Small Stream Fly-fishing
Where average fishing may be had it is a very poor plan, one finely calculated to spoil sport, to fish the small mountain streams. These little brooks act as "feeders" for the larger streams and rivers. In the fall the trout of the larger streams ascend these little brooks to spawn and the little trout remain in them from the fry to the fingerling stage when they seek the deeper and more extensive streams. "Skinning" the small brooks merely means that the stock in the larger ones will surely deteriorate in numbers and in size, and eventually poor fishing or none at all will be the rule.
But if the small feeder brooks are religiously protected, the stocking of the larger streams is more or less automatic, no matter how hard these may be fished; this is especially true where the feeder brooks are stocked by the State or by individuals. It is manifestly futile to stock the small brooks and at the same time allow them to be fished. And stocking is most successful where the fry or fingerlings are planted in the tributary brooks where they are free from the large trout and the generally strenuous life of the river.
But where little brooks and small mountain trout are the rule and heavier fishing need not be taken into consideration, fly-fishing for the little chars of the mountain streams is a legitimate sport—and not a half bad one.
With trout fishing as, in fact, with any sport of the rod and gun, particularly in these days when light creels and hunting-coat pockets are the rule—the law in most localities jealously looking out for this—and the camera plays so important a part in field sports, the country to be fished or hunted, whether attractive or commonplace, is a primary consideration. It would be difficult to find a more pleasant field of action than that afforded by the typical mountain trout stream.
When you go fishing for mountain trout you seek the country of the ruffed grouse, the woodcock, the gray squirrel, and the white-tailed deer; Where the -withal, a somewhat strenuous country. Following the brook you pass through deep ravines strewn with green and moss-grown rocks, steep, slippery, moist, and prolific of mosquitoes, tumbles, tackle smash-ups—and trout. You work through little alder swamps, almost impenetrable tangles where there is nothing to see but the work ahead and nothing to do but do it—and catch trout. But, however difficult may be the local habitation of the mountain trout, it is sure to have the virtues of picturesqueness and freedom from monotony and to offer many opportunities for the camera as well as the rod.
Working quietly along the little stream you will sometimes flush a "partridge" and will often hear them drumming. Later in the spring a woodcock will perhaps get up within rod's length of you and whistle away over the tops of the alders. Where deer are at all common you will see their tracks along the brook and, if you are at all lucky—and quiet—you may even see the trail-makers. Incidents of this sort, with fair success with the little fly-rod, will surely serve to make your day on the stream a pleasant one. In such streams a trout weighing half a pound is a monster, and the average is considerably less than that. But sport with any game fish is largely a matter of the tackle used, and presumably you will use light tackle.
Camp, Samuel Granger. The Fine Art of Fishing. New York: Outing Pub., 1911. Print.
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