This section is from the book "American Game Fishes", by W. A. Perry. Also available from Amazon: American Game Fishes: Their Habits, Habitat, and Peculiarities; How, When, and Where to Angle for Them.
If you ever fish a large mountain stream, a river that has large deep pools that you can't see the bottom of, go up one of the little brooks that flow into it, to where you can catch some finger-long Trout; put them in a pail, keep them alive, and go back to the river. Put on a 3-0 hook, pass the point into the mouth of one of the small Trout and out at his gill, so as not to hurt him; cast into the deepest part of the pool, let him run and you are liable to get into trouble. Understand, I don't advise this method as a steady occupation, but only as a last resort; and to take one of the big Trout in this way-one that is so blamed smart he won't look at a fly, or even a 'hopper-is, I claim, legitimate sport.
I have never resorted to this means myself, for I have always been able to catch plenty of two and three pounders with a fly or with grasshoppers, and they were good enough; but I have known others to do so, and if ever I get left on the fair-sized ones I am liable to go after one of the big ones in this way. I speak of using small Trout for bait, only because chubs or other minnows are rarely found in mountain streams.
Worms need scarcely to be mentioned here, for they are not indigenous to the mountain soil, and so the Trout there are not educated to them. They occasionally take them, when offered, but not with the eagerness of the Brook Trout.
Of all angling known to lovers of angling, that wherein the Mountain Trout is the object of pursuit is surely the grandest, the most fascinating. That this statement will be challenged by the Salmon angler, and the more modern Tarpon angler, I am well aware; and though I grant the advocates of each of these, all the glory and all the sport there is in their kinds of fishing, yet I am prepared to stand by my assertion; and if only the devotee of either of the big fishes will but come with me into the mountains for a week, I will convince him that I am right.
The joys of Mountain Trouting are largely owing to the surroundings. The character of the streams and lakes, the grand mountain ranges that overshadow them, the rare, exhilarating atmosphere that fills the sportsman's lungs and buoys up his spirits, are conditions that are not enjoyed in any other class of fishing, unless it be that for Salmon, and not usually even this. Then the fact that the Trout rise greedily at almost every cast, and that frequently a dozen or more of them will rush for the flies at once, while in Salmon-fishing a rise is a thing usually to be long and eagerly worked for before being obtained, places Mountain Trouting far in advance of it, in the opinion of most men who have enjoyed both, notwithstanding the difference in size of the two fishes.
A better idea of the sport under consideration may perhaps be conveyed by a narration of a day's experience in it, than in any other way, and this I will venture to give.
On a bright morning in May, 1888, I left Tacoma, Washington, on an east-bound Northern Pacific train, and after riding some distance up the Puyallup Valley I left it, crossed through some heavily-timbered foot-hills and emerged on Green river, a good-sized stream that rolls down out of the Cascade Mountains. At the first station on this stream, I went forward and got on the engine in order to get a better view of it. I had been over this part of the road before, but in the night, and had not seen this stream. I inquired of the engineer and fireman concerning the fishing, and they said it was good; that several large catches had been made within the past two weeks, and that one Trout weighing seven pounds had been taken a few miles above where we then were.
The fever began to come on me at once, and as we thundered round the short curves and sped along rocky walls, ten or twenty feet above the stream, as we rolled over the numerous bridges whence I looked into the sparkling, eddying pools and saw great dark-backed Trout, darting hither and thither in flight from the rumbling monster above them, I became more and more nervous. Great mountains rose from the bed of the river, and here and there the stream hewed its way through imposing ledges of granite. Occasionally the engineer would call my attention to a dissolving view of old Mount Tacoma, now but a few miles away, as we sped by an opening in the foot-hills. Then he would point out a rugged mountain side, whereon some hunter of his acquaintance had slain a bear, or a dark canyon wherein someone else had killed a cougar, or a clump of pines in which a big elk had fallen a prey to still another sportsman. Then he would tell of the sheep and goats on the peaks farther back, of the trail to Tacoma and of the coal mines back in the hills. But though all these things would have been full of interest to me at another time or in another place, I heard little of them now. I was too busy watching the rapidly changing panorama of that grand torrent beneath our wheels. Not a stroke of the piston rod or an exhaust of the cylinder, as the great engine climbed the steep grade, and rounded the ever-recurring curves, but revealed new beauties, and inspired fresh admiration.
I inquired the distance to the point where we should leave the stream, and learning that it was yet some miles ahead, I rushed back to the coach, found the conductor and besought him to give me a stop-over check, and have, my baggage unloaded. He complied, and a fellow-passenger who had been watching the stream, and had heard our conversation, made a similar request. So we were both unloaded at the mouth of a wild gorge where there was a small, new board building, that served for the station, and a few log-cabins occupied by the section men.
The sun was now well toward the zenith, and by the time we exchanged our good clothes for our fishing suits, and got out our tackle, the dinner-horn blew. We went into one of the cabins, elbowed our way among the section men, and wrestled with corned beef, salt pork, potatoes and sour bread until we felt equal to a big afternoon's work. In the course of our conversation, I learned that my fellow-traveler was a Congregational minister, from a thriving city in Pennsylvania, and that he was on his first journey west of the Mississippi; so that this wild country was especially wild and fascinating to him.