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.
Unquestionably, in no part of the globe are there so many Salmon rivers as there are in the Dominion of Canada. There are far more than a hundred-in all perhaps a hundred and twenty-which might yield fair sport to the rod, counting only those of the Atlantic coast, and not including those of the Arctic and Pacific. Dozens of them have never been fished with a fly. Some, perhaps, are virgin even to netters. Only the rude spear or clumsy hooks of Esquimaux have tested the quality of the most isolated.
First of all are the inimitable short rivers of Nova Scotia, numbering fifteen or twenty, which pour out from the limpid reservoirs on the height of land forming the watershed of the peninsula along nearly its entire longitudinal axis of one hundred and twenty miles. These are set like glistening gems in a sylvan crown, and the water which flows therefrom is as clear as crystal, and the Salmon which run up betimes from the sea have only a holiday journey to make to the sources, always blithesome and comely of form, and performing the taxing duties of life with the ease and comfort of the favored and high-born among men. They live in luxury, with no end of choice food in variety, the young of lobsters, and innumerable crustaceans, mollusks, and annelids, which hide on the beach and among the rocks, the herring-sile and small fry which come in from the sea, when its waters are tepid; the larvae and fingerlings of the upper streams and lakes, and the endless variety which nature supplies from her largess of woods and waters, both salt and fresh. Here, likewise, the angler may enjoy the luxuries of civilization, without hardship of the camp, or the pest of brulards and black flies, or the taxing tedium of the wilderness canoe-voyage, or the protracted journey by sea en route. For comfort, pure and simple, with a modicum of fun, commend me to the rivers and hospitality of Nova Scotia. With McKinlay's excellent map, published at Halifax, one may soon learn the country like a book, and he need never get permanently lost in the woods, for this goodly strip of Bluenose Land is scarcely forty miles wide from the ocean to the Bay of Fundy, and if the uninitiated stranger would cross from shore to shore without a guide, he has only to follow some water-course up to its source on the ridge, and then down the other side to the sea.
The experience is far more pleasing than wandering through the monotonous pine forests of New Brunswick, where every turn in the far-reaching Miramiche or Nepissiguit looks like the last, and the inevitable porcupine is found rooting at the foot of every jack-pine where you camp.
Nevertheless, New Brunswick is a delectable land, traversed as it is by interminable water-courses, which interlace at their sources, and offer no end of canoe-routes, whereby one may travel for summer after summer without covering the same ground twice. And here again we have not only McMillan's old reliable map of the Province, but a brand-new map, recently published in Boston, prepared from the .notes of an enthusiastic canoe-man, who gives all the routes, portages, and good fishing-places that are contained within a wide district. Here in this forest land is the noble Restigouche, famed among Salmon rivers all over the world, with its one hundred and forty miles of length, and sixty miles of good Salmon fishing. And here, too, are its four great branches, the Metapedia, Patapedia, Upsalquitch, and Tom Kedgewick, almost equally prolific and desirable, all of them leased and fished by the magnates of the Dominion and the nobility of England. In these rivers the Salmon run up to seventy pounds in weight, and the annual commercial catch is something fabulous. It is said that a million and a half of pounds of Canadian Salmon pass into the New York market every year, and of this amount the Restigouche system furnishes four-fifths! There are other rivers on the Boie des Chaleurs beside the Restigouche which furnish giant Salmon, and among them the grand Cascapediae is notable. I once saw five Salmon taken out of this river with fly by ex-President Arthur and Mr. R. G. Dun, which weighed fifty-five pounds each-all in one outing. Indeed, it may be said that all these rivers of the Bay, being long-visited and of great reputation, and quite accessible withal, are the grand fluvial prizes to be contended for at Quebec when the leases are up for auction. Here, indeed, is the center and goal of every known angler's ambition; for not only do the nobility of England wet their lines in these choice waters, but here is the most aristocratic fishing-club in the world, whose shares are worth $4, 500 to own, and whose annual dues and expenses for the season bring up the cost of the fishing privilege to a figure which only the wealthy can reach; and to "knock the persimmon," the pole must be not only superlatively long, but socially gilded and mounted.
I could tell many stories of the Restigouche, reaching well back to ancient annals, some of which are absolutely ghostly. For instance, some twenty years ago there plied upon the river a wondrous craft, whose cognomen was "Great Cassar's Ghost," fitted up with amplitude of cabin, kitchen, and promenade deck, and drawn by horses, which plashed and floundered up the long reaches of the river, alternately taking to the bed and the banks, as the straits and exigencies of the route required. Her owner, Mr. C. J. Bridges, whilom manager of the Grand Trunk Railway, took many a distinguished party with him on his annual excursions, but finally he betook himself to Manitoba for speculative purposes, and I am not aware that even a wreck of the ghost remains. However, in its life it was the most material ghost it has ever been my fortune to encounter.
I remember, too, another incident. It germinated in our atmosphere of royalty. Once we were apt to associate fish with billingsgate and bad smells. In the Old World we know that the chase alone enlisted the royal favor. From time immemorial hunting was regarded as a regal sport, and in some dominions it was the exclusive prerogative of kings. Doubtless, in ancient time, the royal retinue, with its gorgeous trappings and blare of trumpets, swept haughtily past the solitary angler by the quiet river-side, scarcely deigning him a thought, or even a sneer. Certainly enough, all the precepts of Bishop Sanderson, and the philosophy of Walton and