Trout, which are caught in the numerous running streams of the United States, vary in color, appearance and size with the quality of the soil pertaining to the streams they inhabit. The fish called “black trout,” which are found in sluggish muddy streams, does not belong properly to the species. Trout will vary as much in shape and flavor, as in the color. They spawn in September and October, and the time for taking them is in the spring and summer. You may fish for trout until the 20th of August, though the finest ones are taken in the months of May and June. They bite the best in March and April. You can hook trout in several ways.
Some prefer fly fishing, and this is the most interesting mode in summer. The rod to be used should be light, and the line made of hair, or silk and grass. The fly should be placed on a length of gut, or a single light hair. Do not fish with your back to the sun. Stand as far from the stream as circumstances will allow. Always throw your line from you – never whip it out. Fly fishing is only suitable for pleasant weather. The best time of day is early in the morning or just at sunset. The line should be about half as long again as the rod. It should be thrown up stream, and let the fly gradually float down, and if possible fall into the eddies where the fish is apt to retreat in case of alarm. Let your line fall into the stream lightly and naturally, and when you raise it, do so gently and by degrees.
In trout fishing with the fly, only a small part of the line is allowed to be in the water. The end, or leader, should, as before stated, be a single light hair, if you can get one, as the trout is extremely shy and suspicious. If you stand on the bank of the stream, throw your line as far up as possible, as you cannot expect to catch a trout opposite or below where you are standing. If bushes intervene between you and the stream, (which is all the better) do not rustle them or make a noise.
The usual length of a rod for trouting is 14 feet, though longer or shorter ones may be used, according to fancy or convenience. The bottom of the line, unless you have a light hair, should be strong silk-worm gut. The size of the hook will depend upon your flies. Nos. 4 and 5 are used for worms and beetles, and 7 to 9 for small flies. If the flies are too small, put two on the hook, as these insects frequently fall into the water in couples. The largest and best trout lie in shallow water, faced up stream, or else they lie near the surface. They are found on the south, or shady side of the stream. It is necessary to be exceedingly cautious not to show yourself, as if they see you they vanish for the day. Grasshoppers and other small field insects are frequently used with success when worms fail.
Worm fishing for trout is practiced with similar caution. After a rain, when the water of the brook is a little riley, you can catch trout by this mode – sometimes very rapidly. It is usually practiced in the spring. A single split shot will generally be enough to sink your line, unless the stream is deep and rapid. The rod should be of bamboo, 16 to 20 feet long, and the line shorter than the rod. Keep the point of your rod exactly above the bait, steadily following it, as the bait drags along the bottom. When the fish takes the bait, do not let him run with it, but keep a steady hand. Do not jerk, but play gradually with him. If the day be clear, and the stream shallow, the best way is to wade up the stream cautiously, throwing your line far up, and letting it come gradually towards you. The fish always heads upstream and you should not fail to remember if he once sees you he vanishes. Bottom Fishing with the blue-bottle flies is practiced as follows: Use a silk or fine hair line, with gut leader, and a small quill float. Hook No. 10 is about the proper size. You will want one or two split shot on the line. Fill a glass bottle with the common blue-bottle fly found on fresh horse or cow dung. Bait your hook with two of these flies, and let it sink nearly to the bottom. In this way you may catch trout in ponds, or deep waters deposited by running streams, and often in the slack water of mill dams, when you could not catch them in the stream itself. This kind of trout fishing is practiced in July and August. When the fish has taken the bait, play him towards the top of the water always. Do not let him tangle your line int eh weeds or under brush.
The fin of a trout, or rather small fish, is sometimes used as a bait for trout with good success. It is dropped and roved, as with a minnow or fly.
Brook trouting is the very poetry of angling. It is an intellectual amusement, too, and requires as much caution, calculation and prescience as a game of chess – as fine touches of art as are necessary to perfect a picture or a statue. Through the meadow, where the rivulet, scarce a stride across, glides silently through the grass; along the gravelly bottom, where it sings and gurgles among the pebbles; through the gapes between the stony ridges, where it chafes and dances and raises its tiny roar among the splintered rocks; and across the woods, where it turns, and doubles, and feigns to sleep in quiet pools, the trouter must pursue
In every promising nook, on every inviting eddy, at the foot of every mimic cataract – in fact, in every spot where a trout would be likely to resort for fun, or food, or privacy – his fly must settle. After each deposit in his “creel,” he may look around and admire the prospect, open his ears to the song of the spring birds, and sniff up the delightful odors which the world exhales in turning green. But all of the spring birds, and sniff up the delightful odors which the world exhales in turning green. But all these things are to the trout fisher as if they were not, while he is professionally engaged; it is only in the pauses of his art that he ventures upon a parenthetical glance at the general features of the landscape. His basket filled, however, he has leisure to be sentimental, and can sit down on a fence and invoke the muses, if he happens to have the gift of jingle.