proffered cast of Pitcher flies tied on
number six O'Shaughnessy hooks.

Having ventured this much concerning what the writer considers _proper_
tackle, he would like to go further and record here his disapproval of
the individual who turns up his nose at any rod of over five ounces in
weight, and who tells you with an air from which you are expected to
infer much, that fly fishing is really the only _honorable_ and
_gentlemanly_ manner of taking trout. In the language of one who was a
master of concise and forceful phrase, "This is one of the deplorable
fishing affectations and pretences which the rank and file of the
fraternity ought openly to expose and repudiate. Our irritation is
greatly increased when we recall the fact that every one of these
super-refined fly-casting dictators, when he fails to allure trout by
his most scientific casts, will chase grasshoppers to the point of
profuse perspiration, and turn over logs and stones with feverish
anxiety in quest of worms and grubs, if haply he can with these save
himself from empty-handedness."[B] Fly fishing as a recreation justifies
all good that has been written of it, but it is a tell-tale sport that
infallibly informs your associates what manner of being you are. It is
self-purifying like the limpid mountain stream its followers love, and
no wrong-minded individual nor set of individuals can ever pollute it.
It is too cosmopolitan a pleasure to belong to the exclusive, and too
robust in sentiment to be confined to gossamer gut leaders and midge

Much, in fact everything, of your success in taking fish in Iron Creek
depends on the time of your visit. For three hundred, thirty days of the
year it is profitless water. Then come the days when the German trout
begin their annual _auswanderung_. No one need be told that these trout
do not live in this creek throughout the year. For trout are brook-wise
or river-wise according as they have been reared, and the habits,
attitudes and behavior of the one are as different from the other as are
those of the boys and girls reared in the country from the city-bred. If
one of these river-bred fish breaks from the hook here he does not
immediately bore up stream into deep water and disappear beneath a
sheltering log, bank or submerged tree-top as one would having a claim
on these waters, but heading down-stream, he stays not for brake and he
stops not for stone till the river is reached. In his headlong haste to
escape he reminds one of a country boy going for a doctor.

[Illustration: _Virginia Cascade_]

It is one of the unexplained phenomena of trout life and habit, why
these fish leap as they do here at this season, when hooked. In no other
stream and at no other time have I known them to exhibit this quality.
It is one of those problems of trout activity for which apparently no
reason can be given further than the one which is said to control the
fair sex;

  "When she will she will,
   And you may depend on't;
   When she won't she won't,
   And that's an end on't."


      "I'm wrapped up in my plaid, and lyin' a' my length on
      a bit green platform, fit for the fairies' feet, wi' a
      craig hangin' ower me a thousand feet high, yet bright
      and balmy a' the way up wi' flowers and briars, and
      broom and birks, and mosses maist beautiful to behold
      wi' half shut e'e, and through aneath ane's arm
      guardin' the face frae the cloudless sunshine; and
      perhaps a bit bonny butterfly is resting wi' faulded
      wings on a gowan, no a yard frae your cheek; and noo
      waukening out o' a simmer dream floats awa' in its
      wavering beauty, but, as if unwilling to leave its
      place of mid-day sleep, comin' back and back, and
      roun' and roun' on this side and that side, and ettlin
      in its capricious happiness to fasten again on some
      brighter floweret, till the same breath o' wund that
      lifts up your hair so refreshingly catches the airy
      voyager and wafts her away into some other nook of her
      ephemeral paradise."
                                   CHRISTOPHER NORTH.


[Footnote B: Hon. Grover Cleveland in _The Saturday Evening Post_.]


[Illustration: _First View of the Firehole_]

THE Firehole is a companionable river. Notwithstanding its forbidding
name, it is pre-eminently a stream for the angler, and always does its
best to put him at his ease. Like some hospitable manorial lord, it
comes straight down the highway for a league to greet the stranger and
to offer him the freedom of its estate. Every fisherman who goes much
alone along streams will unconsciously associate certain human
attributes with the qualities of the waters he fishes. It may be a quiet
charm that lulls to rest, or a bold current that challenges his
endurance and caution. Between these extremes there is all that infinite
range of moods and fancies which find their counterpart in the emotions.
The Firehole possesses many of these qualities in a high degree. It can
be broad, sunny and genial, or whisper with a scarcely audible lisp over
languid, trailing beds of conferva; and anon, lead you with tumultuous
voice between rocky walls where a misstep would be disastrous. The
unfortunate person who travels in its company for the time required to
make the tour of the Park and remains indifferent to all phases of its
many-sidedness, should turn back. Nature will have no communion with
him, nor will he gain her little secrets and confidences:

  "They're just beyond the skyline,
   Howe'er so far you cruise."

