Other Methods

The other methods of taking trout principally employed are spinning, live-baiting and worming. For big river trout such as those of the Thames a gudgeon or bleak makes the best spinning or live bait, for great lake trout (Jerox) a small fish of their own species and for smaller trout a minnow. There are numberless artificial spinning-baits which kill well at times, the Devon being perhaps the favourite. The use of the drop-minnow, which is trolling on a lesser scale, is a killing method employed more in the north of England than elsewhere. The worm is mostly deadly in thick water, so deadly that it is looked on askance. But there is a highly artistic mode of fishing known as "clear-water worming." This is most successful when rivers are low and weather hot, and it needs an expert angler to succeed in it. The worm has to be cast up-stream rather like a fly, and the method is little inferior to fly-fishing in delicacy and difficulty. The other baits for trout, or rather the other baits which they will take sometimes, are legion. Wasp-grubs, maggots, caterpillars, small frogs, bread, there is very little the fish will not take.

But except in rural districts little effort is made to catch trout by means less orthodox than the fly, minnow and worm, and the tendency nowadays both in England and America is to restrict anglers where possible to the use of the artificial fly only.

Grayling

The only other member of the salmon family in England which gives much sport to the fly-fisher is the grayling, a fish which possesses the recommendation of rising well in winter. It can be caught with either wet or dry fly, and with the same tackle as trout, which generally inhabit the same stream. Grayling will take most small trout-flies, but there are many patterns of fly tied specially for them, most of them founded on the red tag or the green insect. Worms and maggots are also largely used in some waters for grayling, and there is a curious contrivance known as the "grasshopper," which is a sort of compromise between the fly and bait. It consists of a leaded hook round the shank of which is twisted bright-coloured wool. The point is tipped with maggots, and the lure, half artificial, half natural, is dropped into deep holes and worked up and down in the water. In some places the method is very killing. The grayling has been very prominent of late years owing to the controversy "grayling versus trout." Many people hold that grayling injure a trout stream by devouring trout-ova and trout-food, by increasing too rapidly and in other ways.

Beyond, however, proving the self-evident fact that a stream can only support a given amount of fish-life, the grayling's opponents do not seem to have made out a very good case, for no real evidence of its injuring trout has been adduced.

Char

The chars (Sahelinus) are a numerous family widely distributed over the world, but in Great Britain are not very important to the angler. One well-defined species (Sahelinus alpinus) is found in some lakes of Wales and Scotland, but principally in Westmorland and Cumberland. It sometimes takes a small fly but is more often caught with small artificial spinning-baits. The fish seldom exceeds 1½ lb in Great Britain, though in Scandinavia it is caught up to 5 lb or more. There are some important chars in America, fontinalis being one of the most esteemed. Some members of the genus occasionally attain a size scarcely excelled by the salmon. Among them are the Great Lake trout of America, Cristinomer namaycush, and the Danubian "salmon" or huchen, Salmo hucho. Both of these fish are caught principally with spinning-baits, but both will on occasion take a salmon-fly, though not with any freedom after they have reached a certain size. An attempt has been made to introduce huchen into the Thames but at the time of writing the result cannot yet be estimated.