Land-Locked Salmon

The land-locked salmon (Salmo salar sebago) of Canada and the lakes of Maine is, as its name implies, now regarded by scientists as merely a land-locked form of the salmon. It does not often attain a greater size than 20 ft, but it is a fine fighter and is highly esteemed by American anglers. In most waters it does not take a fly so well as a spinning-bait, live-bait or worm. The methods of angling for it do not differ materially from those employed for other Salmonidae.

Pacific Salmon

Closely allied to Salmo salar both in appearance and habits is the genus Oncorhynchus, commonly known as Pacific salmon. It contains six species, is peculiar to the North Pacific Ocean, and is of some importance to the angler, though of not nearly so much as the Atlantic salmon. The quinnat is the largest member of the genus, closely resembles salar in appearance and surpasses him in size. The others, sockeye, humpback, cohoe, dog-salmon and masu, are smaller and of less interest to the angler, though some of them have great commercial value. The last-named is only found in the waters of Japan, but the rest occur in greater or less quantities in the rivers of Kamchatka, Alaska, British Columbia and Oregon. The problems presented to science by solar are offered by Oncorhynchus also, but there are variations in his life-history, such as the fact that few if any fish of the genus are supposed to survive their first spawning season. When once in the rivers none of these salmon is of very much use to the angler; as, though it is stated that they will occasionally take a fly or spoon in fresh water, they are not nearly so responsive as their Atlantic cousin and in many streams are undoubtedly not worth trying for.

At the mouths of some rivers, however, where the water is distinctly tidal, and in certain bays of the sea itself they give very fine sport, the method of fishing for them being usually to trail a heavy spoonbait behind a boat. By this means remarkable bags of fish have been made by anglers. The sport is of quite recent development.

Sea-Trout

Next to the salmon comes the sea-trout, the other migratory salmonid of Europe. This is a fish with many local names and a good deal of local variation. Modern science, however, recognises two "races" only, Salmo trutta, the sea-trout proper, and Salmo cambricus or eriox, the bull-trout, or sewin of Wales, which is most prominent in such rivers as the Coquet and Tweed. The life-history of sea-trout is much the same as that of salmon, and the fish on their first return from the sea in the grilse-stage are called by many names, finnock, herling and whitling being perhaps the best known. Of the two races Salmo trutta alone is of much use to the fly-fisher. The bull-trout, for some obscure reason, is not at all responsive to his efforts, except in its kelt stage. Then it will take greedily enough, but that is small consolation. The bull-trout is a strong fish and grows to a great size and it is a pity that it is not of greater sporting value, if only to make up for its bad reputation as an article of food. Some amends, however, are made by its cousin the sea-trout, which is one of the gamest and daintiest fish on the angler's list.

It is found in most salmon rivers and also in not a few streams which are too small to harbour the bigger fish, while there are many lakes in Scotland and Ireland (where the fish is usually known as white trout) where the fishing is superb when the trout have run up into them. Fly-fishing for sea-trout is not a thing apart. A three-pounder that will impale itself on a big salmon-fly, might equally well have taken a tiny trout-fly. Many anglers, when fishing a sea-trout river where they run large, 5 lb or more, and where there is also a chance of a salmon, effect a compromise by using a light 13 ft. or 14 ft. double-handed rod, and tackle not so slender as to make hooking a salmon a certain disaster. But undoubtedly to get the full pleasure out of sea-trout-fishing a single-handed rod of 10 ft. to 12 ft. with reasonably fine gut and small flies should be used, and the way of using it is much the same as in wet-fly fishing for brown trout, which will be treated later. When the double-handed rod and small salmon-flies are used, the fishing is practically the same as salmon-fishing except that it is on a somewhat smaller scale. Flies for sea-trout are numberless and local patterns abound, as may be expected with a fish which has so catholic a taste.

But, as with salmon-fishers so with sea-trout-fishers, experience forms belief and success governs selection. Among the small salmon-flies and loch-flies which will fill his book, the angler will do well to have a store of very small trout-flies at hand, while experience has shown that even the dry fly will kill sea-trout on occasion, a thing that is worth remembering where rivers are low and fish shy. July, August and September are in general the best months for sea-trout, and as they are dry months the angler often has to put up with indifferent sport. The fish will, however, rise in tidal water and in a few localities even in the sea itself, or in salt-water lochs into which streams run. Sea-trout have an irritating knack of "coming short," that is to say, they will pluck at the fly without really taking it. There are occasions, on the other hand, in loch-fishing where plenty of time must be given to the fish without tightening on it, especially if it happens to be a big one. Like salmon, sea-trout are to be caught with spinning-baits and also with the worm. The main controversy that is concerned with sea-trout is whether or no the fish captured in early spring are clean fish or well-mended kelts.

On the whole, as sea-trout seldom run before May, the majority of opinion inclines to their being kelts.