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Title: Superior Fishing
Author: Roosevelt, Robert Barnwell
Language: English
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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.

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                       Celebrated Sporting Works


                         ROBERT B. ROOSEVELT.


                      The Game Fish of the North.


                           Superior Fishing.


                     The Game Birds of the North.

              ⁂ _All published uniform with this volume,
                handsomely bound in cloth, price $2.00.
                     Sent free by mail on receipt
                           of price, $2.00_,


                         Carleton, Publisher,
                               New York.

                           SUPERIOR FISHING;


                        Of the Northern States.

                      SUPERIOR, ETC., ETC., ETC.

                        BY ROBERT B. ROOSEVELT,

                      OUR NORTHERN COASTS,” ETC.

                       [Illustration: colophon]

                               NEW YORK:
                  CARLETON, PUBLISHER, 413 BROADWAY.
                              M DCCC LXV.

      Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1865, by

                           GEO. W. CARLETON,

In the Clerk’s Office of the District Court of the United States for the
                    Southern District of New York.

                        R. CRAIGHEAD, PRINTER,
                 _Caxton Building, Centre St., N. Y._


  Achigon, 71.

  Agates, 108.

  Agawa, 91.
    ascent of, 104.
    canoes for, 99.
    Indians at, 92.
    mouth of, 59.

  American Anglers’ Book, 269.

  Anthony, John, 151.

  Apostle Islands, 122.

  Artificial baits, 272.
    flies. See Flies.
    bait-fishing, 246.
    fly-fishing, 246.
    minnow, 273.

  Bacon, fried, 295.

  Bass. See Striped Bass.

  Batchawang Bay, 65.
    falls, 82.
    fishing, 79, 82.
    river, 77, 110.

  Bayfield, 122.

  Beans, 296.

  Beaver, teeth of, 115.

  Bergall, 160.

  Birch canoe, 126.

  Black bass, 10.
    where found, 11.
    in Lake Superior, 71, 75.

  Blue fish, 160, 274.

  Brulé river, 122.

  Buzz, 212.

  Cakes, griddle, 299.

  Camlet, 200.

  Casting fly, 263.
    contest, 266.
    distance, 265.
    rules of New York Club, 271.
    for striped bass, 139, 140, 142.

  Casting menhaden, 139, 144, 145, 147.
    line, 261.
    shrimp for striped bass, 143.

  Catch, 204.

  Chippewa, 78.
    house, 36.

  Chowder, clam, 289.
    Scott’s, 300.
    Webster’s, 298.

  Chum, 153.

  Clams, baked, 289.
    broiled or fried, 290.
    chowder. 289.
    stewed, 290.

  Cleveland, 23.

  Close time of fish, 187.

  Cock á doosh, 48.

  Cookery for sportsmen, 279.
    in the woods, 285.
    materials for, 286.

  Copper mines, 109.

  Corn starch, 114.
    bread, 299.

  Cot, 155.

  Cypress, J., Jr., 18.

  Deacons’ quarrel, 171.

  Dead river, 122.

  Detour, 33.

  Detroit, 28.

  Dining by Americans, 29.

  Duck, roast, 296.

  Dyes, 240.
    yellow, 240.
    orange, 240.
    scarlet, 240.
    crimson, 241.
    brown, 241.
    blue, 241.
    purple, 242.
    violet, 242.

    claret, 242.
    black, 242.
    lavender, 243.
    blue dun, 243.
    green, 243.
    gray drake, 243.
    gut, 244, 245.

  Eggs, fried, poached, or scrambled, 290.

  _Esox boreus_, 77.

  Feathers, preserving, 213.
    for fly-making, 201.

  Fish, protection of, 183.
    close time, 187.
    baked, 293.
    boiled, 291.
    broiled, 292.
    chowder, 289.
    fried, 292.
    potted, 297.
    stewed, 293.
    diminution of, 184, 185.
    importance as food, 184.
    spawning season, 187, 189.

  Fisheries, value, 190.

  Fishing grounds, 15, 16.

  Flies of Lake Superior, natural, 117.
    salmon, 202,
    salmon from Scrope, 215.
      trout, 210, 211.

  Flies, 215.
    alder fly, 231.
    August dun, 235.
    black gnat, 228.
    black palmer, 238.
    blue bottle, 237.
    blue dun, 220.
    brown palmer, 238.
    cinnamon dun, 236.
      fly, 236.
    cow dung, 222.
    dark mackerel, 232.
    downhead fly, 228.
    fern fly, 230.
    grannom or green tail, 225.
    gold-eyed gauze wing, 233.
    gravel bed or spider, 225.
    great red spinner, 223.
    great dark drone, 221.
    green drake, 231.
    hazel fly, 232.
    iron blue dun, 226.
    Jenny spinner, 227.
    Kinmont Willie, 215.
    Lady of Mertoun, 215.
    little dark spinner, 229.
      yellow May dun, 228.
    March brown, 223.
    meg with the muckle mouth, 216.
    meg in her braws, 216.
    Michael Scott, 216.
    oak fly, 228.
    orange fly, 235.
    peacock fly, 222.
    projecting bodies, 217.
    red ant, 234.
    red palmer, 237.
    red spinner, 220.
    Ronald’s flies, 219.
    sailor and soldier, 230.
    sand fly, 224.
    silver horns, 234.
    stone fly, 224.
    toppy, 215.
    turkey brown, 229.
    water cricket, 221.
    wren tail, 233.
    yellow dun, 226.
      sally, 230.

  Floss silk, 199.

  Fly-book, 262.
    casting. See Casting Fly.
    making, 196.
      bodies, 199.
      buzz flies, 212.
      catch, 204.
      double hackles, 210.
      gut loop, 202.
      hackles, 200, 209.
      hooks, selection, 197.
      Hyde’s directions, 218.
      materials, 198, 199, 200, 201.
      materials preserving, 213.
      midge flies, 213.
      palmers, 213.
      projecting bodies, 217.
      salmon, 202.
      stop, 204.
      tag, 203.
      tip, 203.
      trout, 210, 211.
      tying silk, 199, 212.
      wax, 214, 198, 199, 213.
      wings, 201, 205, 209.
        mixed, 208.

  Garden river, 121.

  General remarks, 9.

  Goulais bay, 61.

  Grand island, 122.

  Gravy, 296.

  Gros Cap, 53, 55, 61, 116.

  Griddle cakes, 299.

  Guides, Alexis Biron, 40.
    Joseph Le Sayre, 40.

  Gut, 198.
    loop, 202.

  Harmony river, 67, 112.
    falls, 68.
    upper falls, 75.

  Herring lake, 47.

  Hooks, selection of, 197.

  Hudson’s Bay Company, 60.

  Ice drift, 55.

  _Isle aux Arabes_, 65.

  Judith Point. See Point Judith.

  Kinnikinnick, 58.

  _Labrax Lineatus_, 138.

  Lake Huron, 32.
    George, 33.
    trout, 136, 275.
      spawning season, 137.

  Lake Superior, Chap. I., 22.
      II., 38.
      III., 60.
      IV., 77.
      V., 102.
    flies for, artificial, 40, 128.
    flies of, natural, 117.
    north shore, 122.
    resumé, 120.
    return from, 118.
    route to, 121.
    tackle for, 128.
    trout of, 124.
    map, 130.

  _L’anse aux Crêpes_, 88.

  Leader, 261.

  Lines, how prepared, 139.
    for striped bass, 147.

  Lines, 260.

  Liver, how cooked, 299.

  Lobsters, 293.

  Mackinaw salmon. See Namaycush.

  Maine, 14.

  Mamainse, 88, 110.

  Maple Island, 65.

  Marquette, 121.

  Meats, baked, boiled, broiled, and stewed, 295.
    tough, 297.

  Menhaden bait, how prepared, 153.

  Midge flies, 213.

  Milk, 286.

  Mines, 117.

  Mohair, 199.

  Mount Kineo, 101.

  Namaegoose, 122.

  Namaycush, 62.
    baits, 134.
    characteristics, 135.
    color, 132.
    localities, 134.
    seasons, 133.
    spawning, 135.

  Nepecgon, 124, 91.

  Oysters, broiled, fried, or roasted, 288.
    scolloped, 289.
    stewed, 287.

  Omelet, 291.

  Palmers, 213.

  Pancake Bay, 88.

  Partridges, 111.

  Pedro Don, 22.
    baggage, 83.
    conversation in Chippewa, 94.
    disquisition on liquors, 24.
      canoeing, 102.
      china, 84.
    Chippewa house, 36.
    refusal to get up, 112.
    sugar, 80.
    table cloths, 86.

  Pickerel of Lake Superior, 77.

  Pictured rocks, 122.

  Pike perch, 10.
    where found, 10.
    cut, 76.

  Poaching, 192.
    punishment for, 193.

  Point Judith, 150.
    blue-fish at, 160.
    porgee at, 160.
    snipe at, 159.
    striped bass at, 151.

  _Pointe aux Pins_, 53.
    _Chènes_, 53.
    _Mines_, 109.

  Potatoes, 294.

  Port Huron, 29.

  Pork, fried, 295.

  Protection of fish, 183.

  Potomac, 139, 245.

  Punch, arrack, 302.
    champagne, 302.
    Frank Forester’s, 303.
    fish house, 301.
    nondescript, 302.
    pineapple, 301.
    Porto-Rico, 302.
    regal, 302.

  Reels, 255.
    for bass, 146.
    welding, 257.

  Reel-bands, 255.

  Rice, 296.

  Rock-fish, 138.

  Roast birds, 296.

  Rods, 246.
    for salmon, 246.
    for trout, 249.
    rings for, 255.

  Rod ferrules, 253.
    how separated, 254.

  _Salmo amethystus._ See Namaycush.
    _confinis_, 135.
    _siscowet_, 137.

  Salmon, boiled, 297.
    fishing with trout rod, 251.
    flies from Scrope, 215.
    fly-making, 202.
    kippered, 298.
    trout. See Namaycush, 136.

  Sault Ste. Marie, 16.
    fishing at, 42.
    little rapids, 50.
      rapids, 42.
    trout pond at, 45.

  Silk for tying flies, 199, 212.

  Siskawitz, 63, 138.

  Slick, 153.

  Smoked beef, 291.

  Snapping mackerel, 274.

  Soups, 295.

  South Bay, 161.

  Spinning tackle, 275.

  Sportsmanship, 19, 20.

  Squid, 274.

  Stateroom, 24.

  Ste. Marie river, 33.

  Stop, 204.

  Striking trout, 265.

  Striped bass, 138, 274.
    baits, 149.
    casting menhaden, 139, 144, 147.
    eel skin, 153.
    fishing adventure, 157.
    fly-fishing, 139, 140, 142.
    hooks for, 154.
    implements for catching, 146, 155.
    localities, 148.
    seasons, 151, 152.
    tackle for, 142.

  Superior fishing, 21.

  Superior, Lake. See Lake Superior.

  Tag, 203.

  Thumb-stall, 155.

  Tinsel, 199.

  Tip, 203.

  Trout, 13.
    cooked on first principles, 298.
    Lake Superior, 14.
    Maine, 14.
    preserving, 90.
    Lake. See Lake Trout.
    flies, 210.

  _Truite du Lac._ See Namaycush.

  Tying silk, 199, 212.

  Trolling spoons, 275.
    Buel’s, 276.

  Vails, 149.

  Vegetables, 297.

  Veil, 21.

  Venison stew, 303.

  Wax, 198, 199, 213.
    soft, 214.

  Wajack, 97.

  Webster’s chowder, 298.

  White-fish, 12.
    how captured, 46.
    Point, 121.

  Wings, 201, 205, 209.
    mixed, 208.

  Worsted, 199.

                           SUPERIOR FISHING.


Although the shores of our northern coasts, both along the Pacific and
Atlantic Oceans, abound in numberless varieties of the finny tribe, and
myriads of striped bass, cod, mackerel, tautog, herring, shad and
blue-fish in the Northern States, and salmon, sea-trout, and capelin in
the British Provinces, visit us in their season; the inland States, with
the reservation of certain restricted localities, produce few varieties,
and with a single exception, inferior kinds of fish. Throughout that
vast region west of Pennsylvania, bordering on the great lakes, and
stretching westward to the Rocky Mountains and northward to the Canadian
boundary, as well as the centre of British America not communicating
immediately with the sea or the immense bays of the Arctic Territory,
there can be found but one, or at the most two kinds of fish that are
worthy of the attention of the epicure or the sportsman. It is true that
savage pickerel, immense mascallonge, and gigantic cat-fish lie in wait
amid long weeds, and embedded in deep mud, a terror to their smaller
brethren and a prize to the unrefined fisherman who looks to the profit
to be derived from their heavy carcases; and that other coarse and
ill-shapen creatures are taken in the net; but the only fishes that the
true angler can regard as objects of sport are the pike-perch, and the
black bass.

The pike-perch, which is variously termed the pickerel, pike of the
lakes, glass-eye, big-eyed pike, and pickering, is taken in immense
numbers in Lakes Erie and Huron, was formerly numerous in the Ohio, and
inhabits to a greater or less degree the ponds or sluggish waters of
that section. It is a savage fish, biting voraciously at bait or
trolling-tackle, and where better fish are scarce, is regarded as a
piscatory delicacy; but its play is weak and dull, and as it is taken
with strong tackle, its capture requires neither the skill nor
experience that lend the principal charm to angling; and by comparison
with sea-fish, its flavor is coarse.

Captured mainly with the all-devouring net, it is salted and packed for
winter use as our cod or mackerel are preserved, and constitutes at
Sandusky and some other places an important object of commerce.

The black bass, a fish that, from its abundance in their country,
Americans may claim as peculiarly their own; a fish that is inferior
only to the salmon and trout, if even to the latter; that requires the
best of tackle and skill in its inveiglement, and exhibits courage and
game qualities of the highest order--fairly swarms in the upper central
portion of North America.

In all the lakes, large and small, that dimple the rugged surface of
Canada; in the sheets of pure water embosomed in the gentle swells of
the western prairies; in those inland seas that are enveloped by our
extensive territory; and in the numerous rivers of the west--the black
bass is found by his ardent admirers.

From the confines of Labrador, throughout the Canadas, in British
America, the Western States, and far beyond the Mississippi, there is
scarcely a stretch of water, whether it be the rapids of the St.
Lawrence, the sluggish bays of Lakes Ontario and Erie, the cold depths
of Huron and Superior, or the lakelets of the interior, that does not
abound with this splendid fish.

In dull weedy bays he becomes lazy, ugly, and ill-flavored; but in cold
or rapid water, or upon stony bottom, he acquires a vigor of body and
excellence of flavor that place him in the first rank of piscatorial

Although not abundant, if even indigenous in the Middle States, he has
been extensively introduced; and finding many of the clear, transparent,
rocky, eastern ponds admirably adapted to his health and propagation, he
is populating waters that have heretofore produced little besides perch
and sun-fish. By a fortunate provision of nature, most ponds that are
not suited to trout are favorable to black bass; and being a hardy fish,
able to endure long journeys, he is readily transported from place to
place. The time will soon come when the worthless yellow perch will be
supplanted by his noble congener.

He has been imported even into that semi-detached point of New England,
Cape Cod, and thrives wonderfully in Lake Mahopac, adding much to the
attractions of that favorite watering-place of fashion-jaded New
Yorkers, and is being generally distributed among his eastern friends.
If not exposed to a hot sun, he may be carried a long distance out of
water, and will often revive when apparently the last spark of vitality
is extinct. But his natural home is north and west of the Middle and
Eastern States; there his name is legion, his fame deservedly great, and
he may be almost said to be the one game fish.

It is true that among epicures the famous white fish of Lakes Huron and
Superior, which is also found in a more flabby condition in Erie and
Ontario, ranks before either the black bass or the pike-perch; but as he
is deceived by neither decoy nor bait, he is not worthy of the
fisherman’s regard. To be tasted in perfection, the white fish must be
eaten fresh from the rapids of Lake Superior, where, lying in the eddy
below some immovable rock, he is taken by the sharp-eyed Indian in the
long-handled net from out the foaming water, brought immediately to
land, cooked and placed steaming hot upon the table before he has lost
the delicious freshness of his native element.

The black bass, however, is in the west what the trout is in our
eastern brooks--the principal source of the angler’s enjoyment.

The rivers that empty into Hudson’s Bay are ascended by the migratory
salmon, but from their peculiar character do not furnish fly-fishing
except for trout. The latter are found in Lake Superior and the streams
that empty into it, in the tributaries of the Upper Mississippi, and in
the brooks of the Alleghany and Rocky Mountains; but are not generally
distributed through the weedy streams of the Western States.

The flat expanse of Ohio is not favorable to the existence of that lover
of the noisy brook and tumbling torrent; and streams flowing through
marl deposits are supposed not to furnish proper food; so that the
beauty that we in our eastern homes entice from every stream or brooklet
from Maine to Pennsylvania, is found rarely, if at all, in Illinois,
Indiana, Ohio, western Kentucky, and southern Wisconsin; but in the cool
depths of Lake Superior and its amber-hued tributaries he absolutely

In the Upper Mississippi there are black bass and mascallonge; in the
brooks that, rising amid the hills of that region, swell its current,
there are trout; in neighboring lakes black bass and perch abound; among
the Rocky Mountains are found several species of trout; and in the
waters of Oregon and California salmon are plentiful.

Although the largest trout in the United States are taken in Maine, in
the Umbagog region, the greatest number and the most vigorous are found
in Lake Superior, where fish of two pounds weight can be captured to
the heart’s content. The fish of Maine are of rich and strong color,
while those of Lake Superior have the bright sides and delicate tints of
the sea-trout. All brook trout, however--the genuine _salmo
fontinalis_--have the peculiar bright vermilion specks that distinguish
them from kindred species, and these are distinctly visible upon the
silver sides of the fish of Lake Superior.

The innumerable rivers of the State of Maine are interwoven together in
such a manner that the fisherman, urging his silent canoe with dripping
paddle or stout pole, gliding beneath the arching boughs that shade in
gloom the narrow stream, or pushing boldly into the open lakes, can pass
from one region of waters to another, and, making short portages,
explore in a continuous trip rivers that run north, east, and west. To
the true sportsman, armed with pliant rod and feathered hook for the
seduction of the merry trout, and trusty rifle loaded with heavy ball
for the destruction of the lordly moose, nothing surpasses the intense
enjoyment of wandering amid the forest wilds from river to river,
threading the uninhabited groves, or following the unknown and unnamed
stream, and leaving to whim or chance, or the influence of luck, to
determine his final destination. Alone with his single guide he is
content; accompanied by a friend, still better pleased; in a party of
associates perfectly happy; blessed by the society of ladies--real
ladies and true wood nymphs--he is in Elysium.

Or, he may coast the shores of our western lakes, where the bright sun
sparkles on the rippling surface, and only seek the shade upon the land
to avoid its heat; there he may kill the black bass, the mascallonge,
and in Lake Superior the trout; fleeing from the approaching storm to
some sheltered nook, he partakes the inland ocean’s varying moods,
passing the days upon its surface and the nights amid the neighboring
forests; stopping occasionally to use the light shot-gun and kill a few
woodcock or partridges, and now and then slaying a duck upon the route.

In the wide world there is no other country so propitious to the
fisherman as the northern part of North America; it furnishes every
variety of sport, from the delicate refined fishing of the transparent
ponds and over-fished trout-preserves of Long Island, to the coarser and
easier sport of killing with large flies and heavy rods the countless
hosts of Maine, the Labrador coast, or Lake Superior; from the casting
the menhaden bait into the boisterous ocean for striped bass, to the
trolling amid the Thousand Isles of the St. Lawrence for the ugly and
powerful mascallonge; from the capture of the noble salmon to that of
the spirited black bass. In fact, there is so much and so good fishing
everywhere, that it is difficult to give a preference or lay out any
specific directions. You may go by railroad to Cape Vincent, and thence
by steamboat to Clayton or Alexandria bay, and fish the St. Lawrence; or
take the ocean steamer from Boston to Eastport, and thence to Calais,
and explore the St. Croix River for land-locked salmon; or continue on
to St. John, and by railroad and stage or steamer to the Nipisiquit, and
kill the true salmon--_salmo salar_--king of fish; or you may take the
railroad from Boston to Bethel and cross by stage into the Umbagog
region of Maine, and visit its innumerable lakes with unpronounceable
names, or may embark on the steamboat at Cleveland, and wake up, after
two days’ tranquil voyage, at the Sault Ste. Marie, the outlet of Lake
Superior; or you may stop anywhere on any of these routes, even out in
the ocean, on the way to New Brunswick, if you please, where there are
pollock or haddock, and have good fishing. There is excellent fishing
close to New York city, and better still the farther you recede from it.

It is true the fisherman will not find those refined comforts that the
more cultivated and densely peopled districts of Europe afford; but he
will receive a hearty welcome and wholesome entertainment at the country
tavern or the farmer’s house. If, however, he have youth and tolerable
hardihood, he should look for no such reception; but, carrying his
canvas-home, enjoy the luxury of unrestrained independence, kill and
cook his own dinner, and sleep in the pure air of the wilderness. He
will have to surrender a few necessaries that habit has made so, but he
will be repaid a thousandfold by increased happiness and improved
health; he will not have servants to wait on him, nor desserts or wines
to pamper him; but he will have his guide to instruct, and abundant
food to support him. He will acquire an insight into the mystery of
woodcraft, and learn a few of its wonders and delights; he will come to
rely upon his own stout muscles and sharp eyes, and return to the city a
renovated being. Or, if he have sufficient enthusiasm and high courage,
he may cast aside all trammels, and taking his rifle or rod, salt pork,
and hard bread, strike off into the trackless forest with no covering to
shield him from the rain or sun, no floating thing of beauty to bear him
in its bosom over the water, no store of provisions to fall back upon if
fish do not rise and the bullet flies astray; but bearing bravely up
against heat and weariness, sleeping, amid the rain and storm, wrapped
in the heavy coat, catching or killing game sufficient for daily food,
or going hungry till better luck shall interpose. This, indeed, is
manhood; and our country, with its vast solitudes, its unbroken forests,
its network of water-courses, its endless chains of lakes, its vast
mountains and limitless prairies, offers inducements for such a life
that no other land possesses.

As pretty full instructions have been given in the _Game Fish of North
America_ to aid the learner in commencing his experiences of camp life,
the reader who desires such information is referred to that work; but
whether he shall go into the solitary wilderness, away from man and
human habitation, or can only tear himself from business for a few hours
for a flying visit to some quiet preserve near the bustling city, he
should never forget that he is a sportsman, and owes the duties of
moderation, humanity, patience, and kindness under all circumstances;
that he cannot slaughter or poach; and that, from his profession, he
should ever be a gentleman. He should never forget the words of that
most amiable of our fraternity--the splendid shot, the skilful angler,
the genial companion, and the graceful writer, now long since gathered
to his final resting-place--who was known to the public under the name
of J. Cypress, Jr.:

“No genuine piscator ever tabernacled at Fireplace or Stump-pond who
could not exhibit proofs of great natural delicacy and strength of
apprehension--I mean of things in general, including fish. But the _vis
vivida animi_, the _os magna sonans_, the _manus mentis_, the divine
rapture of the seduction of a trout, how few have known the apotheosis!
The creative power of genius can make a feather-fly live, and move, and
have being; and a wisely stricken fish gives up the ghost in transports.
That puts me in mind of a story of Ned Locus. Ned swears that he once
threw a fly so far and delicately and suspendedly, that just as it was
dropping upon the water, after lying a moment in the scarcely moving air
as though it knew no law of gravity, it actually took life and wings,
and would have flown away but that an old four-pounder, seeing it start,
sprang and jumped at it full a foot out of his element, and changed the
course of the insect’s travel from the upper air to the bottom of his
throat. That is one of Ned’s, and I do not guarantee it, but such a
thing might be. Insects are called into being in a variety of mysterious
ways, as all the world knows; for instance, the animalcula that appear
in the neighborhood of departed horses; and, as Ned says, if death can
create life, what is the reason a smart man can’t? Good fishermen are
generally great lawyers; _ecce signa_, Patrick Henry and Daniel Webster.
I have known this rule, however, to have exceptions. But the true
sportsman is always at least a man of genius and an honest man. I have
either read or heard some one say, and I am sure it is the fact, that
there never was an instance of a sincere lover of a dog, gun, and rod
being sent to bridewell or penitentiary.... If I were governor and knew
a case, I would exert the pardoning power without making any inquiry. I
should determine without waiting to hear a single fact that the man was
convicted by means of perjury. There is a plain reason for all this. A
genuine sportsman must possess a combination of virtues which will fill
him so full that no room can be left for sin to squeeze in. He must be
an early riser--to be which is the beginning of all virtue--ambitious,
temperate, prudent, patient of toil, fatigue, and disappointment;
courageous, watchful, intent upon his business; always ready, confident,
cool; kind to his dog, civil to the girls, and courteous to his brother

To constitute a sportsman, therefore, it is not sufficient merely to be
able to catch fish; although a very important element in the angler’s
composition, it is not all that is required, nor will it alone entitle
him to full fellowship with the fraternity. He must have higher
aspirations and nobler gifts; he must look beyond the mere result to the
mode of effecting it, regarding, perhaps, the means more than the end.
Any unfair trick or mean advantage he must never take, even to fill a
vacant creel or empty pocket; he must never slay the crouching bevy,
huddled in terror before his pointer’s nose; he must never resort to the
grapple or the noose, no matter how provokingly the wary trout, lying
motionless in the clear water, may disdain his choicest flies; and, when
the nature of the fish pursued induces it to accept the imitation, he
can use the natural bait, only in extreme cases and at great risk to his
reputation. The noblest of fish, the mighty salmon, refuses bait
utterly, and only with the most artistic tackle and the greatest skill
can he be taken; the trout, which ranks second to the salmon, demands an
almost equal perfection of both, and in his true season, the genial days
of spring and summer, scorns every allurement but the tempting fly. The
black bass prefers the fly, but will take the trolling-spoon, and even
bait, at all seasons; whereas the fish of lesser station give a
preference to bait, or accept it alone. This order of precedence
sufficiently proves what every thorough sportsman will endorse--that
bait-fishing, although an art of intricacy and difficulty, is altogether
inferior to the science of fly-fishing; and that the man who merely
follows it without higher aspiration, and uses a worm equally for the
beautiful trout and the hideous cat-fish, cannot claim to be a
sportsman. Occasionally there is a person who will use the bait with
wonderful ability, and entice the reluctant fish against their will to
an unwished-for meal; but he never experiences the higher pleasures of
his pursuit--his enjoyment in making a neat and killing fly, his
satisfaction at its success, his delight in putting it properly upon the
water, and his gratification when with it and his frail tackle he shall
have overcome the fierce and stubborn prey. Therefore to his many other
qualities, the true sportsman must add a thorough knowledge of
fly-fishing, and only can the use of artificial fish or fly, or casting
the menhaden bait for bass, be termed SUPERIOR FISHING.

[Illustration: THE FIRST VEIL.]



Don Pedro is descended from one of what we in our young country call the
old and highly-respectable families, and having been nurtured amid the
refinements and luxuries of life, is one of the most gentlemanly men
imaginable. At the public rooms of a hotel, in the halls, on the piazza,
in the saloon of a steamboat, he can never pass a lady, though she be a
perfect stranger, without in the most deferential manner removing his
hat. To this reverence for the fair sex he adds an easy elegance towards
his own, that at once commands attention and respect.

Never having taken an active share in the world’s affairs, his
abilities, which are far above the average, have lain dormant or run to
criticising art or committing poetry; and he is rather apt to discuss
very small matters with a minuteness and persistency that important ones
scarcely merit.

He had travelled Europe, of course, had shot quail and taken trout in
Long Island, fired at crocodiles on the Nile and jackals in the desert;
and although probably the greatest exposure of his life had been damp
sheets at a country inn, and his severest hardship the finding his
claret sour or being compelled twice in one day to eat of the same kind
of game, he was now seized with a sporting mania, and determined to
rough it in the woods. An unsafe companion, perhaps, the reader may
think; but it is not always the roughest men who have the most pluck,
nor those accustomed to the commonest fare who grumble the least when
offered still coarser, and there is truth in the words of worthy Tom
Draw: “Give me a raal gentleman, one as sleeps soft and eats high, and
drinks highest kind, to stand roughing it.”

So we discussed matters over a comfortable dinner, with the aid of a
couple of bottles of claret, one of champagne, and a little brandy; and
Don concluded he would as lief eat salt pork as woodcock, and ship
biscuit as French rolls. He was anxious to examine my list of camp
articles, and was quite ready to do away with a large part of them; but
finally determined to leave that matter to me, holding me strictly
responsible for carrying any unnecessary effeminate luxuries. The
discussion was not a short one, but this happy decision being arrived
at, I was perfectly satisfied.

We met by appointment a few days later at the Angier House, in that
thriving, active town of Cleveland, which seems to be drawing to itself
the business of the other cities of Lake Erie, and, cannibal-like, to be
growing fat on their exhausted lives. It is a thoroughly American city,
and, like all our cities, doubtless has the handsomest street in the
world, for so we were assured by the citizens.

A large part of the trade of Cleveland is with the mines of Lake
Superior, and steamers leave almost daily for that region, carrying a
miscellaneous assortment of the necessaries of life, and returning laden
with copper and iron ore. Not content, however, with this unexciting
freight, these vessels propose to carry excursion parties round the
lakes, and are all, if their advertisements are to be believed, supplied
with brass bands, and every luxury of the season.

In Cleveland we intended to purchase such ardent spirits as we might
require, and Don commenced:

“Now as to this question of liquor, I should like to have your views
concerning kind and quantity?”

“Well, I expect we will be in the woods twenty days, and have made my
computations on that basis; so we will need a case of liquor, and as you
prefer brandy, brandy let it be.”

“No, no; by no means,” responded Don; “do not let my predilections
influence you; besides, a dozen bottles seems a good deal. If we were
gone twenty-four days it would be just a pint a day, or a half-pint
apiece--rather severe, considering we expect to rough it.”

“You know we have to give the men some occasionally, and then we will
meet other parties and have mutual good-luck to drink. It will not be an
over-supply, though we can make it less if you say so; I myself drink
little when in the woods.”

“I believe that,” replied Don, ironically; “and considering how well I
know you, it was hardly worth while to mention it. But this is a serious
question, for we can get nothing drinkable after leaving Cleveland; and
if we have to do what you say, do you not think we shall run short? I
want plenty of everything, and it would be better to take a dozen and a
half, if there is a doubt.”

“There is no doubt; but if----”

“If you say there is no doubt, that is sufficient; but I am surprised
you should give the men expensive brandy, when they would probably
prefer a coarser article.”

“Of course, we will take a common whiskey for the men; but occasionally
while using the flask ourselves we will naturally pass it to them.”

“Ah, yes; I understand. But, really, I am not satisfied it should be all
brandy; you must not expect to have the same comforts you would in the
city, and if you will take my advice, you will have at least part

“But you prefer brandy, and one is as easy to carry as the other.”

“Really, now, you must not consult my wishes; in fact, although I admit
a slight preference for brandy, many persons prefer whiskey. Before you
decide, it would be well to examine the matter thoroughly; and as we are
now at the store, you must make up your mind promptly.”

This conversation had taken place as we were walking from the hotel to
an establishment that had been recommended to us.

“Remember,” continued Don, “you must act for the joint interest, and
there are several points well worth considering. In the first place,
whiskey is much cheaper; then it is probably purer than the brandy you
buy here; if a bottle should be broken the loss is less----”

“Certainly; if you would be equally content, I should arrange it

“How often must I tell you not to consider me, and I am decidedly
pleased at your change of views. Now, putting aside any supposed
preference on my part, what proportions would you suggest?”

“Nine of whiskey to three of brandy.”

“Ah,” gasped Don, losing his breath at the suddenness of this response,
“have you given the matter sufficient consideration? You have not even
ascertained the price;” and then turning to the clerk, he asked: “How do
you sell your best whiskey?”

“Eight dollars a dozen, and brandy two dollars a bottle.”

“Nine bottles of whiskey would be six dollars,” I calculated aloud, “and
six for the brandy, make twelve. Have them packed and delivered on board
the _City of Cleveland_ promptly at half-past seven, because she leaves
at eight.”

“But are you satisfied?” cried Don in an agony of horror at such a want
of discussion; “have you examined all the bearings of the change? Can
it be packed in time? You know whiskey does not go as far as brandy.
Are you sure you have enough? Is there no question about that being the
best proportion? Would you not prefer all whiskey? In case of sickness,
may we not need more brandy? What is the best mode of packing it? Is it
sure to be at the boat punctually?”

“That is the clerk’s affair; if it is there it will be paid for, and if
not it won’t. Let’s look at the town; come,” and I dragged him off just
in time to avoid a dozen new propositions, and as many unanswerable
questions, leaving the clerk, bottle in hand, looking the image of
despair at the avalanche of inquiries that had burst upon him.

After strolling about for several hours we reached the boat, and found
the case of liquor waiting for us, and proceeded to select our
stateroom. This matter rose at once to a serious question in Don’s eyes.
I resolved to leave it entirely to him, confident that his elegant
manner would impress the steward. He at once devoted his entire
attention to it, flitting from place to place in the forward and after
cabins with the steward at his side, pointing out defects here,
suggesting changes there, popping in and out of doors, describing his
foreign experiences and the prime necessity of comfortable quarters,
turning down the sheets, peering into cracks, feeling the pillows,
casting a suspicious eye upon blankets, dissatisfied with all, and
finally resolved to take one which could not be examined at the time for
want of the key, but which the steward, who had been a respectful and
sympathetic listener, assured him had none of the defects he had pointed

The immaculate stateroom was engaged, the boat pushed off, the key was
obtained, and lo and behold! if it had none of these specified defects,
it had another--one of the wooden supports, a huge beam eighteen inches
broad, passed directly up through the foot of both the berths, reducing
them to four feet six inches in length. When Don made this discovery his
face was a study for his friends the artists; anger could not do justice
to the occasion; despair, bewilderment, horror, astonishment, seemed
blended, with a lurking suspicion that the sympathetic steward had been
making game of him. He rushed to the office, could find nothing of the
steward, but was informed that all the other staterooms were engaged.

However, after supper, the officials relented and gave us another room,
enjoying mightily their joke, as I always believed it to be, although
Don never could be brought to admit that they could by any possibility
have dared to make fun of him, and insisted it was a blunder of that
“stupid steward.”

We reached Detroit by five o’clock of the following morning, and as the
boat for some wise reason remained there till two in the afternoon, we
strolled round the city. It is a promising place, and has the finest
street in the world, so the citizens assured us, called Jefferson
Avenue. The market was well supplied with fish, and among them sturgeon,
cut into slabs of yellow, flabby flesh; pale Mackinaw salmon, and
darker ones from Lake Superior; white fish, the best of which were sold
for six cents a pound; lake mullet, black and white bass, yellow and
white perch, sun-fish, northern pickerel, suckers, pike-perch, cat-fish,
and lake shad or lake sheepshead, called in French _Bossu_, or
humpback--a very appropriate appellation. These fish had been for the
most part taken in nets; but black bass are captured abundantly with the
rod in the small lakes near Detroit, and in Canada opposite. The
principal articles sold in the market, however, were strawberries and
hoop-skirts; the latter being so numerous that Don remarked incidentally
that the inhabitants absolutely skirt the market. This he evidently
intended as a joke.

A few miles beyond Detroit is situated its pretentious rival, Port
Huron, which is also a flourishing town, and has the handsomest street
in the world; and opposite Port Huron are Sarnia and Point Edwards, the
termini of the Grand Trunk and the Great Western railroads of Canada. We
touched at Point Edwards at about eleven o’clock in the evening.

America is a great place; the people are upright, virtuous, honest,
enterprising, energetic, brave, intelligent, charitable and public
spirited; they are the finest race of men and the most beautiful and
cultivated women in the world, but they do not know how to dine. To
gobble down one’s victuals, regardless of digestion or decency, is not
eating like Christians but feeding like animals; to thrust one’s fork
or spoon into the dish appropriated to holding food for all, is
uncleanly and offensive; to eat peas with a knife is bad enough, but to
use it immediately afterwards to cut butter from the butter-plate is
absolutely disgusting. No one who does these things is either a lady or
a gentleman; and no one who cannot keep his arms at his side while
cutting his meat is fit to eat at a public table.

There was one gentleman, as he would claim to be considered, who sat
near us, who, although he had a proper silver fork, endeavored
religiously to eat his peas on a knife that happened to have a small
point. This operation, always difficult and dangerous, became, from the
formation of the blade, almost impossible; the peas rolled off at every
attempt, and the unfortunate rarely succeeded in carrying to his mouth
more than one at a time, till finally reduced to despair, he seized a
table-spoon, and with it devoured them in great mouthfuls.

The dinner was quite a lively scene; the ladies, although there was
plenty of room, were smuggled in clandestinely before the gong was
sounded, and the men, dreading the horrors of a second table, rushed for
the remaining chairs, standing behind and guarding them religiously, but
politely waiting till the ladies were seated. There was plenty of food,
but each man immediately collected such delicacies as were near him, and
he imagined he might need, and transferred them to his plate or a small
saucer. There was abundance of time, no one having the slightest
prospect of occupation after dinner, and yet every man, woman, and child
set to work eating as though they expected at any moment to be dragged
away and condemned to weeks of starvation.

The waiters, like all Americanized Irishmen, were independent if not
insolent, and we overheard the following discourse between one of them
and an unhappy wretch who had come in late and could obtain no
attendance. The suffering individual began rapping on his plate with the
knife till he attracted the notice of a passing waiter:

_Waiter._--“Well, what are you making that noise for?”

_Starving Individual._--“I should like to have something to eat.”

_Waiter._--“Isn’t there plenty to eat all round you?”

_Individual._--“But I want some meat.”

_Waiter._--“Why don’t you ask for it, then? What do you want?”

_Individual._--“What kinds are there?”

_Waiter._--“Why there’s beefsteak, to be sure.”

_Individual._--“I would like to have some beefsteak.”

_Waiter._--“Why didn’t you say so, then, at first? Give me your plate if
you expect me to get it for you.”

It was their habit to empty the water left in the glasses back into the
pitchers, and when I asked one for a glass of water, he drank out of it
himself first, and then handed it to me. On another occasion he helped
Don by giving him the tumbler a stranger had just used.

These little peculiarities all round encouraged sociability; you could
hardly refuse to know a man when you had drunk out of the same glass and
eaten from the same dish with him, and a lady naturally felt at home
with a gentleman whose ribs she had been punching for half an hour. The
progress of the meal, however, was somewhat checkered, not a few of the
guests clamoring for their dessert ere the others had finished their
soup. The only explanation of this haste was from the graceful
stewardess, who was the redeeming feature of the boat, and who said the
waiters were in a hurry so as to have it over as soon as possible. It
might aptly be said of the Americans: “They eat to live.”

Beyond Lake St. Clair the land on both sides of the river is low, and,
especially on the Canadian side, adorned with cultivated farms and
dotted with picturesque country houses. A half mile barely separates the
two nations; and, in case of war, with our present improved artillery,
the intervening river would hardly form an obstacle to mutual
destruction, till the once smiling fields and happy homes would be one
vast scene of desolation.

Emerging into Lake Huron we began to perceive the effects of the cool
water and consequent condensation of the warmer atmosphere; a heavy fog
lay upon the surface, at first not higher than our upper deck, but
creeping up as the night advanced. On one side a beautiful fog-bow with
faint and delicate colors, spanned the sky, while on the other a
brilliant ring of sparkling silver surrounded the moon. The water that
was an opaque, milky white at Cleveland, had been growing darker,
greener, and clearer, attaining perfect purity ere we reached Lake
Superior, and exposing to view objects many feet below its surface.

Having reached Detour, which is a growing place and will soon have the
finest street in the world, at eight o’clock at night, and the channel
through Lake George being intricate, the captain announced we could
proceed no further that evening, and the passengers generally went
ashore to explore the country. The land is low around Detour, though
there are clusters of pretty islands, and here for the first did we see
the rocky northern formation and the evergreen trees.

Lake George, which is at the head of Lake Huron, or more properly a part
of it, is shallow and muddy. A channel, narrow and of but twelve feet in
depth, has been dredged and marked out with stakes; it is crooked, and
will scarcely admit of two vessels passing abreast. The shoal mud-flats
were visible in every direction, and our wheels stirred up the bottom as
we passed.

It was with a feeling of relief that we escaped from this lake into the
deeper and rapid waters of the river Ste. Marie, whose eddying current
and bold shores were a pleasant sight, to our eyes wearied with the
sameness of lake travel. We had been three nights and almost three days
caged in our floating home, and were delighted at the near approach to
our destination. We had not heard the band mentioned in the
advertisements, but supplied its place with a crazy piano strummed by
amateur performers; we had not partaken of all the luxuries of the
season, but had appreciated with sharpened appetites the substantials
that were furnished; we had not enjoyed the company of fair
excursionists from Cleveland or Detroit, but had formed the acquaintance
of one or two kind beings in crinoline; we had not had an exciting trip,
but had been transported safely and slowly, and at eight o’clock that
morning we reached the Sault Ste. Marie.

A weary waste of waters lay behind; our track lengthening into the dim
distance, stretched out to many thousand miles; we had crossed deep
streams, had burrowed through high mountains, had darted along broad
meadows, had swept across majestic lakes, had ascended mighty rivers;
less than a hundred years ago many months would have been expended in
completing this same journey; serious difficulties would have had to be
overcome and dangers encountered; we had condensed a year of our
grandfathers’ lives into three days; we had spanned one-half our great
continent, fled from the metropolis of civilization to the native haunts
of the savage; in fact, gone back from the nineteenth into the
eighteenth century. We had been carried by steam upon the track of iron
or in the moving palace; in future we were to embark in the voyageur’s
bateau, and be propelled by oars or sail. Heretofore the unnatural wants
of civilized life had been indulged and gratified; hereafter, the
commonest home, the simplest covering, the plainest food, was to be our
lot; hitherto we had been in the land where gold was the talisman that
commanded ten thousand slaves; henceforth we were to trust ourselves to
kindly nature and our own capabilities. Glorious were our anticipations
from the change. Our vessel, the unromantic _City of Cleveland_, which,
from the beginning, had been lumbering along at the moderate rate of ten
miles an hour without ever being betrayed into the slightest evidence of
enthusiasm, seemed overjoyed at her approaching arrival, and dressed
herself in her gala costume of variegated bunting. She whistled merrily
to announce to the inhabitants that once more she was to bless their
sight, and tried to get up a little extra steam for a final burst. The
travellers crowded her decks, the natives collected along shore; the
former waved their handkerchiefs, the latter, probably having no
handkerchiefs, swung their hats; and amid all this excitement we came
merrily up to the dock.

