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.
Splash! splash! beat the waves on the shore. There was not a ruffle on the water, yet the waves beat gently on the shore. Strange are the mysteries of earth, but far stranger and deeper are the mysteries of the great ocean. Who has not listened to its strange and eerie moaning without a desire to learn the secret of its distress-why its waves beat constantly on the shore, and what causes its continual grieving.
The angler was soon aroused from his musings by a splash, and, looking up, he saw a great silvery form rise in the air; then another, and another. The canoe is launched with a run. Then the angler climbs over the stern, takes his seat in the bottom, and with a stroke of his paddle sends it swiftly darting over the water. On every side the silvery forms are now leaping. On every side circular rings on the water are widening. Taking his spoon he casts it in the wake of the canoe, and it begins to spin as he moves slowly away. Scarcely does the paddle strike the water three times-scarcely thirty feet of the line has been paid out-when, swish! the line is almost jerked out of his hand. He seizes it in his teeth, drops on his knees, and with a backward stroke of his paddle sends the canoe astern. There are a series of jerks that almost loosen his teeth. Dropping his paddle in the center of the canoe, he again takes the line in both hands, and draws it toward him. It does not come easily, for at the end of it is a twenty-pound Kisutch, battling for life and liberty. At last he is drawn up to the side of the canoe, not exhausted in the least. What a beauty he is, with his blue back, his sides adorned with white, and his under-garments crimson! He has rather an intelligent look in his bright eye. Look out! he is making an effort to be off. He rushes up to the surface, folds his tail under him, and is in the air in an instant. Poor Kisutch! That is just what the angler wanted. There is a quick jerk on the line, and the Salmon comes flying into the canoe. A strong club is drawn and falls heavily across the Salmon's head. There is a quiver, and then all is still.
The hook is hastily released from his jaw and is again spinning in the wake of the canoe. Foot after foot of line is paid out, until one hundred and sixty feet are out. Then the angler, taking the line in his teeth, paddles swiftly away, but does not go far before the line is jerked from his mouth with such violence that for the instant he imagines his neck is broken. Luckily, the line is fastened to the thwarts of the canoe. Again the paddle is taken, and once more does the backward stroke send the canoe astern. The line is swerving through the water with great velocity. Taking it in both hands, the angler begins to haul it in, hand over hand. Then a great Shad-like body leaps out of the water, shaking its head in a vain endeavor to loosen the hook from its jaw; but it is firmly caught. Again and again it leaps, but to no purpose; every moment it is drawn nearer and nearer to the canoe. At last it is swimming alongside. What a magnificent fellow it is! But it is far too large to try to jerk into the canoe if it does not spring, and it evidently has no idea of springing. With a sudden wave of its tail it goes boring down. Foot after foot of taut line is given it. All at once the pressure on the line ceases, and the angler begins to look blue. Has the hook broken? No; not yet. Suddenly the line again swerves through the water with great speed. Hand over hand it is drawn in again. Then the great fish rushes to the top of the surface, and in a hurried succession of leaps throws himself in the air, as if dancing some aquatic jig. But a tight line is kept on him, and inch by inch he comes to the side of the canoe. At last he is drawn, helpless and gasping, within reach. A hand is inserted in his gills and he is thrown into the canoe, where a blow from the club ends his existence. He is a Tyee, and will weigh at least thirty-five pounds.
A faint gleam of light rests on the crown of Mount Constitution. Far across the gulf, the summits of the Olympics have caught the glow of the rising sun and gleam brightly in the early morning light. Afar off on the gulf are seen the sails of a ship, and trailing along the horizon is a long wreath of black smoke that indicates the course of an ocean steamer. Nearer at hand dark bodies are moving through the water; at frequent intervals a column of water rises high in the air. The dark objects are a school of whales at play. Around the canoe the air is filled with flashing and splashing creatures. The angler would not exaggerate if he should say that he saw a thousand Salmon in the air at once. When he has rested for a few moments he again takes his paddle, and the bait is again sent spinning behind him, only to be seized in a short time by another Salmon.
This one, however, does not make the determined fight the others did. There is no singing of the line, no leaping in the air, no sounding beneath the canoe into the depths of the water. Hand over hand the sluggish fish is brought in, and with a jerk is launched in the canoe. It is a belated Nerka, who should have been with his unreturning brothers when they ascended the Frazer, months before. But if not a gamy fish, he is a palatable one, and the angler does not regret his delay. This specimen would weigh about ten pounds.
There are other fishermen abroad this morning. The angler hears the swish of a paddle, and, looking up, sees an Indian in a small canoe. He salutes the angler with a "Kla-howa, tillicum." " Klahowa" is growled back at him. Then the Siwash paddles alongside the angler's canoe and introduces himself.
"I am Klumukus," he says; "I am a very good man. Do you see where that smoke curls over the spit? There the man who married my sister lives. He is also a good man; he is a white man-his name is Ben of Kalamazoo. We are very dry-so dry that I fear we will soon die if we do not taste the fire-water of my white brother. When we saw your canoe, Ben said: 'Do you see that beautiful canoe? See how grandly the man in it paddles. He is a great man-he is a Hyas Tyee. No doubt he has many bottles of fire-water, and will gladly spare his white brother, Ben of Kalamazoo, and his red brother, Klumukus, one.' Brother, I have spoken."