[Illustration: _Cascades of the Madison_]

[Illustration: _Below the Cascades_]

During the restful period following the noon-hour, when there is a truce
between fisherman and fish, we lie in the shadow of the pines and read
"Our Lady's Tumbler," till, in the drowsy mind fancy plays an interlude
with fact. The ripple of the distant stream becomes the patter of
priestly feet down dim corridors, and the whisper of the pines the
rustle of sacerdotal robes. Through half-shut lids we see the clouds
drift across the slopes of a distant mountain, double as it were, cloud
and snow bank vying with each other in whiteness.

[Illustration: _Undine Falls_]

Neither the companionship of man nor that of a boisterous stream will
accord with our present mood. So, with rod in hand, we ford the stream
above the island and lie down amid the wild flowers in the shadow of the
western hill. For wild flowers, like patriotism, seemingly reach their
highest perfection amid conditions of soil and climate that are
apparently most uncongenial. Here almost in reach of hand, are a variety
and profusion of flowers rarely found in the most favored spots;
columbines, gentians, forget-me-nots, asters and larkspurs, are all in
bloom at the same moment, for the summer is short and nature has trained
them to thrust forth their leaves beneath the very heel of winter and to
bear bud, flower, and fruit within the compass of fifty days.

I strongly urge every tourist, angling or otherwise, to carry with him
both a camera and a herbarium. With these he may preserve invaluable
records of his outing; one to remind him of the lavish panorama of
beauty of mountain, lake and waterfall; the other to hold within its
leaves the delicately colored flowers that delight the senses. A great
deal is said about the cheap tourist nowadays, with the emphasis so
placed on the word "cheap" as to create a wrong impression. With the
manner of your travel, whether in Pullman cars, Concord coaches,
buck-board wagons, or on foot, this adjective has nothing to do. It
does, however, describe pretty accurately a quality of mind too often
found among visitors to such places--a mind that looks only to the
present and passing events, and that between intervals of
geyser-chasing, is busied with inconsequential gabble, with no thought
of selecting the abiding, permanent things as treasures for the
storehouse of memory.

What fisherman is there who has not in his fly-book a dozen or more
flies that are perennial reminders of great piscatorial events? And what
angler is there who does not love to go over them at times, one by one,
and recall the incidents surrounding the history of each?

  We fondle the flies in our fancy,
    Selecting a cast that will kill,
  Then wait till a breeze from the canyon
    Has rimpled the water so still;--
      Teal, and Fern, and Beaver,
  Coachman, and Caddis, and Herl,--
  And dream that the king of the river
  Lies under the foam of that swirl.

  There's a feather from far Tioga,
    And one from the Nepigon,
  And one from the upper Klamath
    That tell of battles won--
      Palmer, and Hackle, and Alder,
  Claret, and Polka, and Brown,--
  Each one a treasured memento
  Of days that have come and gone.

  A joust of hardiest conflict
    With knight in times of eld
  Would bring a lesser pleasure
    Than each of these victories held.
      Rapids, and foam, and smother,
  Lunge, and thrust, and leap,--
  And to know that the barbed feather
  Is fastened sure and deep.

  Abbey, and Chantry, and Quaker,
    Dorset and Canada,
  Premier, Hare's Ear, and Hawthorne,
    Brown Ant, and Yellow May,
      Jungle-Cock, Pheasant, and Triumph,
  Romeyn, and Montreal,
  Are names that will ever linger
  In the sunlight of Memory Hall.

The whole field of angling literature contains nothing more exquisite
than the following description of the last days of Christopher North, as
written by his daughter:

"It was an affecting sight to see him busy, nay, quite absorbed with the
fishing tackle scattered about the bed, propped up with pillows--his
noble head, yet glorious with its flowing locks, carefully combed by
attentive hands, and falling on each side of his unfaded face. How
neatly he picked out each elegantly dressed fly from its little bunch,
drawing it out with trembling hand along the white coverlet, and then
replacing it in his pocket-book, he would tell ever and anon of the
streams he used to fish in of old."