The Sault, or Soo, as the name of the village is always pronounced, is
not a large place, but proved to be larger than I expected; our dull
plodding eastern people can hardly imagine how rapidly the west is
growing in wealth and population; already our little western brother is
claiming to be a man, and if we are not careful will be too much for us
some day. This newly planted village, almost at the extreme northwest of
American civilization, included an excellent hotel, a dozen stores, and
at least a hundred houses and workshops. Already the belles of
Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota were congregating at it to
enjoy its cool temperature and invigorating atmosphere, and ere many
years are passed it will be a fashionable watering-place, thronged with
the _élite_ of western society. Its principal hotel, the Chippewa House,
is admirably kept, and doubtless is the pioneer of an infinitely more
gorgeous affair.

Don, however, who is rather particular and not much accustomed to the
free and easy mode of country life, was somewhat disappointed with our
room. It had the great desideratum of plenty of fresh air, for it was of
the whole width of the house and had windows back and front, but Don was
surprised that people who kept hotels did not acquaint themselves with
the other important requisites.

“There, for instance, you observe the water pitcher has a cracked
handle. Some time you will undertake to lift it and it will give way,
and then there is no telling what it may ruin; the trunk, even, may
receive the entire contents.”

“But, Don, that is an old crack; it has evidently stood several years,
and will doubtless last the few days we are here.”

“Not so certain; and just observe that disgusting nick in the
wash-basin, it will always look dirty even if it is not.”

“Don, you are wrong there; that is a good sign, it proves the basin may
nick but won’t break.”

“Then there is no slop-basin; now what do you suppose we are to do
without a slop-basin?”

“Why, throw the slops out of the window, to be sure.”

“You would hardly call that decent in New York; and not only may they
fall on some passer-by, but the window is too small to permit it
conveniently. Just look at this pillow; it is long, to be sure, but not
stuffed with half feathers enough; what am I to do with such an apology
for a pillow as this?”

“Why, double it up, of course.”

“I see,” he concluded, in a resigned tone, “you are making a joke of
these matters, so we will not pursue the subject; but now that we are on
shore fresh from our voyage, I wish to ask seriously your deliberate
opinion whether you would advise any one to take the trip just for the
pleasure of the journey itself?”



In the northern part of Minnesota is the greatest elevation of what
geologists denominate the eastern water-shed of our continent; lying
almost exactly in the centre of North America, here the streams that
flow to the north, east, and south, find their source. Lake Superior,
that adjoins this section on the east, is the chief of those magnificent
lakes that empty from one another into the St. Lawrence, and finally
wash the coast of Labrador. The Mississippi, taking its rise in the same
region and but a few miles away, flows southward with ever increasing
volume to the Gulf of Mexico, and then sweeping around Florida and
through the Atlantic, rejoins the waters of Lake Superior off
Newfoundland; while the Red River of the North, pursuing a contrary
course, empties into Hudson’s Bay and thence into the Northern Ocean.
These waters, starting from little rills and springs scarcely more than
a few steps apart, after wandering thousands of miles asunder come
together and commingle in the Northern Atlantic Ocean.

Here were the famous Indian portages. One from Lake Superior through
Pigeon River, Sturgeon Lake, and Rainy River into the Lake of the Woods,
has served to locate the boundary between two great nations, and is the
native highway between Hudson’s River and Hudson’s Bay. Another through
Brulé River leads into the head waters of the Mississippi, and thence,
by ascending the Missouri, to the rivers that empty into the Pacific
Ocean. These portages were traversed year after year by the aboriginal
inhabitants, who have left their tracks in the well-worn paths that are
still followed by the voyageurs, and are suggestive of easy grades to
those who wish to bind our country together by paddle-wheel and railroad

Lake Superior, with a surface six hundred feet above, and a bottom three
hundred feet below the level of the sea, stretches out in vastness and
splendor five hundred miles long by nearly two hundred broad, and holds
in its bosom islands that would make respectable kingdoms in the old
world. On the southern shore its sandstone rocks are worn by the waves
and storms into fantastic shapes, imitative of ancient castles or modern
vessels, or are hollowed out into deep caverns; on the north the bolder
shore rises into rugged mountains whose face has been seamed by the
moving ice-drift of former ages. In the country bordering upon the south
are located inexhaustible mines of copper and iron of immense value; and
along the northern coast are found agates and precious stones.

A hundred streams pour their contents into the great lake which, from
its enormous size and depth, retaining the temperature of winter through
the summer months, empties its clear, cold, transparent waters into the
river Ste. Marie. Not producing a large variety of fish, those that
dwell in its bosom are the finest of their species. The speckled trout,
the Mackinaw salmon, and the black bass are large and vigorous;
sturgeons are plentiful, although valueless except as an article of
food; and the white fish are the daintiest fresh-water fish in the

The forests are mainly composed of the sombre evergreen trees, relieved
frequently by the beautiful white birch, and along the low lands by a
considerable number of other varieties; the shore on the north is a bold
bluff five hundred feet high, but where it descends to the water it
forms occasionally tracts of fertile interval; on the south the coast is
more level and apparently more sterile. Both shores are as yet totally
uncultivated, and from the severity of the winters will probably long so

Immediately upon our arrival at the Sault we made our preparations for a
campaign against the fish, and engaged as guides Joseph Le Sayre, a
Melicete chief, and Alexis Biron, a Canadian half-breed. Old Joe, as we
called him, though he did not seem over forty, was a fine looking Indian
with an erect graceful shape, and pleasant open countenance; Alexis,
though apparently a good man, was not so prepossessing.

We embarked in a large, stout canoe, and paddling across the broken
water at the foot of the fall, commenced fishing the streams into which
the river is divided by numerous islands near the opposite shore. A
small, brown caddis fly, or, scientifically speaking, _phryganea_,
covered the water in myriads, was wafted along in clouds by the wind,
and settled upon the trees and rocks everywhere. Knowing that they
changed from a species of worm on rising to the surface, we selected
clear, calm spots and endeavored to examine the process. It was too
rapid for human eyesight; a spot of transparent water would be bare one
instant, and the next there would be upon its surface two or three
little creatures dancing about and trying their wings preparatory to a
bolder flight. We never managed to see the larva, but invariably beheld
the perfect fly appear instantaneously.

Their number was incalculable; living ones filled the air, were blown
along like moving sand, were carried into our faces so that we could
scarcely face the wind, and settled upon our boat; dead ones covered the
water in all directions, were devoured by the fish, especially the lake
herring, and were collected by the current in masses resembling
sea-weed. They were nearly the color of common brown paper throughout,
legs, wings, and body being of much the same hue. They arrive every year
at the same time and in about the same numbers. They last a week or so,
and although we found them the entire length of our subsequent trip,
their favorite locality seemed to be the Sault. They are used as bait
for the lake herring, which I believe is identical with the cisco, an
excellent fish closely resembling, and in my opinion equal, if not
superior to the white fish.

The trout usually begin taking the artificial fly in the early part of
July, but although we had been warned that they were not as yet rising
this year, we had no anticipation of the wretched luck that awaited us.
Notwithstanding the water seemed promising, and deep, dark holes,
beautiful eddies, and lively pools indicated success; and
notwithstanding continual changes of our flies, we only killed three
small fish. Perhaps the numerous natural insects, or the _larvæ_ from
which they were metamorphosed, proved a sufficient and preferable food;
we could not induce the trout to rise, and did not even see them

Exploring all the little streams of the Canadian side, hoping at every
cast to improve our luck, we worked our way slowly and arduously, for
the water was unusually low, against the current, and steadily ascending
with the strenuous efforts of our canoe men, who used stout poles for
the purpose, we at last emerged above the islands and at the head of the

Here the water of the lake, confined to the narrow channel, chafed
uneasily in tiny wavelets, as though conscious of the approaching
struggle. Above, the river stretched away to the westward, evidently
from a considerable elevation but comparatively smooth; nearer, it was
rushing like a mill-race; below it was broken into white waves, huge
cascades, and seething rapids. How wonderful is the change in the
appearance of water lying calmly in the lake, hurrying rapidly but
silently down a smooth slope, lashed into billows by the wind, toiling
among rocks or leaping over falls--but above all is it peculiar and
terrible in passing through broken descents! See it glide so deceitfully
smooth, but with such resistless power toward the rapids; notice its
tiny innocent ripples and childlike murmurs at your feet; see the pretty
rolling undulations. Trust yourself to its seductions. Now it has you in
its fearful current, now it drags you along, it clasps you struggling
and shrieking in its fierce embrace; it throws its white arms around
you, lashes itself into a fury, whirls you about in its powerful eddies,
sinks you down in its mighty whirlpools, dashes you against the rocks,
drags you along the jagged bottom, tosses you over the cascades, and
finally flings you torn, bleeding, disfigured, and lifeless to the
bottom of the tranquil pool at its base.

In the sunlight it resembles liquid crystal; flowing along placidly,
transparent as the diamond, it sweeps upon the rocky shoals and flies up
in a shower of purest pearls, alternately revealing or hiding some
monstrous gem to which it lends its reflective brilliancy; over the
limestone it is opal, over yellow rocks it becomes onyx, over the red,
ruby or garnet, over the green, emerald.

Bending and waving in ever varying beauty of form, but carrying in its
bosom or reflecting from its foam the sunlight fire, a thousand times
intensified, of precious stones.

As the day was well advanced, we determined to trust ourselves to the
unreliable element and run the rapids, which is one of the favorite
amusements of the adventurous. This can be made as dangerous as
desirable, according to the selection of route, either near shore, where
there is only the chance of an upset and a few bruises, or through the
centre, where it is certain death. We chose a middle course, but as near
the centre as our guides, who were not venturesome, would go. Crossing
over above the broken water to the American shore, the large,
high-sided, but fragile canoe was headed down stream, giving us a view
of the prospect before us.

Great ridges of white foam stretched at intervals almost from shore to
shore, while the darker water was broken into heavy waves, curling up
stream and ready to pour into the boat as it should rush downwards
through them. At first the canoe settled gently, making us plainly feel
that we were going down hill; then it gathered way as the current
increased, and went plunging on its course. The waves flew from our bow
or leaped over in upon us, the rocks glided by racing up stream,
whirlpools twisted us from side to side; we sprang over tiny cascades or
darted down slopes deep and dark, or shallow and feathery white with
foam; we rushed upon rocks where inevitable destruction seemed awaiting
us, and the shore, trees, and houses went tearing by; past the little
island at the head of the rapids, past the main fall, through foam and
spray, we dashed headlong, till the few minutes required for the entire
descent being exhausted, we glided calmly and quietly into the water

Looking back it seemed as though we gazed upon a hill covered with water
instead of up a river, and nothing but practical experience would
convince a tyro that it could be navigated in safety with a birch canoe.
Exhilarated with the pleasurable sensations we had enjoyed, and
satisfied that the trout were not in a rising mood that day at least, we
returned to the hotel.

The few fish we had killed were transferred by our host to the cook, and
reäppeared on table in fine style. After discussing an excellent dinner
and comparing notes with the other fishermen present, we accepted the
invitation of the canal superintendent to examine the locks and visit
his pond of tame trout. We found the canal an admirable structure,
expensively built, and of a size to accommodate the largest steamers
that navigate Lake Superior; not, however, being skilful in works of
that character, we felt more interest in the trout pond.

The latter was quite small, fed by a pipe from the canal that cast up a
jet in the centre, and was filled with over a hundred of fine, large,
active trout, weighing from one to four pounds. They were wonderfully
gentle, would feed from the hand, allow any one to scratch their sides
and lift them from the water, and if one end of the food was held fast,
they would tug like good fellows at the other. When we held a piece of
bait between the first finger and thumb, and at the same time presented
the little finger, they would frequently seize the latter by mistake;
and although on that occasion they let go instantly without doing the
least harm, the proprietor said when hungry they occasionally left the
marks of their teeth. It was extremely interesting to watch their
movements, as their appetites were never allowed to become ravenous and
produce quarrelling among themselves. They were magnificent fellows,
swimming about majestically, and coming to the surface in a fearless way
to return the gaze of the spectators.

The trout were mostly taken in nets from the canal when the water was
drawn off. They had been known to spawn, trying to ascend the jet for
that purpose, and depositing their eggs where the water fell; but the
spawn either was eaten by their comrades or failed to hatch. Under no
circumstances, however, would the young have lived among such rapacious

Having amused ourselves sufficiently with the tame trout, we turned our
attention once more to their wilder brethren; but as no better success
attended us than in the morning, we returned early to superintend the
capture of the white-fish. Every morning and evening the Indians and
half-breeds are seen by pairs in their canoes, one wielding a large net
with a long wooden handle, and the other plying the paddle. Ascending
cautiously to the eddy below some prominent rock, the net-man in the bow
peers into the troubled water, and having caught sight of the white-fish
lying securely in his haven of rest, casts the net over him. The moment
the net touches the water the other ceases paddling, and allows the
canoe to settle back with the current; the fish thus entangled in the
meshes is lifted out and thrown into the boat. The net is about four
feet across, the rim is of wood, and the handle is bent at the end so as
to afford a secure hold. Nothing but the practised eye of the native can
distinguish, amid the foam and spray and broken water, the dim and
varying outline of the fish. Many are frequently taken at one cast, and
they are sold, large and small, for five cents apiece.

Although undoubtedly delicious eating, fresh from the cold water of Lake
Superior, white-fish are not superior in flavor to their smaller
brethren, the lake herring. The latter, so closely resembling the former
as to be only distinguishable by the sharper projection of the lower
jaw, are taken with the natural brown fly that has been already
described. Differing little, if at all, from the cisco of Lake Ontario,
they rise with a bolder leap at the natural fly, and their break is as
vigorous and determined as that of the trout. They do not seem, except
on rare occasions, to take the artificial fly, but with bait not only
furnish pleasant sport for ladies, but an admirable dish for the table.

The lake herring is found in many of the extensive waters of the West,
but being smaller than the white-fish, is overshadowed by the reputation
of the latter. It is a pretty fish, bites freely and plays well, but
having to contend in delicacy against the white-fish, and in vigor
against the trout, it does not receive the attention it deserves. Early
in July they collect at the Sault in millions, filling every eddy of
the rapids and crowding the canal, and devour the dead and living
_phryganidæ_. Later they retire to deep water.

It being now apparent that the trout did not intend to accept our
delusions as veritable insects, and as fish of three and four pounds had
been taken with minnow, much to our envy, Don determined to try the
bait. There are several species of minnow captured from among the rocks
of the Sault in shrimp-nets, but the favorite is a peculiarly shaped
fish bearing the euphonious title of _cock-à-doosh_. What the name
signifies, either in French or Chippewa, we could not ascertain; but the
broad, round head and slim tail remind one of a pollywog, which of all
created things it most resembles. The cock-à-doosh is a muscular little
fellow, and not appearing to mind a hook thrust through him, furnishes a
lively, attractive bait.

At the suggestion of some gentlemen who were old habitués, and who
recommended to us a couple of men that had accompanied them on former
trips up the lake, we had determined to discard our present boatmen,
although without cause of complaint, and engage Frank and Charley Biron
to accompany us into the woods. We had laid in our supplies of food, all
of which, except the tent, the liquor, solidified milk, and a few
especial luxuries were purchased in the village stores, had made our
preparation for departure in the morning, and devoted the afternoon to
fishing the little rapids.

Our present men had already ascertained our intended change, and we had
hardly pushed off before old Joe began upon us. He spoke French, the
language of communication between the natives and travellers, and never
shall I forget his reproachful tone and manner. Perfectly respectful, he
pictured our enormities and unkindness in such eloquent words that we
hung our heads in shame.

Never before had he, the chief of the Melicetes, acquainted as he was
with the whole length of the lake, been displaced for younger men. The
young men were good voyageurs--that he did not dispute; but was it
reasonable to prefer them to one who had lived his whole life in the
woods, or was it right to brand with disgrace a guide who for two days
had served us, as we admitted, faithfully? Unusual, indeed, was it to
change the men, and should he have this discredit cast upon him? He had
not been engaged positively to accompany us; but had we not spoken to
him and asked his advice? Was he not justified in expecting it? He was
sorry and hurt that we should have done so; he had been pleased with us;
he knew that he could have pleased us; but could he rest under such an
imputation? Were younger men better boatmen than he? Were they better
acquainted with the lake? Were we dissatisfied with him so far? Why,
then, had we changed, unless indeed to offend him? His feelings were
wounded, and he felt sure that we must regret our injustice. If we said
that we had been advised to do so, it must have been by persons who did
not know him or had some unworthy object; and should we have done so
great a wrong without more inquiry? “No, _messieurs_; this is the first
time I have been turned away for younger men.”

It is impossible to give his language, for Joe, although usually
taciturn, burst forth with an overwhelming flow of eloquence, showed us
our conduct in such a light that we would gladly have retracted, and
compelled us to take refuge behind our ignorance of the customs of the
place. Disclaiming the intention to cast a slur upon him, we expressed
the fullest confidence in his abilities, and said that were it not too
late we should cancel our other engagement. Somewhat mollified, the
pleasant expression returned to the old brave’s countenance ere we
reached the little rapids, where the excitement of fishing diverted our

Don here met with his first success with the cock-à-doosh, striking and
killing, after a protracted struggle of twenty minutes, a fine trout of
three pounds. The rapidity of the current, which flowed deep and strong
without an eddy, gave the fish a great advantage, and tried the rod to
the utmost. The hook, from its size taking a better hold than the
diminutive fly-hooks, remained firm and enabled Don at last to bring his
prey to the net--and kill our first large fish in the waters of Lake

Having fished faithfully, but in vain, for a mate, although we saw in a
deep pool quite a number as large or larger, and as my fly would still
only attract the small ones, we headed once more up-stream. The two
miles’ return was slower than our descent, and gave us time to admire
the scenery, to watch the vessels passing through the narrow channel of
the shallow river, and note the decaying woodwork of the old fort that
once did good service against the Indian, but would be a ludicrous
structure in modern warfare. On arriving at the Sault the finishing
touches were given to our preparations for camping out, and a wagon
engaged to transport our stores by land to the head of the canal, where
our new men and their barge were to meet us early on the morrow. We
parted with Joe, who, however, that evening and next morning heaped
coals of fire on our heads by doing us innumerable little favors in the
way of suggestions, advice, and physical aid.

The day following, as the last article was placed upon the cart, we were
informed that neither eggs nor bread was to be had in the village. Our
horror, or rather mine--for Don little knew what a dearth of eggs
implied--can only be appreciated by an experienced cook; bread was a
minor matter, as we had ship-biscuit, but eggs were indispensable. It
appeared on inquiry that the baker had been heating his own coppers, as
the fast men express it, instead of his oven, and was now sleeping off
the effects of his debauch; and hens, feeling their importance in that
desolate country, only lay on special occasions.

While we were in a condition bordering upon despair, uncertain whether
to proceed, the steamer _Illinois_ hove in sight. Never was an arrival
more opportune, for one of the numerous ventures of the bar-keepers on
these vessels is to supply the country with eggs, and recollections of
the baskets full that we had seen hanging from the cross-beams of the
_City of Cleveland_ came vividly to our minds. Leaving Don to purchase
the eggs, I pushed on with the baggage. The former boarded the steamer
as soon as she touched the dock, and, rushing to the bar-keeper,
demanded eight dozen eggs. He was informed, however, that they were sold
by the basket, which contained fifteen dozen, and he could have no less.
Then it was that Don rose to the importance of the occasion. Others
might have doubted, hesitated, or failed to make the purchase at all;
but he, without a pause, grasped the basket, laid down the money, and
started for the head of the canal. Fifteen dozen eggs were a perfect
mine of comfort; in their golden bosoms lay undeveloped numberless
egg-noggs, delicious cakes, and appetizing omelets, and Don’s character
was established for ever.

The wind, strong and contrary, was dashing foam-crested waves against
the piers of the canal, threatening to make our journey a slow one; our
goods and chattels were safely and carefully stowed, filling the barge
as nearly as was desirable; we had even cast off and commenced our
voyage, when through the canal we saw approaching a tug-boat. She was
called the _Bacchus_, and, like her jolly prototype, willingly lent us
her aid; and giving us a tow, made our old boat, for that occasion at
least, a fast one. She tore her way along, crushing the waves with her
high bow, throwing a mass of white water from her propeller, and
carrying us in fine style past _Pointe aux Pins_, nearly ten miles of
our route.

Having left her, as our course now lay more to the northward, we managed
with hard rowing, very different from our previous gallant progress, to
reach _Pointe aux Chênes_ or Oak Point, in time for dinner. Looming up
at the distance of about six miles, rose abruptly to the height of five
hundred feet the bold promontory of _Gros Cap_, its round head enveloped
in driving fog. A scanty verdure of pines and firs covering its sides,
it stood out a bold landmark, being the first high land of the northern

About half-way between Pointe aux Chênes and Gros Cap lies a low and
narrow island, covered with small trees and underbrush, furnishing an
admirable camping-ground; and the wind increasing as the fog descended,
crawling slowly down the mountain sides, we could advance no further.

All day long canoes filled with Indians, taking advantage of the to them
favorable wind, passed us on their way to a grand council at Mitane. It
was wonderful where they could all come from; the men seemed to carry
their wives, papooses, and household gods, and were accompanied by
numberless dogs that ran along the shore; one party consisted of a squaw
seated at the bow to paddle, another in the stern to steer, and a brave
amidships fast asleep; the canoe was propelled by a blanket, used as a
sail. The Indians exhibit great skill in sailing so unsteady a boat as
a canoe; although to ordinary mortals it is difficult to stand up in
one, they manage to sail them in heavy winds and over a rough sea. This
art appears to be peculiar to them, for I have never known it attempted
by the Canadian voyageurs, nor even by the half-breeds.

The fogs rising from the cold waters of Lake Superior are frequent and
dense; on this occasion the moisture settled upon the bushes, fell from
the leaves in large drops, and dampened the boughs of which our bed was
to be composed. For this latter purpose, as there was no sapin on the
island, we were compelled to use oak sprouts, a substitute that Don at
first, attracted by its beauty and apparent comfort, approved, but
which, when before morning the leaves were pressed flat and the stems
made unpleasantly prominent, he anathematized vigorously.

After supper we wandered along the shore, picking up the queerly shaped
and oddly colored stones that abound on the Canadian side of the lake.
No agates nor amethysts, and none of the really beautiful pebbles, are
to be obtained south of Michipicotten, but everywhere are curious
specimens to be found. Carried, as it is supposed, by the ice-drift of
former ages from their natural beds, crushed by the moving mass, and
rounded by the beating waves, the hardest only survive, while the
strangest and most incongruous varieties are collected together. Meeting
with novel specimens at every step, we were continually rejecting what
we had just selected, till we hardly knew which were really the most

Next morning broke with the weather the same, but towards mid-day the
wind fell. Don had been gratified with his meals thus far, but on being
offered rice for breakfast, said that it reminded him of his European
experience, where rice was not considered fit to eat without being
filled with raisins and having goose-gravy for sauce. In fact, he did
not think he could eat it without these accompaniments. Before the trip
was over, however, he found that in spite of European authority and the
absence of goose-gravy, rice was quite palatable.

By hard work we reached the camping-ground at Gros Cap, a small island
almost adjoining the main land, which is too rocky and precipitous to
locate a tent, and having arranged our camp amid the driving fog,
essayed the fishing off the point. Fortune did not smile upon us; and
having killed one fish for supper, we were glad to escape from the cold,
damp air, and return to the warmth of the fire.

The appearance of the rocks in this region is remarkable. Not only are
they veined with metal and quartz, running in long seams, but they are
cut up by deep furrows, at the bottom of which are strewn broken and
pounded stones. The origin of the furrows, or scratches as the
geologists term them, has been differently explained; some writers
attributing them to the action of water, and others, with probably the
correct theory, alleging they were made by the ice-drift of former ages.
The ice-drift was the accumulation of snow and ice in the neighborhood
of the north pole, its increasing masses forcing their way towards
warmer latitudes, and carrying with them immense rocks and boulders. The
drift formerly extended far beyond its present limits, pouring into the
deep water of Lake Superior, and must have crushed and riven whatever
lay in its course--cutting deep furrows whenever the boulders it was
carrying came in contact with the unyielding native rock. The character
of the rifts, which do not resemble the effects of water, their
uniformity of direction, and the pounded character of the stones,
confirm this view.

Whatever may have been their origin, they are troublesome to cross,
forming as they do abrupt gullies running from high up the hills into
the deep water, and occurring at every few hundred feet. But where they
pass below the surface, they and the natural caverns worn by the waves
form admirable retreats for the timid trout. For the whole length of the
shore, the broken rocks lie piled up in the water, and at some places
extend far out; as they furnish the best locality for sport, although
generally the angler has but a short distance to cast, occasionally a
long stretch has to be made. The wind is frequently adverse or across
his line, and as he must reach a particular spot in spite of all
obstacles, his capabilities are often put to the severest test.

To encounter and overcome difficulty is the true sportsman’s delight,
almost as much so as to see the silver-sided beauties of the lake rise
suddenly from their fairy caverns and seize his fly, to feel them
struggling and fighting for their liberty, jumping again and again, and
finally to watch their fading brilliancy enveloped in the fatal net. The
trout of this region resemble the sea-trout of the Gulf of St. Lawrence
in their habits and appearance. They have the same pearly whiteness on
their sides and bellies, heightened by the minute specks of carmine; the
same vigor and dauntless courage, the same savage voracity, and the same
way of springing out of water when they are on the line. They rise
unexpectedly with a rapidity resembling fury, grasp their object with
determination, and on being struck, fight bravely. Their flesh, also, is
equally red and firm, their fins of a pure color but not quite so
delicate, and their shape identically similar. Of course they could
never have ascended from the sea, but are indebted for these
peculiarities to the pureness of the water of the lake, as the sea-trout
are to that of the gulf. And whereas the sea-trout lose their brilliancy
on ascending the rivers, so do these of the lake--a fact which we
afterwards ascertained--becoming even darker colored than their brethren
of the lower regions, and obtaining the reputation among the ignorant
natives, from their changed appearance, of being poisonous.

Another party of fishermen had located on Gros Cap island, our tents
being pitched within a few yards of each other, and we passed a pleasant
evening in their society; our pipes--for I had after much difficulty
persuaded Don that cigars were made for the club-house, not the
wilderness--suggested inquiries about the native weed called
Kinnikinnick, which the Indians in their grand peace councils used
before the advent of the white man, and which in a perverted form had
lent its name to the tobacco we were using. It appeared that the
identical weed was growing close around us, and although the Indians of
their party laughed with contempt at any one using it when pure tobacco
was to be had, we induced them to collect and prepare a small quantity.

The preparation consists of drying it thoroughly by the fire until it is
brown, and then pulverizing it by friction in a cloth. The operation was
soon completed, but, although we tried it mixed and unadulterated both,
we were forced to admit it had absolutely no flavor whatever. Perhaps it
wanted more time or care in the curing, as the men complained of the

Our new-made acquaintances left next morning early, and Don and myself
took a late breakfast and were joined by an unexpected visitor. A
quantity of cold potatoes and ship-biscuit, intended for our men’s
breakfast, had been temporarily placed on a neighboring log, and while
we were partaking of warmer edibles, a few steps off a pretty little
ground squirrel ran out, chirruped a merry good-morning, and proceeded
as a matter of right to help himself to the cold victuals. He was sleek,
bright-colored, and fat, evidently accustomed to many such repasts; and
after trying a piece of potato and finding it was good, he took up a
whole one in his mouth and ran off with it. It was larger than his head,
and looked droll enough in his mouth, stretched to the utmost; he had
not gone far before his sharp teeth cut through, and taking out a piece,
let the rest fall. Not taking the trouble to pick it up, he returned
with another little cry to the dish, and this time chancing on a smaller
one, carried it off in safety.

Having stowed that away, he returned, and being satiated with potatoes,
tasted the biscuit, which had been soaked in grease and was tender. The
piece he selected had a larger piece hanging to it, and to see him pull
the latter off with his fore-paws was highly amusing. The biscuit, on
trial, proving acceptable, with a little flirt and another cry, he
seized quite a large piece, and with a glance at us as much as to say,
“I am only taking a fair rent for the use of my land,” he ran off with
it in the same lively, confident way. It was a beautiful sight, and we
stopped our meal to watch his pranks.

[Illustration: MOUTH OF THE AGAWA.]


Gros Cap is the first of the rocky hills that form the northern boundary
of Lake Superior, and which, with the higher chain of mountains further
inland, divide the streams that run to the southward from those that
empty into Hudson’s Bay. The Hudson’s Bay Company, that wonderful
commercial undertaking that had stretched its arms across our continent,
and which, after the destruction of the beaver, has lost its influence
and been shorn of its power, has stations along the coast of Lake
Superior at the mouths of the various rivers of importance. At the Sault
on the Michipicotten, the Pic, and the Neepigon, they have planted their
trading posts, and although their glory has departed, they are still
kept up and do some business. These stations were convenient
stopping-places for the voyageurs, and were located at the mouths of
rivers, of which the fountain-heads communicated by a portage with a
different system of waters. For instance, the Michipicotten is the
Indian highway to Hudson’s Bay, and both on it and on the rivers
adjoining that empty into the latter, has the great Company its
stations. The study of the results that that purely commercial
undertaking has achieved, from the Saguenay River throughout the British
Provinces to the far West, is an instructive evidence of the power of
man unrestricted and untrammelled. In various ways it has left its mark
for ages.

Gros Cap is a perpendicular bluff, shooting straight up from the water,
and with its rocky clefts just furnishing foothold for the active
fisherman; pieces of rock seem to have been broken off and thrown into
the water at its base, and among these trout are numerous. No place
furnishes a pleasanter camping-ground, although not directly at the
fishing ground, and few spots afford better sport. As fortune was not
particularly propitious, and our journey was indefinitely extensive, we
took advantage of a calm that had settled down upon the lake to push on
across Goulais Bay, which lay as calm as a mirror, bathed in the
glorious reflection of a cloudless sky.

Farther out, Isle Parisienne seemed floating on the water, while inside
of us the bleak sides of the abrupt hills were reflected in long wavy
lines. The sun had climbed the eastern sky and poured down a flood of
warmth and light in strange contrast with the tempestuous weather of
several days. The atmosphere, instead of being dense with impenetrable
fog, was exquisitely transparent, and the water, that perfect ornament
to every landscape, stretched away as far as the eye could reach.

    “Dark behind it rose the forest,
     Rose the black and gloomy pine-trees;
     Rose the firs with cones upon them,
     Bright before it beat the weather,
     Beat the clear and sunny water,
     Beat the shining Big-Sea-Water.”

Such a day is admirably adapted for taking lake-trout, and no sooner had
we entered the bay than our lines were arranged for the purpose.

The Namaycush--pronounced more nearly like Namægoose, with the accent on
the second syllable--the _Salmo Amethystus_ of our ichthyologists, the
_Truite du Lac_ of the Canadian, and the _Mackinaw Salmon_ of the
American, inhabits Lake Superior throughout its length and breadth, is
captured along the shores and in the bays, and when smoked, furnishes
the principal food of the Indian. It prefers a rocky uneven bottom,
where the water is neither excessively deep nor very shallow, and during
the summer months bites readily at any of the ordinary trolling-spoons.
An ivory imitation-fish is especially attractive; and an old-fashioned
bowl-spoon, elongated with bright tin on one side and red on the other,
is in general use.

Whenever the Indian is paddling in his canoe over any of the favorite
localities, he trolls with the latter bait, which is sold at the stores
in the Sault; and to make it imitate more accurately the herring it is
intended to represent, he attaches the line to his paddle. By this means
a peculiar darting motion is given to the spoon which is said to be very
fatal. Buel’s patent spoons, whether with feathers or without, are
successful; and so little particular is this voracious fish, that he
will bite at a white rag attached to the bare hook.

Once struck, however, and he surrenders without an effort, appearing
even to swim gently forward, which conduct, although natural in a man
under similar circumstances, is not expected in a fish. So slight is his
resistance that it is difficult at times to tell whether he is on the
line or not; and although, of course, on approaching close to the boat
he flounces and struggles a little before he can be gaffed, he affords
the sportsman no excitement whatever. He may also be taken in deep water
with a long line and sinker, with the lake-herring for bait, and is thus
during the fall captured of enormous size.

He is found occasionally to weigh seventy pounds, and perhaps more; a
handsome fish to look at, he is also excellent to eat, and with the
peculiar conformation of the trout, he combines its elegance and the
rich redness of flesh of the true salmon. He is rarely taken by trolling
to exceed ten pounds in weight, and on the north shore more frequently
of five or six; but of that size is an invaluable addition to the
fisherman’s larder. He may be either boiled or broiled, and makes a
capital foundation for a chowder. He must by no means be confounded with
the siskawit, which is only taken in the upper part of the lake, rarely
exceeds seven pounds, and is so fat as almost to dissolve in the
frying-pan--at least we were thus informed by our guides, for we took
none ourselves.

The best time to take them is in calm weather, because on such days
they rise nearer the surface and are able to see the bait farther. If
the wind is strong or the boat moving rapidly, they will not bite; in
fact, the boat should not be sailed or rowed faster than three miles an
hour, and a common hand-line of fifty or a hundred yards is sufficiently
good tackle. They are persecuted by the aborigines, who capture vast
numbers for winter use; but we never caught more than a dozen in a day,
as we never fished exclusively for them.

Goulais Bay is one of their favorite haunts, and we were soon made aware
of their presence. I had the pleasure of striking the first, and felt
some anxiety, it being a new species to us, till he was safely gaffed
and landed. He weighed four pounds and a half, and we fairly feasted our
eyes over his beautiful shape. Don soon had one still larger, and we
took six while crossing from the headland of Gros Cap to Goulais Point.
They differed a little in size, the largest being six pounds, but not in
shape or appearance, and were in their way as exquisite a collection of
fish as ever were taken.

We could doubtless have killed many more if we had wished to remain for
the purpose; but the Harmony River, our destination, was a long way off,
and the sun was running across the sky at a rapid rate.

We stopped to dine at Goulais Point, and took advantage of the
opportunity to bathe; the water, close to the shore where it was shallow
and had been heated by the sun’s rays, was warm, but occasionally
streaks cold enough almost to freeze the blood were encountered. The
Namægoose, on being prepared for the pot, were found to contain spawn
well advanced, and were exceedingly fat.

The dinner being over and the men rested, our slow progress was resumed,
and we passed Maple Island--_Isle aux Arabes_--into Batchawaung Bay. The
sun in his downward course marked out a broad golden path upon the still
surface of the lake, vividly recalling to our minds that most exquisite
picture in “Hiawatha” of the chieftain’s departure for the “land of the
Hereafter;” which now had the charm of a peculiar interest, as we were
floating upon the very waters where the scene is laid:

    “And the evening sun, descending,
     Set the clouds on fire with redness;
     Burned the broad sky, like a prairie,
     Left upon the level water
     One long track and trail of splendor,
     Down whose stream, as down a river,
     Westward, westward Hiawatha
     Sailed into the fiery sunset,
     Sailed into the purple vapors,
     Sailed into the dusk of evening.”

Thus dreamily murmured Don, as with his back against our biscuit-barrel,
and his feet upon our butter-tub, he gazed upon the dying glories of the
orb of day; and now, as the last glimmering spark sank below the
horizon, the strange pale light of the north crept over the sky; the
stillness of death brooded upon land and water, and _ephemeræ_, issuing
from their _larva_ state, burst into winged life and followed the
course of our boat. Fronting us was the long island called by the same
name as the bay beyond it, and towering far above were the mountains of
the mainland, cleft in two places where the Harmony and Batchawaung
Rivers had broken their way to the lake; to the right extended the bay
for many miles, and to the left stretched in its immensity the trackless
“Gitche-Gumee, Big-Sea-Water.” Darkness approaches slowly in northern
latitudes; our oarsmen were weary, and our pace was moderate, but we had
to make a long detour to reach the river beyond, and it was determined
to camp on the island. Reaching the upper end, we landed, and our men
searched for a favorable spot. One peculiarity of a voyageur is his
antipathy to camping at an unusual place; warned by his experience of
the inconveniences that attend such a course, the difficulty of making a
comfortable bed, properly securing the tent, and arranging the fire, he
will endure considerable extra labor to reach a spot with which he is
acquainted. Therefore we were not surprised when Frank reäppeared and
announced the impracticability of establishing our camp.

The day had been hard for the men; the weather had been hot and the
journey long, and it gave me pleasure to hear Don propose that we should
row for a time. He was rather unaccustomed to the exercise, but kept up
bravely as we continued our course round the island and across towards
the main shore. The pale light still filled the atmosphere to that
degree that, at nine o’clock, we could read fine print; the _ephemeræ_
still followed us with fluttering wings, and whisks extended; the
death-like calmness still rested on the unruffled water. At the point of
the island were four pretty little islets clustered together, lending
additional beauty to the bay embosomed in majestic hills. The way seemed
lengthened out amazingly, and our arms were weary, and the night had
closed in darkness ere we reached the mouth of the Harmony River, the
_Auchipoisœbie_ of the Indians. Here we found an old camping-ground,
almost a cleared field in size, and the remnants of several wigwams.
Collecting the poles of the latter, we built a rousing fire that
illuminated the surrounding forest and cast a lurid glow upon our active
men. By its light we landed our stores, pitched our tent, established
our quarters, and retired to rest.

We had made a long thirty-five miles, against unfavorable circumstances,
felt exhausted but thankful we had arrived at last, and taking a little
refreshment, drank good-luck to ourselves and the Harmony. Just as I was
about closing my eyes to sublunary things, Don remarked:

“There is a serious question I have to put to you. To-day’s journey has
probably been exceptionally slow and tedious, but how long, under
ordinary circumstances, do you think it would require to come from New
York to the Harmony River?”

Next morning early having broiled a Namægoose for breakfast and found it
both well cooked and excellent, we ascended the level water that
extends for some distance from the mouth of the river. The day was fair
and the wind favorable, the birds sang their welcome merrily, and the
trees bowed gracefully as we passed. An old duck and her young were
startled by our approach, and fled, making such use of their powerful
legs as to outstrip us readily. A short distance beyond the smooth
water, and almost three miles from the lake, we came to the lower fall
or pitch of the stream, which had become quite narrow, and there we made
our camp.

It was a lovely spot; the thick trees formed a dense shade over our
tent, the trembling cascade furnished continual music; opposite, a
rivulet of purest ice-water emptied into the stream; in front the river
spread out into a broad, quiet pool; while through intervening trees and
bushes we could catch glimpses of the high falls a few hundred yards
above us. Previous camps had been located at the same place, and a path
had been cut to the rock close by, from which we could fish below the

Hastily disembarking such things as we had brought with us, impatient to
explore the river, and tantalized by half glimpses of the cataract
beyond, we crossed the stream in the barge, and guided by Frank,
followed a well-worn pathway in the woods. A few hundred steps brought
us to the bank, where a glorious prospect greeted us. The stream, rising
among the summits of the hills, pitched down over a slanting precipice,
seaming its brown face with irregular, delicate lines of silver. Issuing
from a mountain gorge, so far above as to be scarcely distinguishable,
it leaped over pitch after pitch, collecting in deep pools at every
break, and whirling round or dashing over huge boulders in its course,
till descending the last shute, the main body tumbled in one heavy wave
into a dark, turbid pool at the base. From either shore the evergreen
trees projected, leaning over as if to protect the uneasy river, and a
heavy trunk, originally torn up and borne along by a spring freshet, had
lodged upon a broad, bare, rocky island in the centre. Numerous little
rills branched off from the main stream, and forming innumerable
fantastic miniature water-falls, sought different paths to the lower
level. The rocks were bare and mostly of a dull brown, constituting a
strong contrast to the green fringing of the mountain sides, and were
worn away by the immense volumes of water and ice that forced their way
through in early spring and swept them clear of vegetation.

At the foot of the lower shute there was a seething cauldron, white with
foam near the fall, and black from its great depth in the centre; below,
the wearied stream rushed down a stretch of rapids, and sought temporary
relief in a broad, quiet basin that reached to the first of the
cascades, close to our camp, and in which the water seemed absolutely

Hardly giving ourselves time to note and enjoy the beauties of this most
romantic spot, and urged on by the sportsman’s instinct that looks to
the attractions of nature, after having tried for game, we commenced
casting in the rapids. Our efforts were rewarded, and we landed some
fine fish of from one to two pounds, and had grand sport with them in
the current and eddies. Putting on for a tail-fly a large, full, brown
hackle with scarlet body and silver twist, I at last advanced cautiously
towards the black pool below the shute, and keeping well out of sight,
cast it across the boiling water; it fell among a mass of whirling foam,
but being swept down, passed over a portion of the dark water, and was
ravenously seized by a fine trout.

Astounded at the unexpected consequence, the frightened fish darted
hither and thither about the pool until, finding his efforts to free
himself vain, he rushed towards the rapids below. Here the rod and line
were powerless to restrain him, and he made the reel spin as I followed
along the rocks. However, with care he was guided through the dangers of
the foaming current, strong eddies, and projecting rocks, and was led
after a long battle into a spot of comparative quiet, near an old dead
tree that projected over the water.

Being myself prevented from approaching by the branches of this tree, I
instructed Frank to watch a good chance and use the net; but never shall
I forget his look as, after two or three vain attempts--for he was not
altogether skilful--the upper fly caught in his shirt, and the trout,
which must have weighed at least three pounds, made a furious dash,
parted the leader, and escaped. As though it was my fault, instead of
his awkwardness, Frank turned towards me with a most reproachful
expression, and without a word came to have the hook cut from his
shirt, intimating that if I would hook him, I could not expect to land
large trout.

The fishing below the falls of the Harmony was absolute perfection;
although the fish were not large, that is, not of monstrous size, and
rarely exceeded two pounds, they invariably after a short struggle took
to the rapids, and compelled us to follow them, at a pace and under
difficulties that brought salmon-fishing vividly to our recollection.
The steady roar of the falls and the picturesque wildness of the scene
added to the intensity of the enjoyment, and served to occupy our minds
when not employed upon our sport. Of easy access from our camp, we
afterwards ordinarily visited them alone, leaving the men to attend to
numerous household duties, and had the advantage of being able to wait
upon ourselves.

The hours passed quickly by, and when the calls of appetite could no
longer be resisted, we found ourselves with two dozen splendid trout,
which were the selection from nearly a hundred. Well satisfied, we
hastened back to our camping-ground which Charley had been busily
arranging, and while the men were preparing dinner, we tried the cascade
near by.

This was certainly a fortunate day, for Pedro soon hooked a splendid
black bass and landed him, after a vigorous struggle of half an hour; he
weighed three pounds and three-quarters, and was thoroughly game, and
established a fact that Professor Agassiz seems to doubt--that black
bass inhabit Lake Superior. The guides recognised him at once as an old
acquaintance, and called him by the familiar name of _achigon_.

