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.
"A pair of large Trout had selected a spot near the bank of the stream, where the water was about ten inches deep. The female had fanned the gravel with her tail and anal fin until it was clean and white, and had succeeded in excavating a cavity. They were frightened away as I came to the edge of the bank. Concealing myself behind a willow bush, I watched their movements. The male returned first, recon-noitering the vicinity, and satisfying himself that the coast was clear, spent a half-hour in endeavoring to coax the female to enter the nest. She, resting half-concealed in the weeds, a few feet away, seemed unwilling to be convinced that the danger was gone; and he, in his full, bright colors, sailed backward and forward from the nest to his mate, rubbing himself against her, and swimming off again in a wide circle close along the bank, as if to show her how far he could venture without finding danger. She finally entered the nest."
Trout are also pugnacious at times, and have been known to engage in desperate conflicts with each other, sometimes resulting in the death of one or both of the combatants.
Many and various are the haunts of the Spotted Trout; from the pebbly shallows of the crystal lake, or the tranquil reaches and foamy pools of the tumbling river, where it is a joy to cast the fly, to the cold spring brooks far up on the mountain side, hidden by rocks and brushwood, and sometimes flowing unseen for many a rood, through subterraneous channels. Again the home of the Trout is in a rushing river, sometimes many yards in width, and bridged throughout by a tangled wilderness of cedar trees, some standing, but many of their trunks lying at every possible angle, and in all stages of decay. Through this series of obstructions the patient angler works his way, sometimes losing sight of the stream while he hears it gurgling beneath the mossy log on which he finds his footing, then, a few feet further on, he sees below a black pool of icy water, perhaps not three feet across, but of unknown depth. Here, as in the rare glimpses of running water on the semi-subterraneous mountain streams, the fly is useless.
Some think that the skilled fly-fisher never uses bait. He does, an' he be wise. Few are older or reckoned better anglers than Dr. William C. Prime, who says:
"The true angler is not confined to fly-fishing, as many imagine. When the fly can be used, it always should be used, but where the fly is impracticable, or when fish will not rise to it, he is a very foolish angler who declines to use bait."
Many good and sportsman-like Trout-fishers there are, who when circumstances render such effort feasible, will use nothing but the fly, but who from the nature of the streams among which they are compelled to seek their pastime, find it often advisable to resort to bait.
Bait-fishing, in the words of Genio C. Scott, "is of all field sports the parent of more patience and eager perseverance than any other;" and Thomas Tod. Stoddart, writing of summer fishing in Scotland, offers to prove "that worm-fishing for Trout, when the waters are clear and low, the skies bright and warm," "requires essentially more address and experience, as well as better knowledge of the habits and instincts of the fish, than fly-fishing."
True is the saying: "It is not all of fishing to fish," and while there is a mild pleasure in casting a fly over the roof of a sixteen-story flat, and a deep satisfaction in making the longest cast at an angling tournament, there is yet no feeling which can take the place of that in the mind of the tired and muddy angler, who as he wends his way homeward in the gloaming, is reminded by the weight of his creel, of the various incidents of weather, stream, rock, tree, flower, bird, animal, insect and fish which together have combined to make up his successful day's fishing.
The Brook Trout! How the memories of early and later days throng upon the mind of a "down-east" angler at the name. I remember as it were yesterday, when, a little boy, and listening wide-eyed to the converse of my elders, I heard such stories of great strings of beautiful Trout brought home from the brooks as set my blood on fire to emulate these achievements. Would I never be big enough to go Trout-fishing?
There was upon my father's farm a meadow through which ran a sparkling brook with pebbly bottom. As I one day approached this little stream, I saw a fish dart under a log which lay buried in the water. It must be a Trout, and here at last was my opportunity. I had a small silken line and several hooks, which had been given me by my big brother in Boston; and rapidly as possible, I hastened home, cut a stout apple-tree wand, and rigged my tackle. Placing upon the hook a worm, I hurried to the haunt of the Trout. I had heard enough of the modus operandi of the sport to keep out of sight; and carefully-very carefully, I approached the brook. My heart thumped loudly against my ribs as slowly the bait settled upon the water-I couldn't do it better today, though nearly fifty years have passed since; like a gleam of light, the Trout darted across the pool, and straight there was a thrilling tug upon the line. The lithe sprout bent double to the weight of the fish, for it was a good half-pounder; and when at last he lay quivering among the clover-blossoms, there was in all the northern land no prouder boy than I.
In those days we used hickory rods-poles we called them; and one merit at least they had-they never broke. The line or hook might fail at sorest need, but for the pole, you could surge and strain your best, and never fear consequences. It was with one of these machines, wire-ringed and copper-ferruled, that I first cast a fly. The rod weighed several pounds, and casting was no boy's play; so that I soon wearied of the fruitless labor, and seating myself upon a stone, allowed the fly-I remember that it was small and red--to drift upon the surface of the current while I sought in my pocket for my luncheon. As I lazily watched the fly descending into a foamy pool just below my seat, there was a gleam and a mighty surge. I grasped the rod-too late, the fish had detected the imposition and vanished. No further thought of luncheon. I fished that pool for hours, but no rise rewarded my efforts. Next morning I was again upon the spot, having meanwhile obtained another fly-a black hackle. This I added to my cast, and very carefully dropped it upon the surface of the brook. There was no rise, but as I was retrieving the line, and before I knew what had happened, a large Trout was fast to the hook. How I managed to save him I can hardly say, but save him I did, and ran exultant home. I caught no Trout as large as this in many after years.