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Picturesque Rocks in River_]

By four o'clock the stream is hidden from the sun and the shadow of the
wooded summit at your back has crossed the roadway and is climbing the
heights beyond. As if moved by some signal unheard by the listener, the
trout begin to feed all along the surface of the water. Leap follows or
accompanies leap as far as the eye can discern up stream, and down
stream to where the water breaks to the downpull of the gorge below.
Select a clear space for your back-cast, wait till a cloud obscures the
sun. * * * * The trout took the fly from below and with a momentum that
carried him full-length into the air. But there was no turning of the
body in the arc that artists love to picture. He dropped straight down
as he arose and the waters closed over him with a "plop" which you learn
afterward is characteristic of the rise and strike of the German trout.
All this may not be observed at first, for if he is one of the big
fellows, he will cut out some busy-work for you to prevent his going
under the top of that submerged tree which you had not noticed before.
As it was, you brought him clear by a scant hand's breadth, only to
have him dive for another similar one with greater energy.

[Illustration: "_That Delectable Island_"]

Well, it's the same old story over again, but one that never becomes
altogether tedious to the angler. And the profitable part of this tale
is that it may be re-enacted here on any summer afternoon.

Some day a canoe will float down the river and land on the gravelly
beach at the upper end of that delectable island, just where the trees
are mirrored in the water so picturesquely. Then a tent will be set up
and two shall possess that island for a whole, happy week. If you are
coming by that road then, give the "Hallo" of the fellow craft and you
shall have a loaf and as many fish as you like, and be sent on your way
as becomes a man and brother.


[Illustration: _Yancey's_]

WHEN "Uncle" John Yancey, peace to his ashes, selected the site for his
home and built his cabin under the shelter of the mountain at the north
end of Pleasant Valley, he displayed that capacity to discover and
appropriate the best things of the earth which is characteristic of
American pioneers. Here game was abundant and everything that a remote,
mountainous country could supply to the frontiersman was at hand. A
stream of purest water ran by the door, and the open, grassy meadows
were ample for the supply of hay and pasturage. The scenery is
delightful, varied and picturesque. No other locality in the Park is
comparable with it as a place of abode, and there is no pleasanter place
in which to spend a week than at "Yancey's."

The government has recently completed a road from the canyon of the
Yellowstone, over Mt. Washburn, down the valley near Yancey's, and
reaching Mammoth Hot Springs by way of Lava Creek. This has added
another day to the itinerary of the Park as planned by the
transportation companies, and one which for scenic interest surpasses
any other day of the tour. A mere category of the places of interest
that may be seen in this region would be lengthy.

The lower canyon of the Yellowstone with its overhanging walls five
hundred feet high, with pillars of columnar basalt reaching more than
half-way from base to summit, the petrified trees, lofty cliffs, and
romantic waterfalls, will delight and charm the visitor.

[Illustration: "_Swirl and Sweep of the Water_"]

The angler will find the waters of this region as abundantly supplied
with trout as any area of like extent anywhere. No amount of fishing
will ever exhaust the "Big Eddy" of the Yellowstone, and it is worth a
day's journey to witness the swirl and sweep of the water after it
emerges from the confining, vertical walls. The velocity of the current
at this point is very great, and surely, during a flood, attains a speed
of sixteen or more miles an hour. In the eddy itself the trout rise
indifferently to the fly, but will come to the red-legged grasshopper as
long as the supply lasts.

Strange to say, they will not take the grasshopper on the surface of the
water. Two bright faced boys who had climbed down into the canyon
watched me whip the pool in every direction for a quarter of an hour
without taking a single trout. Satisfied that something was wrong, I
fastened a good sized Rangeley sinker to the leader about a foot above
the hook and pitched the grasshopper into the buffeting currents. An
hour later we carried back to camp twenty-five trout which, placed
endwise, head to tail, measured twenty-five feet on a tape line.

This use of a sinker under the circumstances was not a great discovery,
but it spelled the difference between success and failure at the time.
So I have been glad at most times to learn by experience and from others
the little things that help make a better day's angling.