After a hearty dinner we descended to the mouth of the river for the
residue of our camping articles, and while returning I trolled with a
small Buel’s spoon. Unfortunately happening to espy a duck upon the
water, I laid down my rod to take the gun, when a black bass struck,
nearly jerking the rod out of the boat, and with a mad spring carried
off my bait and casting line, while the duck, alarmed at the noise, flew
away amid the confusion.

Having landed our load, and leaving the men to complete the camp, Don
and myself hastened back to the scene of our morning’s sport to renew,
and even surpass, our previous enjoyment; for after killing several fine
fish in the strong water in splendid style, I struck one of great weight
in my favorite pool. He soon took to the rapids, and stopping in an
eddy, fouled the line without escaping. In vain all means were tried to
clear the line without alarming the fish; it had caught on the further
side of a large stone, and could only be reached from a rock that
projected its smooth, slippery surface above the current at some
distance from the shore. Rendered desperate, and summoning all my
courage, I crept out into the rushing stream, and, supported by the
handle to the landing-net, succeeded in reaching this dangerous

No sooner was the line free than the fish again darted down stream,
taking out the line at a tremendous rate. I turned to follow, but what
was my dismay to find that, although I had managed to get from the shore
to the rock, the current followed such a direction that I could not
return. On went the fish; in vain I sounded the bottom with the handle
of the landing-net, or felt for a safe footing, or essayed to jump; the
water was too threatening and the risk too great. Still the fish kept
on, and I had just made up my mind to take the leap for his life or my
own, when the line became exhausted and the leader parted. Slowly I
wound in the line, sadly picturing the supposable weight of the escaped
fish, and depressed in spirit, managed with Don’s assistance to regain
_terra firma_. The only consolation was in the thought that we had
secured full as many fish as we could use.

That night was extremely warm, and one of the most trying I ever endured
in the northern woods; not only were mosquitoes abundant and ferocious,
but that terrible pest, the sand-fly, existing by myriads in the sandy
soil, made merciless attacks upon us. The shores of Lake Superior are
unpleasantly prolific in all the minute torments that are most dreaded
by the sportsman. During the day the black-fly absolutely swarms, in the
evening the sand-fly arises from the sand in invisible millions, and at
night numberless mosquitoes continue the pursuit; repelled, but not
dismayed by ointment and liniment, they wait till it is dried or rubbed
off, and dart upon the exposed part; they far exceed in numbers their
brethren of New Brunswick, where the rocky soil is less suited to them,
and, in spite of all defences during hot weather, inflict much misery.

Don’s first idea was to despise their attacks, and, disbelieving the
virtues of pennyroyal and creasote, stoically to endure the discomfort
of the woods as a necessary accompaniment to enjoying the pleasure; but
by the time tea was over he had changed his mind, and at bedtime
carefully enveloped himself in his veil.

The thermometer rose to eighty-six in the tent, and being little lower
at midnight, the veils were found to be rather suffocating. The moderate
temperature of the northern climate is the great protection of the
sportsman; ordinarily in a trip of a month there will not be three
oppressive days, but when the weather is warm and insects numerous, a
good chance is offered to exhibit courage and jollity. Next morning,
when the heat continued, and the sun, rising above the hills, shone
through the dense fog like a globe of fire, Don wore a solemn but
patient expression of countenance, and fully justified my confidence in
his endurance.

The weather during the early season had been warm and dry, and the lake
was two feet below its ordinary level, and although its main body
retained a cool temperature, the shallows were heated. The rivers, on
the contrary, that flow into it from the north, taking their rise from
swamps and shallow ponds, not only are tinctured with decaying
vegetation and are of a rich amber hue, but had absorbed the heat, so
that the fish which in our latitude are in summer accustomed to desert
the lakes for the cool spring brooks, had mostly left the rivers for the
cooler lake. Only where the water was cooled and aërated by a fall, or
at the mouth of some trickling spring, were they to be found in any

I have said that opposite the camp there was such a rivulet, and at its
mouth, crowded together, each striving to get his nose nearest to it,
was a fine school of large fish. The water of this rivulet must have
been not far above the freezing point in temperature, and was delicious
drinking, while the main stream was nearly tepid.

Being informed by our guides that there was a second fall above the
first, and good fishing near it, we proceeded, after taking a few fish
and a good drink from our spring-water rill, to ascend the river. We
were compelled to make our way through the brushes and undergrowth, over
the dead trees, and among the rocks that covered the shore, and were
hardly repaid for our labor; the fall proved to be only a small cascade,
and though there was a deep fine pool at its base which Frank assured us
contained trout of five pounds, we could not persuade any of them to
rise. As no fish above the main fall could have access to the lake, I
felt convinced there were none of large size, and the weather continuing
warm, we returned early to the camp.

That evening was again devoted to the black bass, which took both the
fly and spoon greedily, and which, when captured, were deposited alive
in a pond-hole in the rock, where their appearance and motions could be
studied to advantage. They were not handsome fish, with their broad
backs, deep bodies, and thick heads; their extended fins were peculiar
and characteristic, and their general form, fierce red eyes, and large
mouths were more indicative of ferocity than grace. Those that we
opened, although it was in the month of July, were heavy with spawn,
and the ova had the appearance of being almost ready for
deposit,--suggesting the possibility that these fish differ from those
of the eastern country in their spawning season. It is hardly
conceivable that they would carry their eggs till April or May of the
ensuing year, in which month black bass spawn elsewhere; and if not,
their habits must be entirely dissimilar.

The long walk through the sand and mud had made our shoes rather
unpresentable, restoring along the edges the original russet of the
leather; and as he was about retiring, Don suggested to me the propriety
in our next trip of bringing with us blacking and brushes.

[Illustration: PIKE-PERCH.]


Next morning, the weather being cooler and the wind favorable, we took
our departure, after having captured some fine fish at the falls pool,
for the Batchawaung River. It was but a short journey round a sandspit
that projected into the bay, where we took a single trout, and we were
soon in the mouth of the deep dark river. The banks were low and of
course covered with trees, most of which were of the deciduous
character; the water was sluggish, and the interval between the bay and
distant mountain extended several miles.

We passed an Indian paddling a canoe loaded with bark, the sole occupant
besides ourselves of the quiet stream, and our guides conversed fluently
with him in the musical Indian tongue. Occasionally a brood of ducks,
alarmed at our approach, broke the oppressive silence with their
vigorous efforts to escape, and Don, trolling with Buel’s spoon for
black bass, struck and landed a small ill-favored pickerel--_esox
boreus_--of some four pounds weight.

The Batchawaung is the favorite resort for anglers who visit the north
shore, and being within easy access of the Sault--not more than a day’s
sail with favorable weather--is fished to excess. It is a large stream,
filled with rapids and pools, and usually crowded with trout of immense
size; but the water is dark and easily heated, so that the fish often
desert it for the lake. There is a sameness about the Batchawaung, and a
want of picturesque effect, that is altogether different from the
Harmony; we missed the noise of the falling water, the sight of the
pretty cascade, when we came to pitch our tent about four miles from the
mouth, at the first shallow rapids, and throughout our whole trip we
never saw the equal of the romantic Harmony.

There are but two rivers emptying into Batchawaung Bay that are
generally laid down on the maps--the Batchawaung and the Chippewa--but
the guides assured us there were four fine streams. The location usually
given to the Chippewa applies well to the Harmony, and it may be they
are the same river under different names. Our ordinary maps of the
northern shore of Lake Superior are altogether imperfect, and even the
charts of the Hudson’s Bay Company are not entirely accurate.

Anxious to explore the stream, no sooner was our camp pitched and dinner
over than we embarked and continued the ascent, being poled against the
current by the two guides, and trying every promising spot as we passed.
Fish, however, were nowhere to be found, and disgusted with the heat
that not only annoyed ourselves but had destroyed our sport, we were
about giving up, when Frank stopped the boat over against the mouth of a
little murmuring tributary brook. There were a quantity of small stones
and large rocks where the rivulet joined the river, and the cast being
a long one, I extended my line and dropped the fly just where the two
currents met. It was taken instantly by a fish that, after fifteen
minutes’ vigorous play, was landed and found to weigh two and a half

That inaugurated our sport, and was followed by the capture of at least
two dozen magnificent trout, that were not only immense in size,
averaging nearly three pounds, but were extremely beautiful and
uncommonly vigorous. Their tints were rich and dark, differing as
greatly from the lake fish as the trout of the Canadian rivers differ
from those of the salt water. They fought with great courage and
perseverance, requiring skill and patience to land; and anxious as we
were to take a large one, that is to say, one of over four pounds, those
of two and three pounds were so numerous and voracious that we could not
effect our object.

We landed some by hand and threw many back into the water, but,
notwithstanding, soon had more than we could possibly use. There being
no reason for our taking any more, and Don having complained that the
cast was inconveniently long on account of the imperfections of his rod,
I assured him I could cast entirely across the pool, and to prove it,
lengthened my line, and at the first cast hooked fast in the rock
beyond. Not caring to break the line, we dropped the boat across the
stream, and while passing over the pool, beheld the bottom literally
black with fish. If we had been inclined to wanton destruction, we could
doubtless have killed a hundred; but having no means to pot or souse
them, and knowing that they are comparatively worthless salted or
smoked, we had resolved not to kill more than we could eat.

On the way back to camp we took a long, lean, poor, sickly fish, that,
if in good order, would have reached six pounds, but in its unhealthy
state only weighed two and a half.

At supper that evening Don made a formal protest and complaint,
insisting that he would drink no more tea till he had white sugar; he
entered at some length into the characteristics and peculiarities of
sugar in its various stages, questioned the advantage of using brown
sugar at all, intimated that white was the best, most economical, and
least bulky, advised me in future to take none other, and finally having
disposed of every conceivable case but his own, inquired why, when we
had abundance of both, he was not allowed the one he preferred, by which
time I had it out and ready at his hand. He had evidently braced himself
for a terrible argument, seemed somewhat surprised at the want of
opposition, and after a moment or two began to call in question the
propriety of opening a new package, when the brown sugar was already in
use; that, in fact, although some people preferred white, and he must
confess he was among the number, others liked the flavor of the dark
colored; that little inconveniences were the natural concomitants of a
sportsman’s life; that when a number of bundles were opened they were
more exposed to dampness--a serious injury to sugar--and there were
more packages to look after, and that he was decidedly of opinion it was
unadvisable, and that he was entirely willing to go without his tea. By
this time the tea was drunk and supper ended.

It is a delightful thing of a cool summer evening to sit round a rousing
fire that casts its variable glare upon the trunks and lower branches of
the stalwart trees, and gives a ruddy glow to the white tent, the dense
underbrush, and the kindly faces of the honest guides. At such times,
while listening to wild stories of woodsman’s life, that are doubly
interesting when repeated upon the ground where they occurred, a pipe is
absolutely delicious. Every member of the temporary household selects a
rock or log, fashions a seat to his satisfaction as best he may, and
recalls the events of other similar expeditions for the edification of
his associates. On such occasions cigars, which are cumbersome at all
times, do not seem to answer, and recourse is had to the little pouch of
Killikinnick which every one carries with him; under the joint influence
of story and tobacco, the time passes quickly away, and the hour of
bedtime arrives too soon.

Notwithstanding the summer evenings are usually cool above the line of
the British Provinces, we happened to have fallen upon a hot spell; and
although the fire was not disagreeable, the mosquitoes, which are
benumbed by cold, were lively and plentiful. Under these circumstances
our mode of proceeding was to close the tent and then with a candle
carefully burn them one after another. To do this successfully requires
nerve and skill; the light must be approached quickly enough to catch
the nimble fellows, and just far enough not to scorch the tent; the
operation gave Don decided pleasure, especially as they are consumed
with a loud “pop.” In course of the proceeding he incidentally remarked:
“Their galleys burn; why not their cities, too?”

Next day we ascended the river to the falls, which were about three
miles from camp, and were found to be attractive neither to the
fisherman nor the lover of nature. The water was warm and fishless, the
shute was small and unromantic. We dined at its foot, and descending,
fished the pool that the day before had rewarded us so satisfactorily.
Our prey was still there, eager as ever for hook and feathers, and soon
covered the bottom of our boat with their glistening forms. My line
after some time happening to become fouled in the bottom, and skilful
fishing appearing to be out of place, I laid down the fly-rod, and
taking the bass-rod, cast the trolling-spoon with some effort and a loud
splash into the pool; instead of alarming the fish, it was eagerly
seized, and I kept on catching fish with it at every cast, till Don
became disgusted with such unsportsmanlike procedure, and insisted upon
returning to camp.

That day was made remarkable by the advent of a thunder-storm, a rarity
in the northern clime, and the only one that occurred during our entire
trip. It was not violent, and had none of those terrible characteristics
of similar phenomena in southern latitudes, and even in our regions
would have been considered a tame affair.

As, however, it drove us within the tent, and gave us a little
unemployed leisure, my attention was attracted to Don’s baggage, which
consisted of an incongruous assortment that would hardly have been
thought of by any other amateur backwoodsman, and would certainly have
astounded a professional. Of course there were abundant clothes of
various colors and kinds, of which a buckskin under-jacket suitable for
severe winter weather, but hardly necessary in a summer-trip, and a
handsome dressing-gown, were prominent articles; also his shaving
materials, very neat and elegant, that were not used till he returned; a
thermometer that kept us informed as to the amount of suffering we were
entitled to feel from the condition of the weather; a picture of his two
extremely pretty children, set in a _passe-partout_ frame, with a glass
over it that was in daily danger of destruction, a bundle of tooth-picks
that would have lasted us both a year, a new and effective patent
portable boot-jack, a clothes-brush and whisp, a bottle of _eau de
cologne_, a pair of flesh-brushes, and many other things that might be
classed as “odds and ends.”

Most of these articles were jumbled together in a large water-proof bag,
from which he was never known to be able to obtain any specific article
without emptying the whole on the floor; but the picture, his
looking-glass, comb, hair-brush, and soap he kept among the eggs. The
eggs suffered considerably from the association, and their injury was
felt by myself as head cook; but Don could never be persuaded to change
his habits, producing abundant arguments to prove that that was their
only appropriate place.

At supper he announced his firm conviction that china cups and plates
were a necessity to existence, that tin was an abomination, and that on
all future trips he should be properly supplied. He was indignant at a
suggestion that they might be broken, and burst forth:

“You are so set in your ways that you think no one can have any ideas
but yourself, or make any improvement on your plans. Here you are,
drinking high-priced tea, and even brandy-and-water, out of tin cups
that hold a quart,”--this was an exaggeration, as they were only
pints--“have a disgusting taste that absolutely destroys the flavor, and
are of such a shape that you have to dip your nose into the fluid before
you can swallow any of it. With hot tea this is painful, and with
brandy, or even water, far from pleasant.”

“Glass or china would be more agreeable on some accounts----” was the
mild reply.

“I should think so,” he interrupted. “Allow me to ask what you paid for
this tea?”

“One dollar and fifteen cents a pound.”

“And what does it taste like?”


“Tea! Well, there are some people that can hardly tell wash-basin slops
from the best Bohea.”

“But, then,” I hurriedly explained, to moderate his disgust, “china is
so liable to be broken; I had once an entire case of liquor smashed by
my guides.”

“Yes, and that liquor-case is a case in point; because that was lost you
do not give up carrying liquor, do you? Then why cease using china cups,
not that they have been, but only from fear that they may be broken?”

“They are so much heavier than tin,” I remonstrated.

“As if the weight of two cups, one for you and one for me, and two
plates, was so serious. Let’s dispense with something else; take less to
eat, if you please, but have it decently served.”

Convinced by this eloquence, I meekly promised to comply on our next
expedition, but Don was not altogether satisfied, and continued:

“I do not wish you to consent to these views merely to suit my wishes. I
want you to be convinced. I dare say there are advantages about tin; it
may be knocked about, is always ready at hand, is light, and stores in
small compass; for rough travel, doubtless, it is admirable, and, were
we to make long portages, would be better than china. After all, the
taste of tin must be more apparent than real; the metal cannot come off,
or it would dissolve; and how, then, can it give a taste? The pots are
large, but a man wants a good, long drink, whether of tea or brandy,
when exhausted with hard work or exposure. After all, you will find
many advantages in tin cups, and, really, the plates are scarcely
objectionable; before deciding, you must look at these matters from both
points of view. However, as we cannot obtain china this trip, and as we
are discussing improvements, there is one thing I insist upon
hereafter--we must have table-cloths and napkins.”

“What!” I exclaimed, absolutely overcome at this suggestion.

“Table-cloths and napkins. You have probably heard of such things
before; they are customary at a gentleman’s table, and if a person does
sleep in a tent, he need not forget he is a gentleman. Look at this
table, made out of two rough boards that were never even planed,
transported in the bottom of our boat, and walked over daily with dirty
shoes and occasionally with bare feet, sullied with the marks of
promiscuous bundles, half covered with grease, and stained with tea,
bilge-water, and fish-blood gracefully intermingled.”

“That is too bad; they are two good, clean boards that Frank washes
regularly, and which are in themselves an unusual luxury; for in
wood’s-life we usually dine off a log or a flat rock.”

“They may be washed occasionally; but as dead fish are first gutted on
them, and as tea and grease are afterwards spilled on them till they are
revolting with filth, I do not see, for my part, how you can eat your
dinner off them.”

“I don’t eat off them; I eat off my plate.”

“That you may call a joke; but hereafter I shall have table-cloths and
napkins. You carry towels, why not napkins?”

“Because you cannot stow a large number, and if you have only a few, how
are they to be kept clean? The guides have enough to do without trying
to wash table-cloths with cold water and no starch.”

“If that is so, I should take an extra man to wash them.”

The next day we met with a loss. We had noticed that the Indians, when
they travelled, were invariably accompanied by their dogs; these were
rarely accommodated on board the canoes, and followed along the shore,
swimming the inlets or crossing at the head, making often much longer
journeys than their masters, who passed from headland to headland, but
coming up with the camp at night to partake of the frugal meal.
Sometimes, however, they strayed, and either lived on chance gleanings
from travellers or perished in the woods. There were two ownerless dogs
near our camp, and although precautions had been taken by our men, they
succeeded in carrying off our only ham, leaving us nothing to show for
it but the empty bag.

Don’s appetite had been sharpened by open air and exercise, and he
expatiated at length upon disappointed hopes of fried ham, broiled ham,
ham omelets, ham plain, and ham and eggs, and suggested many new and
doubtless excellent dishes, of which ham was to be the principal part.
His advice was valuable, but somewhat late.

Being already tired of the to me uninteresting Batchawaung and its one
pool of numberless trout, and having a strong and favorable breeze, we
broke up camp, descended the river, killing a duck on the way, and once
out in the open water, headed for the Point of Mamainse, which is
Chippewa for sturgeon. The wind, however, soon came out ahead, increased
to a gale, and drove us into _L’anse aux crêpes_, or Pancake Bay, where
we were detained that day and night.

_L’anse aux crêpes_ is at the mouth of a little rivulet that tumbles
over scattered boulders, and occasionally contains some nice trout; but
the water was low, and although we caught enough small fish for supper,
we did better with young ducks, happening to get a shot into a brood,
and killing with the two discharges seven plump, luscious, well-grown
little fellows, which replenished the gridiron finely.

The temperature fell to thirty-seven degrees, and with it the
mosquitoes--a delightful change from the oppressive heat and hungry
hordes that had tormented us. We camped for the night at the mouth of
the rivulet, and continuing our voyage early next morning, soon reached
the bold, imposing promontory called by the Indian name Mamainse. The
shore is rocky and precipitous to such an extent, that the fisherman
finds difficulty in casting the fly, or even pursuing his way along the
steep cliffs.

The water is filled with broken rocks, as at other parts of the coast,
and where these project above the surface a good stand is obtained. At
one spot the waves had worn out a deep cavern, where a dozen men could
sleep, protected from the air, and often under foot could be heard the
smothered rumbling of the water as it rushed into deep holes out of
sight. Above the bare rocks, which are often fifty feet perpendicular,
stretch the sparse underbrush, the stunted evergreens, and the
moss-covered granite of the mountains, till they reach an elevation of a
thousand feet. Frowning down upon the water stands the Point of
Mamainse, a rallying-spot for the summer fogs and winter storms, a
landmark to the voyageur, a barrier to the fiercest commotion of the
lake, and the upper boundary of Tequamenon Bay, as the confined portion
of Lake Superior near its outlet is called.

It is an extensive promontory, and point after point presented itself to
our wearied eyes; we landed, rose, and lost some fine fish, and killed
several of good size; but as the wind was adverse, we could not afford
to waste time, and pursued our journey till nightfall.

Next morning we tasted a Batchawaung trout that Frank had salted and
smoked by hanging near the fire; inasmuch as it was green and had not
lost its original flavor altogether, it was quite appetizing; but a
smoked trout that has been dried sufficiently to keep, is about as hard,
unpalatable, and indigestible a morsel as man can put in his mouth. It
has neither the flavor of the mackerel nor the richness of the cod, and
not the slightest pretence to the delicacy of the salmon. Slightly
salted and smoked, however, it will remain good for several weeks, and
furnish a variety to the woodsman’s Spartan fare.

Unfortunately there is no way of preserving trout; these fish, so
delicate fresh, are almost worthless pickled, soused, salted, or smoked;
while those of a size to be worth catching are too large to preserve by
potting, in which way alone can their flavor be preserved. They are
pickled by being immersed in water that has had sugar and salt boiled in
it; they are soused by being cooked and preserved in vinegar and
allspice; they are smoked by being salted for a night and hung in a
smoke-house or near the fire; they are kippered by being rubbed with
salt and a little pepper, and hung in the sun; they are potted by being
cooked and packed tightly in jars, and having hot lard or butter with
spices run in and over them. Only when prepared in the latter way are
they eatable, and then only when they are small.

This day we had our first really favorable wind that bellied out our
sail, and relieving the men from the labor at the oars, drove us along
at a famous rate, enabling us to push boldly out into the lake that was
alive with the dancing, foam-crested waves, and urging us onward
famously in a direct course.

When far from shore and miles from the habitations of a civilized being,
we espied approaching another barge similar to our own, and which proved
also to be carrying a party of fishermen.

Our sail was hastily lowered, and the vessels being laid alongside of
one another, we held an interesting conversation with our
fellow-travellers. It appeared they had ascended the Neepigon, and gave
glowing accounts of the number of fish, but not much of the character of
the fishing; saying that the trout, which were large on the average,
were collected in pools as we had found them in the Batchawaung, and
were so numerous as to ruin the sport. They had had a long journey, and
were out of whiskey, a deprivation that we hastened to supply; and were
glad to see civilized beings, and to feel that they were once more on
the confines of the land of the white man.

With mutual good wishes we bid them farewell, and watched their barge
after we separated growing smaller and smaller in the distance, till it
was lost to view. How suggestive are such meetings of individuals who
have never encountered one another before, who form an acquaintance as
it were in the wilderness, shut out from the rest of mankind, and,
separated, never to meet in the wide world again; like a ray of sunshine
through a storm-cloud, shining for an instant across the surrounding
darkness, gone in a moment, and never to be re-illumined, leaving
nothing behind but a pleasant memory! Not one of the persons in either
boat will ever forget that meeting, and nevertheless no conceivable
circumstances can bring them together again on the boundless waters of
Lake Superior.

We reached the Agawa that night. The stream was sluggish at its outlet,
near which a change in its course had left a small pond in the sandy
shore, and was not altogether inviting, with its shallow, discolored,
heated current. It has a high reputation among those who have explored
it, but flows into the lake in a commonplace manner. A neighboring swamp
encouraged the growth of mosquitoes; and the black flies, which seemed
to be of an unrecognized and indescribably vicious species, were
annoying in the extreme. There was a small settlement of Indians near
by, and hardly had we commenced pitching our camp, which had to be
located some distance from shore on account of the pebbly beach, ere
they appeared.

There was an old man, the embodiment of harmless idiotcy, who turned out
to be a patriarch and not the fool he looked; two fine-looking,
straight-featured young men; two boys, a little girl, and three dogs.
The latter evidently belonged to the family, for they all, dogs
included, stood in a row, the latter fully as intelligent as the former,
and none of them offering the least assistance while our men and
ourselves raised the tent. The old man wore a conciliatory expression of
imbecility, the young men a confirmed air of vacuity, and the dogs and
children seemed imbued with a few sparks of intellect.

They made no motion and uttered no word till a fire was lighted, when
they instantly crouched round it. As a race, living in the rudest
manner, and debased from their native simplicity by contact with the
white man, they have small claims to intelligence; but to their credit,
be it said, they are ordinarily honest, and unless grossly outraged,
perfectly harmless.

They are readily moved to laughter, greatly enjoyed the appearance of
our hats, which were stuck round with flies, and shouted with delight at
the noise made by Don’s click reel, when he took a trout in the small
pond previously mentioned, and throughout our intercourse with them,
proved themselves pleasant, trustworthy companions.

While our guides were preparing supper, Don proceeded to explore the
neighborhood, and made his way to the wigwams, where he found more of
the same family. Immediately on our appearance, the women, after peering
furtively through the chinks, retired into obscurity, ignorant,
probably, of our high delicacy towards the female sex; and in fact
throughout, betrayed a disgusting want of confidence; the three favorite
wives of the silly old patriarch, wives that we were told were both
young and pretty, having fled into the bush before our canoe had touched
land. During our entire stay we had nothing but dissolving views of
female charms--loveliness that was not arrayed in crinoline--although
Don devoted every spare moment to persistent visits.

A young man appeared promptly from under the blanketed door of the first
wigwam, and Don commenced an instructive conversation on the subject of
numerous dogs that were howling round in unpleasant proximity to our

“You have a large number of dogs?”


“I suppose you use them in the chase?”


“They accompany you in your journeys?”


“What do you chase with them?”


“I asked what do you chase with them?”


“Oh, I see you speak French.”


“_Qu’est ce que l’on chasse avec les chiens?_”


Don now began to doubt whether his new friend spoke either French or
English, and had recourse to Chippewa, at least as near Chippewa as he
could come.

“Vat you chase, chassy, vis the doggees?”


“You chase _les cerfs_ the deer, the elks, the moose?” gesticulating


“The beaver, the--the--_castor_?”


“The rabbit, the--the--ze rabeet?”


“Don,” I burst forth at this stage, “he does not understand a word you
are saying.”

“On the contrary, he evidently understands perfectly, how else could he
answer so intelligently; of course he does not pronounce yes accurately,
but is entirely comprehensible.”

“Well, then, ask him about the canoe he is building; how many it will
hold, what those strings are for, and where he caught that large trout

“You build ze canoe?”


“How many it hold?”


“It hold one?”


“It hold two?”


“You see he says it holds one or two.”

“Well, now about the strings.”

“Zese strings, what for?”


“No no; what for yese strings?”


“What zay use for?” raising his voice.


“You no understand; what for, what for?”


“Leave the strings and try the fish?”

“You see ze trout, _truite_?”


“Where you catch him?”


“Up ze river?”


“Or near by?”


“No, no; where catch him?”


“Here or zere; here or zere?” very loud, as though the savage were deaf.


“That will do; and after this instructive conversation we had better
seek our camp and supper.”

“Just as you say; he evidently does not fully understand the last
question, although I think we might obtain some valuable information
from him. We certainly want to know where he took that fish, which must
weigh four pounds.”

“We certainly shall not find out, as baby talk evidently is not
Chippewa, although I wish it was, and will need Frank’s aid in our

The other Indians were still seated near our fire, and received with
apparent thankfulness the remnants of our supper, of which we took care
that the little girl should have her share, after we had finished. As
the river was low and could not be ascended with our barge, nor without
much labor on foot, it was necessary to hire canoes; but unfortunately
we had nothing but United States money, which was about as worthless as
white paper. Frank took ground that we should pay them in stores of pork
and biscuit; but as he seemed utterly regardless of our anxiety to make
a positive bargain, and but little mindful whether they were paid or
not, Don felt it necessary to approach the subject cautiously, and
having read of the pipe of peace, thought the opportunity a good one for
its introduction. Taking out his pouch, he gave them enough tobacco to
fill their pipes all round, having learnt from Frank that it was not
necessary to pass his own from mouth to mouth, which he had considered
imperative, but which was not altogether pleasant. He was solicitous
about their having their pipes well lighted, and being pleased with the
tobacco, and when reassured on that head, and satisfied that genial
smoke was producing its natural effect, he permitted Frank to give a few
gentle hints suggestive of our desires to ascend the river, our
possession of quantities of pork that we did not wish to take back with
us, and our anxiety to be satisfied that canoes could be had.

The subject being skilfully launched, Don expressed great interest in
the little girl, whose name he found was _Wajack_, which being
interpreted, means Little Rat, and finally made his great point by the
production of his picture. This had hung in our tent night after night,
had been carried in our basket day by day, and had smashed its score of
eggs; but now it repaid us. The hearts of the savages were won, their
delight was rapturous, expressions of admiration were universal, the
highest encomiums were passed upon it, and the little children, whose
likenesses were really extremely pretty, were as the perfection of
loveliness as Frank interpreted it, pronounced to be “so nice and fat.”

This we felt to be our moment of victory, and Frank was directed to
improve it. Standing before the fire, with a gridiron in one hand and a
dish-cloth in the other, he burst into a strain of unequalled eloquence.
Without understanding a word, we could imagine him painting our desolate
condition; how we were strangers from a far-off land, had left the
pale-faces, our wives, our little ones, bringing with us only their
faint delineation on paper, in order that we might see the beauties and
grandeur of the Indian’s home--to sleep in the woods, to float upon the
lakes, to wander through the forests, to explore the rivers. How we felt
the red men to be our brothers, and wished to know them better, wished
to stay long with them, to voyage in their company and under their
guidance; that we were great men in our own land, but knew little of the
wilderness or the manners of savage life; that we were rich in corn, in
pork, in flour and biscuit, but had not thought to bring our purses,
which were filled to overflowing, with us; but that we felt our brethren
of the great Chippewa tribe would befriend us, would supply us with
canoes and guides, and help us on our way. That the great universal
brotherhood of man demanded it, and that the time might come when they
would be in our land, penniless and ignorant, and might have to look to
us for canoes and guides; and would be glad to remind us of the time
they helped us up the Agawa.

At the end of every sentence and at every pause, the Indians all, big
and little, broke in with a simultaneous m-m-m, a sort of grunt that
became more vigorous as Frank became excited, and grew louder as his
arguments grew stronger; till before he was through, the listener would
have supposed that the entire party was suffering in the agony of what
children know as the stomach-ache. The grunt was not in the least like
the conventional humph, was uttered without opening the mouth, which
would have been an excessive and unnecessary labor, and was capable of
great expression. It began sympathetic, grew appreciative and
confirmatory, and at last became wildly enthusiastic, evidently taking
its origin from the Greek chorus, which is of a similar appropriateness;
it was the strangest accompaniment to a public speech we ever heard.

Feeling the importance of the case, we endeavored to keep our
countenances; but what with Frank’s bursts of eloquence, his graceful
and impressive gestures with the gridiron, the vehement grunt in chorus
at every pause, our strange position congregated in the wild woods round
a fire with a parcel of unkempt savages, begging to swap off, as our
Yankee brethren would say, a quantity of biscuit for a passage in a
canoe, we could not contain ourselves, but rolled over in convulsions of

At first the Indians did not know what was the matter, then they joined
with us, and when we attempted to imitate their grunt they shouted
louder than we had done. Frank felt that aspersions were cast upon his
eloquence, and seemed to have his feelings hurt, but unable to resist
the general hilarity, at last joined the

    That echoed along the shore.”

What Frank had really said I never could find out, but believe that he
mentioned the subject we had at heart no farther than merely to order
the young men to bring their canoes. Although half-breed himself, he was
influenced by the general contempt for the rights of a savage, and
determined in his own mind to have the canoes and pay for them as he
pleased. Doubtless also he was more or less controlled by a dread of
self-depreciation in acknowledging that he served penniless employers.
To our persistent questions he would respond laconically that it was
arranged, but would say nothing as to particulars. As we were entirely
in his hands, having discovered that not a word of our language did the
Indians understand nor we a word of theirs; and as, although our desire
to do justice was great and might have been strong enough to induce us
to give up the idea of obtaining the canoes, we were utterly unable to
communicate it, we were compelled to submit to Frank’s course.

The Chippewa language is beautiful, easy, flowing, graceful, full of
vowels, expressive, capable of vigorous impression, and, were it more
generally understood, pleasant to acquire; but above all is it
advantageous when an entire ignorance of its meaning enables you to take
what you want and pay for it as you please. And if the native is
dissatisfied he cannot vituperate or abuse you, as the strongest word,
_le plus vilain mot_, as Frank expressed it, fortunately is “_chien_.”

[Illustration: MOUNT KINEO.]


THE canoes arrived on the following morning ere our breakfast was
dispatched, and having stowed into them our fishing-gear and the
requisites for a simple meal, we were about embarking when Don, who was
directed to sit on the bottom of one, between the two Indian boys,
entered a violent protest, and seating himself on a log instead,
announced he should either not go at all, or should be allowed to pole
and have sole charge of one end of the canoe. This proposition astounded
all who could understand, and would have astounded the others still more
if they had understood it; but ere we had recovered our breath Don
commenced explaining his views:

“For many years I have heard of voyaging in a canoe; have thought it the
chief pleasure of the wilderness, and have been anxious not only to
learn how, but to do it. Of course, you will hardly expect me to know
how to manage so frail a boat without practice, and yet if I never
practise, how am I to learn? It is self-evident I must commence some
time. If you admit that, and you can scarcely dispute it, what better
time could I have than the present? You propose to take the bow of the
other canoe, and although you are probably not as expert as the savages,
you did not acquire such skill as you possess intuitively, but by
experience. You will probably suggest that I may upset; if so, the
consequences fall only on myself. You have put no stores in this canoe,
and the ducking will be mine. Let one of the Indians stay behind, for I
have counted upon this as my greatest pleasure.”

“But, Don,” I reasoned mildly, somewhat appalled at the prospective
consequences, “you will smash the canoe.”

“Oh, no; you did not do so when you commenced; and if I do, it is not
worth over fifteen dollars, and I can pay for it. We have stores enough,
and I can make up the difference to you.”

“But you will never succeed----”

“Pooh, pooh! You succeeded, why not I? I do not ask you to give up the
pleasure which I see plainly you are bent upon, but we can leave one of
the Indians here; I will go with the other, and you with Frank. That
will make the load lighter, besides.”

“Has _monsieur_ ever poled a canoe?” asked Frank, wonderingly.

“No; but I must commence. Of course, I will have difficulty at first,
but it will come; do not trouble yourself about me.”

“The work of poling against a strong current is tremendous, and the
river being low, the rapids are unusually heavy. You will be entirely
exhausted ere you have gone half-way.”

“Do not worry yourself about my sufferings; although your argument is
evidently defective, as low water cannot be stronger than high, if I
fail to keep up with you I can lag behind or come home.”

“Really, you do not know what you are undertaking; but I will tell you
what you can do. Go with the two Indians, see how they manage in the
first rapid, and then take the place of one and try it.”

To this, after much protest and complaint, Frank and I persuaded him to
agree; more, however, as a personal favor to ourselves than on any other
ground, and his grumblings of dissatisfaction were loudly audible till
we had passed the first rapid; Don neither offered to pole nor grumble

The water was very strong, collected in large pools, and then rushing
with tremendous force down a confined channel, or else pouring in long
exhausting stretches of foaming current over pebbly shallows and amid
protruding boulders. At one spot Frank and myself were fifteen minutes,
just able to hold our own and not advancing a foot, with the imminent
risk of upsetting at any instant; and when I was out of the canoe
fishing, he was utterly unable, to the intense delight of the Indians,
to stem the rapids at all.

The canoes were small, and the canoe-men had to occupy a most
uncomfortable position: kneeling and sitting on their heels, not being
able to stand erect as I had often done in larger boats, so that Frank
complained of cramp in his legs for days afterwards. Short setting poles
were used, and our utmost strength had to be exerted where the current
was strong. Of course, the Indians were entirely at home at the work,
and although straining their best, enjoyed our deficiencies and shouted
over our mishaps; whenever we either caught a trout or came near
upsetting our canoe, whenever we had any good luck or any bad luck, and
often when we had neither, they roared with laughter. Not appearing to
give the fate of their canoe, which was in our hands, a thought, they
were intensely amused whenever we brushed against a rock or careened her
till the water flowed in. Instead of the proverbial taciturn grimness of
the conventional Indian, they were hilarious and loquacious, although
their language was a sealed book to us. They were on the best footing,
and held animated conversations with our guides, were continually amused
at their own witticisms, and when on our return, while descending an
unusually dangerous rapid, Frank, distrustful of my judgment, insisted
upon taking entire charge of the canoe, and as a natural consequence
came very near upsetting and throwing us into the boiling waters, to the
peril of our lives and destruction of the boat, they could hardly
contain themselves, but made merry over it the entire way home.

The Agawa winds among high, bleak, and sterile hills, is rapid and
filled with pools, but has none of those tumbling cascades which give
life to the water and wear out deep, dark holes where trout love to
congregate in warm weather. The current, stained with the dead leaves
and decaying vegetation of the ponds and marshes, where it has its
source, is amber-colored, and lends its hue to the pebbly bottom over
which it flows. It evidently, throughout its great extent, furnishes
admirable spawning-grounds for the fastidious trout, and in cool weather
is filled with them in vast numbers. But when a warm season has heated
the water, and a drouth has diminished the current, the fish, finding
the element unsuited to their comfort or even existence, are compelled
to seek the cool, shady caverns of the lake shore.

The river, when we visited it, was in this condition, and there were
none but small, dark-colored fish, which, although excellent in the
frying-pan, after the excessive exertion of surmounting the rapids had
given us an appetite, furnished but tame sport on the line.

Our dinner was pleasant, our trip exciting, the scenery wild, the river
interesting, the savages amusing, and ourselves agreeably entertained;
but we returned early, possessed of a wretched show of game. We had
taken two dozen fish, but none of them were large.

On issuing from the secluded channel of the river, we realized, to our
surprise, that a heavy gale was blowing from the south-east. We had not
felt the wind till we approached the open water, and emerged from among
the hills and trees, but soon found the waves rolling in upon the
sand-beach in a way to remind one of the surf on “Old Long Island’s
sea-girt shore.”

The waves appeared to drive the trout in from the lake, and towards
evening the river near its mouth was alive with them, breaking in every
direction; yet, strange to say, although we cast our flies frequently
directly over them, and kept on fishing till it was night, not a trout
did we take. In all our experience such a thing had never happened, and
where they were so numerous, a dozen often being visible at the same
instant, so voracious and unaccustomed to the presence of man, it was
extraordinary. Fish will frequently, although breaking freely, refuse
the fly, but generally a few will be misled, and occasionally one will
be caught; but here in the Agawa, a hundred miles from civilization, we
saw ten thousand trout in the space of five hundred yards, and after
expending skill and patience, failed to take a single one.

No explanation of this phenomenon presented itself; there was nothing in
the air, water, or time of day to explain it, and although it was
followed during the night by a great change of temperature, there would
appear to be no connection between the two events. The fish seemed to be
playing rather than feeding like salmon running in from the sea; and,
anticipating cooler weather, may have been preparing to ascend the
river. And it is proper to mention here that two gentlemen, who fished
the river a few weeks afterwards, had remarkably fine sport.

Fishing having proved itself vanity and flies a misconception, we
returned to the tent and superintended the payment of the guides, by
impressing upon Frank the necessity of giving them sufficient. One
received his in a greasy, dirty hat that he had worn for several
seasons, and which could hardly have improved the flavor; and the other,
not having so expensive a luxury as a hat, wrapped his in a neck-cloth
that had been in use day and night for years, and had never been washed.
Frank gave them each, in addition, a little butter on a biscuit, and
they hurried away, delighted with their treasures.

The Indian children had brought a number of agates that they had
collected from time to time, and Don selected the best, which were,
however, inferior specimens, and paid for them also by barter. Of
course, our little friend Wajack had her store to exhibit, and received
a favorable consideration from Don, who endeavored to make her
understand a few English words, which were such exquisite baby-talk as
to be nearly incomprehensible to the rest of us. He found in the long
run that he succeeded better by holding up the proposed payment and
pointing to the agate, as none of the savages presumed to ask for more
than we offered.

The following morning the trout again declined positively to recognize
our allurements, and the wind being fair, we concluded to commence our
homeward voyage. We were sorry to part with our amusing Indian friends,
notwithstanding an occasional pang of fear for our numerous articles
that lay scattered about, and which it is only justice to say were
entirely untouched; but as we could make nothing of the fishing, had
become possessed of the best agates, and had explored the river
thoroughly, we proceeded to reëmbark.

The wind was, for the first time, in every way favorable; but ere we had
reached _Point aux Mines_ it had become so violent that Frank, alarmed
at the increasing _roulan_, began to talk of his wife and eight
children, and how sorry they would be if he were drowned; and when the
wind further increased, and Frank began to talk of his nine children, we
concluded it was time to stop and put into a port of distress. In truth,
those open, heavily laden boats are not the safest of vessels in a
seaway, and yawing about as they do before every wave, have to be
watched carefully lest they broach to and fill.

Charley enjoyed Frank’s terror, and would have kept on as a matter of
pride till his employers were satisfied; but Frank, with streaming hair,
staring eyes, and blanched countenance, was a picture of distress, and
if we had not given permission, would have taken it to run behind the
first friendly point.

This proved to be _Point aux Mines_, where in former days a copper mine
had been located, and the shafts and buildings, dilapidated it is true,
and fast crumbling to pieces, remained to mark the traces of man’s
enterprise. The point had been purchased by a company from the Crown;
but as the latter failed to pay the Indians, who were the rightful
owners, they, with the assistance of many of the Canadians, among whom
was our friend Charley, made a night-attack upon the post, and, by a
complete surprise, captured it without loss or bloodshed. The
speculation never having been profitable, the company was only too glad
to be captured; and having obtained an extravagant indemnity from the
home government, never resumed possession of the works.

The buildings were windowless and tenantless, and served as shelter for
voyaging parties of Indians; the underground passages were falling in,
the machinery was going to ruin, the platforms were rotting, and the
gardens had grown up with long, rank grass.

We explored the shafts, collected some specimens of the ore, and
returned to the boat in time to find the wind greatly abated, and
embarking, soon arrived at the Point of Mamainse. Having fished for a
short time from a rock named after one of our best New York fishermen,
Stevens’s Rock, we continued our voyage, and reached the former
camping-ground on the Batchawaung before dark.

The weather had changed. The rain was falling in that dull, penetrating
drizzle that is so depressing to one’s spirits, and the cold air made
our wet clothes and damp bed far from comfortable. Camping in a rain,
building a smoky fire from damp logs, and making a bed of wet boughs, in
spite of the protection of water-proof blankets, is unpleasant, although
it rarely produces sickness. Don bore the discomfort with a patient
composure that was an eminent example to our city exquisites, and never
uttered a complaint; on the slightest provocation he would probably have
proved, conclusively, that moisture was man’s natural condition, and
infinitely preferable to sunshine and dry clothes.

On ascending the river next day, as Don and myself were walking along
the bank we observed a rustling in the grass, and pausing, roused a
flock of partridges. I shot one as they rose, and beholding them, to my
great satisfaction, alight on the neighboring trees, proceeded to poach,
thinking only of the pot, and shot from the trees and on the ground, in
utter disregard of all sportsmanlike rules, the entire covey. They
consisted of but a single brood, and the young were not more than
three-quarters grown; but the anticipation of their juicy tenderness on
the gridiron overpowered any qualmish sentimentality, and right glad
were we to collect the ten plump, tender little fellows into a bloody

The trout had moved from their, former locality, but were plentiful as
ever, enabling us to satisfy our desires and return early to camp, with
one fish of four pounds and several of three. During the day there was a
sudden change of temperature, preceded by a furious attack from the
brulots upon our unhappy persons. Apparently anticipating the advent of
cold weather and partial lethargy, they satiated their appetites with
our blood, in spite of ointments and veils.

During our absence a party of fishermen had arrived from the Sault, and
finding our camp, located themselves a few hundred yards below us. As
we descended the river next morning, we stopped to exchange salutations
and inform them of the condition of the fishing. Being ourselves
abundantly satisfied with killing trout, we proposed making a short
visit to the romantic Harmony before returning to the Sault, and left
the strangers in the sole possession of the Batchawaung.

We found the Harmony lower and warmer than we had left it, almost
deserted by trout, but otherwise as beautiful and picturesque as ever.
We lingered round the falls, and listened to the noisy cascade, drank
from the ice-cold spring, shot a few ducks on the lower stretch of
water, killed a dozen fine trout at the upper _shute_, and indulged in
the luxury of laziness.

Don had been heretofore as active as any member of the party, often up
the first and to bed the last; frequently rousing the guides from their
slumbers by a loon-like call, repeated until they appeared; but on our
first morning at the Harmony he positively refused to get up, and to my
persistent entreaties, replied in a despondent voice:

“It is no use; you give me no rest, keep me up every night till eleven,
work me to death all day, and let the flies and mosquitoes annoy me
without cessation. I will stand it no longer, and intend to sleep as
late as I please.”

“But, Don, breakfast is ready, and you will lose it.”

“Then I shall have a second breakfast. You feed me on pork, and trout,
and ducks, till I am tired of them, and get no nourishment from the
endless repetition.”

“I have made a beautiful omelet this morning, and it will be ruined.”

“Then make me another--we have plenty of eggs--or I will make it for

“But you will miss the morning’s fishing.”

“I do not care. I have caught trout enough to last my lifetime, and I
will have a little rest.”

With that he turned over, incontinently went to sleep, and no efforts on
our parts, nor shouts from the guides, who with delight imitated the cry
with which he had been accustomed to wake them, could rouse him till
eleven o’clock. Apparently much refreshed, he eat a light lunch
preparatory to a more substantial dinner, the hour for which had almost
arrived. Getting up at eleven o’clock in the woods is equivalent to
sleeping till four in the afternoon in the city.

Somewhat moved by his complaints, and having plenty of leisure-time, I
devoted myself to providing for dinner the best our larder afforded:
soup made from preserved vegetables furnishing the first course; trout,
larded and fried, the second; broiled duck, garnished with thin pieces
of pork, the third; and such entremets as boiled rice, chow-chow, and
the like, closing with a dessert of that remarkable and ill-named
preparation called corn-starch, one of the most valuable discoveries for
the city-bred explorer of the woods.

Corn-starch is a remarkable edible, supplying the greatest variety
possible, never seeming to result in the same production, and furnishing
a subject of untiring wonder as to what form it will take next. On some
days it would be beautiful, transparent, bluish jelly, then it would be
a solid, opaque white, and again a dusky brown semi-liquid substance;
frequently it resembled pap, and now and then would be full of doughy
lumps, as though endeavoring to effect an experimental pot-pie;
sometimes it tasted of liquorice, at others it seemed flavored with
molasses; but generally it had not the slightest particle of taste. I
never could calculate on a result; if I tried to obtain jelly, I made
pap; if pap was my purpose, pot-pie would be the product.

Don eat it daily in a state of bewilderment bordering on idiocy,
inquiring regularly after the first taste: “What have we here, now?” But
once, when brown instead of white sugar was used, and effectually
obliterated all other flavor, he made what young ladies call a face. The
inventor of corn-starch must be a wonderful man, but it is to be desired
that he would reduce his bantling to a little better state of
subjection, and put on his labels directions more applicable to the
woods, where milk and moulds and flavoring extracts are not to be had,
and ice-creams are a reminiscence of the past.

Monotony is the drawback to life in the woods, and corn-starch is doubly
welcome on that account. It is nutritious, being composed of the
essential portions of the grain, is compact, and easily protected from
wet; it furnishes an astonishing variety of desserts where any dessert
is a luxury, and it is an admirable addition to one’s stores, though I
wish it had a little more taste.

The dinner, including the corn-starch dessert, was a success, and
revived Don’s spirits, so that he was up betimes thereafter during our
stay at the Harmony.

With reluctance we bade farewell to the pretty stream, whose soothing
murmurs, grateful shade, and wild scenery invited us to remain; and our
eyes lingered on the hills from which it springs, as we slowly passed
out of Batchawaung Bay on the route to Gros Cap and the Sault. But,
aware that our limited time was almost expired, we pushed on our
homeward way, stopping to dine at the camp-ground near its mouth. Here
we found, amid the débris of ancient wigwams, the bleached skulls of
numerous beavers, and were surprised at the peculiar formation of their
long, mordant teeth. We had frequently noticed logs of considerable
diameter that had been cut through by these powerful natural saws, and
that bore the long furrows that they made; but were astonished to find,
in extracting these teeth from the skull, that they constituted nearly a
semicircle. Worn as they would be by severe and continued use, nature
had made this provision to supply the rapid waste, and the portion of
the ivory concealed in the skull was fully two inches long. Don
collected several, and finding a peculiarly large specimen, muttered,
on withdrawing the teeth, that it must be the remnants of

    “Ahmeek, the king of beavers.”

Before reaching Gros Cap we struck and lost, by the fouling of our
trolling lines, which were both out together, a very large lake trout.
This fish, in spite of his size, gave so little play that we were
scarcely aware that we had hooked him, and were astonished when we saw
his immense proportions as he came near the boat. We scarcely considered
his loss a disappointment.

We spent two days at Gros Cap, having fine sport and killing some large
fish. Don broke his tackle several times, and the lively,
bright-colored, vigorous trout, luxuriating in their appropriate
element, the cold spring water of the lake, gave us excellent play.
Wandering from rock to rock, and casting out into the limitless lake,
every rise was sudden and unexpected, every step changed the distance of
our cast and the character of the fishing-ground.

The submerged rocks were visible through the limpid water, and from
beside them or from their deep, dark fissures a trout might rise with a
furious, impetuous plunge at any moment. The fish were numerous,
breaking in the placid evenings in myriads, and the sport was
entrancing. During the warm mid-days, when the sun was too brilliant or
the lake too calm for fishing, we would wander about the island, hunting
specimens, inspecting natural peculiarities, and chasing the _ephemeræ_
that had supplied the place of the brown _phryganidæ_.

There was a surprising similarity of color in all the natural flies of
that region; they were mostly of modified shades of brownish yellow or
gray. The yellowish variety had two long whisks, one inch and
three-quarters long, banded with gray, eyes round, white, and
protuberant, with a black speck, and eight sections to the body. They
were quite active and numerous, while other varieties resembled them in
general appearance and characteristics.

The rocks were seamed with veins of copper, the oxide of which had
discolored the adjoining stone, and occasionally we could obtain pretty
and apparently rich specimens. Unfortunately, neither Don nor myself,
though well enough read in the classics and other equally useful
sciences, had ever studied mineralogy, and were as good judges of
minerals as a savage would be of a watch. Our ignorant conclusions,
however, were that if the north shore of Lake Superior were properly
explored, under Yankee supervision, mines might be discovered equalling
those of the south coast. With this sage conclusion we were forced to be

Charley had a passion for prospecting; was ready at a moment’s notice to
dig out with the axe any strange-looking deposit, fully convinced that
some day he should make his fortune, if he only could learn to
distinguish the valuable from the worthless.

At last a strong westerly wind came out, and a heavy fog settled down
upon us, wrapping the hills in its graceful shroud, hanging pendant from
the distant rocks and trees, shutting out the lake from view, covering
the bushes with glittering gems, and wetting our thin clothes
uncomfortably. As there was too much sea running to fish, we wrapped
ourselves up in the water-proofs, and embarking the remnants of our
property, set sail for the Sault.

This was to be our last day on the lake, our last day in the open woods,
the last time we were to stand face to face with nature’s solitude--and
our spirits felt depressed at the prospect. No more sleeping beneath the
cool canvas, no more looking out upon the limitless Big-Sea-Water, no
more peering up into the silent night, and no more of those thronging
thoughts and grateful inspirations that feed the soul in the wilderness.
The freedom from rules and restraint was to be laid aside, the easy
dress must be replaced by the methodical cut, the manners and acts must
be shaped to those of others, and we were to conduct ourselves
henceforward according to the received and established pattern. We were
approaching civilization, where stiff and stately houses were to limit
our views, and man’s works shut out those of God.

The wind soon hauled ahead, and driving back the fog, let down a flood
of sunlight on the sparkling water; but the current being quite strong
in our favor as we approached the outlet, we made good headway, passing
in our course a yacht crowded with sportsmen, and under full sail going
wing and wing for the Neepigon, encountering other sailing vessels, and
meeting with occasional evidences of man’s presence.

At six o’clock that evening we shot the rapids, and discharging our load
at the wharf, ensconced ourselves once more beneath the hospitable roof
of the Chippewa House. Three glorious weeks had come and gone since we
were last there--three weeks of unalloyed happiness, three weeks of
invigorating life and exercise, worth all the medicines in the
world--three weeks of intelligent and sensible enjoyment. In that time
impressions had been made and lessons had been learned never to be
forgotten; health had been acquired that would last for years, joy
tasted that would leave its flavor during life. And now farewell to the
staunch old barge; farewell to our canvas home, to the merry camp-fire,
to the woodsman’s life; farewell to the deep forests, the sombre pines,
the waving elms, to the dancing streams, and the open water; farewell to
our faithful guides; farewell to the graceful trout, the elegant
namægoose, the fierce black bass; a long farewell to Gitche-Gume,
Big-Sea-Water, the greatest of the great lakes of our great country!


The finest trout-fishing in the world is to be obtained at Lake
Superior; although larger fish may be killed in the lakes and streams of
Maine, and greater numbers in the brooks of New Hampshire, Vermont, New
York, and Pennsylvania, nowhere is to be found the same abundance of
trout, averaging above two pounds, and wonderfully game and vigorous,
and nowhere a more beautiful region to explore or pleasanter waters to
fish over. The entire rocky shore of the lake, along both coasts, is one
extensive fishing-ground, where the skilful angler can at any point find
delightful sport; the innumerable tributaries, large and small, of the
British or American territory, unless shut out by precipitous falls, are
crowded with myriads of the speckled beauties; and the rapids at the
outlet furnish trout of the largest size.

The true mode of enjoying the sport is by camping out, when the
adventurous sportsman roams from point to point and river to river, from
camping-ground to camping-ground, at his own unrestrained will, varying
the sights and sounds of beauty that are ever present in the wilderness;
but excellent fishing can be had at numerous places, united with
comfortable accommodation. At the Sault St. Marie, at Marquette, at
Grand Island, and at Bayfield public-houses are to be found, and so
plentiful a supply of fine fish that the heart of man cannot fail to be
satisfied; but the finest sport is to be realized along the Canadian
shore, where camping-out is a necessity; for while on the southern coast
the trout average a pound, on the northern they will run fully two
pounds in weight.

To reach Lake Superior from the Eastern States the angler must either
take the steamers at Cleveland upon days advertised in the local papers,
or join them the next evening at Sarnia, by the Grand Trunk or Great
Western railroads of Canada. He will reach the Sault in three days from
Cleveland, and can save twenty-four hours in going by the way of Sarnia.
At the Sault he will find unequalled bait-fishing, and occasionally
excellent fly-fishing; but here, on account of the depth and strength of
the water, the bait will kill the largest trout. At this thoroughly
American village there is a well-kept hotel, the Chippewa House, and
nearly all the requisites for camp-life, except the tent.

A few miles below the Sault the Garden River affords good sport and
fair-sized trout, but is a difficult stream to ascend, while the first
promontory on the southern shore of the lake, called White Fish Point,
has long been famous as a fishing-station. At Marquette, which is a
regular stopping-place for the steamers that traverse the lake, the
waters are somewhat fished out; but about thirty miles to the eastward,
within an easy day’s sail, at Grand Island, there is splendid fishing,
magnificent scenery, and a passable boarding-house. Here are the famous
Pictured Rocks, ornamented with the fantastic hues of many-colored
sandstone, and worn by waves and storms into a thousand odd shapes and
strange resemblances, hollowed out into caverns, washed away into
pinnacles and spires, at one place representing a yacht under full sail,
at another a turreted castle of the olden time.

About sixty miles beyond Marquette are the Dead, the Yellow Dog, and
Salmon Trout rivers, which are apt to be encumbered with drift-wood and
underbrush, but which are filled with fish, and from one of which a
brook-trout of six and a half pounds was taken. The photograph of this
fish, or another of about the same size, is preserved at the Sault.

At Bayfield, the further terminus of the steamboat route, named after
the first American explorer and surveyor of this region, is the best of
fishing, united with good hotel life. In the neighborhood of this
village two hundred and fifty pounds weight of speckled trout have been
killed in one day by one good fisherman and one poor one; fish of two
and three pounds are common, and in the sheltered channels, between the
Apostle Islands, the namægoose are taken in unlimited quantities. The
Brulé River, and the many streams that empty into the lake in the
neighborhood, although often choked with drift, are filled with fine

On the north shore, amid the interminable forests that stretch in
primeval solitude to the northern sea, enlivened only with the voice of
the Peebiddy bird and one other melancholy warbler, beautified by a rare
sprinkling of native wild-flowers,

    “In the kingdom of Wabasso,
     In the land of the white rabbit,”

and along the Canadian shore of the lake, is the paradise of the
fly-fisher. Every river swarms, every bay is a reservoir of magnificent
fish that find their equals in size, courage, vigor, and beauty only in
the salt waters of New Brunswick and Lower Canada. The entire coast is
one long fishing-station, the rivers are stew-ponds, and the lake one
vast preserve; at every step the angler may cast his fly into some eddy
of the discolored stream or over some rocky shoal of the limpid lake
with a fair prospect of alluring from the depths a glorious embodiment
of piscatory power that shall struggle and fight, leaping from the
water, and making many fierce rushes for a good twenty minutes, till he
yields himself to the embrace of the net, exhibiting amid its brown
folds the glorious silver brilliancy of the loveliest inhabitant of the
liquid element. As he advances along the shore, an endless variety of
water and land, continuous changes of rock and tree, and dark,
bottomless depths or light gray shallows, present themselves to his eye;
at one moment he is clambering along the steep, rough side of a
precipice, whence he can scarcely toss his line a dozen paces, at the
next he is walking securely upon some flat rock whence the receding
hills permit him to cast to the utmost limit of his ability, or he may
ascend the nearest stream by the aid of his strong barge, or in the
light canoe, or else wading waist deep against the rushing current, and
there, overshadowed by the hills and shrouded amid the waving trees, he
can visit pool after pool, try eddy after eddy, till he and his men and
the boat are loaded, and satiety bids him rest.

Along the lake there is scarcely a choice of locality; from the sandy
beach at Point aux Pins to the outlet of the Pigeon River--the boundary
of two nationalities--at every point, in every cove, trout are to be
taken, and often in abundance; but probably the best as well as the most
accessible spots are Gros Cap and Mamainse. Of the rivers the most
famous is the Neepigon, where barrels of trout, averaging four pounds,
have been taken in one day; but the Batchawaung and the Agawa are nearly
as good, and within a more convenient distance, while the Harmony is
unequalled for wild and romantic scenery.

The fish of Lake Superior excel those of the other inland waters, either
in flavor or game qualities, and sometimes, as with trout, in both. The
lake-trout and white-fish bring a higher price in the Detroit markets
than those of Erie and Ontario, have a more brilliant color and firmer
flesh, and the trout infinitely surpass in appearance, strength, and
endurance the dull, logy productions of the Umbagog or Moosehead Lake.
On taking the fly and experiencing the astonishing disappointment, they
make one rush like their fellow-sufferers the salmon, and finding the
pain clings to them, they leap with the energy of grilse with wild
repetition, in the vain hope of shaking the tormenting barb from their
lips. Nor do they resign themselves after a feeble struggle, but retain
strength for many a rush when the ugly net is exhibited, often smashing
tackle, carrying off leaders, and breaking tips in the course of the
contest. Their colors are exquisitely delicate, their backs transparent
mottled green, their sides of pearly whiteness, marked with brilliant
carmine specks and faint blue spots, and their fins of the hue of
clouded cream. Their flesh is flaky and rich, seamed with curd, and
delicious to the hungry sportsman.

After having fished from Labrador to the Mississippi, and killed trout
in every State where trout are to be killed, I am satisfied that the
fishing of Lake Superior surpasses that of any other region on our
continent, and is, as a natural consequence, the best in the world.

There are several remarkable peculiarities of scenery, among which are
the pictured rocks and the sand dunes; and the sparkling lake, when
stirred by a gentle breeze, is beautiful in the effulgence of the
vertical summer sun; but the forests are gloomy and sombre, nearly
impenetrable on account of fallen trees, and in the lower lands grown up
with vast ferns, those evidences of the antiquity of our continent; so
that the sportsman is mainly confined to his canoe and the narrow strip
of lake shore between the beating waves and the impending hills. Beneath
his feet are the hard rocks, seamed with yellow veins of copper, or
wave-worn pebbles sparkling with a hundred varying colors, only less
beautiful than the glistening fish that the skilful angler entices from
the lake and lands among them. From this narrow strip he surveys the
broad expanse of the Big-Sea-Water, and dreams of the countless myriads
that rest in its liquid depths.

He travels with ease and comparative comfort; in the commodious barge he
stows the innumerable articles that fill the measure of a sportsman’s
luxuries, including among them a roomy tent, appetizing delicacies,
abundant clothes, and whatever else fancy dictates. With the barge,
which, although twenty-two feet long, is light and draws little water,
he ascends the larger streams; or he hires some passing Indian and his
birch canoe, that wonderful structure so beautifully and accurately
described by Hiawatha:

    “Lay aside your cloak, O Birch-Tree,
     Lay aside your white-skin wrapper,
     For the summer-time is coming,
     And the sun is warm in heaven,
     And you need no white-skin wrapper.

     Give me of your boughs, O Cedar,
     Of your strong and pliant branches
     My canoe to make more steady,
     Make more strong and firm beneath me.

     Give me of your roots, O Tamarack,
     Of your fibrous roots, O Larch-Tree,
     My canoe to bind together,
     So to bind the ends together
     That the water may not enter,
     That the river may not wet me.

     Give me of your balm, O Fir-Tree,
     Of your balsam and your resin,
     So to close the seams together
     That the water may not enter,
     That the river may not wet me.

     Give me of your quills, O Hedgehog,
     All your quills, O Kagh the hedgehog,
     I will make a necklace of them,
     Make a girdle for my beauty
     And two stars to deck her bosom.

     Thus the Birch Canoe was builded
     In the valley by the river,
     In the bosom of the forest,
     And the forest’s life was in it,
     All its mystery and its magic,
     All the lightness of the birch-tree,
     All the toughness of the cedar,
     All the larch’s supple sinews;
     And it floated on the river
     Like a yellow leaf in Autumn,
     Like a yellow water-lily.”

And in this thing of life and beauty the fisherman finds his way to the
head waters of the smallest brooks or crosses portages from one river to
another, feeling for the time the joys of independence and savage life.

The gaudy flies known as the Irish lake-flies, dressed on a small
salmon-hook of about No. 1½, are successful throughout the entire length
of the lake; but in the rivers a common brown or red hackle on the same
sized hook, dressed with silver tinsel, scarlet body, and very full,
long hackle, is decidedly the most killing, and in the lake answers full
as well as the more expensive articles. Very small flies are not
desirable, owing probably to the depth and occasional turbulence of the
water in the lake and its discoloration in the rivers, which prevent
their being perceived by the fish. Stout tackle and a heavy rod are
better than lighter gear, as no one wishes to waste time on small fish,
and the rises are so frequent that the angler will not become weary by
continued casting. A gaff is necessary for the Mackinaw salmon, and a
large landing-net for trout, but otherwise nothing is required different
from that which the sportsman would take in a day’s trip to the classic
haunts of Long Island.

As the region around Lake Superior is well towards the Arctic zone, the
weather is cool, and blankets, overcoats, and warm clothes are
necessary; but there will be frequently several successive days of
extreme heat, when the thermometer will rise to ninety in the shade. The
great drawback to this section of country, in fact to all our unopened
lands, is the immense number of mosquitoes, black-flies, and sand-flies.
These pests are found numerously everywhere in our woods, but nowhere
are they so plenty or combined so equally as along the shores of Lake
Superior. All day long the black-flies watch their chance to find a bare
spot of human flesh to sting and tear; immediately on the falling of the
shades of evening the almost invisible sand-flies, the “no see ’ems” of
the half-educated Indian, make their appearance in countless millions of
infinitesimal torture, and all night long the ceaseless hum of the
hungry mosquito drives sleep from the wearied sportsman’s eyelids. Veils
and ointments are, therefore, a prime necessity, without which a visit
to this section is an impossibility; and even with the best protections,
the warm days that give these insects unaccustomed activity are scarcely
tolerable. But in spite of these petty discomforts it is a noble lake,
beautiful in all its moods, silent and waveless in the warm sunshine,
rippled and sparkling in the gentle breeze, or lashed to anger by the
storm, when it rages along the shore and bursts in furious surf upon the
rocks. Nowhere else can trout-fishing be had in greater perfection and
more endless variety, nowhere else can the fisherman find purer sources
of enjoyment or finer opportunities to exercise his art, and nowhere
else can the lover of nature discover more to amuse or instruct him. It
lies in the heart of an almost unbroken wilderness, the largest lake in
the world, one huge spring of the coldest ice-water, and filled with
trout that the painter can scarce find colors to imitate, and that will
dwell in the angler’s memory for ever.



_Namaycush--Salmo Amethystus._

Of all the varieties of _Salmonidæ_ that permanently inhabit the fresh
water, this fish, although utterly destitute of game qualities, is alone
entitled, on account of his great size and excellence upon the table, to
the honored name of Salmon, is found throughout the northern lakes,
being prevented by the impassable barrier of Niagara Falls from
descending to the sea, occasionally visits Lake Erie, but attains his
finest condition around the cold, clear depths of Lakes Huron and
Superior. He is named after one of his favorite localities, and reaches
the immense weight of nearly or quite one hundred pounds, and is the
grandest prize of the inland waters of our northern continent.

In color, the Mackinaw Salmon differs, as does the brook trout,
according to the peculiarities of his habitat, whether rocky or muddy
shoals, or deep open water; and to such a degree that, according to
Professor Agassiz, he is known to the Canadian Voyageurs under different
names, and individual specimens are frequently considered half-breeds or
a cross between this species and the Siskawitz. Among the aborigines he
is distinguished by the appellation which is usually spelled namaycush,
although it is pronounced namægoose, and has the accent strongly on the
second syllable, and is never by them confounded with any other variety
of lake trout. The fish of Lake Superior are of stronger colors; are
darker on the back; have redder flesh, and are universally preferred
gastronomically to those of other localities.

In Spring and early Summer, they appear to leave the deep water, and
seeking the rocky shallows, feed voraciously upon the numerous small fry
furnished in abundance by our western lakes. Throughout May, June, July,
and August, they can be captured in abundance with the trolling spoon,
trailed after a boat propelled by oars or a gentle breeze, but are
rarely taken of over twelve pounds weight. At such times they are
excellent eating; their flesh being rich, firm, and closely approaching
in color that of their congener, the famous _Salmo Salar_, and they are
delicious simply boiled or made into the basis of a chowder.

Unfortunately, although they bite voraciously, they give no play
whatever, allowing themselves to be drawn in without resistance, and
there is no fish approaching them in size which is so utterly devoid of
game qualities. At times they seem even to swim gently forward as though
they preferred coming towards the boat, till the fisherman is uncertain
whether they are still on; and although at the last moment they make a
few flounces, their apparent weakness for a fish so powerfully formed,
is astonishing. To be sure if a man had a hook in his mouth he would
follow the slightest pull; but we do not expect such conduct from a
fish, especially from one endowed with the graceful and vigorous shape
of the Mackinaw Salmon.

They take any of the trolling spoons, appearing, however, to prefer the
old style, copied from the bowl of a spoon, but rather elongated, to the
expensive and fanciful modern improvements. Those sold at the Sault St.
Marie are from five to six inches long and made of tin; but a better
bait will be found in the mother-of-pearl imitation fish. To insure
success, the weather should be moderate, either calm or with a gentle
breeze rippling the surface of the water, for the reason that in the
open lake a strong wind will cause so heavy a swell that the fish cannot
see the bait, and the oarsmen cannot control the boat. They are not shy;
but as the water is frequently deep, although wonderfully clear, the
difficulty is to attract their attention. For this purpose sufficient
line must be used to sink the bait slightly beneath the surface, and the
boat must not move too rapidly.

They are captured in all the bays and indentations of Lakes Huron and
Superior, where the bottom is rocky and the water not over one hundred
feet deep. In Lake Superior they are abundant; in Goulais’ Bay, at
Michipicotten Island, in the vicinity of Bayfield, and almost everywhere

Late in the fall they retire to the sombre depths, and are only taken by
still fishing with a long line and live bait, and at such times the deep
water abreast of Gros Cap is one of their favorite localities, and they
are there frequently caught by the Indians of from fifty to seventy-five
pounds. They are salted and smoked by the inhabitants for winter use,
but like the speckled trout are too dry for that purpose, and should
never be killed by the sportsman except as an article of immediate
consumption. They are usually distinguished among Americans as the
Mackinaw Salmon, although that universal and totally undescriptive name
Lake trout is occasionally applied to them, and are called by the
Canadian voyagers _truites du lac_.

The gums of this fish are of a purple tinge, and from this peculiarity,
which is by no means invariable, is derived their scientific name. The
scales are small and the lateral line is nearly straight. The under gill
cover is large and grooved; while there are many teeth, the prominent
ones being very sharp and much curved, and the tongue has a row on each

The fin rays are:--D. 14, P. 15, V. 9, A. 12, C. 19 6/6.

The tail is narrow at the root, and spreads broad toward the extremity.
The color on the back is deep sea green, spotted with green and yellow
spots; on the sides it is purple, with lilac spots, and on the belly
pure white. The tail is dark and beautifully spotted the whole length.
It is, altogether, a remarkably handsome and graceful fish.

The spawning season is October, and the operation is performed in the
shallows near shore, at which time the fish are mercilessly speared by
the natives.


_Salmon Trout--Salmo Confinis_.

This variety of the non-migratory _Salmonidæ_, although somewhat similar
in general appearance to the foregoing species, does not attain the same
gigantic size. It is found numerously throughout the middle and Eastern
States, as well as in the great Northern lakes, but bears a vastly
inferior rank in the estimation both of the epicurean and the sportsman.

Its gastronomic appreciation, I believe, however, is much influenced by
the period of the year in which it is taken. Early in the season it is
rich, firm, and of fine flavor, the flesh being of a light orange, and
breaking into beautiful flakes. At such times it is unquestionably
excellent. In Summer it is admirable as the foundation for a chowder,
having some of the peculiarities in a higher development of the cod; and
serving as a pleasant change from the ordinary boil or fry of the common
trout. It is also quite eatable if cut into steaks and broiled.

Its scientific description is as follows:--The scales are minutely
striate; the lateral line is slightly curved near the head; the tongue
has large teeth along the central furrow; there are many acute teeth on
the palatines and vomer; the tail has a sinuous margin; the bases of the
vertical fins are spotted, and the flesh is coarse.

The fin rays are:--D. 14, P. 14, V. 9, A. 12, C. 21 3/3.

In color it is blackish or bluish-black, with numerous pale spots. It is
taken with trolling tackle, but rarely or never with the fly. The
spawning season is October, when it seeks the shallow water for that



_Salmo Siscowet._

This species has a dentition very similar to the _Salmo Amethystus_, but
not quite so robust. The upper and lower maxillaries and
intermaxillaries, and each of the palatines, have a row of teeth. The
vomer one and the tongue two rows, beside the acute teeth. The tail is
less furcate, and the dorsal fin is larger than in the Mackinaw Salmon.
The flesh is rich and of fine flavor, but almost too fat.

The fin rays are:--D. 12, P. 14, A. 12, 14, V. 9, C. 30.

This fish is shorter and stouter, and not so distinctly spotted as the
Mackinaw Salmon; it is altogether less handsome, but has similar habits,
and bites readily at the trolling spoon. It was first described by
Professor Agassiz, not many years ago, during his tour of Lake Superior,
but has always been distinguished by the Indians and Voyageurs, and
known among them under its distinctive appellation.

The Siskawitz inhabits the upper portion of Lake Superior, and never
descends towards the outlet, and is taken in the neighborhood of Isle
Royale in abundance. It is said also to be found in some of our other
lakes, but is very rare.


_Rock-fish--Librax Lineatus._

These glorious fish, the delight of the angler’s heart, the bravest and
strongest except the salmon, the largest without exception of the finny
tribe that the sportsman pursues, frequent every cove and bay of our
northern Atlantic coast, and furnish the main attraction of salt-water

Their mode of capture differs according to the locality; from the
rock-bound coast of the Eastern States the adventurous angler, perched
upon some projecting rock, casts the simple bait into the crested wave,
amid the thundering surf of the stormy sea; along the sandy shores and
in the tranquil inlets of the Middle States, gut snells, sinker and
float come into play in the rapid tide ways; and among the numerous
lagoons and bays of the Southern States the clumsy but effective
hand-line is employed.

To the eastward, menhaden and lobster are the favorite baits; in
Pennsylvania and New York shrimp, crab, and squid; and in the Southern
States killeys, herrings, and other small fish. The artificial baits are
the eel-skin, imitation squid, and gaudy bass-fly. The eel-skin used
mainly along New England shores is attached to a hand-line, and cast
into and drawn rapidly through the boiling surf of the ocean; the squid
is towed with trolling tackle behind the sail or row boat, in the quiet
waters of the Middle States; while the fly is used with stout rod and
long line wherever the fresh current of some river haunted by fish falls
directly into the salt water of the sea.

For casting with the menhaden from the rocks, New London harbor, Point
Judith, West Island near Newport, Montauk Point, and Newport Island
itself, are favorite localities; while the Little Falls of the Potomac
at the Chain Bridge, near Washington, where the green waters dash over
the sunken rocks and eddy round the cliffs that rise perpendicular from
the river’s brink, furnish the finest fly fishing for bass in the world.

For bait-casting the necessary implements are a large reel, running on
steel pivots, two hundred yards of flax line attached to a 7° hook with
a round head, and a rod of not over nine feet in length, with a large
agate funnel top. With such tools experienced fishermen can cast a slice
cut from the side of a menhaden, and weighing about three ounces, two
hundred, aye, nearly three hundred feet into the curling breakers of the
Atlantic ocean, and kill bass that will pull down the scales at fifty,
sixty, and seventy pounds.

A mode of preparing a bass line to render it light and water-proof,
without weakening it, is recommended by excellent authority, and is
simply to soak it for one night in fish oil which does not rot linen, to
hang it up to drain the following day, and to place it in mahogany
sawdust to dry. When thus prepared it does not soak water, nor even

Fly-fishing for bass, however, is the perfection of the sport, and
infinitely surpasses in excitement all other modes of killing these
noble fish. The best season on the Potomac is in July or August, and the
favorite hours the early morning or the twilight of the evening. The
ignorant and debased natives who inhabit the romantic region of hill and
valley in the neighborhood of Tenally Town, about five miles northwest
of Washington, and who, dead to the beauties that nature has lavished
around them, and utterly unacquainted with scientific angling, look
merely to their two cents per pound for striped bass, manufacture a fly
by winding red or yellow flannel round the shank of a large hook, adding
sometimes a few white feathers. They substitute for rod a young cedar
sapling, denuded of bark and seasoned by age, and attaching to the upper
end a stout cord, fish with the large flannel swathed hook in the rapids
and below the falls of the Potomac, at the old chain bridge, and without
a reel, kill bass of twenty or thirty pounds.

No spot can be imagined more wild and romantic, and with proper tackle,
the reel, the lithe salmon rod, and the artistic fly--no sport can be
more exciting. The roar of the angry flood, the bare precipices topped
with foliage on the opposite bank, the flat dry bed of the stream where
it flows during the heavy freshets, but at other seasons a mass of bare
jagged rocks, and the dashing spray of the broken current lend a charm
to the scene. While the fish, rendered doubly powerful by the force of
the stream, and aided by the numerous rocks and falls, have every chance
to escape.

The bass pursue the silvery herring, which is the principal natural
bait, and ascend the Little Falls of the Potomac during the summer
months in vast numbers. They are captured in such quantities with the
net in the salt water and with hook and line in the rapids, as to be
almost a drug in the market.

As the season advances, the native crawls upon some rock that reaches
out into the stream, and with his coarse but elastic cedar pole, casts
the roll of flannel, wrapped round a hook and misnamed a fly, into the
seething current; and when the brave fish seizes the clumsy allurement
the fisherman contends for the mastery as best he may, occasionally at
the risk of a ducking in the stream consequent upon the sudden breaking
of his tackle, and accompanied with considerable risk. When a man has
but a slight foothold upon the slippery surface of a shelving ledge, and
has attached to the end of his rod a vigorous fish of twenty pounds, he
is apt to fall if the line parts unexpectedly. Many are the tales of
such accidents, and now and then of fatal results. But with proper
tackle, the scientific angler is master of the situation; he can reach
any part of the current, casting into the eddies at the base of the
precipitous cliffs opposite; he can yield to the rush of the prey; can
retire, paying out line, to surer footing, and can follow the fish
along the shore; and finally, having subdued his spirit and broken his
strength, can lead the prize, gleaming through the transparent water
with the sun’s rays reflected in rainbow colors from his scales, into
some quiet nook where he can gaff him with safety. Such is fly-fishing
for striped bass amid the most lovely scenery, gorgeous in its summer
dress of green and alternating hill and valley, dotted with pretty farms
and smiling grain-fields; and there is but little sport that can surpass

Bass are also taken at the Grand Falls, ten miles further up the river;
but the Little Falls are their favorite locality, as they are here just
passing from the salt tide into the pure, sparkling, broken fresh-water.
They frequently weigh twenty pounds, and occasionally much more; but, of
course, the main run is smaller, and the number killed in lucky days is
prodigious, being counted by hundreds.

Bass are said to be taken with the fly in other rivers of the Southern
States, and also to a certain degree in those of the north. At the
mouths of narrow inlets, where the tide is rapid and diluted with
fresh-water, a gaudy red and white fly with a full body, kept on the
surface by the force of the current and not cast as in fly-fishing, will
occasionally beguile them; but generally speaking, bass are not fished
for with the fly north of the Potomac.

Although the artistic angler naturally despises the miserable flannel
abortion manufactured by the stupid boors of Tenally Town, it will often
be found as good a lure as though composed of the rarest materials; in
fact the bass exhibit none of that daintiness of choice that is
universal with salmon. So long as the fly is large and showy they seem
to be satisfied, and their immense mouths can readily grasp a No. 7
hook, such as the natives occasionally use. One of half that size is
abundantly large, however, and the clearer the water the finer should be
the tackle. The rod, reel, and line are those appropriate to salmon
fishing, although the line, if it is wet by salt-water, should be
afterwards rinsed in fresh to prevent rotting. Some fishermen fasten a
float above the fly, and paying out line let it run down stream into
distant eddies; but this is not so orthodox a mode of proceeding, and
does not require equal skill nor as delicate tackle.

After a fish is struck, the same care has to be exercised if he is heavy
that is necessary with the salmon, and he will often compel the angler
to follow him a long distance ere the gaff terminates the struggle. Bass
make very determined but not such rapid runs as their fellow-denizen of
the flood, the _salmo salar_, but rarely retain that reserved force
which makes his last dash so often fatal; nevertheless they are resolute
and powerful, and have to be handled with care.

Another mode of taking bass, which is strongly recommended, even for the
open bays of the north, by one of our best fishermen, but which I have
only tried in the narrow coves, inlets, and streams, where the tide-way
can be covered by a good cast, is to use the salmon rod, line, and
reel, but to substitute a shrimp for the fly. The casting is then done
in the ordinary manner, and the gentleman referred to claims, that it is
by far the most killing mode. If even equally successful, it is
certainly far preferable to the use of the float and sinker, or to the
dull monotony of bottom fishing. Any sport that brings into active play
the faculties of body or mind, and which demands practice and
experience, surpasses the one that requires the merely passive quality
of patience.

The most successful, and excepting perhaps fly-fishing, the most skilful
method of taking the striped beauties of the northern coasts, is with
the menhaden bait, cast into the boiling surf of the ocean, or the
larger bays; and this sport is universally enjoyed along the iron-bound
shore of New England, from New London to Eastport. This entire reach, is
one mass of rock, indented by innumerable bays, or severed by inlets
into barren islands, where the tide rushes, and the surf beats; and in
every favorable locality are the bass taken with a stout rod, a long
line, and menhaden bait. From almost every bold rock, or prominent
island, can the angler cast into the vexed water of some current, made
by the huge waves rushing over the uneven bottom, and allure thence the
fierce bass, who has been attracted from the ocean depths, to feed on
the small fry that hide in the clefts and crevices; and waiting with
fins often visible above the tide, to pounce upon his prey, mistakes for
it the angler’s bait, and after a brave struggle surrenders to human

Although the true fisherman may pursue the small fish of the Delaware or
Hudson, of New York Bay or the Sound, may patiently bide their time at
Hackensac or Pelham bridges, McComb’s dam or the hedges; and may have
true pleasure in capturing them with dancing float and shrimp, or
running sinker, and shedder crab; if he can spare a week or two, he
should cut adrift from the noise and turmoil, foul stenches, and fouler
deeds of the city; and hastening to Newport or Point Judith, enjoy the
noblest sport of the salt water--bass-fishing with menhaden bait. He
will need stout nerves, strong muscles, good tackle, and abundant skill;
for he will be called upon to cast with the utmost of his power, perhaps
a hundred yards, and to strike and land fish that may weigh half a
hundred pounds. He will be exposed to the sea-breeze, or it may be the
storm wind at early day-light, and the spray from the salt waves, and
wet and cold will be his portion; but he will forget these trivial
evils, when he strikes the bass of forty, fifty, or sixty pounds, the
fish that he has been living for, and when he lands him safely on the
slippery rocks.

Fishermen of character have been known to assert, that they could cast
with the rod, the ordinary menhaden bait, one hundred and twenty yards;
and although from a high stand, with the aid of a strong wind, this is
possible, the ordinary cast is not over half that distance, and to
exceed one hundred when standing on a level with the water is rare
indeed. In fact, seventy-five yards is a good cast, and no man need be
ashamed who can put out his line fair and true that distance. Rather
better can be done with the hand-line than with the rod, but with far
greater fatigue, and a painful over-exertion of the muscles of the arm
that is almost unendurable to one who has not steady practice. The
length of cast is in a measure controlled by the direction and violence
of the wind and the elevation of the stand above the water; in a
contrary wind the best angler will find it difficult to reach
seventy-five yards, while from a high rock, with a favorable wind, he
will cover that distance with ease.

The use of the hand line is neither artistic nor adapted to gentlemen
who fish for pleasure, although more killing probably than the rival
method. For rod fishing, the best tackle and implements are necessary;
the rod must be short and stout, the finest being made of cane at a
fabulous expense; the reel should have steel pins or run on agate, be
made large and perfectly true, and the line must be from two hundred to
three hundred yards long. Cane rods are preferred on account of their
lightness and elasticity, but they are at present almost unattainable at
any price, and the ordinary ones will answer well, although after
several hundred casts weight will be found to tell on unaccustomed
muscles. The objection to jewelled reels is, that a fall or blow may
render them useless, while they run but little smoother than those with
steel pins. The reel and guides must be large to deliver the line
freely, and if the line is seen to bag during the cast between the
guides, it is a sure sign that they are too small. The line is of
twisted grass or raw silk, which is the best but most expensive and
delicate; of plaited silk, which is the strongest; or of linen, which is
cheap and common, but as they are all easily rotted, is the one in
general use. The grass line, if it overruns and whips against the bars
of the reel, is sure to cut, but it delivers beautifully; the silk line
soon becomes water-logged and sticky; and the linen one combines these
defects with a faculty of swelling when wet peculiarly its own. A
perfect bass-line is a desideratum not yet supplied. The American reels
and cane rods are perfection, but the lines are a cause of reproach and
vexation of spirit.

Casting the menhaden bait is similar to casting the float and sinker,
only the power is enormously increased and deficiencies proportionally
magnified. The line is wound up till the bait, if a single one, is
almost two feet from the tip, the rod is extended behind the fisherman,
who turns his body for the purpose, and then brought forward with a
steady but vigorous swing that discharges it without a jerk, like an
apple thrown from a stick by rustic youths. The reel is so far
restrained by pressure of the thumb that it revolves no faster than the
bait travels, but does not in the least detain it, and upon the accuracy
of this manipulation mainly depends the result. If too much pressure is
used, the line cannot escape rapidly enough and falls short; if too
little, the reel overruns and entangles the line, stopping the cast ere
half delivered with a jerk that threatens its destruction. The fisherman
must be able to use either hand on the reel to rest his arms and to take
advantage of the wind.

If he is an adept he will drive the greasy bait straight and true
directly to the desired spot, and if the weather is favorable and the
fates propitious, he will bring up some scaly monster of twenty-five or
mayhap thirty pounds, who will start seaward with bait, and hook, and
line, and only be persuaded, after many efforts and determined rushes,
that it is in vain. The strong ocean breeze will play with his hair and
the salt spume wet his cheek; the vessels, like floating marine
monsters, will drift across the waste of waters before him, the seagulls
will hover round uttering their harsh cry, and he will cast and cast
till arms and legs are weary, and he may kill in a single day a thousand
weight of fish. The fresh air will give such a tone to his system, and
the exercise such strength to his muscles, and the excitement such vigor
to his nerves, that he will hardly believe himself the same relaxed,
despondent, listless individual that left the city a week previous.