[Illustration: _The Palisades_]

Once when I knew more about trout fishing than I have ever convinced
myself that I knew since, I visited a famous stream in a wilderness new
and unknown to me, fully resolved to show the natives how to do things.
Near the end of the third day of almost fruitless fishing, the modest
guide volunteered to take me out that evening, if I cared to go. Of
course I cared to go, and I shall never forget that moonlight night on
Beaver Creek. We returned to camp about ten o'clock with twenty-eight
trout, four of which weighed better than three pounds apiece.

[Illustration: _A Young Corsair of the Plains_]

It may be a severe shock to the sensibilities of the "super-refined
fly-caster" to suggest so mean a bait as grasshoppers, yet he may obtain
some comfort, as did one aforetime, by labeling the can in which the
hoppers are carried:

                  "_CALOPTENOUS FEMUR-RUBRUM_."

       *       *       *       *       *

Then there are Slough Creek, Hell-Roaring Creek, East Fork, Trout Lake,
and a host of other streams and lakes that have been favorite resorts
with anglers for years, and in which may be taken the very leviathans of
six, seven, eight, and even ten, pounds' weight. He must be difficult to
please who finds not a day of days among them. Up to the present time
only the red-throat trout inhabit these waters, but plants of other
varieties have been made and will doubtless thrive quite as well as the
native trout.

[Illustration: _Tower Falls_]

Owing probably to the fact that, until recently, the region around Tower
Creek and Falls was not accessible by roads, this stream received no
attention from the fish commission till the summer of 1903, when a
meager plant of 15,000 brook trout fry was made there. The scenery in
this neighborhood is unsurpassed, and when the stream becomes well
stocked it will, doubtless, be a favorite resort with anglers who
delight in mountain fastnesses or in the study of geological records of
past ages. The drainage basin of Tower Creek coincides with the limits
of the extinct crater of an ancient volcano. As you stand amid the dark
forests with which the walls of the crater are clothed and see the
evidences on all sides of the Titanic forces once at work here, fancy
has but little effort in picturing something of the tremendous scenes
once enacted on this spot. Now all is peace and quiet, the quiet of the
wilderness, which save for the rush of the torrential stream, is
absolutely noiseless. No song of bird gladdens the darkened forests, and
in its gloom the wild animals are seldom or never seen. How strikingly
the silence and wonder of the scene proclaim that nature has formed the
world for the happiness of man.

Within two hundred yards of the Yellowstone River, Tower Creek passes
over a fall of singular and romantic beauty. Major Chittenden in his
book "The Yellowstone" thus describes it: "This waterfall is the most
beautiful in the Park, if one takes into consideration all its
surroundings. The fall itself is very graceful in form. The deep
cavernous basin into which it pours itself is lined with shapely
evergreen trees, so that the fall is partially screened from view. Above
it stand those peculiar forms of rock characteristic of that
locality--detached pinnacles or towers which give rise to the name. The
lapse of more than thirty years since Lieutenant Doane saw these falls,
has given us nothing descriptive of them that can compare with the
simple words of his report penned upon the first inspiration of a new
discovery: 'Nothing can be more chastely beautiful than this lovely
cascade, hidden away in the dim light of overshadowing rocks and woods,
its very voice hushed to a low murmur unheard at the distance of a few
hundred yards. Thousands might pass by within half a mile and not dream
of its existence; but once seen, it passes to the list of most pleasant

[Illustration: _The Shadow of a Cliff_]

If the angler wanders farther into the wilderness than any waters named
herein would lead him, he will find other streams to bear him company
amid scenes that will live long in his memory and where the trout are
ever ready to pay him the compliment of a rise. To the eastward flows
Shoshone river with its myriad tributaries, teeming with trout and
draining a region far more rugged and lofty than the Park proper. To the
south and west are those wonderfully beautiful lakes that form the
source of the Snake river. Here, early in the season, the great lake or
Macinac trout, _Salvelinus namaycush_, are occasionally taken with a
trolling spoon.

From north to south, from the Absaroka Mountains to the Tetons, on both
sides of the continental divide, this peerless pleasuring-ground is
netted with a lace-work of streams. Two score lakes and more than one
hundred, sixty streams are named on the map of this domain which is
forever secured and safeguarded


[Illustration: _Good Bye Till Next Year_]

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's Notes:

Obvious punctuation errors repaired.

Page 26, "Whpskehegan" changed to "Waskahegan" (fished the Waskahegan)

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Fly Fishing in Wonderland" ***

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