The most famous localities for the sport are West Island and Point
Judith; the former is reached by the way of New London, and the latter
by the Connecticut shore line of railway to Kingston. West Island has
lately been purchased by a club of gentlemen, but will not probably be
reserved exclusively for their use, as the neighboring islands being
free to all no special privileges could be secured. There is often
great difficulty in obtaining bait, particularly during a storm, which
is the time that it is most needed, as the fish bite best in rough
weather, and on going from the cities it is well to pack a few hundred
menhaden in a box with ice and sawdust, and thus insure a supply for
some days ahead.

[Illustration: VAIL’S.]


It is a long, weary, and dusty ride by the way of the New Haven and
Shore Line Railroads to Kingston; but if, at the end of the journey, a
pretty little widow, with hazel eyes, is found waiting to drive over to
the South Pier in the stage, and you are the only other passenger, you
will probably consider yourself repaid for all annoyances.

It is seven miles from Kingston to the South Pier, the driver may happen
to be a little tight, very sleepy, and wholly unobservant of what is
passing in the back of his vehicle. Moonlight is either reflected with
great brilliancy from hazel eyes, or else hazel eyes originate a
brilliancy akin to moonlight, and certainly moonlight, hazel eyes, white
teeth, rosy lips, soft hands, and a slender waist, are very bewitching
in a close carriage of a moonlight night, with a preoccupied driver.
Some women have a smile like sunshine, and their laugh rings like a
chime of bells; and if you happen to be riding alone with a pretty
widow, and something suggests love-making, and her merry laughter slowly
dies away into a gentle smile, and the smile fades into a look of
sympathetic feeling, that you have to draw very near to see, till you
feel her palpitating breath upon your cheek, and her hand trembles when
by the merest accident you touch it, and the ride occupies an hour or
more, you may, before the South Pier is reached, almost forget that you
are married.

If this fortune befalls you at the station, you will probably fail to
notice the beauty of Kingston village and Peace Dale as you pass through
them, and will find the subsequent lonely ride from South Pier to Point
Judith dull and dreary. Some two miles from the Pier is a house kept by
John Anthony, the son of Peleg, where sportsmen most do congregate, and
where all their reasonable wants, except the wherewithal to quench their
thirst, can be supplied, and which is situated within a few steps of the
best fishing stations. John Anthony is a Yankee born and bred, honest,
faithful, willing, and acquainted with all the habits, devices, and
iniquities of bass and blue fish. He will tell you that in May, when the
grass plover have their long note, and are heard far up in the air
travelling northward, bass are to be caught with the eel-skin; that in
June, when high blackberries are in bloom, they begin to take lobster
bait; but from July 1st, and all through the fall, they take menhaden,
otherwise called bony fish or moss-bunker, the bait that the true and
skilful sportsman loves to cast.

In July and August, the largest fish, occasionally bass of fifty and
even sixty pounds, rejoice the heart of the angler by surrendering to
his skill, while in the Fall, although more numerous, they are smaller.
In both these particulars, the fishing at Point Judith and West Island,
and further northward, differs from that in the vicinity of New York.
Great success, however, depends upon several contingencies. It is
supposed that the Gulf Stream, that prolonged current of the Mississippi
River, which sweeps with its warmer temperature through mid ocean
carrying a genial atmosphere and fertilizing showers to the otherwise
arid shores of France and England, changes its course yearly,
approaching our coast and sending its swarms of living creatures among
the rocks of Narragansett Bay, or withdrawing so as to leave us desolate
and to increase the severity of our winters. We all know that our cold
seasons differ greatly in intensity, and bass fishermen know that
success in fishing varies equally; but from what cause these results
flow, no one can positively say.

After a heavy storm has darkened the water by washing impurities from
the shore, and at spots where the dashing breakers fill the sea with
foam, the bass bite most fearlessly. Every crested wave rising against
the horizon ere it breaks, flashes with their sparkling scales, and so
sure as the bait cast from the powerful two-handed rod reaches that
wave, so sure is it to be grasped by the nearest bass. The breakers
drive the spearing and other small fry from their hiding-places among
the rocks; the discolored water blinds them to their danger, and bass
trusting themselves in the very curl of the heaving swell collect in
myriads to the welcome banquet. But as the discoloration misleads the
spearing so it also conceals from the bass the line attached to the
treacherous bait, and the latter, while pursuing remorselessly his prey,
becomes himself a victim.

Neither shrimp nor soft crabs are used in this style of fishing, and the
earliest bait, the eel-skin, is prepared by stripping the skin off the
tail of an eel from the vent aft to the length of about a foot, leaving
it inside out, and drawing it over a couple of hooks so placed on the
line that one shall project near the upper and the other near the tail
end. A sinker of the size of one’s little finger is inserted at the
head, and the bait is cast by hand and drawn rapidly. The rod is not
often used in this style of fishing, as the heavy bait is apt to sink
ere it can be reeled in. The skin is frequently salted to increase its
firmness, and when used must be kept in continual motion, to the great
fatigue of the enthusiastic angler.

The menhaden bait is prepared by scaling it and then cutting a slice on
one side from near the head to the base of the tail, passing the hook
through from the scaly side, and back through both edges, so that the
shank is enveloped and the flesh is outwards, and then tying the bait
firmly with a small piece of twine that is attached to the hook for that
purpose. A menhaden or bony fish furnishes two baits, and the residue,
except the back bone, tail, and head, is cut up fine, called chum, and
thrown into the water to make a slick. A slick is the oil of the
menhaden floating over the waves, and extended frequently by tide or
current a long distance, attracts the bass, by suggesting to them that
their prey is near at hand.

Where the water is clear it is customary in rod-fishing, which is the
only scientific mode, to use two hooks; the smaller, some two feet below
the other is attached to a fine line or gut leader, and denominated
without any apparent reason the fly-hook. Many of the best fishermen
never use more than one bait, and where the fish are large and plenty,
one is sufficient. The fly bait is not generally tied on, but twisted
round the hook in a manner difficult to describe.

Lobster bait is deficient in tenacity, and has to be tied on like
menhaden, and probably the natural squid would be an effective and
manageable bait, could it be provided in sufficient quantities. Limerick
hooks, except those manufactured expressly for the purpose with a round
head, are in great disfavor, having a bad reputation for strength, and a
stout but small cod hook is usually preferred. With skill, however, and
plenty of line, the fisherman is more to blame than the steel, for the
breaking of the latter. The best hook is now manufactured with a round
head and is fastened to the line with two half hitches, the end again
hitched above them so as to take the friction; and as it is carried off
by the first blue-fish, or in the Yankee vernacular horse mackerel, that
takes a fancy to it, the angler must be well supplied.

The Bait, especially a single one, is light, but experienced hands claim
to be able to cast it more than a hundred yards, a feat that the tyro
will scarcely credit; but ordinarily half that distance is all that is
requisite. The line should not be less than six hundred and may be a
thousand feet long, and if of flax should not be over fifteen strands.
The rod, reel, and line, must be of the very best, and the guides and
funnel top large, or the angler will fail to do himself justice, and
will probably lose his largest fish.

The friction is so great in casting, that the thumb must be protected by
a thumb-stall or cot, as the natives call it, or better yet, one for
each thumb, so that you can cast from either side, and snub the fish
with either hand. They are made of chamois leather, India-rubber, or
some equivalent material; and in casting by hand, a similar protection
is required for the forefinger. A shoemaker’s knife is admirably adapted
to cutting bait.

If, then, familiar with these things, you shall have chosen a favorable
time during or at the close of a south-easterly storm, and at break of
day, accompanied by John Anthony, shall have posted yourself upon Bog
rock, or the Quohog, which is New England and Indian for hard clam, or
upon the famous Scarborough, that great station in a heavy north-easter,
you may anticipate brave sport. The waves will come rolling in,
streaming out in the wind like a courser’s mane, with snowy crest, and
breaking with thundering roar they will sink back seething with foam. As
the tide rises a few drops will fall pattering upon your feet; shortly
the waves will leap up to your knees, then plunge into your pockets,
reach to your waist, pour down your neck, and if you are not on the
watch will lift you in their embrace and fling you torn and wounded down
among the sharp-pointed rocks. You must wear water-proof clothes, and
while you keep your eye on the line you must not neglect the inrolling
swell, but avoid or brace yourself to meet its shock. And when the bass
seizes your bait, and you have fixed the hook by one sharp blow, you
must be gentle and moderate, only using severe measures where they are
absolutely necessary. If the blue-fish comes, and he does not carry away
your hook at the first snatch, reel him in as quickly as his indomitable
pluck and vigor will permit. He is not game when you are bass-fishing.
If the ungainly flounder, exhibiting unexpected activity, shall chase
and grasp your bait, lug him out by main force, treating him, though
excellent to eat, like the vulgar commoner he is.

When the day is advanced, and the game has grown wary, you may rest; and
looking out to sea, perchance behold the blue-fish chase the menhaden
and the porpoise devour the blue-fish, and the thresher shark plough his
way through schools of lesser creatures, killing with blows of his
powerful tail, and then devouring his prey at his leisure. You may
listen to the “wild waves singing,” and watch the continual change of
the sky and water, enjoying the refreshing breeze and pure air, or amuse
yourself by throwing in the head of a menhaden, and noting how quickly
the bass that refuse your bait will strike with a great whirl at the
floating object.

Two fishermen engaged with their sport were once standing upon a rock
together, when one struck a very large fish supposed to weigh over
seventy pounds. The sea was high and wild, and made it difficult to gaff
the fish, after a wearying struggle had reduced him to submission. A
favorable opportunity was watched when three heavy rollers had passed,
covering the rock with spray, and the other fisherman darted to the edge
of the surf to make the attempt. Unfortunately the bass, not being quite
exhausted, made a short run that delayed the operation, till a gigantic
wave, rolling in unheeded, caught the preoccupied fishermen unawares,
engulfed them in its green waters, flung one down bruised and sore, and
carried off the other who held the gaff, and was nearer the brink, into
the deep water beyond. Poor fellow, he could not swim, and the terror of
approaching death passed across his features as he looked up
beseechingly and tried to cling to the steep and slippery rocks. The
waves tossed him about like a plaything, bringing him close to the
rocks, dragging him away, and then cruelly hurling him against them. His
friend was powerless to save him; but having a stout line, and the fish
now floating exhausted upon the surface, shouted to the drowning man to
catch the line and support himself by it. This was accomplished, and
amid the dashing surf, alone with the shadow of death upon the water,
the skilful fisherman, working his way carefully among the rocks, giving
to the strain of the surging sea, but gaining every inch of line the
strength of his tackle would permit, led the man and the fish, floating
side by side, into a cove that was in a measure sheltered from the fury
of the waves.

Slowly the line came in; the man lived, and still clung to it, and
although occasionally submerged, managed to sustain himself
sufficiently. Nearer and nearer he came, quite close even to the
shelving rocks, and twice during a lull could have climbed them in
safety, had not his strength been too greatly exhausted. He made a
feeble effort, still clinging, however, to the line, but was carried
back by the receding current, and it became apparent his life depended
upon his friend’s ability to help him.

This was no easy matter; the strain upon the line was excessive, the
rocks were wet and slippery, and the sea frequently swept across with
resistless force. Shortening the line as much as possible, the friend
crept down towards the edge, and taking advantage of the first lull,
called to the drowning man to cling fast with his hands for a moment,
and rushed down to seize him. The instant, however, the line was
relaxed, the water carried away its feeble victim, who was quickly
beyond reach. Ere he could be brought back a tremendous wave, resolute
to devour its prey, came thundering in; it rose above points that had
projected many feet out of water, it dashed in flying spray high up upon
those that it could not overwhelm, its crest gleamed and hissed, and
with one mad leap it sprang over the intervening ledges and threw itself
upon the fishermen with fearful power. The one upon the rocks was
beaten down, and only by falling in a crevice and holding fast with all
his strength was saved from being carried off. When the wave passed he
struggled to his feet and looked down into the deep water for his
friend. The line was broken, and man and fish were swept away together.

Danger never deterred a sportsman, but rather seems to enhance his
enjoyment; and there is just sufficient risk and enough cold water to
make fishing from the rocks a pleasurable excitement. The fiercer the
storm and the wilder the water the better the fishing, and the peril is
more than counter-balanced by the sport. Occasionally, at these times, a
fisherman will be lost, but more frequently he will capture the gigantic
fish that has been the ambition of his life; and if he does perish it is
in a good cause, and he has the sympathies of all his ardent brothers of
the angle.

Bass, like other fish, do not feed in a thunder shower, but during the
latter part of a north-easterly or south-easterly storm, and immediately
after when the wind has hauled to the westward and made casting easier,
they are taken in the greatest quantities. In fact it is hardly worth
while to fish for them at any other time.

At Point Judith there are some bay snipe and plover after the fifteenth
of August, and the quail shooting which begins on the twentieth of
September is quite good. Blue-fish or horse-mackerel are not pursued for
sport, but rather pursue the angler, taking off his hooks and cutting
his line with their sharp teeth most unmercifully. In fact a story is
told of one that deliberately bit through the line above a large bass
that had been hooked, and apparently released him designedly, from fishy

That excellent but neglected fish the porgee, which the inhabitants call
a scup, is plentiful, and also the tautog or black fish; and the
bergall, which they denominate chogset or cunner, a worthless fish, is
so abundant as to try the fisherman’s temper by continually devouring
his baits.

When the sea has subsided and the fishing is over, and you have as many
fish as you want nicely packed in ice, you will have to drive over to
the depôt behind the laziest horse, unless Anthony buys a new one, that
it was ever your misfortune to ride after. The boyish driver, however,
enterprising like his father, will poke and whip and utter that peculiar
word comprehensible only to horse-flesh, “tschk,” and if the animal does
not absolutely lie down in the ditch you will make the seven miles in
about two hours and a half, and be thankful that you have done so well;
having reached home, what stories you will tell of the large fish you
captured and enormous ones you lost, of the dangers you ran and how
beautifully you cast, and your friends that receive of the game will
believe in you.


One cloudless day in the fervid month of July, a handsome, bright-eyed
youth of something over twenty summers, opened the gate of the little
yard in front of Deacon Goodlow’s house and strode with an elastic step
towards the side door. He was evidently at home and felt no need of
ceremony, for without pausing to knock he turned the knob and entered.

The deacon’s house was one of those innumerable romantic little white
cottages with wings added after the main structure, that dot the flat
surface of Long Island, or Mattowacs, as the poetical Indians once
elegantly named the wonderful sand-bar; it was hidden in trees and
almost covered with vines, and had an air of superiority and taste
somewhat unusual.

“Well, Katy,” said Harry, addressing a sprightly, rosy-cheeked maiden
that he encountered inside, busy at some pottering woman’s work; “what
do you think, now? Your father and mine are going fishing to-day. I left
them talking it over, and arranging that they were to drive over in your
father’s buggy, as our solitary horse is needed for other purpose.”

“I am glad of it, Harry; Mr. Hartley takes too little recreation, and
father does so like a day on the Bay. He was speaking about it only

“But how odd that they should go alone; I wonder why your father does
not take you, you like the Bay almost as well as he does.”

“Pretty nearly,” she replied with a laugh; “I love the breeze and the
water, especially when we run outside and plunge into the monstrous
waves of the ocean. It seems so fresh, and limitless, and powerful.”

“Yes, and you like to pull out the blue-fish; it is not all poetry, for
to tell the truth, I have always felt convinced from your way of looking
at them, that every time you caught a fish you thought of the pot and
fancied how nice he would be on table.”

“Take care, sir, or the next time we go I will leave you to your own
devices in the way of cooking. Do you remember when I found you trying
to cook a big blue-fish on a long stick, over a huge hot fire, without
any salt or butter?”

“But the old folks will be sure to fall out over politics or polemics,
and come home in a dudgeon, as they have been near doing before this,
your father is so fiery; I hope, for my future peace, his daughter does
not take after him.”

“Now, Harry!” accompanied with a deep blush, was all the answer, and
Katy was turning away, knowing instinctively how to punish her saucy
lover, when Harry hastily continued:

“I think I have prevented that, however.”

“Have you? How?”

“I suggested something else for them to talk about, that will occupy
their thoughts most of the time.”

With a shy, sidelong glance, like a bird alarmed but uncertain of the
danger, Katy replied:

“And what subject was that, pray?”

“Our love, Katy.”

“A very silly subject, that need occupy nobody any time at all. You had
better say your love, sir.”

“Now, darling, don’t tease, I have only a moment, or I shall be too late
for the cars.”

“Then, why not go at once? I am full as busy. Was not that Jane calling
me?” She made a great show of leaving, but managed to remain, evidently
anticipating something of importance from her lover’s manner, and in a
female way dreading though desiring the disclosure.

“Wait one instant; I need not repeat how I love you, you have heard that

“Yes, indeed.”

“But to-day I am to be admitted to a partnership with my old employer,
who kindly offered it, with some complimentary remarks, so late as

“You deserved it long ago.”

“Not at all, I was well paid for my services; but now”--having drawn the
willing but skittish beauty towards him, he whispered--“now I can keep a

Her lips were close, her cheeks were tempting, her eyes turned away, her
hands busy with the buttons of his coat, it is not certain he took
advantage of these opportunities; but suddenly starting into life, she
gave him a gentle tap on the ear, pulled away, and turning to hide her
blushes, called out, as she darted from the room:

“You must catch her first, and the train starts in twenty minutes.”

“So it does,” he muttered, as the delighted look of admiration with
which he had regarded her faded slowly from his eyes; “what a darling
witch, it is so full of fun, and yet, as the neighboring poor can
testify, so gentle, generous, and sympathetic.” A thousand thoughts of
all the loving acts he would do for her came into his mind as he
hastened towards the depot.

“Well, friend,” said Mr. Hartley, as the two deacons were journeying
along at a sober gait in the old-fashioned but comfortable buggy of the
wealthier, “what a beautiful day it is, not merely for our sport, and it
could hardly be better, but to admire the beauties of nature! The summer
foliage looks truly gorgeous in the broad sunshine.”

“Yes, indeed, and the influence of such a day must be felt by the moral
nature of man. Even upon man debased by vice, I believe in the country
as a moral purifier, and think a system should be devised by which
criminals would be thrown in contact with it as much as possible.”

“I agree with you fully, and had an evidence this morning how it opens
the heart and emboldens the affections. You know Harry has long been
attentive to your daughter Katy, and I believe they have had a sort of
half understanding.”

“A fine fellow is Harry; true, honorable, and energetic,” said Mr.
Goodlow, heartily.

“He is so, and I, as his father, am proud to admit it; but Katy is a
noble girl, and worthy of the finest fellow in the world.”

“Well, we start the subject with a hearty accord,” replied the friend,
smiling; “I can readily imagine what will follow, and have no doubt we
will be equally of accord on that.”

“The short of it is, Harry has just been placed in a position that
authorizes him to marry, and he wants you to trust Katy to him. On the
subject of support he was satisfactory, and on that of love
enthusiastic. He hoped your favorite minister would perform the

This last remark was uttered very slowly, for it must be known the two
deacons belonged to rival churches and different persuasions, and had
had many a contest over form and ritual.

“That is a matter of small moment,” was the response, “but if any form
should be simple it is the marriage ceremony. I really think it had
better be performed in your church, where there is less regard for

“And for that reason I coincided in my son’s selection; our church
teaches us that while we are not to insist upon forms as the essence of
religion in any of its departments, we are not to indulge prejudice
against them. That they are immaterial either way.”

“A strange view, indeed,” responded the opposing deacon, warming to the
question; “strange that any one could conceive that the form in which he
expressed his adoration was unimportant; in all religion, prayer takes
the form of the bowed head and bended knee. Unseemly postures and acts
are themselves irreverent, not to advert to the effect they must produce
upon the mind that indulges in them on serious occasions. We owe to our
fellow-men respectful deportment on solemn occasions, how much more so
to our Creator. Form is the embodiment of the spirit of true worship,
and partakes of its essence and beauty.”

“We fear,” responded his associate, “that form, from its very beauty,
may distract the heart and engross the attention to the neglect of the
essentials of devotion. Pleasing forms are beautiful to our senses, but
God looks to the pure heart and humble mind; the formalities of religion
too often hide an aching void of real principle, and while they quiet
the conscience produce no good fruit in the soul. Therefore, we dread
them, lest though the sepulchre be whited on the outside it hide
rottenness within.”

They were both intelligent men, devoted to their sects, which although
in belief almost identical, in forms were dissimilar; and they enforced
and illustrated their views with great vigor, learning, and eloquence,
and with the ordinary effect of religious discussions, that each was
finally more firmly convinced that he was in the right. The hopes of
their children were forgotten for the time, an occasional sharp
innuendo added spice if not acerbity to the argument, and before their
destination was reached a feeling of coldness, approaching
dissatisfaction, had sprung up between the two friends.

There were no blue-fish running, and it was determined to try the
striped bass that, although small, had begun to be plentiful, and in
case of their absence to tempt the flounders, sea bass, black fish, or
other like plebeians. In silence they pulled off to the fishing ground,
and silently they cast overboard the anchor-stone and baited their
hooks. Fishing has a calm, soothing influence incompatible with anger or
estrangement. Occasional remarks were made which would doubtless have
soon led to a perfect reconciliation had not the Fates prominently
interfered. Mr. Hartley, who rowed the boat, had stationed himself in
the bow, and strange to say began to take fish as fast as he could land
them, while Mr. Goodlow, in the stern, usually the favorite location,
caught nothing.

Fishing is a contemplative amusement, but when one contemplates his
associate catching all the fish the amusement vanishes. Deacon Goodlow
was a devotee of the gentle art, fancied himself an expert, and never
doubted his far excelling his less experienced brother; had great faith
in skill as opposed to luck, having often expatiated upon the fact that
he rarely found an equal, and felt fully convinced that in skill he was
not excelled.

Now skill is a very necessary thing and will tell in the long run, but
luck is sometimes, doubtless for a wise purpose, permitted to triumph
over it. In vain did the unfortunate deacon renew his baits, change the
depth of his sinker, fish on the bottom or near the top; the result was
the same. His irritation increased and broke forth into ejaculations of
impatience, and a sudden desire to move to some other spot.

“There seem to be no fish here, we had better try a new place,” he said

“I am doing very well, and doubt whether we could better ourselves,”
replied his associate with that hilarity that success engenders, landing
two bright little bass at once.

“You do not call that good fishing, they are mere sprats. I have taken
many a bass of twenty-four pounds, and two of over fifty.”

“But you know the run is always small in this month.”

“Of course I know that; but I never saw such luck, you must have taken
twenty, such as they are.”

“More than twenty, thirty at least; but perhaps we had better change
places, I have taken more than I want and you had better try your hand.”

After some demur and a coquettish but half sulky refusal to deprive him
of his “good luck,” Mr. Goodlow complied with his friend’s suggestion,
but wonderful to say the luck changed at the same time; the fish all
fled to the stern of the boat and were landed there faster than they had
been previously over the bow. In fact, one line seemed to be bewitched
as though the fish were in a piscatorial conspiracy. Even when the
unfortunate fisherman extended his line and allowed his float to swing
round beyond the stern and even alongside of his companion’s, that of
the latter would be dragged under at every moment, while his would
remain undisturbed.

“Well, I have seen luck before,” he began, fiercely, “but never such
luck as this; how deep are you fishing?”

This question, as betraying the possibility of inferior judgment, fairly
stuck in his throat.

“About three feet.”

“Mine is the same. No, it is mere luck, that is all.” Anger was making
his language slightly ungrammatical.

Mr. Hartley replied, as he landed another brace: “Of course it is, and
now let’s change seats again and see if we cannot outwit the fish.”

Being patronized by an inferior fisherman is almost unbearable, it
implies triumph with nothing to justify it; and an assumption of
superiority will be suspected if not intended. So Mr. Goodlow held out
for a time, saying slightingly: “Oh, it was a mere question of luck,
mere luck that must soon change;” but as it did not, and as his friend’s
manner was soothing and even submissive, he at last consented, with the
air of conferring a favor, to resume his old place in the stern.

At the first cast which Mr. Hartley made after returning to his seat at
the bow, he hooked and landed the largest fish yet seen. This was too
much, and if people swear inwardly it is greatly to be feared the
unfortunate deacon will have to report hereafter one of the commandments
broken on that occasion.

“Come,” he said, “we will go home; another time perhaps I can have a
little luck. I used to think there was something like skill in fishing,
but there does not appear to be in catching these miserable little

“Why, my last one must have weighed two pounds.”

“Two pounds! Not an ounce over one. I have had enough for this day, and
the sun is remarkably hot.”

“Oh, I cannot go just yet; here comes another, nearly as large as the

“I insist upon it,” Mr. Goodlow continued, having reeled up his line and
taken apart his rod. “I will not stay longer, my horse must be fed, and
it is late.”

“When a person comes out fishing,” replied Deacon Hartley, growing
irritated, “it is a poor way to be wanting to go home because another
catches the fish, especially as I am perfectly willing to divide

“What do you think I care for those puny little fish? You may keep them
all, in welcome.”

“I suppose I may if I wish; they are mine because I have caught them, or
nearly all; but I will give you half if you will cease grumbling at what
you call your luck.”

“Well, what is it if not luck! Perhaps you think you surpass me in skill
and experience,” answered the other sneeringly. “I tell you I am going
home. It is my horse, and you may come or stay, as you choose.”

With that he seized the oars and shipping them into the nearest
rowlocks, commenced furiously rowing the boat stern first. But the
anchor-stone was down, and although he dragged it a few inches, he did
so slowly and with great labor. Mr. Hartley went on deliberately
fishing, but of course could catch nothing while the water was being

“Pull up the anchor-stone, sir,” said Mr. Goodlow fiercely, the
perspiration streaming down his face.

“I will do nothing of the kind,” responded Mr. Hartley.

The tugging at the oars was resumed, but when Mr. Goodlow was nearly
exhausted, whether by accident or not will probably never be known, the
oar slipped along the surface throwing a shower of water over the
quondam friend, fairly taking away his breath. Without a word the latter
dropped his rod, and seizing the bailing scoop, a sort of wooden shovel
with a short handle, dipped it full of water and threw the contents in
his companion’s face; the latter replied with a fresh douche from the

The water fairly flew in mimic cataracts for ten minutes, till both
parties were wet to the skin; originally, scoop had the best of it, but
as skin and clothes will not take wetting beyond a certain degree, oars
caught up, and the two irate lights of the church were as well drenched
as if they had fallen overboard. Mutual exhaustion produced a cessation
of hostilities, and after a moment’s pause, Deacon Hartley slowly drew
up the anchor-stone, and Deacon Goodlow rowed silently to shore. Without
a word, without a glance, the latter stepped to his buggy, untied the
horse, jumped in and rode off.

Mr. Hartley had to secure the boat, collect his fish, unjoint his rod,
and walk four miles home. The day was hot, the road was dusty, the fish
were heavy, and tired enough he would have been, if an acquaintance
passing in a wagon had not taken him up. The dust having covered him
from head to foot helped disguise what had happened, and he allowed the
gentleman to think he had slipped into the water.

The thoughts of the two deacons on the way home were not enviable. One
had to meet a son, the other a daughter, and the latter dreaded the
interview most; not that he admitted he was most to blame, but fearing
more her sharp eyes and reproachful countenance.

“Oh, Harry,” said the pretty little girl usually so gay, now with
sad-looking tearworn eyes, as she encountered her astonished lover on
his way home from the railroad, “your father and mine quarrelled
dreadfully to-day, so much so that they would not ride home together.”

“Just as I expected,” replied Harry, triumphantly; “your father is so
easily excited.”

“No, but he says it was your father’s fault, at least he does not say
so directly, but what he does say gives me that impression. Just think,
your father threw water over mine, and he was all mud and dirt when he
reached home.”

“Impossible,” said Harry, with a laugh, “he must have fallen overboard.”

“Oh, no, and your father would not ride home with him.”

“How did he get home then? he certainly would not have walked by
preference four miles, on so hot a day as this. Imagine his half killing
himself to deprive a person of his company who wished to be rid of him.”

“Oh, it must be; father was so angry, he told me I should not see you

This response was illogical, and went far to disprove itself, but was
enforced by her bursting into tears. “I have been crying ever since,”
she sobbed.

Harry consoled her, sure of her affection; and knowing that parents are
a slight affair against affection, he brought back smiles to her lips by
his comments on her account of her father’s statement, and promised her
it would come right if she only kept on obeying as scrupulously as she
was then doing. She punished him for this by flying away in her former
merry manner, leaving him to seek an explanation at home.

“Father,” he said, on arriving there and seeking him out, “how spruce
you look; that is your best suit. Are you going to pay a visit?”

“I believe not, this evening; my other clothes were soiled while we
were fishing.” Strictly true, but not all the truth.

“The deacon across the way came home rather muddy, they say. What luck
did you have? Did it rain while you were out? There was not a cloud to
be seen in New York.”

The father felt it would be useless to evade the question, and related
the whole story, bearing kindly the good-natured comments of his son,
between whom and himself there was a feeling of friendship as well as of

“And now, father,” Harry began, after the recital was over, “and now how
are you going to make up? You will have to make the first step, because
you were not in the wrong.”

“Or, more truly, because my son loves the daughter of the person who has
ill-used me. Are you not angry at my being left to walk home this hot

“I should be, if that wagon had not come along; everything depends on
that wagon. You know it was much pleasanter than riding with an angry

“But then the dust; my clothes are ruined; a new suit will diminish your
patrimony, which is not enormous.”

“Then I’ll make you a present of a splendid suit of black on my wedding
day. I am rich, at least in expectation, being a partner and no longer a

“To tell the truth,” continued the father, dropping the tone of
badinage, “I did feel ashamed of myself, and was arranging a little
plan of reconciliation, when our servant girl brought word that Mr.
Goodlow had forbidden her drawing water from the well.”

Harry looked at his father with a surprised, troubled, and slightly
angry look. The well was on Mr. Goodlow’s land, but had been used from
time immemorial by both families, as there was none other near. He began
to think the matter was more serious than he had at first supposed.

“I felt this to be unchristian,” continued his father, “and could not
bring myself to make the first advance after it.”

“I can hardly believe the story, and will cross-question the girl,”
replied Harry.

It turned out to be true, however; the girl had been going to the well,
as Deacon Goodlow descended, “all mud,” as she described it, from his
buggy, and he seeing her at first seemed inclined to avoid a meeting,
but suddenly changing his mind told her angrily never to come there for
water again. With all due allowance for kitchen exaggeration, the fact
could scarcely be disputed, and Harry suddenly burst forth:

“We will dig a well of our own; I have always hated dependence for
anything, even on her father, and then we’ll see--”

What they would see was not very clear, except that they would see the
well built, for Harry, with his usual impetuosity, at once set about
making the necessary arrangements, his new position enabling him to
supply the requisite means. He engaged the men and selected the spot
that very evening.

Next day the well was commenced and advanced rapidly towards completion,
the water for family use being carted in the mean time from a distance
in barrels. What the deacon over the way must have thought when he saw
the excavation progressing and the water cart regularly every morning
passing in front of his door, no one knows; for not a word did he say.
He could not have had an easy conscience nor a pleasant time, however,
for Harry had not put his foot on the premises, and consequently Katy’s
eyes were almost as full of water as the barrel.

It was a long way down to the region of water, and if truth, as is
generally believed, lies so deep, there is no wonder it is rarely
reached; but the effort was at length successful, and when the liquid
vein was struck the crystal fluid proved plentiful, half filling the
deep well.

The water carts ceased their journey, the workmen were discharged,
Deacon Hartley had a well of his own, Harry felt independent; but there
was something else wanted. The latter had not exactly evaded Katy, who
he knew was pining to see him, but, feeling his pride hurt, had not
taken as great pains as he might to have thrown himself accidentally in
her way. She had felt this neglect, and now when his pride was satisfied
hers was aroused, and she kept herself carefully in-doors.

It took a week to build the well, and a week had elapsed since--that was
two weeks of misery, all because the fish did not bite as they should
have done, and neglected scientific allurements for less artistic
attractions. Deacon Goodlow was miserable, because Katy looked unhappy
and reproachful, occasionally enforcing her reproaches with a sob or
two. Deacon Hartley was miserable, partly because he was ashamed of
himself and partly because it went against his whole nature to quarrel;
Katy was miserable, because her lover had neglected her, and she had had
no chance to disobey her father’s injunctions not to see him; Harry was
the most miserable of the party now that the excitement of achieving his
independence was over, because he missed the presence of his lady-love,
and knew in his heart he had vented a little of his anger by neglecting

Harry was pining for her now in a much more rampant way than she had
previously pined for him, and had revolved twenty impracticable schemes
of restoring matters to their condition previous to the war. The
inevitable laws of nature, however, that had caused all these mental
wounds, helped to bring them to a crisis and finally to effect a cure.
It was Sunday morning, and Harry had resolved twenty times he would join
Katy on her way to church, for she went before her father to teach a
class of Sunday scholars, and twenty times resolved that he would not.
His father had convinced himself as many times that neighborly ill-will
should be corrected at a sacrifice even of a little pride, and as often
that he could not make the first advance; when a small voice was heard
at the door, and electrified them both. It was not a sweet voice nor the
tone rich, in fact it might be called harsh and unrefined, but the sound
was pleasanter to Harry’s ears than any he had heard in two weeks. The
voice belonged to the extra help of Mr. Goodlow’s household.

“Please, sir, master said I mussent, but could we have a little water
from your well?”

Harry and his father gazed at each other and then at the girl in wonder.

“Please, sir,” she continued, seeing their bewildered air, and
addressing herself to Harry in an injured tone, “our well has run itself
dry. Ever since you built yours the water has been getting lower, and
last night it all went. Master says it’s on account of the elevation,
but I say it’s because yours is further down hill.”

“Do you mean to say you have no water at all?” said Harry.

“But I do, then, unless you call mud water; we managed to make tea last
night by tying a new bit on to the rope; but wasn’t it bitter and
gritty, though? You ought to have tasted it; but to-day it’s as thick as
paste, and you know we cannot send a water cart on Sunday.”

“How did you manage for washing?”

“That’s how it comes we have no water for breakfast. We had saved up a
little that had settled the worst down to the bottom, but we did not
have enough to wash, and Miss Katy, when she tried to use the well
water, came out all streaked, and used up all that we had put by;
because, as she said, she would rather go without her breakfast than go
dirty. I guess I wouldn’t, though.”

“But why did you not send to us before?” said Mr. Hartley,

“Why, because master thought as he had ordered away your girl, you would
do the like by me; unless he begged pardon, or something of that sort,
and he did not feel equal to that after your throwing him overboard the
day you went fishing.”

“He surely never said I threw him overboard?”

“No, but I guessed it; how could he ’a got so wet otherwise, and why was
he so mad?”

“Well, you guessed all wrong; I did nothing of the sort, and hope you
have told no one such a silly story.”

“Never mind that now,” interrupted Harry. “Mr. Goodlow is waiting for
his breakfast; so take as much water as you want or you will be too

“Give my respects to Mr. Goodlow,” added his father, “and say he is
welcome to water from our well at any time, and that I regret it has
injured his.”

“Yes, and you can add that father will call on him this evening, and now
be off; I’ll draw the water for you.” This was very polite in Harry, but
respect for woman, even in the humblest ranks, is ever the attribute of
an American, and--it is possible Harry may have wished to send a message
to Katy. “Leastways,” as the girl would have said, Katy was hardly out
of sight of her front gate when she heard a step she well knew.

“Oh, Harry,” she said, turning a pair of sorrowful eyes upon him, that
shot reproachful torments into his very heart. “How could you?”

The sentence was incomplete in its construction, but complete enough in
its effects; it was enforced with a little sob and made Harry about as
contemptible a wretch, in his own esteem, as if she had rehearsed a set
speech of an hour’s duration, depicting his enormities.

“I am so sorry, Katy. Do you forgive me? I have been wretched.” This was
a good tack, and being borne out by his appearance and evident
contrition, went a long way towards securing his pardon.

What exactly was said, the tones being low and the faces close together,
will never be discovered, but light came back to Katy’s eyes, color to
her cheeks, and a smile, if nothing more, to her lips; and ere the
church was reached a happier couple could not be found within it. Joy is
doubly blessed if preceded by sorrow, and only those who have known its
want can appreciate happiness.

That Sunday evening, as had been his custom, unbroken for many years
till the last two weeks, Harry presented himself at Mr. Goodlow’s gate
and entered unannounced. It can hardly be said he was wholly
undisturbed, but outwardly exhibited perfect composure, prepared to meet
and determined to exhaust the worst. Courage dispels danger, and there
was nothing and nobody to meet more terrible than Katy herself. She was
in splendid spirits, full of fun, rendered more touching and gentle on
account, of the recent estrangement, and charmed Harry with the renewal
of her former witchery. He gave himself up to the mere enjoyment of her
presence, following her every motion with unwearying admiration, and
never removing his eyes from her loved form. He seemed as though
drinking through his eyes her graceful beauty, and experienced all those
charming sensations that love alone bestows.

He had almost forgotten, basking in present joy and dreaming hazily of
future happiness, there was an angry father in existence, when the
latter gentleman appeared at the door. A gleam of surprise crossed his
features, but Harry at once stepped forward and was in the act of boldly
justifying his presence, when he saw another figure in the doorway--that
of his own parent.

Mr. Goodlow slowly advanced, and extending his hand frankly to Harry,

“I am glad to see you, and hope you will forget the errors and
weaknesses of humanity, and forgive me the annoyance my foolish and
unworthy quarrel has caused.”

“And you, Katy,” said Mr, Hartley, “must do the like by me; we have been
guilty of wrong, and should only do worse by being ashamed to own it
before our children, whom our example is most likely to affect.”

Harry felt as though he had escaped from a building on fire, and at
once recovering his elasticity, replied:

“No; in quarrelling Katy and I never intend to follow any one’s example.
Do we, Katy?”

“We only regret,” she continued, evading his gaze, “that a shadow should
have come between those we love so dearly.”

“I hope, never to return,” replied Mr. Goodlow, “and that these weeks of
folly and punishment may not be lost upon us all; but let us speak no
more of it.”

“We have something more serious still to mention,” resumed Mr. Hartley,
gaily. “We have been settling your wedding-day, and, Katy, you should be
very grateful, for I named an early one.” He took her affectionately in
his arms, for she had always been like a daughter, and kissed her warmly
while she hid her blushing face.

“That is right, father,” burst forth Harry, enthusiastically. “I suppose
you went on the principle, ‘If ’tis well done, when ’tis done, ’twere
well ’twere done quickly.’”

“No, Harry, on an entirely different one,” said Mr. Goodlow, laughing
heartily. “On the principle, that ‘All’s well that ends well.’ Though
that is but a dry joke, as far as we are concerned.”


The subject of the protection of fish demands the consideration of every
political economist, as well as of every sportsman in our country, or we
shall soon be reduced to the condition of France, and forced to
repopulate our deserted streams and lakes and furnish to the people,
with great labor and at high price, one of their chief articles of food.
In olden times, during the epicurean days of Rome, and later during the
reign of the Catholic fast days, the utmost attention was bestowed upon
the preservation, protection, and improvement of fish; enormous revenues
were invested in immense tanks where they were fattened, and different
species were transported to countries where they were unknown, and
domesticated in unaccustomed waters. With the advent of the Roman
Catholic religion, several foreign varieties were introduced into
England, among others the fat carp and the lean pickerel; and fish ponds
were invariably attached to monasteries and convents.

Although the religion that ordains fish-eating to be fasting, having
shrunk from its gigantic reach and extent, is confined in our land to a
small sect, and the inhabitants of the waters are no longer a religious
institution; fish must always constitute a considerable portion of the
diet of the poor, and an acceptable change, if not permanently
agreeable, to the rich. Whatever serves for food to the people, above
all to the lower class, deserves the attention of the statesman, and any
practice that will tend to diminish its price demands the assistance of
the philanthropist. Consider if the price of fish were suddenly to
double, how far the injury would extend, and how much suffering would
follow. When a gradual change takes place in the cost of any article of
food, man adapts himself to altered circumstances, and the loss, though
equally great, is not so perceptible as when the advance is sudden.

That the supply of this food can be exhausted, and its quality easily
reduced, is painfully apparent; streams in the neighborhood of New York
that formerly were alive with trout are now totally deserted. The Bronx,
famous alike for its historical associations and its once excellent
fishing, does not now seem to hold a solitary trout, or indeed fish of
any kind. The shad that a few years ago swarmed up the Hudson River in
numbers incomputable, have become scarce and quadrupled in price during
the last decade. Salmon, most nutritious and noblest of fish, which in
ancient days paid their yearly visits in vast numbers, if early
historians are to be believed, to our principal rivers as far south as
the Delaware, are at present taken nowhere to the southward of Maine,
and in but limited quantities even in that wild region.

On every portion of our sea-coast, in spite of replenishment from the
mighty ocean, the same diminution is visible, while many of our confined
inland waters are absolutely depopulated. The insatiable maw of New York
market swallows alike the trout from Maine, the bass from Lake Erie, or
the white-fish from the Sault Ste. Marie, while the parvenus that have
acquired sudden fortunes in that wonderful city, endowed with the
instincts of neither gentlemen nor sportsmen, think it magnificent to
devour trout in Autumn and black bass in Spring, judging by their
extravagant price that they must be rare and therefore good. The
rapidity with which a section of country can be fished out by energetic
pot-hunters where the law places inadequate restraint, and often in
spite of the law’s restraint, has been remarkably evidenced in the
history of Sullivan County. When the Erie Railroad was still incomplete,
and the tide of explorers had just commenced to penetrate beyond Goshen,
and only occasional stragglers reached the land of promise and
performance beyond Monticello; the swamps were alive with woodcock and
the streams with trout. But as the railroad advanced and gave improved
facility of travel, so-called sportsmen poured over the country in
myriads, following up every rivulet and ranging every swamp, killing
without mercy thousands of trout and hundreds of birds, boasting of
their baskets crowded to overflowing, and counting a day’s sport by the
hundred; till Bashe’s Kill, where the pearly-sided fish once dwelt
abundantly, was empty, and the broad Mongaup, the wild Callicoon, and
even the joyous Beaver Kill, with its innumerable tributaries, were
exhausted. The woodcock disappeared from the cold black mud of the
springy swamps, the trout no longer broke the surface of the noisy rills
of that picturesque region, and the hunters and fishermen turned their
attention and carried their clumsy rods, bait-hooks, cheap guns, and
case-hardened consciences, elsewhere.

So it has been and will be everywhere, unless the people and the real
sportsmen take the matter in hand; the farmers, who are after all to be
the salvation of our institutions, lose by the destruction of game one
of the greatest attractions of their lands, and are interested in
preserving for themselves and their city friends the wild dwellers in
the lakes and brooks from wanton and ruthless destruction. Lawgivers are
concerned in the passage of proper laws on account of public interest,
and the increasing necessity of cheap food that a rapidly augmenting
population engenders. Sportsmen have the greatest stake, for if they
would retain for their old age and leave to their children the best
preserver of health, a love of field sports, they must protect
game-birds and fish. They should discourage, by their conversation and
example, all infringement of the law or any cruel or wasteful
prosecution of what should be sport. If they find a man who destroys,
for the purpose of destroying, they should not only shun but expose him;
if they meet with a case of palpable infraction of the law, they should
enforce punishment; by these means, and the enactment of judicious
statutes, the beautiful wild creatures that form so pleasant an addition
to the charms of country life, may be preserved in undiminished numbers
for all time.

The first necessity, however, is that proper and uniform enactments
should be passed in every portion of our extensive nationality. If the
close times differ in adjoining states, fish will be killed in one and
sold in the other; it is useless to attempt to forbid the catching of
trout in Maine, if they can be eaten in New York. Pinnated grouse,
killed on the western prairies where they are fast being exterminated,
are sold openly in New York markets in consequence of their omission
from the game law, during the entire spring, until the heat of the
weather prevents their transportation. Black bass are frequently exposed
on the hucksters’ stands heavy with spawn, and pike-perch are hardly
regarded as desirable in any other condition.

The universal rule should be comprehensive and simple, as the habits of
the fresh water fish are sufficiently well known; protection should be
given during the spawning season, and for such a period before and after
as to prevent the annihilation of those who have survived the numerous
dangers that surround them, and are ready for the duties of parturition,
and to allow them to recover from the exhaustion resulting from the

No trout should be killed except from the first of March to the first of
October; no lake trout except from the first day of February to the
first day of November, and no black bass or mascallonge from the first
day of January to the first day of June. These times may be restricted
for certain localities where greater protection is necessary, but
should, under no circumstances, be enlarged. Trout spawn from the middle
of October to the latter part of November, and do not recover their
condition till the opening of Spring. Lake trout spawn about the same
time, and mascallonge and black bass in March, April, or even as late as
the early part of May.

None of these fish should be taken in nets, nor by spearing, and no
fykes, seines, or gill-nets should be used in the waters which they
inhabit. Stringent regulations to this effect are necessary, as it has
been the habit of the market fishermen of the northern section of our
country to use a net with meshes small enough to catch yearling trout,
and which they frequently throw to one side and leave to perish
miserably. This net fishing is continued all winter, so that not only
are thousands of large fish destroyed in the act of spawning, or just
after doing so, but millions of the young, the seed of the harvest, are
slain without profit, being left on the ice to freeze.

Spearing is also terribly fatal. None can escape the sharp eye of the
spearsman, and although many more are wounded than killed they rarely
recover, for their natural enemies, the eels, are ever on the alert for
such occurrences, and fastening themselves upon the wounded spot suck
out the little life that is left. There are many streams of New Jersey
which, by persistent gigging, as it is called, have been divested of
every swimming thing, so that they are absolutely uninhabited. Not only
trout, but cat-fish, eels, and suckers, have met the same untimely fate,
and now boys and men search vainly for their prey.

By fair fishing no stream or pond can be entirely exhausted; when trout
have the privilege of biting or not, they will exhibit sufficient
circumspection to perpetuate their species; but when they can be
followed during the hours of darkness to their retreats, and exposed by
the glare of the jack, are liable to death by the fatal spear, or in
case they may be enveloped by the all-devouring net, they have no
defence or escape, and must soon disappear entirely. Their numbers,
instead of helping them or delaying the catastrophe, excite the cupidity
of the poacher, and accelerate instead of deferring their destruction.

Interested parties in various sections of the country, endeavor to
convince themselves and others that trout change their nature in these
favored localities, and either spawn from time to time as fancy
dictates, or postpone the performance till winter’s frosts have driven
profitable visitors to their city homes. The proprietors of the frontier
taverns, where sportsmen congregate in search of finny prey, boldly
assert that there are several kinds of brook trout, of which one variety
spawns in September, another in October, and so on in such manner that
it is always right and proper to fish for them. Naturalists have, as
yet, failed to discover this peculiarity or describe these varieties;
and although they know that individuals may differ casually or delay the
act a few weeks, they recognise one well known spawning season. The
_ova_ of trout are largely developed in September, and, except in the
colder latitudes and where they are extremely abundant, these fish
should be exempt after the first of that month; but in October and
November, pressing hunger should be the only excuse for killing them.

The laws, however, are not so much to blame as the neglect of their
enforcement; perfect statutes will not answer if they are not carried
out, and the first duty of sportsmen’s clubs and of individual
sportsmen, a duty to humanity, to themselves, and to their fellow
creatures, is to enforce the game laws. By game laws are not meant those
barbarous statutes of England that made it more criminal in a poor man
to slay a hare than a human being--statutes that are deservedly odious
to free men, and which by no possibility could be introduced into the
New World; but provisions for the protection and preservation of the
wild inhabitants of our woods and waters, a common heritage of beauty
and sustenance, and the property of our citizens indiscriminately. These
creatures are a considerable source of wealth, worthy the most careful
attention; they breed and increase of themselves without care or
expense; and constitute a large portion of the stock of our markets. It
would be an interesting investigation to ascertain how much money is
paid yearly in the City of New York for the wild deer and game birds of
the west, the sea fishes of our coast, the finer varieties of our inland
waters, and the salmon of Canada. The latter, alone, amounts to hundreds
of thousands of dollars, and is a severe tax paid to a foreign country
for the fatuity that drove those noble fish from our own rivers.

This vast source of revenue will, however, disappear, unless precautions
are taken to prevent the untimely slaughter of these unprotected
creatures. If their periods of incubation are disregarded, their nests
and spawning-beds broken up, and themselves, when engaged in the duties
of maternity, disturbed or slain, they will diminish rapidly till the
forests shall cease to be vocal with their harmony, and the water
animated with their gambols.

In England not only do game preserves produce a good rent from
enthusiastic sportsmen, but the fisheries, particularly of salmon, are
extremely valuable as commercial enterprises. At present, in our
country, we only recognise the value of these advantages by their loss.
The Tay produces a rental of $70,000 yearly for the salmon fisheries,
and so profitable have fishing rights become, that several rivers that
were once exhausted have been restored, and now yield large revenues.

If we would have salmon at our own doors, we also must restock the
Hudson, the Connecticut, and the numerous other rivers that were once
frequented by them. But the trout and the black bass are still with us,
and by decent care and treatment may be plenteous, for the pleasure and
support of ourselves, our children, and our children’s children.
Considerable attention has been expended upon some of the ponds and
streams on Long Island; and although the poacher makes occasional
depredations, and lurking through the bushes plants his net, or with
wriggling worm draws forth his unseasonable prey during the forbidden
periods, the improvement already is remarkable. Ponds that were once
empty of fish are made beautiful by the splashes of the playful trout,
and streams that were deserted are replenished. Enforce the law
thoroughly, and discontinue unreasonable slaughter, and fish, from their
enormous fecundity, must increase immensely.

It is probable that the localities in the neighborhood of our large
cities have passed their worst days, and that the beautiful lakes and
rivers, ensconced in the wild woods and amid the green hills of our
unopened country, are in the most danger. A cockney sportsman, by which
we mean not a city sportsman, but him who, wherever born or bred, fishes
only for quantity, and from a vain-glorious spirit of boastful rivalry,
is, indeed, a ruthless thing; he spares neither fish, flesh, nor fowl,
whether he can use them for food, or must leave them to putrify, and
regardless of the means or implements he employs. This merciless biped
invaded Moosehead lake one year, armed with fly and bait rod, and with
two additional trolling rods projecting from each side of his boat as he
moved from place to place, murdered thousands of glorious trout;
supplying his own wants, the public table, and the hog-pen--for the
latter was separated from his feeding place--till the pigs, disgusted at
his brutality, were surfeited, and bushels of putrescent fish had to be
buried or thrown into the lake. Others, almost as murderous, roam the
north woods of the State of New York, and even penetrate as far as the
unbroken shores of Lake Superior, threatening annihilation to our game
of every kind. The man who kills an animal, bird, or fish, knowing that
it must be left to spoil, justifies the charge of cruelty against our
class, and deserves the scorn and condemnation of all right-thinking

Wanton injury to public property, in game, should be punished precisely
as similar injury to public property in grounds or buildings, by
incarcerating the offender in prison; for of the two, the latter is less
injurious in its ultimate results. A building may be replaced, but who
can restore life to the fish that bears a thousand undeveloped young in
its bosom, or can give back to the starving fawn the mother that has
been slain at its side? Mere pecuniary fines are an insufficient
punishment; the poaching criminal is the poorest, as he is the meanest,
of offenders, and laughs at any attempt to collect penalties that are
not enforced by imprisonment; while the wealthy cockney is willing to
run the risk of fine if he can, by taking the advantage of honest
sportsmen, have the chance of boasting of his wonderful prowess and
success. A few months in jail would cure the recklessness of the former
and cool the ardor of the latter.

A still more murderous proceeding, so infamous that it is rare even with
professional poachers, is to cast poison into the water, thus slaying,
by one fell process, large and small, young and old. Condemnation of
such a practice is unnecessary; and were it otherwise, fit language
could hardly be found to depict its enormity.

By the introduction of unsuitable fish much injury is occasioned, more
frequently through ignorance than wilfulness. Perch placed in a sluggish
trout pond, like many of those on Long Island, will devour the young
fry, and soon diminish the yield; and pickerel, which are especial pets
of our farmers, although nearly worthless for food or sport, have
devastated some of the best ponds in the country. The former are
devotedly fond of minnows or small fish of any kind, and such bold
biters as to give rise, in England, to the story of a country gentleman
who enticed an ardent angler to his house by stocking one of his ponds
with several dozen perch, all but one of which the visitor captured on
the day after his arrival, before breakfast. The pickerel is exceedingly
voracious, and also right fond of his smaller fellow fish for dinner.

To meet these cases the ponds must be drawn off, as neither perch nor
pickerel remain in running water, and the waters must be re-stocked. In
fact, wherever, from any cause, the drain is greater than the supply,
the deficiency must be made good by artificial means.

By these means can the seductive little beauties, whether of the
feathered, furred, or scaly tribe, that allure us to the great woods,
the pleasant meadows, or the sparkling brooks, be preserved through
endless time in undiminished abundance, furnishing the incentive that
leads us away from our dull books or wearying cares, the crowded
streets, the congregations of eager men, the trials and excitements of
business, to gentle communings with the hills and skies, to
contemplative musings beneath the leafy forests, or by the noisy
water-falls, strengthening our nerves, renewing our hold of life, and
elevating our moral nature.



Before making an artificial fly, it is essential to ascertain and select
the best materials, and the necessary implements for the purpose. In the
Game Fish of North America the author has explained the simplest and
easiest mode of tying a fly, and if there be any person who has not read
that work he should procure it at once. The instructions there contained
must be first mastered before the following are attempted, lest
discouragement should result; and no one that does not desire great
accuracy and finish need waste the time and labor of understanding and
executing the ensuing directions. There are a few persons who wish to
tie a fly handsomely; this chapter is written for them. The fish
probably care little whether the fly is made at Conroy’s establishment,
of the finest materials and from the most approved patterns, or by some
unknown German wholesale dealer, of any chance feathers.

Remember, however, that he who strives not after perfection never
attains mediocrity, and the improvement of himself is one half of the
angler’s pleasure. If we are content with an ungainly fly, we will be
satisfied with inferiority of rod and tackle; and although the fish may
not see the difference, the angler may become, from neglecting one
point, slovenly in all. A well-made fly is a beautiful object, an
ill-made one an eye-sore and annoyance; and it is a great satisfaction
both to exhibit and examine a well-filled book of handsomely tied flies.

Nothing can be thoroughly done unless strict attention is given to
minutiæ. The material must be selected and protected with the greatest
care, the scissors and knife must be sharp, the spring pliers of
suitable strength, and the nails of the workman must be long and his
hands scrupulously clean. Hereafter the table-vice, the use of which was
recommended in the Game Fish of North America, and which will be found
both convenient and for extreme neatness necessary, will be dispensed
with, and the hook held in the hand during the entire operation. This at
first may appear awkward, require more time, and give an inferior
result; but sad would be the case if the loss of a vice were to diminish
a man’s capabilities.

The selection of the hook depends mainly upon the fancy of the
fisherman, and partly upon the locality of its destined use. If fish are
scarce and shy, select one that will insure striking; if they are
abundant, but strong and vigorous, choose one that will hold. In
trout-fishing there are two that bear the palm in striking, the sneck
bent and the Kirby bent Limerick; in holding a fish after he is struck,
my preference is for Warren’s Lake-trout hook, which, however, does not
make a handsome fly; for salmon-fishing, the O’Shaunessey Limerick is
the general favorite. The objection to the straight or hollow-pointed
Limerick, is that it may be drawn over a flat surface without catching,
while the point of the O’Shaunessey, by projecting, catches and

Fish-hooks of the best quality of home manufacture, of all shapes and
sizes, may be obtained at from twenty-five to seventy-five cents a
hundred, and will be found equal if not superior to any English hook at
double the price, or they can be manufactured of any shape desired.

So few persons make their own flies in this country that none of the
tackle-makers sell the materials, and hence the amateur will have to
collect the latter as opportunity offers. Gut, of course, can be
purchased anywhere; but the strongest kind of that suitable for
salmon-fishing is often difficult to obtain, if not entirely out of the
market. In trout-fishing, select fine, round, transparent strands, and
pay from one to two dollars per hank of one hundred strands; for salmon
choose the strongest and roundest, and pay from three to four dollars.
Gut is imported from Spain and Italy, and is made by drawing out a dead
silk-worm till it is of the proper fineness; and none imported from the
East, and no imitation of grass, sinew, or the like, is worth using. The
quality can be determined by its hardness; if it resists the teeth well,
it is good; age weakens and finally decays it.

The best wax, although it is by no means perfect, is made of one part of
resin, one of beeswax, and four of shoemaker’s wax, the two former
melted together and poured into water, and then worked in with the
latter. It should be kept in a small piece of leather. Shoemaker’s wax
itself is the strongest, but is sticky in warm weather and hard in cold.
The best silk is the finest sewing-machine silk, marked with three 0’s
on the spool; but for very small trout-hooks the better plan is to twist
two or three strands of spool floss-silk together and wax them

Tinsel of a superior kind is difficult to obtain; the silver should be
both variegated and plain, and the yellow either gold or well covered
with gilt, and both flat and wound over fine silk. A mixture of both
sorts of a poor quality is used to tie linen goods, and can be obtained
at the furnishing stores, but a better article is to be had from the
importers of gold and silver braids. The proper kind of floss-silk comes
in spools, and can be wound off by the single thread over the hand till
a proper thickness is attained, and will work much better than the
common floss skeins. If the latter are used, they must be divided into
several strands and are apt to bunch.

Worsted of all colors can be obtained in the rough, or the yarn may be
picked or used intact; the former is the best plan, and rivals mohair in

Mohair may be purchased from the importers of woollens, while it seems
impossible, except by direct importation from the English tackle-shops,
to obtain either pig’s hair or seal’s fur. For salmon-flies the two last
are infinitely preferable, having a gloss that no other material

Mohair and camlets are the finest selection of goat’s hair (the former
being carded and the latter combed), and work beautifully. The most
elegant flies are those with silk bodies, but they are rarely so
effective as those of mohair. Many of the wild animals of our woods
furnish a fine fur, such as the grey, red, and black squirrels, martin,
mink, rabbit, and others.

A golden pheasant is indispensable for salmon-flies, and a spoiled skin
can be obtained from the taxidermists at from two to five dollars,
according to their scarcity. Hackles for salmon-flies should be large
and from matured cocks, those for dyeing delicate colors pure white;
while for trout-flies they should be small, either from hens or from
cocks not over two years old, and taken from the upper part of the head.
They must taper well to the point and not have a stiff stem, and should
have the fibre about the length of the hook shank. For wing-flies they
must be smaller than for hackle-flies and palmers, and the superfluous
fibres are to be stripped off before the feather is tied on. Small neck
feathers of almost any bird will make a hackle sufficiently large for
the midge flies. The natural colors afford abundant variety for
trout-flies, but for salmon the gayest must be dyed. The necessary
colors are red, claret, blue, orange, purple, and yellow; and by suiting
the dye to the natural color, so that the latter shall shine through, a
fine effect is often produced. Considerable practice and experience will
be necessary in selecting hackles to distinguish the weak from the
harsh, and to determine the proper size and elasticity. Collect all
varieties of dimension and color, and tying each selection round the
roots with a thread, keep them in separate papers. After a while, those
that experience shall have proved to be unsuitable may be discarded.

The feathers of small birds make good wings for trout flies, and there
is not generally much difference in their color. Our brown thrush is
nearly the shade of the English land-rail; the robin furnishes a fine
and cohesive feather; the woodcock’s tail makes a pretty fly, while the
mallard and wood duck are indispensable.

There are two distinct feathers from the mallard which are used for
different flies; the brown and grey mallard feather, both taken from the
drake, the former from the back near the wings, and the latter from the
body beneath the wings. The bird must be in good plumage, and under the
most favorable circumstances they are both, except in simple wings as
hereafter described, difficult feathers to tie; the fibres, although
very fine, being apt to separate. Another light feather, much easier to
handle than the grey mallard, is taken from the back of the canvas-back,
but is of rather too pale a color; that from the red-head is of darker
grey. For salmon flies a larger range is requisite. The turkey of all
shades, but especially the black and brown of the wild bird, is the
main-stay; the golden pheasant’s tail is somewhat similar; the peacock
gives us excellent feathers of many shades, and the finer herls from the
eyes of the tail add lustre to a mixed wing. Peacock and ostrich herls
are used for the heads and bodies of certain specimens. Ibis, macaw,
guinea-fowl, blue-jay, king-fisher, parrot, are all necessary; while the
Argus pheasant, although injured by the water, makes an exquisite wing,
and the silver pheasant is used with effect in black bass flies.

For dyed feathers the pure white of the swan furnishes an excellent
material, while crossing colors, such as yellow over ibis, produces
great brilliancy. The mallard and canvas-back are also favorites for
dyeing. The principal shades are yellow, blue, and purple.

We will now proceed to make a salmon-fly after the simplest plan on a
large hook, and remember that the point is held down, and when the
further side is spoken of, it refers to it in that position; the head is
always towards the right and that is called the upper part, and towards
it is above.

Select a piece of stout gut a little longer than the shank; pare down
the ends with a knife; double them together so that one shall extend
beyond the other; insert the picker between them, bend at the top and
shape it by twisting and pinching the ends. If the hook is very large it
is well to take several strands of gut and first twist them together by
means of a vice fastened to each end, while they are wet and before
shaping them over the picker. When the gut is prepared lay it down and
take a well waxed piece of silk about six inches long, and holding the
hook in the left hand, wind a number of separated coils from the lower
towards the upper end of the shank, but not quite to the head. If the
silk is well waxed it will remain in its place while you pick up the gut
with your right hand, and lay it along the under side of the shank upon
these coils. Hold it there with your left while you wind firmly and
closely toward the bend; catch the last turn beneath the gut or pass a
half hitch, and cut off the end. Take a fresh piece of silk, always
thoroughly waxed, and pass a few turns over its end so as to fasten it;
then hold a piece of tinsel four times as long as the shank between your
left forefinger and the further side of the hook, just projecting above
it, and nearly vertical; pass three turns over it, and wind the silk in
separated or loose coils towards the head and let it hang there. Fasten
the spring pliers on to the lower end of the tinsel lengthways with it,
and holding the shank in the right hand, with the left forefinger in the
pliers, twist several turns down and then back to form the tag, covering
the edges of the first turns with the second carefully and neatly; let
the pliers hang; pass the hook to the left hand; unwind the silk with
the right down to the tinsel; fasten off with three turns and cut the
tinsel close to the hook. Unwind from the floss-spool over your right
hand a dozen strands, and smoothing them evenly together and holding
them against the hook with the left, tie in the ends firmly, and again
coil the tying silk toward the head out of the way. You may wind the
floss with either hand or with the pliers as you please; if you wind
with the right hand, hold the hook in the left and press the second
finger on each turn as it is passed; this is called stopping it or using
the stop. After covering about one sixteenth of an inch, seize the end
between your second and third or third and fourth fingers, and hold it
firmly while you bring down the tying silk and pass three turns; holding
the silk in that way is called using the catch, and is difficult to
acquire with facility. Cut the floss off neatly, and selecting a feather
from the golden pheasant top-knot, lay it on its face,--the side of the
feather which lies nearest the bird from which it is taken, is the
inside or back, and the contrary side the outside or face,--and secure
it firmly. Stop the tying silk and take up your hackle, which should
have been previously prepared by stroking back and pulling out a few
fibres toward the point, and holding it by the point with the right
hand, lay it on its face with the butt towards the left so that the bare
spot shall come at the upper end of the floss silk tip, and pass two
turns of the flying silk; insert a piece of tinsel in the same manner
parallel to and just over the hackle, and having fastened it, hold the
tying silk with the catch; take up the dubbing of mohair with your right
hand and spin it over the tying silk towards the left, having again
taken the latter into the right as soon as you have caught the end of
the mohair with the stop. Shape the mohair so that the body shall taper
and twist it evenly together with the tying silk towards the shoulder,
using the stop all the way, and do not carry it too close to the head;
pull off the superfluous mohair with the fingers of the right hand and
pass the silk four turns over the upper end of the body, and winding it
towards the head slip it between the gut and the hook. In this way you
can always secure the tying silk when you wish to lay down your work.
Spring the pliers on to the tinsel, and with the right forefinger pass
four even open coils carefully and regularly; unwind the silk, and
having secured the tinsel replace it. If these coils are imperfect or
irregular, neatness cannot be obtained. Having cut off the tinsel, catch
with the spring pliers the butt of the hackle and follow the edge of the
tinsel; rolling the hackle on its back so that the fibres shall point
down the shank. When you reach the shoulder pass several turns of the
hackle close above one another, and bringing down the tying silk secure
the butt. If one hackle is not sufficient, and it rarely is, introduce a
new hackle close above the first, precisely as you did the other, only
on its back, and wind a sufficient number of close coils and again
fasten it. The second hackle, if weak, may be fastened in on its back by
the butt, and wound with the point.

The silk being hitched under the gut cut it off and apply a new piece as
you did the second, and wind it towards the shoulder, letting it hang
close down to the hackle. Prepare the wings by cutting with a sharp
knife a few fibres from each of two mated feathers, together with a
little of the stem, so that the fibres shall not be separated, and
taking one piece by the butt in the right hand, lay it on the side of
the hook next to you, and holding it with the left pass two turns
securely, but not so tight as to derange the feather; then catching the
silk, pull the butt fearlessly into its proper place, and passing
another turn firmly, hitch the silk under the gut, and bring it over the
reversed way on top of the wing. Cut off the butt and taking the hook in
the left hand with the head towards the left, apply and hold the other
wing with the right hand. Still keeping the hook reversed and wind two
turns of silk with the left hand from you, and having arranged the butt
pass another turn and hitch the silk again under the gut, so as to
reverse it for the second time. If the wings are in their proper place,
equally on each side of the hook, restore the latter to its original
position in the left hand, and having cut off the butt neatly, pass as
many turns as you think advisable; then having with your nails stripped
off the fibres from the butt end of an ostrich herl, tie it in with the
point towards the left and the elevated ridge of its stem above.
Hitching the thread again under the gut, wind with the spring pliers the
herl in close coils to form the head; secure and cut it close, and then
stopping one end of silk under your forefinger whip the other over it
three turns and draw all tight. Apply a little varnish at the head and
your fly is finished.

To strengthen the fly, it is well to use a little varnish before the
head is commenced, and even before the wings are laid, but the writer’s
experience goes to prove that the wings are the last part of the fly to
give out. The head will be smaller if instead of the ordinary tying silk
three single strands of floss are used.

To make a handsome fly, fasten the hook, the tag, the tip, and the tail
as directed, then preparing an ostrich herl as for a head, tie it in and
wind several coils close to and covering the butt of the tail, holding
the hook in the right hand with the silk coiled up out of the way, and
using the pliers to guide the herl. Secure the end, apply with the left
hand at the nearer side of the hook, the tinsel, and afterwards at the
further side floss, for the body. Coil the tying silk out of the way,
and with the left hand wind the floss half way up the shank and secure
it; then tie in a hackle and some dubbing as heretofore directed, and
having spun the latter on the tying silk with the right hand, work it up
towards the head for the second division of the body, and secure it
firmly. Hitch the silk under the gut, and thrusting the butt of the
hackle down through the gut loop, with the pliers sprung on to the
tinsel, and on the left forefinger coil the tinsel up as far as the
hackle; withdraw the latter from the loop, hold it and the hook in the
left hand, and with the right forefinger continue the tinsel to the
head. Secure it; wind and secure the hackle as heretofore, and apply a
new piece of tying silk composed of strands of floss.

Select a few fibres of various feathers, which, combined, will produce a
pleasing effect, and holding them all together in the left hand twist
the lower half, that nearest the stem several times, and break it with
the nails of the right thumb and finger, till the fibres are softened at
the spot where they are to be tied to the hook. Include with them a
piece of herl, and applying them with the right hand to the hook, hold
them and it with the left, while you take sufficient turns of silk with
the right, hitch the silk and springing the pliers on to the herl, wind
and fasten the head and finish off.

There may be as many joints or divisions as fancy shall dictate; and
they can be either of floss silk, mohair, or other material. To conceal
the joints herl may be wound like a head or a few turns of hackle taken,
or two small feathers from the golden pheasant’s neck may be applied,
one above and the other below, and after being loosely tied they may be
drawn down by the butts till they are separate round the entire joint.
The favorite feather for the tail is the golden pheasant top-knot, but
in many flies scarlet worsted is preferable, and the fibres of other
feathers may be substituted. In making a mixed wing as it is called,
separate the fibres as much as possible, and after the wing is fastened,
a long golden pheasant top-knot tied over it will often improve the
effect. It is common to add to the wing two fibres of blue macaw, one on
each side, and to tie them properly the silk should be reversed by
passing it under the gut, as directed for tying simple wings. Care and
experience are requisite to the selection of a handsome mixed wing, and
fibres of mallard or wood duck, plain or dyed, are usually a component
part. Delicate feathers produce a finer effect than coarse ones.

In tying in an entire plume reduce it to the proper size by pulling off
the fibres, and if the stem is large pare it away and always flatten and
work it with the nails; then tie it loosely till it is properly
arranged, and finally, secure it with a number of turns. It will slip
unless made unusually firm, which the smallness of the head will readily

Where the tail is worsted, it may be made of several thicknesses, left
longer than necessary, and pared down and picked out after the fly is
finished. As it is essential that in making a head, the ridge of the
stem of the herl should be above, and as it is often obstinate in its
refusal to take that position, it may be wound either way,--that is,
from you or towards you.

Care should be taken with simple wings that each is in the same relative
position to the body, and that the fibres are not separated; with this
object not only must the thread be reversed as above directed, but
cohesive feathers should be selected. Some are exceedingly difficult to
tie, while others, such as the pheasant and turkey, retain their place
readily. They should be selected from feathers taken from the opposite
sides of the bird; and if two or more different kinds are to be used,
the first wing should be completed before the other is commenced, and
before the thread is reversed.

In rolling an ordinary feather in place of a hackle, the same course
may be taken as with the latter, but the better way where it is large
enough is to strip off the fibres of one side, and then pare away the
stem with a sharp knife. This requires care lest the knife slip and cut
your hopes in twain. The same may be done with a simple hackle where
great neatness is required, except that the stem does not need paring.

The tinsel may be double, tied in on opposite sides of the hook and
wound contrary ways, but the effect is hardly better than a simple
twist. In the latter avoid too many coils; they should not exceed four
on hooks numbered not larger than one and a half.

Two hackles, which, if the colors are well contrasted, produce a fine
effect, are usually rolled together, but may be wound one after the
other if care is taken to pick out the fibres. They are tied in at one
time and handled as though they composed but one.

A trout-fly may be made in the manner heretofore directed for
salmon-flies, omitting as much as you please, or the wings may be laid
together back to back or face to face, held in that position in the left
hand, and applied to the hook after the fibres have been pinched with
the nails at the proper place. Being secured in that way they resemble
the wings of the _ephemeræ_ closely; whereas to make one of the
_phryganidæ_ a few fibres of one side may be stripped off and tied on
alone, lying close down upon the hook. Remember the _ephemeridæ_ have
whisks, the _phryganidæ_ have none; the wings of the former stand up, of
the latter lie down. Coarse fibres of hackle, or golden pheasant breast
and back, are usually employed for whisks; and two strands of floss
carefully waxed with a small edge of the wax, will make a tying silk as
strong and large as should be used for a small fly. If well waxed, the
finer the silk the firmer it holds; if not waxed no silk whatever will

Another way of tying a trout-fly, by which more life is supposed to be
given to it, is by commencing to fasten the gut at the bend and
finishing at the head, holding the hook reversed; then change the hook
to its proper position, and reversing the thread, lay on the wings,
which are composed of two strips of feather folded, so that they shall
point up along the gut; secure them firmly and cut off the butts close,
divide them with the point of the picker and pass the thread through the
opening each way several times, and if necessary above them both, but
not on the root of the wings, till they stand up, then pushing them into
their original position tie in below them by the larger end a hackle and
a piece of round tinsel, and spinning a little dubbing on the silk, wind
it toward the bend; hold the thread with the catch, and with the pliers
wind the tinsel and afterwards the hackle, and fasten both at the bend;
and finish off with two half-hitches. The silk composing the material in
which the round tinsel is wound may be left for a tail, the coating
being pulled off; or the tip of the hackle may be so left, or proper
whisks may be introduced. The wings being drawn into their appropriate
place will remain there, and offering resistance to the water are
supposed by some to imitate motion. Those tied in this manner are not
handsome, but are great favorites with certain fishermen for their
assumed killing qualities, and are considered ruined if the silk covers
the roots of the wings, as is done by most Irish flytiers.

Flies may also be finished at the shoulder under the wing; a course that
seems to offer no advantages and to combine most disadvantages. Or the
body may be tied, beginning at the shoulder and finishing at the bend,
as last described, omitting the wings and leaving a place for them till
the last; a new piece of thread is then applied, and the wings being
tied in their natural position, the second finish is made at the head.

To prepare two single strands of floss as tying silk, hold one end
between your teeth, twist the silk and rub it lightly with a small edge
of wax. If the weather is cold the wax may require thumbing before it
can be used or will stick to the silk. There will be found considerable
difference in the strength of strands of floss according to the color,
and in very small flies this may be suited to the insect intended to be
imitated, and the necessity of any other body avoided.

The word buzz, which is taken from the buzzing motion of an insect’s
wings when moved rapidly, is applied to the hackle wound more or less
along the body, and supposed thus without wings to represent that
motion. The hackle may be carried all the way from the bend or only
part of the way, or merely tied very full at the head. In this matter,
as well as concerning palmers, writers differ. A palmer is properly a
long-bodied fly with two small hooks, and hackles wound the entire
length, to represent a caterpillar and its hairy ornaments. The hooks
are often made double expressly for this purpose. A hackle has but one
hook and a shorter body. The word midge is another word that leads to
mistakes; there are only a few proper midge-flies, such as the gnat,
ant, etc., but any fly may be dressed on a minute hook and called a
midge-fly, although this is not an accurate use of language. Horse-hair
is sometimes used as a substitute for gut by old-fashioned anglers, but
it is weaker, more apt to slip, and more perceptible to the fish.

An excellent plan for preserving feathers conveniently and safely, is to
put them in envelopes suited in size to their length, and to stow them,
together with a piece of camphor, in a tin box. If they are looked over,
occasionally, and the camphor renewed as it wastes, they will remain
untouched by moth; but if they are to be kept for a long time unhandled,
they should be deposited in a linen bag. The envelopes should be large,
for if the fibres are bent they will not make handsome wings, and the
different classes of feathers may be tied in separate bundles.

The following wax is recommended in the Appendix to “Fly-fishing in Salt
and Fresh Water:”--Melt some resin in a small vessel over a slow fire,
and whilst it is on the fire and after it has become fluid, take a pure
white wax candle, light it and let it drop into the melted resin; there
is no rule as to the quantity. Pour out upon a board either greased or
rubbed with wax from the candle, one fourth of the composition; then
drop more wax into the remainder and pour out one fourth more. Proceed
in the same manner with the other two fourths, and thus you will have
wax of four degrees of hardness; that with the least wax dropped from
the candle being for use in hot weather, the others for different
degrees of temperature of the seasons. After the composition has become
cool on the board, it should be well worked on the board as shoemaker’s
wax is.

To make soft wax to use upon very delicate silk, dissolve some common
shoemaker’s wax in spirits of wine until it becomes of the consistency
of butter, then put a small quantity on the inside of a piece of an old
kid glove, and draw the silk gently through it. Or put a piece of
shoemaker’s wax the size of a walnut in a small bottle, and pour over it
an ounce of eau-de-cologne; shake it occasionally till it dissolves,
when it is ready for use; then taking a drop between the finger and
thumb, draw the silk through it. It may be carried in a metal bottle
with a screw stopper, and if well corked will keep for years.

In Scrope’s Days and Nights of Salmon Fishing, is found the following
description of a few favorite salmon flies:--


_Wings._--Mottled feather from under the wing of a male teal.

_Head._--Yellow wool.

_Body._--Fur of the hare’s ear.

_End of Body._--Red wool.

_Tail._--Yellow wool.

_Round the body._--Black cock’s hackle.


_Wings._--Mottled feather from under the wing of the male teal.

_Head._--Crimson wool.

_Body._--Water rat’s fur.

_End of body._--Crimson wool.

_Tail._--Yellow wool.

_Round the body._--Black cock’s hackle.

_End of body._--A little red hackle.

No. 3. TOPPY.

_Wings._--Black feather from a turkey’s tail tipped with white.

_Head._--Crimson wool.

_Body._--Black bullock’s hair.

_End of body._--Crimson wool.

_Tail._--Yellow wool.

_Body._--Black cock’s hackle.

_End of body._--Small piece of red cock’s hackle.


_Wings._--Mottled feather from the back of a drake (mallard).

_Head._--Yellow wool with a little hare’s fur next to it.

_Body._--Black wool.

_End of the body._--Fur from the hare’s ear; next to the hare’s ear,
crimson wool.

_Tail._--Yellow wool.

_Round the body._--Black cock’s hackle.

_End of the body._--Red cock’s hackle.

_Round the body._--Gold twist spirally.


_Wings._--From the tail of a brown turkey.

_Head._--Crimson wool.

_Body._--Yellow silk.

_End of body._--Crimson wool.

_Tail._--Yellow or orange wool.

_Round the body._--Red cock’s hackle.

_Round the body._--Gold twist; over it hackle mixed with color, as


_Wings._--Light brown from the wing of a bittern.

_Head._--Yellow wool.

_Next the head._--Mottled blue feather from a jay’s wing.

_Body._--Brown wool mixed with bullock’s hair.

_Towards the end of body._--Green wool; next to that crimson wool.

_Tail._--Yellow wool.

_Round the body._--Gold twist; over that cock’s hackle, black at the
roots and red at the points.

“Concerning these flies, I will note one thing, which is, that if you
rise a fish with the Lady of Mertoun, and he does not touch her, give
him a rest and come over him with the Toppy, and you have him to a
certainty, and _vice-versâ_. This I hold to be an invaluable secret, and
is the only change that, during my long practice, I have found eminently

“Another method of dressing No. 3, Toppy; wing feather from rump or tail
of turkey, which is black below and strongly marked with a white tip, to
be set on Tweed fashion (that is to say, the wings parted and made to
lie open like a butterfly’s wings).

“Body black mohair; three turns of broad silver tinsel.

“Blue or black heron’s neck-feather at the shoulder; if heron’s feather
cannot be procured, a good-sized black cock’s hackle; orange or yellow
wool, for tail.”

The long transparent bodies which are made in imitation of the
_ephemeridæ_, and are rather more admired by the fancy angler than by
the fish, are composed of small pieces of gut, whalebone, or other
similar material, which, after being cut to the proper length, are
fastened on at the shoulder, together with a thin flat end of gut, such
as comes in the covered part of every hank, and which, after being well
soaked in warm water, has been smoothed down with the finger nail. The
latter, while still damp and pliable, is wound evenly round the material
of the body, including the hook, for several turns, and then round the
body alone, and secured at the extremity by passing a couple of turns
over the end and drawing it through. As this is transparent, it will
show the color of the substance below, and may even be wound over
floss-silk bodies which do not project beyond the hook, and while adding
brilliancy, will protect them from injury. The whisks may be included
with the solid material of the body, and an upper section may be added;
the hackles are to be introduced, and the wings secured afterwards; but
although a very perfect imitation, it is not generally so killing as the
ordinary artificial fly.

In giving the preceding directions, it is by no means intended to advise
that the table vice should be discarded; but, on the contrary, a small
or handsome fly can be tied much more easily with its assistance. A
little practice with the fingers alone will, however, greatly increase
one’s expertness, and remove an awkward difficulty in case the vice
should by any chance be left behind. The great objection to tying a fly
with the fingers is the risk of mussing the feathers, especially in
summer, when perspiration prevails.

I am indebted to Mr. J. James Hyde, a gentleman who, although an
amateur, is one of the most finished anglers and neatest dressers of a
well-imitated trout-fly in the United States, for the following
directions for tying all Ronalds’s flies with the feathers of our
American birds, so that the angler who may be unacquainted with the
English feathers can make an accurate imitation, and not, as is too
common in this country, produce some wretched abortion for a well-known
fly, and may at the same time avoid the unnecessary outlay of importing
expensive foreign materials.

The following list of flies is taken from Alfred Ronalds’s “Fly-Fisher’s
Entomology.” This work has been selected because its descriptions are
imitations of real flies, and not of traditional or conventional
nondescripts, which, although the delight of professional dressers,
might be safely worshipped without breaking the commandment, since they
are not the “likeness of any thing in the heaven above, nor in the earth
beneath, nor in the waters under the earth.”

Some alterations have been made for the purpose of facilitating the
reader in his choice of materials, and the feathers indicated are, in
most cases, those of our own birds, which may be easily procured, and
are quite as suitable as the foreign ones given by Ronalds. Mohair is
the best material for the bodies of trout-flies, and though others are
sometimes named as being an easier method, the experienced amateur will
prefer mohair, with which he will produce the same effect, without any
of the objections to which all other materials are liable; and by a
judicious mixture, any shade of color may be obtained.

Ronalds’s work being descriptive of English flies only, it has been
deemed advisable to substitute their American prototypes in all cases
where they are known; and although the trout are not perhaps thorough
entomologists, the scientific fisherman will always prefer to use a fly
which exists in the waters he frequents, to an English resemblance,
restricted perhaps to a confined locality some thousands of miles away.
As a general rule, there is no doubt that the best imitations of the fly
the fish are taking will be the most successful; yet there are
exceptions, of which the ibis fly is a _glaring_ instance. It is also
desirable at times to vary the sizes of flies, and to make the
imitations larger than the living flies--when, for instance, the water
is rough or thick; but these variations are not of absolute importance.


This fly is the earliest American _ephemera_, and may be found on warm
days in February. In March it is abundant. It lives three or four days,
and then becomes the red spinner.


_Body._--Mouse-colored mohair, spun very thinly on yellow silk.

_Tail._--Two fibres of gray mallard.

_Wings._--From a quill-feather of the robin’s wing. The third or fourth
feather with a tinge of reddish brown at the extremity of the fibre.

_Legs._--Two or three turns of a blue or ginger dun hackle. One side of
the hackle may be stripped off for the _ephemeridæ_.


This is the blue dun in its perfect or _imago_ state. It is now of a
reddish brown, and its wings are nearly transparent. It lives four or
five days, but if the weather be hot, will be found more at evening.


_Body._--Of bright reddish brown mohair, ribbed with silk of same color.

_Tail._--Two whisks of a red cock’s hackle, or of the red body-feather
of the golden pheasant.

_Wings._--From a thin, transparent mottled grey feather of the mallard
or wood-duck.

_Legs._--Plain red cock’s hackle. The wings of the _ephemeridæ_ stand
upright on their backs.


This insect lives upon small flies, etc., whose blood it sucks in a
manner similar to that of the land spider. It runs upon the water and
darts upon its prey while struggling on the surface. In the summer
months it is provided with wings.

_Body._--Orange mohair, spun on black silk, and ribbed with black silk.

_Legs and Wings._--A black cock’s hackle. This fly is always made buzz.
The wings are very transparent.


This fly is found upon the grass in a torpid state, until the sun warms
the air, when it takes wing; and afterwards, if there be a breeze, it is
found upon the water. They are of great variety of color, but the black
is the most common.


_Body._--Black mohair spun thickly on black silk.

_Wings._--The dun feather of a mallard wing. The wings lie flat upon its
back, and the upper fibres of the hackle should be cut off.

_Legs._--A dark grizzled hackle. This is a late fly.


This fly is to be found throughout the year. It is most abundant in
March, and during a high wind it is blown upon the water. The color of
the male is a tawny yellow; that of the female a greenish brown.


_Body._--Yellow and light-brown mohair mixed, spun on light brown silk.

_Wings._--The wing feather of the brown thrush, or of the rail

_Legs._--A ginger-colored hackle.

_Female._--Olive-colored mohair body; wings and legs the same. The wings
lie flat, and the upper hackles should be cut off.


This is a small beetle, very abundant on warm summer days. It often
falls upon the water in its flight, or is blown upon it by the wind. It
is highly praised by English writers, and is described by _Arundo_, in
“Practical Fly-Fishing,” as “the little chap.”


_Body._--Copper-colored peacock’s herl.

_Wings._--The darkest part of a robin’s wing-feather.

_Legs._--A dark purple-dyed hackle.


This _ephemera_ is the next in season after the blue dun. It is a
handsome and attractive fly, and is eagerly devoured by the trout. The
male is of a chocolate color, and the female a greenish brown. It lives
three or four days, and then changes into the great red spinner.


_Body._--Sandy-brown mohair, ribbed over with olive silk.

_Tail._--Two fibres of a brown hen’s feather.

_Wings._--From the mottled wing-feather of a brown hen, which may be
found of the exact shade.

_Legs._--A brown hen’s hackle, or the small brown body-feather of the


This is the _metamorphosis_ of the March brown, and may be used on warm
evenings through the season. It is a very excellent fly.


_Body._--Orange and brown mohair mixed, ribbed with fine gold twist.

_Tail._--Two fibres of a bright amber red hackle, or the body-feather of
the golden pheasant, which is a strong, durable feather for this
purpose, and may be found from a bright yellow to deep red.

_Wings._--Light-colored feather from the robin’s wing.

_Legs._--A bright amber red hackle.

No. 9. SAND FLY.

This fly comes from a water _larva_, and is one of the best flies which
can be used during April and May. Its wings are long and full, and lie
flat upon its back.


_Body._--Sandy-colored mohair, spun on silk of the same color.

_Wings._--From the wing-feather of the brown thrush, or the mottled
brown feather of a young hen.

_Legs._--A light ginger hackle. Cut off the upper fibres of the hackle,
that the wings may lie flat.


This fly also comes from a water _larva_. It is heavy in its flight, but
runs with great rapidity, and is generally found in streams, amongst the
stones or close to the sides of the water. Its body is nearly half an
inch in length.


_Body._--Brown and yellow mohair mixed, and ribbed with yellow silk.

_Tail._--Two strands of brown hen’s wing.

_Wings._--From the mottled feather of a brown hen made full, and to lie

_Legs._--A grizzled hackle.


This fly is found only in running waters, but where it is found it is
very numerous. It may be used all day, and is a very delicate fly. It
will raise fish in clear water when no other fly will.


_Body._--Lead-colored silk thread, with which the fly is tied. Fine and

_Wings._--From an under covert feather of the wood-cock’s wing. To lie

_Legs._--Two turns only of a black hackle.


This fly comes from a water _larva_, and is found chiefly at morning and
at evening. The green tint of its body is derived from the color of the
bag of eggs near the tail. There are a number of species in the United
States, and in some the bag of eggs is yellow, and in some orange. The
green is the most used.


_Body._--Work in a little tuft of green at the tail, and then finish the
body of sandy-colored mohair.

_Wings._--A light brown mottled hen’s feather, to lie flat.

_Legs._--A pale ginger hackle.

The body of the male is yellow, without the green tag.


This beautiful _ephemera_ is one of our very best flies. There are
several varieties, and some of them are an inch in length. It changes to
a spinner, very similar to the metamorphosis of the blue dun (No. 2),
only lighter and yellower, and should be so tied.


_Body._--Yellow mohair spun very thinly on pale blue silk.

_Wings._--From the lightest part of the feather of a robin’s wing.

_Legs._--A pale yellow dun hackle.

This fly must not be finished off at the head with the blue silk, but a
yellow must be tied in for the purpose when the body is done.


This is one of the smallest of the _ephemeridæ_, but not the least
useful. It lives only two or three days before changing its coat, when
its body becomes almost white, and its wings transparent.


_Body._--Pale blue mohair, very thinly spun on reddish-brown silk, with
which the head must be finished.

_Tail._--Two whisks of the yellow body-feather of the golden pheasant.

_Wings._--From the wing-feather of the blue-bird.

_Legs._--A very small yellow dun hackle.


This is the name of the iron blue dun (No. 14) in his new dress, in
which he lives four or five days. It is a killing fly towards evening in
clear water in summer. There are in the United States at least some
hundred varieties of these small _ephemeridæ_, of every conceivable
color, and the skilful dresser will take pleasure in tying them, using
the feathers of the small domestic and foreign birds which he can
procure. Such are the sky-blue, the orange dun, the pale evening dun,
the July dun (blue and yellow), the whirling blue dun, and the little
pale dun.


_Body._--White floss silk, tied at head and tail with brown silk thread.

_Tail._--Two whisks light dun hackle.

_Wings._--From a blue-bird’s wing-feather.

_Legs._--A very small and very light dun hackle, nearly white.


This is another of the _ephemeridæ_, and a most useful one to the
fisherman. It is not so small as the preceding one (No. 14), and changes
to a very light red spinner.


_Body._--Pale ginger-colored mohair, ribbed with yellow silk.

_Tail._--Two whisks of yellow, or ginger hackle.

_Wings._--Mottled feather of the mallard, dyed a greenish yellow.

_Legs._--Light ginger hackle, dyed the same color as the wings.


Every fisherman is familiar with this little insect, and has taken trout
with their mouths and throats filled with them. It is, however, not
properly a gnat, but a midge.


_Body._--Black ostrich herl.

_Wings._--The darkest feather of a robin’s wing.

_Legs._--A black hackle.

The black midge should be made similarly, but with a _thin_ black silk


This is a land fly, and may be found upon the trunks of trees or on
posts near the water. It is carried on the water by the wind, and is
consequently used with most success on windy days, like the cow-dung.


_Body._--Orange floss silk or mohair, ribbed with black silk.

_Wings._--The darkest part of the wing-feather of a curlew.

_Legs._--A furnace, or red and black hackle.


This _ephemera_ is common to most of the waters of New York, and is
found on nearly all the Long Island ponds, where it is eagerly taken by
the trout. It appears about the middle of April, and changes to a little
dark spinner, which is a most killing fly just before dusk.


_Body._--Brown mohair ribbed with purple silk. The female is of a
_greenish_ brown.

_Tail._--Two fibres of the same feather as the wings.

_Wings._--Of the brown mottled feather from the back of a ruffed grouse.

_Legs._--A red-brown hackle.


This is the perfect, or _Imago_, state of the turkey brown (No. 19) just
described. It is as fragile as it is beautiful, and can hardly be
touched without maiming or killing it.


_Body._--Light reddish-brown floss silk, ribbed with purple.

_Tail._--Three whisks of a light dun hackle.

_Wings._--From a feather of the robin’s wing, or the under feather of a
young grouse’s wing.

_Legs._--A light dun hackle.


This is a water fly, which continues in season for four or five weeks
from the middle of May. Its wings are transparent, and lie close and
flat. It is sometimes called “the flat yellow.”


_Body._--Yellow mohair, ribbed with pale green silk thread.

_Wings._--White pigeon wing, stained a pale greenish yellow.

_Legs._--A white hackle, dyed the same color as the wings.


The two most common varieties of this fly are known as the “Soldier” and
the “Sailor.” The wing coverings of one are red, and of the other blue.
They are both well taken by the trout until the end of July, on hot


_Body._--Orange floss silk.

_Wings._--The darkest part of a robin’s wing-feather.

_Legs._--A red cock’s hackle.

Two or three fibres of some blue feather may be tied in with each wing,
on the outside, or of red, to represent the wing-covers.


This fly comes from a water _nympha_. It lays its eggs upon the leaves
of trees which overhang the water, whence they drop into it. It is in
season during May and June.


_Body._--Peacock’s herl tied with black silk.

_Wings._--From a feather of a brown hen, made large and full.

_Legs._--A black cock’s hackle.


This is the most famous of all the English _ephemeridæ_. It is a large
and beautiful fly, but is not found, so far as known, except in running
waters. For ordinary streams and ponds here the “little yellow May dun”
(No. 16) will be found preferable.


_Body._--Straw-colored floss silk, ribbed with brown; the head of
peacock’s herl.

_Tail._--Three hairs from a fitch’s tail.

_Wings._--From a mottled feather of the mallard, stained a greenish

The female of this fly changes to the grey drake, and the male to the
black drake. They are little used.


This is a beetle, the _pupa_ of which inhabits the earth. It is found
upon poplar-trees, and a species very similar is found upon fern. It is
blown upon the water, and is to be used on windy days.


_Body._--A black ostrich herl and a peacock’s herl, twisted together on
red silk.

_Wings and Legs._--Made buzz with a dark furnace hackle.

As this fly never alights upon the water, it is generally seen
struggling with its wings in motion.


This is the _imago_, or perfect state of another kind of green drake,
darker than No. 24. It is found in some waters where the true green
drake is not, and is used in its stead.


_Body._--Dark mulberry floss silk, ribbed with fine gold twist.

_Tail._--Three hairs from a fitch’s tail.

_Wings._--From the brown mottled feather of the mallard, which hangs
from the back over a part of the wing.

_Legs._--A dark purple hackle.


This beautiful insect is not found upon all waters, but where it is,
affords great sport on windy days. It may be used from June till the end
of September.


_Body._--Pale yellowish green floss silk, tied with silk of the same

_Legs._--Pale blue dun hackle, with one or two turns _in front of the

_Wings._--A pale transparent mallard, or wood-duck feather, stained
slightly green. Very full, long, and to lie flat.


This is a species of _hopper_, sometimes called “_ant hoppers_.” They
hop and fly for about twenty yards, and sometimes drop short and fall
upon the water. The light and dark brown, and the greenish blue, are the
most common.


_Body._--Ginger-colored mohair ribbed with fine gold twist, short.

_Wings and Legs._--Feather from a wren’s tail, wound on hackle-wise.

A brown mottled hackle may be used in place of the wren’s tail feather.

No. 29. THE RED ANT.

There are many species of these winged ants, and they are familiar to
every one. The red and black are those generally used.


_Body._--Copper-colored peacock’s herl, wound thickly, for two or three
turns, at the tail to form a tuft; the rest of the body dark red silk.

_Wings._--From the lightest part of a robin’s wing. To lie flat.

_Legs._--A small red hackle.

The black ant is made of black ostrich herl body; wings from the darkest
part of a robin’s wing; legs, a small black hackle.


This fly is an excellent one until the end of August, principally in
showery weather.


_Body._--Black ostrich herl tied with black silk, and trimmed down.

_Wings._--A wing-feather of the black-bird.

_Legs._--Small black cock’s hackle.

_Horns._--Two strands of the grey feather of the mallard.

The male has black horns. To make it buzz, the body is to be ribbed
with silver twist upon the black ostrich herl, and a black hackle
wrapped the whole length of the body.


This fly comes from a water _nympha_, lives two or three days, and
changes to a red spinner. This fly is for August what the March brown is
for March.


_Body._--Brown floss silk, ribbed with yellow silk thread.

_Tail._--Two hairs from a fitch’s tail.

_Wings._--Feather of a brown hen’s wing.

_Legs._--Plain brown hackle.

Made buzz with a grouse feather, in place of wings and legs.


This is an Ichneumon Fly. It is furnished with an _ovipositor_, for the
purpose of piercing the skins of caterpillars, in which it deposits its
eggs, the grub from which grows in, and ultimately kills, the insect in
which it was hatched.


_Body._--Orange floss silk tied on with black. Thick and square at the

_Wings._--Darkest part of a robin’s wing.

_Legs._--A very dark furnace hackle.


This fly comes from a water _pupa_. It should be used after a shower,
and on a windy day. It is a very killing fly on some waters, and
somewhat resembles the land fly, but does not appear so early.


_Body._--Fawn-colored mohair, tied on silk of the same color.

_Wings._--Feather of a yellow-brown hen’s wing, rather darker than the
thrush feather. To lie flat.

_Legs._--A ginger hackle.

The pinnated grouse’s small wing-feather, dyed a pale cinnamon with
madder and copperas, is an excellent feather for the wings of this fly,
and of No. 34.


This _ephemera_ is found in abundance on the streams in Pike Co., Pa.,
and in some other localities. It is similar to the little yellow May
dun, but is of a bright cinnamon color, and comes on in July and August.
Its _metamorphosis_ is of a light red brown, with wings almost white.


_Body._--Red and yellow mohair spun on yellow silk, and ribbed with the

_Wings._--The light feather of a grouse’s wing, dyed cinnamon with
madder, or the feather of a curlew’s wing.

_Tail._--Two fibres of the same feather as the wings.

_Legs._--A ginger hackle.


This and the house fly become blind and weak in September, are
frequently blown upon the water, and afford good sport. They may be used
especially after a frosty night, but are not unsuccessful earlier in the


_Body._--Bright blue mohair, tied with light brown silk. The body thick.

_Wings._--The lightest feather of a robin’s wing.

_Legs._--Two turns of a black hackle.

The _House Fly_ may be made thus:

_Body._--Light brown and green mohair mixed.

_Wings._--Light-colored feather from a robin’s wing.

_Legs._--A blue dun hackle.

_Head._--Green peacock’s herl, with two or three turns under the wings.


This is the caterpillar of the garden tiger-moth. This palmer is found
early in the spring, and is chiefly recommended for streams where trees
overhang the water. Cuvier states that this caterpillar changes its skin
ten times during its growth.


_Body._--Peacock’s herl, with a red cock’s hackle wrapped the whole
length, and tied with red silk.

Ronalds’s palmers are made long, and have a second hook tied in about
half way up the body. It is a killing fly in streams, and of little use
in ponds in the United States.


The preceding remarks on the red palmer apply equally to this and the
succeeding description. The white and yellow are equally successful on
wooded streams, and they all may be used through the season.


_Body._--Light brown mohair spun on brown silk, and a brown cock’s
hackle wrapped all the way up.

No. 38. _The Black and Red Palmer._


_Body._--Black ostrich herl, ribbed with gold twist, and a red cock’s
hackle wrapped over it.

The feather at the shoulder should be a large furnace hackle, and the
herl should be thickest there. Show the gold twist clearly at the tail.


It is a great advantage to the fly-fisherman to possess the knowledge of
dyeing his materials, as it is by no means easy to procure them at all
times of the desired color. It is, besides, an amusement and an
inducement to study the colors, sizes, and habits of the insects which
he wishes to imitate. The colors for salmon-flies should be as rich and
brilliant as possible; those for trout are of soberer hues. Hackles
should be selected with much care, of fine fibre, of even taper. White
hackles are requisite for yellow, orange, blue, and green; red hackles
for claret, red, brown, and olive. They should be washed in soap and
water before dyeing, and tied in small bunches for convenience of

It is important in dyeing all kinds of feathers to dress them
thoroughly. They should be rinsed in clean water when taken from the
dye, wiped as dry as possible, and dressed with the hand in the
direction of the fibres until dry. This gives them a smoothness and
gloss which can be given in no other way.

Naturally-colored feathers are perhaps preferable, as a general thing,
for trout-flies; but there are some which cannot be had of the proper
color, and for salmon-flies the dyer’s art is indispensable.


Put two table-spoonfuls of ground alum, and one tea-spoonful of cream of
tartar into a pint of water. When perfectly dissolved and boiling, put
in the feathers, hackles, or hair, and simmer for half an hour. Take
them from this mordant bath, and put them in the yellow dye, made by
infusing a table-spoonful of ground turmeric in a pint of water, and
immersed until the color is extracted.

Boil until the color is deep enough, and then wash them in clean water.
Dry, and dress them as directed.

There are several materials for yellow dyes, such as fustic, quercitron
bark, yellow wood, Persian berries, and weld; but turmeric is the best
for the purpose.


To produce orange the feathers or other material should be first dyed
yellow, according to the previous recipe. They should then be boiled in
a dye made with madder and a small quantity of cochineal, until the
requisite shade is obtained.


Make a strong infusion of cochineal, put in a few drops of muriate of
tin, which will make a crimson, and then put in a little cream of
tartar, which will make a clear scarlet. The proportions in weight are
one part of muriate of tin to two parts of cream of tartar. It is best
to boil the feathers first in the solution of alum. Simmer them until
the color is obtained.


Boil the materials to be dyed in a solution of alum and cream of tartar,
for half an hour; bruise two table-spoonfuls of cochineal, and simmer
them in water until the color is extracted.

Take the materials from the alum water, and boil them in the cochineal
liquor until you have the color you wish.

Wash them in clean water, and if feathers, dress them until dry.


Brown may be procured by boiling walnut shells to a strong solution, and
of a more chestnut hue by boiling in a bath composed of a small handful
each of sumach and alder bark, boiled in half a pint of water, with half
a drachm of copperas.


Boil your material in the solution of alum and tartar already described.

Then make a blue dye by dissolving the prepared indigo paste in water,
the quantity of which must depend upon the color you wish to produce.
Boil until you have the shade you desire.

The prepared indigo paste is made by dissolving indigo in oil of vitriol
and water in a well stoppered bottle, but it is some trouble to
prepare, and may be had already made at a dyer’s.

It requires a white ground to produce a good blue.


First dye your materials blue and let them dry, according to the recipe
already given. Then bruise a couple of table-spoonfuls of cochineal,
which boil until the color is extracted; then put in the blue hackles,
or other feathers, and simmer them over the fire until the purple is

Wash and dress as before directed.


Bruise a handful of nutgalls and boil them half an hour, with a
table-spoonful of oil of vitriol in half a cup of water. Put in your
material and boil for two hours; add a piece of copperas the size of a
walnut, and a little pearl ashes. Boil until a fine bright claret is

Wash and dress as before.


Boil two handfuls of logwood with a little sumach and elder bark for an
hour; put in the hackles or feathers, and boil very gently. Put in a
little bruised copperas, a little argil, and some soda; leave the
feathers in for some hours with a gentle heat, then wash the dye well
out of them, dry and dress them. The argil and soda must be used


Boil ground logwood with bruised nutgalls and a little copperas. The
shade of color may be varied by using more or less of the materials.

You may have grey, and duns of various shades, by boiling with the
logwood a little alum and copperas.


Dye your material a light shade of blue first, according to the
directions for that color; then put them into the yellow dye, and
examine them frequently while boiling to see that you get the proper
shade. You may get any shade of green by dyeing the blues darker or
lighter, and then boiling them a shorter or longer time in the yellow

The blue and yellow dyes may also be mixed to produce any shade of
green, but this requires judgment and considerable experience, and the
result is not superior. It must be remembered that the blue becomes
developed by time, and the color should be at first more yellow than is


Boil the feathers in the mordant bath of alum already described.

Then boil them in an infusion of fustic to produce a yellow, and subdue
the brightness of this yellow by adding copperas to the infusion.

It is better to add a _little_ of the indigo paste to this dye. It gives
a brighter, clearer tone of color.


_An Azure, or Neutral Tint._

1 drachm logwood,
6 grains copperas.

Immerse the gut 2½ to 3 minutes.

_An Azure Tint, more Pink._

1 drachm logwood,
1 scruple alum.

Immerse the gut 3 minutes.

_A dingy Olive._

1 drachm logwood,
1 scruple alum,
3 scruples quercitron bark.

Immerse from 2 to 3 minutes.

_A light Brown._

1 drachm madder,
1 scruple alum.

Immerse from 5 to 6 minutes.

_A light Yellow, or Amber._

1½ scruples quercitron bark,
1 scruple alum,
6 grains madder,
4 drops muriate of tin,
1 scruple cream of tartar.

Immerse 2½ minutes.

_An Olive Dun._

Make a strong infusion of the outside brown leaves or coating of onions,
by allowing the ingredients to stand warm by the fire for ten or twelve

When _quite cold_ put the gut into it, and let it remain until the hue
becomes as dark as may be required.

All the above dyes for gut are to be used _cold_.

[Illustration: THE POTOMAC.]


In fly-fishing, a rod, and a good rod, is one of the prime requisites,
upon the excellence of which depends, in a great measure, the successful
exercise of the angler’s skill. An excellent rod may be made of
different materials and in different manners, a choice among which will
depend upon fancied, more than real superiority; but each writer has his
favorites, and, if able, is entitled to give the reasons for his

Fly-fishing is mainly confined to salmon and trout-fishing; for these,
essentially different implements are required; for the long casts and
heavy play of the former, amid the rapids and cascades of the foaming
river, a stout, stiff, two-handed rod is requisite; while for the
feebler efforts and shorter casts of the latter, amid the ripples of the
murmuring brook, or upon the placid surface of the quiet pond, a light,
single-handed rod is preferable.

The salmon-rod should be as long and strong as the muscles of the angler
will enable him to wield trenchantly all day through, and should have
that quick, powerful pliancy that will send the fly with or across the
wind a prodigious distance. It is ordinarily made of ash or hickory for
the joints, and bamboo, on account of its lightness, for the tip.
Greenheart has lately become the favorite wood, being now almost
universally employed in England, and offers, certainly, some desirable
advantages; but I have not had sufficient experience with it to speak
decisively of its merits. A salmon-rod should be twenty feet long; after
giving the matter due deliberation, and trying to reduce every ounce of
weight, I have resolved that I cannot take off an inch from twenty feet.
To meet the objection that a weak, small man must, under these
circumstances, either give up the fishing or the rod, I would suggest
that he inure himself to the labor by practising, for his first few days
upon the river, with a sixteen-foot rod till his muscles are
strengthened, and then substituting one of full length and weight.

A sixteen-foot rod may be handled beautifully, will cast the fly
lightly, will kill a fish delicately, but it will not enable the
possessor to force his line against or across a gust of wind eddying
down the bank of the stream, nor to command all the casts of a broad
river with facility, neither can he strike with certainty, nor kill his
fish with rapidity. Salmon rivers are usually wide, sometimes wild,
broken, and impassable even for that wonderful compound of life and
lightness, the birch canoe, and cannot be reached in every part except
with a long line under perfect control; frequently, the very spot where
the fish habit, the swirl of the current or the pitch of the cascade is
beyond the limits of him of the fifteen-foot rod; and if by the utmost
effort the line is cast far enough, the first eddy will slack it up and
deprive the weak, pliant rod of all control over it.

Again, where the favorite pool lies close by the overhanging rock, upon
some accommodating ledge of which the angler crawls prone to the earth,
hiding from the sharp eye of the watchful fish, he can with a long rod
jerk out the line, and twitching it over the surface, beguile the prey;
while with a shorter one he might be deprived of concealment, and stand
confessed a laughing-stock to the fish, dangling a useless line close to
the rocky bank. If the water, the wind, or the fish are strong, the rod
should be the same; although advocating gentle treatment, there are
times when, I assure the reader, that vigor must be exerted, and then
twenty feet are better than fifteen.

No practical working rod can be made by the removal of one or more
joints and the substitution of others, to increase or diminish in
length. There must be a uniform taper consonant with the length, which,
in case of alteration, will be destroyed, and the rod rendered harsh or
feeble. The strain will not come equally upon all its parts; it will
bend irregularly, and under a sudden strain is almost sure to give way.
I had a rod in which a single joint could be substituted for the butt
and next joint, which broke on an average of once a day so long as it
was used in that way, and until the two joints were restored.

The elasticity of a good salmon-rod is like that of steel, and by the
aid of such an implement alone can the fly be propelled to a proper
distance. The force must be transmitted to the tip end of the leader,
and the angler must feel in casting that his rod is up to its share of
the work. It must neither drag, for in that case the line follows the
impulse feebly; nor be too stiff, for then no life can be imparted to
the line. If the rod is weak, it cannot cast with power; if it is harsh,
it cannot cast at all. It must bend, but must leap back to its place,
driving the fly far ahead of it by the strong and steady impulse.

A deficiency in vigor is felt at once by the angler, as a want of proper
resistance to his exertion, and will be particularly noticeable of a bad
day, or in an unfavorable locality, when the rod will seem to double
back and fail utterly in a weak disgusting way; while too great
stiffness will go to convince the angler that he is using a bean-pole.

The single-handed trout-rod is a very different affair, much more
difficult both to make and handle; coarser tools and tackle will answer
for the coarser fish, but nothing less than the best material and
workmanship will enable the trout-fisher to perform creditably and
successfully. It must be light for fine fishing, not over ten ounces in
weight; it must be the perfection of elasticity; it must have a certain
strength; it must balance perfectly in the hand; in other words, it must
be perfection, to attain which, requires the utmost care and the
greatest skill. It is a strange fact that decidedly better fly-rods, and
perhaps better salmon-rods, can be obtained in America than in England,
in spite of the greater foreign experience; a result that is due mainly
to our persistent effort after delicacy, and perhaps partly to the
habits and size of our fish; but an English fly-rod is now regarded as a
clumsy monstrosity.

Trout-rods are usually made of ash with a bamboo or Calcutta cane-tip;
the latter is infinitely preferable to lance-wood, on account of its
greater strength and lightness. The bamboo is split into narrow pieces
the length of one joint of the cane, and being glued together, is
trimmed to the proper shape. Three pieces should be used, each planed,
by an instrument made for the purpose, into an obtuse angle, and fitting
neatly together; if two pieces only are united, the tip will bend to
different degrees in different directions.

Bamboo may also be used for the second joint, and makes a light and
vigorous rod, with ash for the butt; horn-beam or iron-wood, and
greenheart, have also been introduced for trout-rods, but have not come
into general acceptance; lance-wood is strong but too heavy, while my
decided favorite is red cedar. Rods, after they have been exposed to
wet, and have endured the strain of a strong fish, or even the effort of
repeated casting, will warp; they will, if they are extremely light,
prove deficient in power; they are apt to be either heavy or feeble;
they will, when the current or wind is strong, give to it and lose their
quickness in striking; in fact, they have many defects common to one or
the other of the above woods, unless they are made of cedar; in this
case they have but one fault, they are brittle. A cedar rod never warps;
it springs to the hand as quick as thought to the brain; it is never
slow or heavy; it cannot be kept down by the wind or the current; it is
never aught but quick, lively, and vigorous; it will cast three feet
farther than any other rod of the same weight, and strike a fish with
twice the certainty. The wood is extremely light, but the grain is
short; it never loses its life, but will snap under a sudden strain.

I once struck a salmon with an eight-ounce cedar trout-rod; it was at
the basin below the Falls of the Nipisiquit, where the current of the
river, rushing against the calm water of the deep pool, creates a gentle
ripple. The hour was near mid-day, and I was catching sea-trout in that
profusion with which they abound in the northern waters, when out of the
ripple, a few yards beyond my reach, rose a mighty monarch of the flood,
and turning over as he sank, caused a heavy surge in the tide.

My Canadian guide, an enthusiastic Frenchman, was with me, and our
nerves tingled and our cheeks flushed at the sight; approaching the
canoe, a long cast brought him out again, but only to miss the tiny
trout-fly. Convinced that he would rise, I hastily substituted a small
salmon-fly for the stretcher, leaving on the leader the two small
droppers I had been using, and again carefully cast over him. Out he
came, the water breaking round him and rolling away in miniature
circling waves, and the foam flying from the powerful blow of his tail
as he turned down. I struck, but it was as though I had struck a rock;
he darted to the bottom, making the rod fly in splinters; at every surge
fresh splinters broke off and fell about in showers; a piece of the
lower joint only was left, when feeling for the first time really
roused, he made one fierce rush and mad leap, and the line not unreeling
fast enough to suit him, he disappeared with three flies, all my leader,
and most of my line. I do not advise any one to fish for salmon with an
eight-ounce cedar trout-rod.

In ordinary trout-fishing, however, salmon do not abound nor come
unceremoniously devouring our baits intended for their smaller brethren;
nor are even trout so extremely numerous but that, for a long summer
day’s work, a light able rod will be infinitely preferable to a heavy
one. A rod that weighs fourteen ounces is heavy, and I have seen persons
with their hands or wrists dreadfully swollen after a single day’s
fishing, and have had such persons assure me that their rods were as
light as they could be possibly made. Delicacy to me is the first
essential in trout-fishing, whether delicacy of rod and tackle, or
delicacy of handling and casting. Catching a trout with a stick and a
string is not half the fun of catching a flounder, the latter being much
more difficult to lug out of water; and delicacy in trout-fishing will
bring the best reward.

With a cedar rod you need use the wrist alone, and that without much
exertion; you can cover great distances and still control the line, and
you can switch the fly under bushes and in difficult places, better
than with any other rod I ever used. It is quick, reliable, vigorous,
and light, the slightest motion gives the tip the requisite spring, and
it answers every effort of the hand instantly. It kills a fish
powerfully and rapidly, and exposure to wet neither deadens nor weakens
it. The ordinary hickory and ash-joint are much stronger, but are logy
in their action and far heavier; joints of split cane or malacca are
light, beautiful, and expensive, but are almost unattainable, and are,
occasionally at least, deficient in power; and whalebone, for any part
of the rod, is dull, heavy, inappropriate, and when water-soaked,
utterly worthless. For these reasons and many others--these are enough,
however--I prefer a cedar rod.

Many persons give the preference to a limber rod, one that bends in the
middle, and they can, after infinite practice, cast well with it; in
pleasant weather they can throw a light line, but when the storm lowers
and the wind blows, or the current rages, or the cast is very long, or
the bushes overhang, then good-bye to the gentleman with that most
wretched of implements, a weak-backed limber rod. Give me no such
inefficient deception to break my wrist, my heart, and my patience; as
well tell me that whalebone has the vigor of a steel spring.

The joints of a rod are united in various ways; with the salmon-rod it
is almost essential, and with all rods desirable, to use splices, but
the custom is to indulge the laziness of ferrules. American ferrules
fit accurately, and of course after the wood is swollen by exposure to
rain, they will not come apart even if the joint-ends are all brass, a
difficulty that can be obviated by rubbing them with mutton tallow, and
loosening them every night, and we advise the same precaution in wet
weather with the reel bands. In this connection it may be well to tell
the reader how he can, with a little trouble, separate the ferrules, no
matter how solid they may seem to be; in the first place heat them
moderately, and pour a little oil round the joint; then take two stout
pieces of string, or better, braid, about a foot long, and tying the
ends of each together, wrap one close above and the other below the
joint in the contrary directions; then insert a stick in each loop, and
turn one one way, and the other the opposite. If the bands slip, rub
them with wax.

The English ferrules, not fitting so closely, are not liable to this
objection; but, on the other hand, would come apart in use, to the
intense disgust of the angler, were they not held together by a piece of
silk, that, when they are set up, has to be wound round a loop of brass
fastened upon each for the purpose. This silk must be cut every time the
rod is taken apart, and occasions much trouble. The Irish use a
screw-joint, which is firm and not liable to bind; but it is difficult
to fit, easy to break, and, in the woods, impossible to replace. Among
these plans the simple socket has obtained the preference, and probably
is entitled to the distinction.

It is doubtless useless for me at this day to tell any intelligent
sportsman that the butt of a fly-rod must never be hollow; its solidity
is necessary to a proper balance; but where the fishing is merely to be
done along the streams, a spear-head that can be screwed into the end
will add little to the weight, and prove useful driven into the ground
to hold the rod, while the fisherman changes his flies or frees them
from a weed or bush. On a trout-rod there should be no reel-bands, but a
gutta-percha ring, or a leather strap and buckle, will retain the reel
firmly, and enable the angler to change its position at his pleasure,
and by altering the balance, rest his wrist. These seem trivial matters,
but mole-hills are mountains if they rest upon a sore spot. On a
salmon-rod the reel-bands should be strong, and about a foot from the

There should be rings or guides enough on a fly-rod to bring the strain
evenly throughout, and if one is destroyed, it should be replaced at
once, or a liability to break will result. If rings are used, they and
the brass top should be large and fastened on with a whipping of silk,
that adds much strength to the wood. Where a spliced rod is used, it is
well to have a small ring of brass, somewhat similar to the reel-band on
each joint, under which the end of the splice can be slipped before
fastening it.

For salmon and trout-fishing, the reel had better be a simple, large
barrelled click-reel, as the music of the line, unwinding to the rush of
these splendid fish, while it indicates the rate of its diminution, is
to the angler what the clarion is to the warrior, or the hound’s bay to
the deer hunter; but a multiplier, made as they are only made in this
country, working with the beauty and accuracy of clock-work, is by no
means inadmissible. A drag must be used with the multiplier, but a stop
never; the latter is utterly useless, and by slipping unexpectedly, may
destroy your tackle. The reel must be manufactured with the greatest
care and of the best workmanship; no implement is so worthless if poor,
and none will better repay the sportsman if perfect. In salmon-fishing,
it is only in desperate straits that any effort is made to check the
fish; he is ordinarily too violent to submit to such treatment;
otherwise, as the single-barrelled reel revolves toward you, it could
not be used, as it cannot in bass-fishing.

A multiplier should have steel pins, which require care and frequent
oiling; the same reel may be used for bass, and, if armed with a drag as
above stated, in case of necessity in salmon-fishing. For both salmon
and bass it should be of the largest size, and may be painted black to
preserve it from rust, and to avoid alarming the fish. The line will
occasionally catch round the handle, to prevent which, the latter is
sometimes constructed of a button fitting in a plate.

All reels must be oiled occasionally. On one occasion I proved this to
my satisfaction in a very unsatisfactory way.

The weather had been hot and dry; the water had fallen and become
transparent as crystal; the fish were shy and cautious. After exhausting
my ingenuity in selecting new flies to suit their capricious tastes, I
had settled upon one of bright yellow, which, if the gentlemen did not
wish to eat, they did seem to enjoy inspecting; they rose to it freely,
and after I had tried in vain to strike them, curiosity induced me to
keep count of their number.

Fourteen times had they risen and disappeared uninjured; fourteen times
had my nerves tingled, and my blood started; fourteen times had sudden
hope turned to bitter disappointment, till anticipation settled down
into dull despair. Only those who have themselves had such painful
experiences can appreciate my feelings; the continual tantalizing
approximation to success, to be followed by agonizing failure; the
renewed hope that the next rise would result in the capture of a fish
ever to remain unfulfilled; the desperate effort to strike quicker or to
cast more attractively; all these and many other feelings swarmed
through my heart, as fish after fish approached his fate, and invariably

They seemed to be feeding, as it is called, and when the fly passed they
rose, and turning over like a porpoise chasing mossbunkers, seemed to
take it in their mouths. They did not spring out of water in the gaiety
of reckless play, but acted as they would have done if swallowing the
natural insect. Not that it is certain that salmon feed on flies; but
while they can rarely be taken while playing, they often can be when
acting in a manner resembling feeding.

My patience not exhausted, for it never is while fish will rise, I
directed the canoe to be dropped towards the lower end of the
fishing-ground, and stepped from it to a rock in the stream, and then
casting the farthest and lightest possible, was rewarded. A magnificent
fish rose; was secured by a quick turn of the butt, and stung by the
unexpected pain, fled down the current. Away he went, on without a
pause, the reel hissing, the line unwinding, and darting into the water,
till having exhausted seventy-five yards of line, and being partially
turned by its weight and the resistance of the click, he stopped with a
heavy surge, and heading back, approached as fast as he had fled.
Instantly and instinctively my hand fell upon the handle of the reel; it
would not turn, no effort could budge it; conceive my feelings now, if
mortal man can conceive them. The fish coming towards us, the line lying
in a long heavy bag behind him, threatening to sink and catch round some
rock, or by its slacking up release the hook; I jerked in the line,
thinking a grain of sand might have penetrated between the plates, and
tried the handle first one way, then the other, in vain.

This all passed with the speed of thought, but the fish was approaching
as quickly; there was nothing left but calling one of my men to tell him
to take in the line, hand over hand, and holding it in a loose coil, be
prepared to pay it out on the next rush. Then thinking that the plates
must be bent, I took from my pocket a screw-driver that I always
carried, and unloosened every screw. There I stood, grasping in one hand
the rod, while the tip bent to the motions of the fish, with the other
working away at the reel; beside me my best man, slowly drawing in or
paying out the line as need must; both of us eager, anxious, and
startled at this new mode of killing salmon; the fish, vigorous as ever,
making continual and sustained rushes, but fortunately none as extended
as his first.

I had freed every screw in the reel, but without any result; it was as
immovable as ever; there was no resource but to do the best we could, in
our original mode of proceeding, under the circumstances. Never before
had a fish proved himself stronger or braver; for a good half hour he
kept us on the stretch, and then sulked. Stationing himself in the edge
of the current, he held his own doggedly; fifteen minutes of such
behavior exhausted our patience. If I tried to lead him towards the
shore, he took advantage of the eddy to resist; if to turn him the other
way, he braced himself against the current; a severe strain, however,
brought him to the surface, and revealed the fact that he was not
sulking at the bottom, but resolutely swimming, head up stream, in the

Not a little surprised, we tossed in a pebble, then a stone, at last a
rock, when, indignant, he fled down stream; fifteen minutes more of
exciting contest, several rushes when he was on the point of being
captured, resulted at last in bringing him flouncing on the gaff out of
water. He only weighed fifteen pounds, but had been hooked foul, the
point having penetrated at the hard bone near the eye.

I then sat down deliberately to discover what had happened to my reel;
it seemed to be in perfect order, but would not move; I tried to drive
the shaft out of its bearing with the mallet--a heavy club of wood used
to kill the fish after they are gaffed, but only after a good hour’s
work did I succeed in separating it, and found that for want of oil the
two surfaces had become almost solid. They were as bright as burnished
gold, and had evidently been heated by the first desperate rush of the
fish; after being touched with a drop of oil and replaced, they worked

It is curious to note how, in salmon-fishing, accidents will happen when
the fish is on the hook; if the line is weakened, or the leader fretted,
or the rod strained, the weight and power of the fish expose the
weakness; if anything is aught but perfect, it gives way at that
critical moment. In trout-fishing you are apt to discover the defects in
time, and in bass-fishing the tackle is coarse and strong; but in
salmon-fishing you first learn their presence by their parting. Never
use a doubtful strand of gut, or a second-quality hook; never tie a knot
without thoroughly testing it, and never use a leader that is in the
least worn.

The best line by far, for both salmon and trout-fishing, is the braided
silk covered with a water-proof preparation, and tapered to the fineness
of the gut-leader. If this can be obtained no other should be thought
of, but if it cannot, the others are about on a disgraceful par of
mediocrity; the one that is usually praised, that of silk and horse-hair
mixed, being, if possible, the worst, for while it has the weakness of
the horse-hair, and water-soaking capacity of the silk, it has a
difficulty especially its own, arising from the protrusion of short ends
of hair that have broken or rotted off, and which are continually
catching the rings, or guides. The common silk line may be coated with
raw linseed oil by stretching it in a garret or some place shaded from
the sun, and rubbing it with a cloth soaked in the oil; several coats
must be applied, allowing each to dry before a renewal, and care must be
taken to avoid exposure to the sun’s rays, which will rot the line. If
thoroughly coated it will answer nearly as well as if prepared in a more
scientific manner.

The elegance, ease, and delicacy of casting depend much upon the
proportions of the leader or casting-line, its length, taper, and
adaptation to the line and rod; if these are not accurately ascertained
and complied with--and they can only be determined by actual experience
with each rod and line--the execution will be faulty. Consequently no
absolute rule can be given, but the length and taper must depend upon
circumstances. The strands of gut are selected, the clearest, roundest,
and hardest being the best, and having been assorted according to size,
are tied together with the double-water knot for salmon-fishing, and
with either the same or the single-water knot for trout. If it is
desired to fasten the droppers between the knots, the latter must be
used, and the gut must be well soaked in warm water before it is tied.
Leaders thus prepared and suited accurately to the line and rod, will
be found cheaper and more satisfactory than those usually sold in the
shops, and may be tapered to any degree of fineness.

The fly-book in which the sportsman collects his treasures--the fairy
imitations of the tiny nymphs of the waterside--and which is the source
of so much delight in inspecting, replenishing, and arranging during the
season that the trout are safe from honorable pursuit, is at present one
of the most ungainly and inconvenient things that he uses. It is either
of mammoth size and filled with flannel leaves in which the moth revel,
but in which the hooks will not stick, or it is so ingeniously arranged
that the flies on one page entangle themselves in a remarkably
complicated manner with those on the other, and whenever the book is
opened do their best to tumble out and carry with them such leaders as
may be within reach of their obstinate barbs. It has places for articles
that are not wanted, and none for those that are; the disgorger, an
instrument about as useful to the angler as a jack-plane, is always
present, while a piece of India-rubber to straighten gut, or even silk
and wax, is never to be found. The pockets and slips are so arranged
that the flies cannot be got at without much difficulty, or else fall
out with perfect ease, and are invariably, when released, found with the
gut so curled up that it cannot be straightened for some time. In fact,
the present style of fly-book is a disgusting monstrosity. The true plan
is to so arrange the pockets that those of one page will come opposite
the hooks on the other in such manner that there can be no entanglement;
of course the snells of the stretchers cannot be kept straightened, but
the droppers, having shorter snells, may be secured under strips of
paper, and left at full length, the alternate flies being at each
extremity of the leaf; and on the adjoining leaf in the pockets may be
similar flies dressed for stretchers. Or the droppers, all having the
gut tied, of the same length by measurement, over two pins stuck into
the table, may be secured on both sides of a separate sheet of
pasteboard upon hooks and eyes, the fly-hook being fastened into the eye
and the loop upon the hook. The latter is attached to a short piece of
elastic, and will hold the gut straight and safe. The boards thus
prepared are carried in long pockets between the leaves. The book, when
filled and ready for use, should not be too large to be carried in the
breast pocket, should be composed of stout parchment or ass skin that
will resist the effect of dampness, covered with leather or morocco, and
closed with a neat clasp.

The best implements will not make an angler, nor enable him, without
skill that can only be obtained by patience and perseverance, to perform
his duty creditably at the river-side. Especially must he learn to cast
his flies far, lightly, and accurately, for of all the angler’s
qualifications this art is the most necessary. To do this every writer
on fishing has given particular directions, but in reality no plan or
formula can be made that is not subject to great modifications; the
following, probably, is as nearly correct as any: After the line is
lifted from the water, which is done with a quick upward motion of the
wrist, the forearm is slowly and steadily raised until the line has
described the necessary curve and is extended almost directly behind the
angler, when a fresh impulse from the wrist changes the direction to a
forward one, the arm following the motion until the line has nearly
reached its limit, when it is checked by an almost imperceptible motion
of the wrist, and the flies are made to drop on the water gently and
quivering with almost the tremor of life. This is the rule when the cast
is down wind and unobstructed, and the breeze light and equable, but in
practice each cast must be adjusted to the peculiar circumstances under
which it is made; the force that will drive out the line in a heavy
breeze will not be vigorous enough if it dies down at the next cast, and
the line must be stopped short or it will not extend itself; on the
other hand, if the wind suddenly increases to a gusty flaw, the flies
will be driven into the water with a splash, unless the arm is extended
to exhaust the additional force. If the cast is across a strong wind,
the line is lifted against it and makes almost a complete circle, and if
well managed can be made to so resist it that, in the roughest weather,
it will go out its full length and fall with beautiful delicacy. In a
hard blow the difficulty will be in raising the line, and at times it
will not be found necessary to lift the flies entirely from the water
before casting, as the wind, by its pressure on the bag of the line,
will carry them out of itself. In fishing a stream there is much to be
learned in the art of jerking the flies under the bushes, and tossing
the back line directly upwards to avoid entanglements, instead of behind
the angler; proficiency should be obtained with the left hand as well as
with the right, and in right and left casts, that is to say, where the
line is raised on either side and the flies brought over either
shoulder. This last point is essential if two anglers are to fish from
the same boat, for each should invariably keep the tip of his rod over
the shoulder opposite to his neighbor.

These observations are probably all that can be placed on paper with any
advantage, for complete knowledge can only be obtained at the brook or
pond under the guidance of those skilful teachers, patience and
perseverance; and after the line has been neatly cast and the trout
lured from his lair under the bank of the stream, or his mossy bed at
the bottom of the pond, the art of striking him, that is, fixing the
hook firmly in his mouth when he has grasped it, can only be acquired by
actual experience. All written directions on this subject maybe reduced
to two--it is done with a motion of the wrist and as quickly as
possible; and yet if this art is not mastered, the rest will be in vain.

There are few matters connected with fly-fishing that have been more
discussed, and about which there has been more difference of opinion,
than the length of line that can be cast with the ordinary trout-rod.
Assertions are common, and certificates even have been given at public
contests that competitors have cast one hundred feet of line, and many
persons, especially those not thoroughly initiated, imagine that they
can readily manage seventy, eighty, or ninety. But this matter was
brought to a definite issue at the convention of the Sportsmen’s Clubs
of the State of New York, held in 1864, at the City of New York, when a
handsome prize was offered for excellence in casting the fly, and rules
were carefully prepared to govern the trial. These rules are given at
length hereafter, and provide an allowance, for length and weight of
rod, and prescribe certain distinctions as to whether the contest is
only as to distance, or as to delicacy and accuracy in addition. In the
instance referred to, it was determined that all these points were to be
included. No rod was admitted that weighed over one pound or exceeded
twelve feet and six inches in length; a gut-leader of not less than
eight feet was required, and to this three flies were to be attached.
The tackle and rods used by the competitors were, in every instance,
those that they were accustomed to use in actual fishing, the lines
being generally of plaited silk, covered with the ordinary water-proof
preparation. The water was without a current, but ruffled by the effects
of a light breeze that died away entirely ere the contest was over, and
the stand was a floating platform, level with the surface, and upon
which the waves occasionally washed so as to wet the feet of the
contestants. The distance was measured along the water by a rope
stretched taut and marked at every foot of its length with buoys;
parallel with this, and close to it, a staging was erected, on which the
spectators could stand and observe accurately the quality of every cast.
The contestants were required to use both hands, and were restricted to
five minutes’ time. The judges were three of the most experienced
fishermen of the State, one of whom is celebrated for his proficiency
in, and devotion to casting the fly.

It will be observed that several customary advantages were lost by this
disposition, or brought to an equality; there was no elevation above the
water, which is always difficult to measure, and which, of course, adds
immensely to the distance that can be covered; there was little or no
wind to add to the forward motion of the line, and no current to
straighten it out, or assist, by a slight resistance to the rod, in
recovering it, which, after all, is the main difficulty, as the line
that can be lifted and extended behind the fisherman will readily reach
its full length in front of him; and the distance cast was measured, not
along the line, which will invariably sag more or less, and may have its
length considerably augmented by an irregularity in delivery, but along
the water. Moreover, the competitors were required to make a neat as
well as long cast, lest they should be ruled out for want of delicacy,
and had to prove their thorough proficiency by dexterity with the left

The rods used were respectively of ash, with a split bamboo tip; of
cedar, with a lance-wood tip; and of split bamboo throughout; and were
all of the best workmanship and perfect representatives of their kinds;
the contestants were some of the best anglers of the State, and nothing
occurred to mar the pleasure of the contest or to disparage the
correctness of the award. The prize was won by the cedar rod, which was
twelve feet three and one-half inches long, and weighed, with heavy
mountings, fourteen ounces; and the greatest distance cast with the
right hand was sixty-three feet, although the allowance carried the
official return to sixty-eight feet; and with the left hand the absolute
distance was fifty-seven feet. The author cannot help adding that the
cedar rod was in his hands, and that the prize is now in his fire-proof
safe, as he thinks that success at such a trial and against such
competitors is legitimate ground for no little vanity.

It is reported that there was a contest of a similar nature in England;
but while the length of rod was restricted to twelve feet, there was no
allowance for weight. The contestants stood several feet above the level
of the water, and the distance reached was seventy-two feet. This,
therefore, scarcely furnishes a ground for comparison, as a rod may be
made so heavy at the top and limber in the middle as to cast a
prodigious line, but which would be utterly unwieldy at the river side;
and for every foot of elevation several feet of additional length are
gained. In public trials attention must be paid to these particulars, or
they will furnish no satisfactory test.

The writer once cast seventy-two feet with the same cedar rod that won
the prize; but this, although without the assistance of any wind, was
done from a slight elevation with the aid of a current, and was measured
by the length of line. It is undoubted, moreover, that sixty-three feet
is not the limit that can be attained where no attention is paid to
delicacy in delivering the flies, or where but one fly or none whatever
is used. The line can be cast considerably farther without a fly
attached than with it, and the length and taper of casting-line should
accord exactly with the weight and taper of line. This has to be
regulated in a measure by practice, and should be carefully determined
before a public trial is undertaken.

The author of the American Angler’s Book recommends that the largest fly
should be used as the stretcher. This is all wrong, and no one that does
so will ever deliver his flies far and neatly. It is contrary to the
principle of tapering the line, and has no advantage whatever to
recommend it. The largest fly should be the upper dropper or bob, and
the next in size the second dropper, while the stretcher should be the
smallest. Then not only will the taper be maintained, but if a trout
rises at the droppers there will be more probability of striking him.
One of the contestants at the trial above mentioned delivered his line
so delicately that the flies often could not be seen to strike the water
or make the least disturbance on its surface, although the spectators
were close to the spot where they fell. He was on a previous occasion
ruled out of a contest because the judges could not see where his flies
alighted. He is especially careful to maintain the true taper of line,
casting-line, and flies, and would scout the idea of using a cast with
its largest fly at the stretcher. This is as gross a heresy as putting a
shot in the fly-hook, which, while it may tend to break the rod, instead
of increasing will diminish the distance reached.

The author of the work referred to, although doubtless a hearty
participant in the angler’s pleasures, and fond of the free life in the
wild woods by the side of the secluded stream, shows, by his preference
for common flies and coarse tackle, that he does not appreciate the
higher development of his art in its purity; content rather to fill his
basket with a stout hackle from the well-stocked brook of the rarely
visited forest, than to tempt the dainty trout with finer imitations
from the well-fished pond of the cultivated country. Not only are large
flies, especially at the stretcher, difficult to cast, but the hackles
which he especially recommends are, from the resistance to the air
offered by their numerous bristles, by far the most difficult. It is
almost impossible with a light rod to cast a large hackle delicately to
a distance; and when three are used, it is entirely so. In clear pools
such an apparition would frighten the trout from their “feed” for a
week. But in a boisterous, roaring, foaming mountain cataract, where the
fish cannot see the fisherman at all, and find difficulty in seeing
their prey, hackles and palmers are perfection.

The foregoing match was governed by the following rules, which have been
permanently adopted by the New York Sportsmen’s Club, but the allowance
of tune is not sufficient where delicacy and distance both are to be
determined; and the better plan would be to allow each contestant first
to extend his line as far as he can, and then to restrict him to five
minutes as to the other matters at issue.


No _Rod_ shall be allowed over twelve feet six inches in length, nor
more than one pound in weight, and it shall be used with a single hand.

A practicable _Line_ and _Click-Reel_ shall be attached to the rod.

One _Stretcher Fly_ must be used, and a _Casting-Line_ or _Leader_, of
single gut, of not less than six feet in length.

Additional _Flies_ may be added in the discretion of the contestants.

No attached _weight_ of any kind on the line or fly shall be permitted.

Allowance of distance shall be made according to the length and weight
of each rod of five feet for every foot of _length_ and two feet for
every ounce of _weight_, and at that rate for a part of a foot or ounce,
deducting for a hollow butt or the omission of the customary mountings.

Each _contestant_ shall be allowed _five minutes_ for casting, and in
case of accident, such as the parting of the fly, or entangling of the
line, the referee may once allow _additional time_, in his discretion.

No cast shall be valid unless the line be _retrieved_.

The character of the contest, whether as to _distance_, _accuracy_, or
_delicacy_, shall be stated at the time of making the terms, and, if not
so stated, shall be only as to the distance, which, if practicable,
shall be measured along the water.

In case delicacy and accuracy are to be considered, the casting shall be
done with each hand, across, against, and with the wind, in over and
under casts, and not less than three flies must be used on a leader of
at least eight feet in length.

_Salmon Fly-Casting._--The above rules shall govern, unless it shall be
distinctly agreed that the contest is to be with double-handed rods, in
which case they shall be modified as follows:

The rods shall not be over twenty feet, and the casting-line or leader
not less than ten feet in length.

Allowance of distance shall be made for length, but not for weight, and
no more than one fly shall be used in any event.

       *       *       *       *       *

In addition to the imitations of the natural fly, efforts have been
continually made to use artificial representations of the other food and
baits for fish; exact and beautiful copies of grasshoppers and frogs
have been constructed, and painted of the proper color, but either from
the nature of the composition or some other cause, entirely in vain.
Indeed it is doubtful whether any fish was ever captured with such
delusions as grasshoppers, crickets, or frogs, and although they are
still retained in the shops, they no longer find a place amid the
angler’s paraphernalia. Squid and spoons are usually supposed to imitate
minnow, and have always been to a greater or less degree successful, but
the imitation fish itself has, until late years, invariably proved a
failure. With the discovery of the proper preparation of gutta-percha,
and its application to the innumerable purposes for which it is now
employed, came the suggestion that it might in various ways serve the
angler; as wading-boots and water-proof clothing, of course, but also
for bait-boxes, rods, and finally minnows. A little fish made of this
material is not only a faultless imitation of the original, and is even
curved in a way to produce the most perfect spin, but being soft to the
teeth, seems absolutely to convince the trout in spite of their palates
that it is wholesome and appropriate food. This imitation is used with
satisfactory results, not only for trout to which it is peculiarly
adapted, but also for snapping mackerel and lake-trout; it is so
admirably prepared that the eye cannot detect the deception, and it has
about the same consistency as fish itself. The back is a delicate
mottled green, changing to yellow on the sides, where there are a few
vermilion spots, while the lower part is brilliant and sparkling with
some preparation of quicksilver. There is a gang of three hooks near
the head and another at the tail, which is of tin, and the whole is
attached to double gut. A modification of the same article is made by
fastening two tin flanges at the head of the same minnow and leaving the
body straight, but by the change more is added to the weight than to its

This invention is extremely light, being hollow, can be cast even with
the fly-rod, and has been known to do great execution. In its present
perfected form, it is a foreign production, but the original discovery
was American. It is especially successful with lake-trout, even more so
than with brook-trout, but is too delicate to trust in the hungry jaws
of a savage pickerel. When the snapping mackerel first appear, and
before their increasing appetites have made them as ravenous as they
subsequently become, and when they will not condescend to the leaden
squid, they will readily take this gutta-percha artificial minnow. One
of its great recommendations is its lightness; no imitation bait that
falls with a loud splash into the water can do other than terrify the
timid trout; and to make casting a pleasure, the rod must be delicate,
which cannot be if the bait is heavy. The squid is usually supposed to
be the original imitation of a minnow, and has held a prominent place
among the angler’s delusions for many years; in bass-fishing, in
trolling for blue-fish, and even for lake trout, it is worthy of all
praise. For bass, it is true, the natural squid is far more tempting,
but this queer monstrosity is difficult to obtain, and its substitute
has often captured enormous fish; for blue-fish no other bait is
ordinarily used, and for lake-trout the ivory squid can hardly be
surpassed. The ordinary kinds are of lead, pewter, bone, which are often
hollow, and admit the insertion of a large hook; and of pearl, the
latter in its most killing shape having flanges and spinning like the
minnow. For blue-fish and their young--the snapping mackerel, lead is
the favorite, while for lake-trout and pickerel, ivory is preferable,
although this rule is not invariable; and on dark days the light-colored
material will be occasionally preferred by all these varieties.

As the trolling-spoons resemble no known creature, they also are
supposed to be intended and accepted for the minnow, although it is
difficult to conceive why fish with their sharp sight, that can
distinguish an almost microscopic midge upon the surface of the water
twenty feet above their heads, should mistake a piece of revolving tin
for a living fish. The first of these contrivances were manufactured and
named from the bowl of a pewter spoon, the handle being broken off and
holes drilled in each end, so that the line and hooks could be attached;
this bait was found to revolve and glitter in the water in an attractive
way. It is now almost superseded by other modifications; but still, when
made of bright tin and painted of a dark color on the convex side, and
rather more elongated than the ordinary pattern, it is successful with
lake-trout and Mackinaw salmon. The first alteration in shape was by
fitting two flanges or wings on a long, hollow body, upon the principle
of a screw, and named after Archimedes, by which a rapid revolution was
produced; but although this invention seemed to man nearly perfect, it
did not satisfy the fish; for a very small spoon it will answer, but
when larger is not so attractive as other kinds. Several alterations and
combinations of these two plans were produced from time to time; they
proved to be merely changes and not improvements, until an invention was
made that is usually called Buel’s Patent Spoon--although it has been
said that his patent only covers the application of three hooks instead
of two, and that the invention has long been in use among the pickerel
fishermen of the St. Lawrence. The blacksmiths on the banks of that
river certainly manufacture them unrestrainedly of such material as they
prefer, but only use two hooks; and this would not probably be permitted
if the patent was broad enough to prevent it.

Be that as it may, however, it is known as Buel’s Spoon; it is made by
fastening two or three hooks back to back, and attaching a piece of tin
nearly elliptical in shape, so that it can revolve freely round a collar
at the shank. This is its simplest form, and the one preferred for
mascallonge, for which two strong thick hooks are used, firmly soldered
together; and for pickerel, black-bass, and lake-trout, it is safer to
have the hooks either soldered into one piece or attached by wire, as
the fierce struggles and sharp teeth of these species will soon destroy
thread or silk. The tin is painted of various colors, or even replaced
with brass, and should be kept well burnished on the bright side.
Feathers of gaudy colors, such as ibis, golden pheasant neck, mallard,
and wood-duck, interspersed with plain white, are often fastened along
the shank; spoons thus prepared are favorites of the black-bass, but
have no advantage for mascallonge over the bare hooks; they are also
used successfully for trout, especially those captured in salt water,
and the feathers as well as the coloring of the tin may be adapted to
the state of the weather. On clear, sunshiny days dull colors are
preferable, as with artificial flies; and in dark or rainy weather the
lightest colors answer best. Three additional hooks are sometimes added,
and allowed to dangle loosely below the others; although these
occasionally capture a fish that has missed striking the spoon fairly,
they are more frequently bitten off; they are really no advantage, and
if once imbedded in the bristling jaws of a gasping pickerel, their
extraction is both difficult and dangerous.

Of the different varieties of artificial bait, not of course including
the artificial fly, the most general and successful is Buel’s Spoon; it
is taken by all the pickerel, from the monstrous mascallonge to the tiny
native of Long Island; by the trout of lake or brook; by the black-bass
of the North and South, and by the young blue-fish of the salt water; it
is generally a greater favorite than the artificial, and sometimes even
than the natural bait; with black-bass it has no competitor but the fly,
and with sea-trout it occasionally surpasses the artificial fly itself.
Its irregularity of motion, consequent upon the mode of revolution,
seems to be its charm; and although it does not spin as well as the
Archimedes, it is infinitely more killing. It has in open water almost
supplanted the use of bait for pickerel and mascallonge, and it has been
used to a murderous extent by greedy fishermen in trolling the waters of
Moosehead Lake for trout.


Among all the arts and sciences that improve, elevate, or embellish
society, or that contribute to the pleasure and comfort of mankind, the
one that is the most necessary to health and happiness, has produced the
fewest great geniuses, and is the least understood, is cookery. Amid the
thousands of men and women who pretend to a knowledge of its mysteries,
how difficult is it among the former, and how impossible among the
latter, to find a good cook--one who is devoted heart and soul to the
intricate science, who passes days in pondering and nights in dreaming
of these delicate combinations that constitute pure and refined taste!

The world has produced in hundreds painters that delight the eye,
composers that enrapture the ear, scholars that convince the intellect,
poets that touch the heart; but of culinary artists that enchant the
stomach, the truly great may be counted on the fingers. In ancient times
more attention was paid to gastrology, but the degraded taste that could
employ an emetic to enable the repetition of indulgence, and the limited
resources of restricted national intercourse, have left us little of
value to be gleaned for the experience of antiquity. The great masters
of the kitchen of those times have passed away into oblivion, or have
left only a few crude dishes, remarkable more for their extravagance
than their excellence. It was a deficiency of knowledge and high art
that drove the gourmands of early days to peacocks’ brains,
nightingales’ tongues, and dissolved jewels.

The middle ages have left us some right royal dishes; the boar’s head,
the roasted ox, the black pudding, mince-pies, the plum-pudding;
remarkable, however, more for their substantial character that satisfied
a vigorous appetite, than for delicacy that would gratify an educated
taste. During this period, however, many drinks attained a perfection
that has never been improved on, and those delicious combinations that
were called cardinal, bishop, punch, and the hearty sack, are almost as
well known and as great favorites now as then. There is nothing to be
drawn from the dark ages in the least elevating to the science of
gastronomy, and we must look to modern times, and mainly to the French
nation, for our highest authorities and truest instruction.

Catherine de Medicis introduced the art of cookery into France, and
liqueurs were invented during the reign of Louis XIV., since which time
the revered names of Vatel, Soyer, Ude, Kitchiner, Bechamel, and Carmel
have become household words throughout Christendom; their skill has shed
a benign influence over mankind, has restored invalids to health, and
brought peace to families; they are quoted and looked upon with deep
respect by all. Coarse minds, to whom the allurements of gastronomy are
incomprehensible, consider cooking vulgar; while a few pitiable
individuals are created without the sense to distinguish the tasty from
the tasteless, as there are persons without an eye for the beauties of
nature or an ear for the harmony of sounds. These unfortunates deserve
our sympathy; but for the individual who affects to despise the
pleasures of the table, as loftily placing himself above what he terms
grovelling appetites, nothing is appropriate but contempt. Who would
believe or respect the man who claimed that his inability to distinguish
green from red was a credit to him? Or could tolerate one who was filled
with ostentatious pride because, by a wretched malformation, he could
not tell Old Hundred from _Casta Diva_?

The sense of taste is as noble, and as capable of education and
improvement, as the art of the painter or the musician. The stomach
being the governor, master, and director of the body, when it is pleased
the intellect works with force, the eye and ear are in full play, and
the nerves and muscles tingle with animation; when it is sick or
exhausted the eye grows dull, the intellect feeble, the ear inaccurate,
and the whole body drooping and spiritless. It has its ramifications in
every part of the system, and controls as inferiors the other organs. An
ill-cooked dinner has lost many a battle, ruined many an individual, and
disgraced many a genius; it is said that an indigestible _ragout_ cost
Napoleon his crown.

Life is dear to all, and yet persons are continually committing a
disagreeable and prolonged suicide, accompanied with painful
indigestions and untold sufferings, by attempting to despise the rules
that the imperative stomach has laid down. Under certain well-known
chemical laws, food is rendered both digestible and palatable by special
modes of preparation, and indigestible and unpalatable by other modes.
The same piece of meat that, fried, will resemble shoe-leather, and
afford neither pleasure nor sustenance, if nicely broiled would prove
agreeable to the palate and wholesome to the body.

Our country is overflowing with abundance of the raw material from which
good dinners are made; but we are absolutely without cooks, and the
average American life is shortened one-tenth by the miserable ignorance
of the rules of cookery that pervades all classes. The farmer bolts his
heavy griddle cakes and tasteless fried meats; while the wealthy citizen
devours rich gravies and ill-prepared compounds. The former loses his
teeth, the latter incurs the thousand horrors of dyspepsia, and both
shorten their lives.

But to rise above the unimportant consideration of mere life, which is
held in our land at its true value, and regarding cookery from a loftier
point of view, is there not something noble in the art that moulds
together the various subjects of taste, and builds up an exquisite,
soul-thrilling composition? Is not that man worthy of our deepest
admiration, who, not only from the wealth of materials prepares the
perfection of luxury, but when reduced to the simplest articles, still
manages to gratify the most delicate and exacting of our organs? Who has
not felt his heart expand as he surveyed a royal feast; his affections
become purified, his feelings elevated, as dish followed dish, and each
proved itself worthy of the other; and at last has not taken a gentler
view of human kind when contentment filled his soul? A good dinner
encourages generosity, begets sympathy, increases geniality, while it
strengthens the intellect and the nerves; a bad dinner produces
ill-nature, leads to discontent and quarrelling, dulls the mind, and
injures the body. The former aids Christianity and promotes virtue; the
latter is the bold accomplice of vice and crime; evil humors cannot
exist in the body without spreading to the mind, and vices in the former
create vices in the latter. Controlled by that complacency which is the
stomach’s return for kind treatment, the evil passions sleep, and fading
gradually, lose half their strength; whereas, if aggravated by perpetual
dissatisfaction and uneasiness, they become daily more violent, till
they disdain command and burst forth in unrestrained fury. So that the
soul, even, may be endangered by bad cookery. The civilization and power
of nations advance in proportion to their improvement in their cuisine,
and the reformation is said to be due to the strong Teutonic impatience
of fast days. A coarse taste in eating is as sure an indication of
coarseness in mind and habits, as delicacy of taste is of delicacy and
refinement in other particulars. As the more vulgar desires are
controlled by the higher impulses of the mind, and clean hands are
often the index of a clean heart, so purity of appetite usually
accompanies purity of soul. Nothing condemns the vulgar man more quickly
than the nature of his appetite, and his mode of gratifying it; driven
on like the beasts by hunger, he thinks only of the readiest and
quickest mode of satisfying the unpleasant craving, and never dreams
there can be anything intellectual in a dinner. The Americans, as a
nation, are ignorant of the first principles of dining; in private, they
ruin their digestions; in public, they disgust their fellows. With that
practical turn for which they are famous as a body, they devote
themselves to what is profitable; and the arts of sculpture, painting,
and gastronomy are just beginning to be appreciated.

Those huge dishes that delight hungry, vulgar John Bull, such as roast
beef, boiled mutton, and the like, still meet with the approbation of
the active American; and while our women, with their natural elegance,
draw their fashions from France, our matter-of-fact men imitate the rude
cookery of England. It is a melancholy truth that there is no place in
America where a dinner can be obtained; feeding-places, miscalled
restaurants after those priceless legacies of the French revolution, are
innumerable; but even the famous Delmonico fails to appreciate that
wonderful production, the pride of our land--none of the miserable
little coppery European abominations, but the great American
oyster--does not understand it, and never rises to a proper
comprehension of its capabilities, and consequently never serves a
perfect dinner.

So must it be while ignorant Irish cooks--whose only claim to the title
consists in having spoiled thousands of potatoes, in having rarely seen,
and never cooked, a piece of meat, and only dreamed of coffee--possess
our kitchens and rule the roast; and as it is impossible for the master
of the house, and would be unladylike in the mistress, to superintend
the dinner, the only spot for truly scientific cookery is in the woods.
There, under the blue vault of heaven, where the shade of some friendly
tree tempers the combined heat of sun and fire, accompanied only by the
interested and appreciative guides, with the hot wood fire rapidly
forming its pile of glowing coals, can the contemplative man, tempted by
appetite and opportunity, devote himself to the higher branches of
epicurism. Not that the materials are plentiful, rich, or costly, but
working up from the very plainness of his fare a more gratifying
compound. With that bed of coals suggesting broiling, and that dancing,
smokeless blaze inviting roasting, no intelligent being would think of
frying meat.

Under such circumstances, the larder being necessarily limited, and
repetition threatening to breed disgust, ingenuity is sharpened and
exercised to produce variety; an accurate knowledge of the power of
different sauces is obtained, and new modes of dressing simple articles
invented. It is to lead the mind of the reader in this direction, and
not with the hope of instructing Irish cooks, or educating American
taste, that this short article on cookery is written; and if the life in
the woods, or on the water, of our sportsmen shall be in a degree
improved by the effort, the main object will be attained.

The materials generally at the disposal of the hunter or fisherman on
the coast and in the woods consist of fish, oysters, clams, ducks, game
birds, and venison; while he will carry of necessity pork, ship-biscuit,
salt, and pepper, and, if possible, eggs, flour, sauces, Indian-meal,
and as many of the minor aids of a good _cuisine_ as his means of
transportation will admit.

No attempt will be made to confuse the reader with complicated
directions for the construction of highly seasoned and strangely named
French dishes, but the simplest and readiest mode of cooking each
article will be given, with instructions in varying the effect. If the
enthusiasm inherent in the subject shall occasionally carry the writer
away and lead him to indulge in what the reader--living on hard tack and
salt pork--may regard as vain imaginings, the weakness of man in the
contemplation of so vast a subject must be the excuse; and the disciple
need undertake nothing for which he has not the materials.

One of the great deficiencies, although partially supplied by the
solidified article, is milk, which cannot be kept in its natural state,
and is badly represented by its substitute. Generally, however, water
will answer in its stead, and for gravies or thickening for stews, a
little flour mixed with a lump of butter, and dissolved in a cupful of
tepid water, is an excellent equivalent.


The American oyster, to the thoughtful mind, presents itself almost as
an object of veneration, and would among barbarous nations have altars
raised to its honor; to the practical mind it is a mine of luxury, a
very Golconda of epicurean wealth; raw broiled, baked, roasted, fried,
stewed, or scolloped, it is the tit-bit of perfection, and in every mode
may be varied extensively; it takes all flavors, and is delicious
without any; it is improved by all sauces, and needs none. It accords
with every other dish, or makes a dinner alone. The subject has never
been half explored, much less exhausted.

A stew may be made with crackers or flour, with celery, cheese, or milk,
and with or without sauces; but in every instance the juice must be
separated from the oysters and well cooked before the latter are added,
or they will be over-done, shrivelled, and ruined. The simplest mode is
to put some pepper, salt, and butter in the juice, boil it five minutes,
add the oysters, and cook for one minute longer.

Or you may add to the juice crackers pounded fine and rolled in butter,
and some celery chopped fine, or a little cheese and Worcestershire or
Harvey sauce; or you may put a table-spoonful of flour and as much
butter in a cup, and having rubbed them together and added a little of
the warm juice, may mix this slowly with the rest. This must all be
done before the oysters are added; and where flour is used, care must be
taken to mix it first with a small quantity of fluid, or it will lump. A
dry stew, which is preferred by many, is made by cooking the oysters,
from which the liquor has been carefully strained, in butter, salt,
pepper, and sauce.


Dry each oyster separately on a towel; dip them in the yolk of eggs
beaten up, and then in pounded crackers that have been seasoned with
salt and pepper; heat butter or pork drippings in the frying-pan, and
cook the oysters over a slow fire, turning them frequently. Do not use
too much butter or drippings, but add fresh as required, so as to leave
the oysters dry when done. A clean tin pan is the best, and red pepper
preferable to black. Lard is detestable for frying anything, and salad
oil is perfection. If black pepper is ever used, it should be purchased
whole and ground by hand, as the fine pepper is generally adulterated
and flavorless.


To roast an oyster, it is simply put on the fire till it opens, when the
shell is forced off, and it is eaten from a hot, concave shell, in which
butter has been melted with vinegar, salt, and pepper; or it may be
taken out when half done, and cooked in a pan with its own liquor, salt,
pepper, and a little butter.


Are prepared as for frying, then dipped in melted butter, placed in a
double gridiron, and cooked over live coals.


Are placed in a deep dish with butter and bread-crumbs, or pounded
crackers well seasoned and baked.


The only proper mode of baking clams was discovered by the aborigines,
and was invariably practised by them on their yearly visitations to the
sea; the clams are placed on a flat rock side by side, with their sharp
edges down and the valves up, and when so arranged in sufficient
numbers, are kept in their places by a surrounding circle of stones. A
large fire is built over them and allowed to burn for about twenty
minutes, when it is cleared away and the clams are extracted from the
ashes, overflowing with juiciness and steaming with aroma. Burnt fingers
and lips add to the pleasures of an Indian clam-bake. The best sauce is


Pork, potatoes, butter, crackers, sauce, salt, pepper, vegetables, and
meat, if any can be had, clams or fish, or both, are covered with water,
placed in a close vessel, and stewed slowly till patience is exhausted,
appetite insists upon indulgence, or the mess threatens to burn. The
large articles are cut in pieces of an inch square or thereabouts, and
may be highly seasoned.


Hard clams are not fit to eat, stew them as you will. Soft clams, after
the tough parts are removed, are excellent stewed with a little butter,
or butter rolled in flour, as directed for oysters; but being richer
than oysters, they do not need so many additions. The soup is made by
thinning the juice before it boils with milk, which will curdle if
thrown into the boiling liquid. Hard clams make a good soup if they are
cut fine and not eaten.


Soft clams may be prepared as directed for oysters, the tough parts
being first removed.


Eggs are broken one by one in a cup to make sure they are fresh, and
then thrown into a pan with a lump of butter, some salt and pepper, and
stirred carefully, so as not to break the yolks immediately, over a slow
fire till the whole is almost hard. They had better be too soft than too


Are broken into a cup and poured one by one carefully into hot water,
and when done are ladled out on a flat, broad stick or spoon, so as to
let the water drain off.


Fried eggs are broken one at a time into a cup, and poured into hot


Eggs are broken into milk, thickened with a moderate quantity of flour,
salt, and pepper, which is beaten up and fried with butter; parsley,
ham, or bacon may be added, cut fine.


May be fried in grease with a little pepper, or may be stewed in milk. A
little flour rubbed with butter in a cup, and mixed with some of the
warm gravy, may be added.


There are two modes of boiling fish; one recommended by Sir Humphrey
Davy, and the other by the great Soyer. By the former, the fish cut into
pieces is thrown into boiling salt and water, one piece at a time, and
the largest first; by the latter it is placed in cold water, heated
slowly, and allowed to simmer by the fire. The former, in his
_Salmonia_, page 120, quotes chemistry to show that by the excessive
heat the curd is coagulated at once and preserved; the latter refers to
his unequalled reputation. I have generally pursued the former course as
the more rapid; the water must be allowed to recover its heat after each
piece is thrown in, so that it may be always intensely hot; about
fifteen minutes of hard boiling will be required, but the only reliable
plan is to examine and try the fish with a fork from time to time, as it
is ruined if cooked too long, and uneatable if not cooked enough.

In Soyer’s receipt the fish is placed in cold water that contains a
pound of salt to every six quarts, which is then heated to the boiling
point and allowed to simmer for half an hour if the fish weighs four
pounds, for three-quarters if it weighs eight pounds, and so on.

Of course, a fish must be scaled ere it is cooked, and should be
cleaned, although if it is cooked whole and the party is hurried, the
latter process may be omitted without injury; the entrails, however, are
not to be eaten.

A little of the liquor in which the fish has been boiled, with Harvey or
Anchovy sauce, or Chili vinegar, makes an excellent dressing; but the
best sauce is obtained by dissolving a spoonful of flour, that has been
thoroughly mixed with a lump of butter, in a little warm water, and
boiling the whole for a few minutes. This may be prepared in any tin
pot, and, cooked with chopped parsley, is the making of boiled fish.


The fish, which should be small, after being cleaned and scaled, are
dipped in water and then in Indian-meal, and fried, well seasoned with
pepper, in the pan with pork drippings or butter. If the latter is used,
salt must be added. Trout are excellent prepared in this manner.


Fish for broiling may be larger than for frying; they are scaled, split
open down the back, and well seasoned. They are placed on the gridiron
and approached for a few moments close to the fire, so as to sear the
pores. They are then cooked more slowly and well basted with butter,
unless a piece of thin pork is laid across them, the grease from which
will answer the place of basting. A favorite way to cook a shad or
blue-fish alongshore is to split him entirely in two, and tacking the
halves, seasoned and buttered, to shingles, to roast them rapidly; each
man eats from his own hot shingle.


Small fish or pieces of fish, cleaned, scaled, and seasoned, may be
rolled in oiled paper and baked in the ashes; or a whole fish unsealed,
but cleaned and wiped dry, may be rolled in damp leaves and buried deep
in hot ashes. When it is done, the skin and scales will come off


Cold fish may be cut up into small pieces, seasoned and stewed in water,
with a little salt pork. If milk is substituted for water, the dish will
be more palatable.


Must be boiled when alive till they turn red. For a dressing the yolk of
a raw egg is beaten up, with a tea-cupful of salad oil poured in very
slowly till it is firm; a tea-spoonful of mustard, a little salt,
pepper, and vinegar are added and beaten together, after which more oil
may be added, if necessary. The meat is picked from the shell, cut up
fine, and mixed with a few spoonfuls of vinegar; the dressing is then
poured over it.

Or the dressing may be omitted, and the meat cut into pieces may be
warmed up in milk and butter, with pepper and salt, and served hot.


Are usually boiled by being thrown, after they have been washed, into an
iron pot filled with cold water and a little salt, placed on the fire
till the water boils, and allowed to cook till they are done, which is
ascertained by puncturing them with a fork. The water is then poured
off, and they are allowed to steam near the fire for a few minutes.

When cold they may be cut up and fried in grease, or mashed and stewed
in milk, or mixed with small pieces of salt pork or meat, and made into
a species of hash; in either case they must be well seasoned, and are
improved by the addition of onions.

The best way to fry them is to slit thin pieces from the raw potatoes,
and letting them drop into cold water, leave them for a few minutes.
When taken out and fried in butter, they will be crisp and fresh.

Potatoes are tender and mealy if simply baked in hot ashes, which can be
done by burying them under the fire until they become soft.


Meats are placed in cold water with a little salt, and boiled slowly,
the scum that rises being removed from time to time.


Pork is cut into thin slices and freshened by being heated in the
frying-pan with a little water. It is fried without any addition
whatever, and the grease fried out of it is saved for cooking other
articles. It can be breaded by being dipped first in cold water, and
then in crumbs or Indian-meal, and fried crisp.

The same directions apply to bacon, and both should be cut exceedingly


Meat may be stewed, baked, and broiled, much as has been heretofore
directed for fish. In stewing, the great point is to proceed slowly, and
in broiling to close the pores by burning the outside slightly on the
start; and the next point is to season sufficiently, as both pepper and
salt lose their strength in the presence of heat.


Are made by boiling a fish or a piece of meat very slowly; if salt meat
is used, it must have been boiled previously in a different water;
remove the scum till no more rises, add any vegetables, and boil till
done. Use a quart of water to every pound of meat, and keep the pot
well covered. Rapid boiling throws off the volatile portions of the meat
in steam.


Dip a duck or other large bird, neither cleaned nor picked, in water so
as to wet the feathers, and throw him on the fire or into the hot coals.
When the feathers are pretty well singed, he is done, and the skin,
feathers, and dirt may be peeled off together. A duck needs little more
than a thorough heating. Small birds may be rolled in oiled paper and
roasted in the ashes, or a bird picked and cleaned may be suspended by a
string near the fire, and made to revolve by twisting it up


Should be soaked over night, and then well boiled.


A cupful of rice is thrown with a pinch of salt into enough boiling
water to cover it well, and boiled for fifteen minutes. It must be soft,
but the grains should be separate. The water is poured off, and it is
dished up hot.


White gravy is made as already directed for fish. For brown gravy, a
little flour is heated in a frying-pan, and stirred till it is brown. It
can be kept in a bottle, and is added in small quantities to thicken the
juice of meat or soups.


Scalding vinegar may be poured over tough meat, which is left to stand
over night; next day the meat is to be cut into small pieces and stewed
with seasoning, and a few slices of potatoe and carrot.


Must be placed in boiling water with a pinch of salt, and are done when
they sink; they must be taken up immediately.


Is made by stewing fish cut into small pieces with chopped parsley and
onions, and some pepper and salt. It may be poured over toast and
thickened with flour and butter.


Small fish, cleaned and seasoned, and placed with a little mace in a pot
lined with paper, are covered with melted butter, pressed down, and
baked four hours with a weight on them.


Bleed the fish the moment it is taken by cutting its gills, and across
its sides, in a slanting direction at every two inches. Hold it by the
tail for a few minutes in the stream, moving it so as to encourage the
flow of blood. Put the pot, filled with cold spring water, on a brave
fire, so that it may heat while you are cleaning and scaling the fish.
Divide into slices through the backbone, where the slashes have already
been made. When the water boils, add a large bowlful of salt, and when
it has recovered its heat and is screeching hot, throw in the pieces of
salmon, the largest first, allowing the water to recover its temperature
after each. For fish under nine pounds, allow ten minutes, and one
minute more for every additional pound. Serve with a little of the brine
strengthened with anchovy sauce, or make a white gravy of flour and
butter, as heretofore directed. Save the brine for future use.


Catch your trout, put a pinch of salt in his mouth, roll him up in a few
folds of newspaper, dip the swaddled darling in the water, light a fire,
and place him in the embers. When the paper chars, take him out and eat
him at once, rejecting the entrails.


Divide the fish down the back and remove the bone; rub him with equal
quantities of sugar and salt, and a little pepper; dry him in the sun or
smoke. Cut into thin streaks, and broiled, he will be found good and


Four table-spoonfuls of onions fried with pork.

One quart of boiled potatoes well mashed.

One and one-half pounds of ship-biscuit broken.

One tea-spoonful of thyme.

One tea-spoonful of summer savory.

One half bottle of mushroom catsup.

One bottle of port or claret.

One-half nutmeg grated.

A few cloves, mace, allspice, and slices of lemon, and some black

Six pounds of sea-bass or cod, cut in slices.

Twenty-five oysters.

The whole to be put in a pot, covered with an inch of water, cooked
slowly and stirred gently.


Pieces of deer-liver may be impaled on a red cedar skewer, with a slice
of pork on top, and set up round a fire, near enough to cook slowly; the
pork will melt and baste the rest.


Are made by thickening flour with milk or water, and adding an egg or
two, together with a pinch of salt. They are poured in ladlefuls on a
hot griddle or frying-pan that has been well greased. Rice that has been
boiled and left over, or corn-meal that has been scalded, may be mixed
with the other articles, and makes rice or Indian cakes.


Two cups of Indian meal and one cup of wheat flour are mixed with two
tea-spoonfuls of cream of tartar, to which is added one pint of sour
milk or of sweet milk in which one tea-spoonful of soda has been
dissolved, beaten up with two eggs. The whole is to be baked one hour.
Cream of tartar is always to be mixed with the flour, and soda with the
milk, so that when these are subsequently brought in contact, gas is
evolved and the bread is rendered light.


The following recipe was furnished by Mr. Genio C. Scott to the New York
_Spirit of the Times_, and is doubtless equal to the reputation of the

“The old-fashioned iron pot is the best to make it in, but in lieu of it
a copper-bottomed saucepan, as deep as it is wide, will answer. First
take your fish--almost any kind will answer--but cod and sea-bass are
the best; clean and scale your fish, and cut them into pieces two inches
square; parboil a few onions; peel a few potatoes and quarter them; cut
up some salt pork into the thinnest possible slices, and cover the
bottom and sides of your pot with it to prevent your chowder from
burning; place upon the pork a layer of fish, and season it with salt
and a little black pepper. (Since I read ‘My Peninsular Medal,’ I have
been very chary of black pepper, for that authority states that it
inflames the stomach without stimulating it, while the cayenne pepper
stimulates without inflaming; but a dash of black pepper is useful for
its fragrance.) Next, a layer of the parboiled onions quartered; next, a
layer of potatoes, and season the layers; next, a layer of ripe tomatoes
sliced and seasoned (tomato requires more salt than other vegetables);
next, a layer of cracked sea-biscuit; next, a layer of fish; then
sprinkle this layer with infinitesimal pieces of salt pork, but
sparingly; then your layers of onions, potatoes, tomatoes, and
sea-biscuit, with proper seasonings of each layer; pour water enough to
cover the contents of the pot, but no more; cover the pot and place it
on a slow fire where it will simmer or boil slowly for an hour and a
half; a half hour before dishing the chowder, pour upon it a bottle of
Burgundy or claret.

“In seasoning the different layers of the chowder, tomato catsup will
answer where ripe tomatoes cannot be had. Sauces are also introduced
sometimes, and in case the party has been used to highly-seasoned food,
either Soyer, Harvey, or Worcestershire sauces may be used sparingly.
Many prefer to season with a greater variety of spices and condiments. I
often season with allspice; but camp chowder should be simple, and
composed of edibles easily obtainable. Clam chowder is made in the same


One-quarter of a pint of lemon juice, one-quarter of a pound of white
sugar, and two pints and a half of water. One-quarter of a pint of peach
brandy; the same of Jamaica rum, and a half pint of cognac; the three
latter ingredients mixed separately.


One slice of pineapple which has stood a day covered with sugar, two
bottles of port, one bottle of champagne, and plenty of ice.


Black tea and Porto Rico rum, mixed half and half, and sufficient sugar,
lemon-peel, and ice.


One bottle of claret, three-fourths of a tumbler of brandy, a claret
glass of Jamaica rum, one bottle of champagne, ice and sugar.


Eight tumblers of Jamaica rum, one and a half of arrack, and one of
lemon juice, which together with the rind of three lemons, is to be
allowed to stand for ten minutes, when sugar is to be added, and water
to twice the amount of the liquor.


One bottle of brandy, one of Jamaica rum, and one of arrack; three and a
half pounds of sugar, but no water, four lemons and twelve oranges cut
in slices, a large lump of ice. Add champagne to suit the taste
immediately before drinking.


Peel twenty-four lemons; steep the rinds for twelve hours in two quarts
of Jamaica rum. Squeeze the lemons on three and a half pounds of loaf
sugar; add two quarts of dark brandy and six quarts of water. Mix all
together; add two quarts of boiled milk, stir until the mixture curdles,
strain it through a jelly-bag until clear; bottle and cork.

This I have not tried, but give it on good authority.


The rind of a dozen lemons, two tumblerfuls of finely powdered sugar,
three pints of pale cognac, two quarts of cold, strong, green tea,
strained clear, two flasks of Curaçao, abundance of ice, and a half
dozen of champagne. This is an admirable liquor, even without the


Make a sauce by melting a lump of butter with two mustard-spoonfuls of
mustard, two table-spoonfuls of mushroom catsup, and one of sauce, mango
sauce being the best; add the juice of half a lemon, one wine glass of
sherry, and one of claret. Heat the mixture as hot as possible, and rub
in two table-spoonfuls of currant jelly till the whole is perfectly
smooth; then take the venison cut in steaks, and previously either
roasted or broiled, and warm it thoroughly in the sauce to which the
juice of the meat, if any, has been added. Cold meat is redeemed by this

       *       *       *       *       *

And now my friends, if you are ever fortunate enough to have the
Superior Fishing I have described, or if the author’s good-will may
avail even better, and, after the delight and triumph of success, the
well-earned prize is brought up properly upon the table, either in the
rough woods or the elegant dining-room, and is flanked by such
appropriate dishes as circumstances permit, and laid to rest in the
best liquor that can be obtained; then your mind, filled with present
complacency, must travel back over these pages, and forgetting the
faults and pardoning the errors, acknowledge that if in them you have
not found an instructor, you have found a brother sportsman; and, for
the sake of the bond that binds all members of the gentle craft
together, if you cannot conscientiously praise the manner or the matter
of these pages, you will utter no word to discourage an effort that,
while pointing out and dwelling upon the beauties of nature in our
wonderful country, and the pure attractions it offers to the lovers of
our art, has principally been to maintain the healthy and ennobling
nature of field-sports; to urge the protection, at proper seasons, of
the game that still lingers in our woods and waters; and to elevate to a
proud standard of honorable, generous, and merciful rivalry the
sportsmanship of America.



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