The most seasonable time for fishing with a fly in a river, is when it is somewhat disturbed by rain, or on a cloudy day, when the waters are moved by a gentle breeze. The most favourable winds are from the south and west, if the wind blow high, but not with such violence as to prevent you from conveniently guiding your tackle; the fish will rise in the still deeps, but if there be little wind stirring, the best angling is in swift streams.
In casting the line, it should be done in a straight direction before you, and in such a manner that the fly may fall just on the water, and as little of the line with it as possible ; but if the wind be high, you will then be forced to drown a good part of it, in order that the fly may be kept on the water. Endeavour as much as possible to have the wind at your back, and the sun in your face; but the windings of a river will frequently render that position impracticaLxe.
When you throw your line, wave the rod in a small circle round your head, and never make a return of it before it has had its full scope, or otherwise the fly will be snapped off.
Although the day may be cloudy and windy, and the water thick, the fly must still be keDt in continual motion, or the fish will easi-ly discern the deceit.
The line should be twice as long as the rod, unless the river be encumbered with wood. When the fly is cast to the opposite side of the river, alwaj's stand as far off the bank as the length of your line will permit; but if the wind blows from such a quarter, that 3-ou must throw the line on the same side as that on which you are standing, then station yourself on the very brink of the river, and cast the fly to the utmost length of the rod and line, up and down the stream, accordingly as the wind is favourable.
A quick, sharp eye, and an active hand are necessary, to strike the fish directly as it rises, or else, finding out the mistake, he will dislodge the hook from his mouth.
Small light-coloured flies are appropriate for clear waters, and a clear atmosphere; large dark-coloured flies, when the contrary.
When fish rise at the fly very often, and yet never take it, it may be concluded that it is not the fly which they like. When you see a fish rise, the fly must be thrown beyond him, and drawn gently over the place where it rose, and if it be a proper fly for the season, and the fly be cast with a nicety, the fish is your own.
When you angle ivitli an artificial fly, in slow running rivers or still places, cast it across the water, and let it sink a little, and then draw it gently over to you again, letting the current carry it slowly down; this is the best way for slow waters; but for quick ones, your fly must always swim on the top, under your continual inspection.
For every sort of fly have three ; one of a lighter colour, another sadder than the natural fly, and a third of the exact colour with the fly, in order to suit all waters and weathers.
Although the number of artificial flies used in angling amount to between thirty and forty, yet there are about nine which may be called the standard flies, and with which, it *be angler be provided, he may deem himself qualified to catch almost every kind oi fcsh that rises at the fly.
The delineation of these standard flies is given in the frontispiece, and the method of their manufacture is as follows :
This fly makes its appearance in the beginning of April. The wings are made of a shaded feather from the wing of a partridge, or hen pheasant; the body of the dark fur of a hare's ear, and a yellowish grizzled cock's hackle for legs ; a small quantity of bright green wax, about the size of a pin's head, may be applied to the lower part of the body, after the fly is completed, for the tail The hook No. 9.
This fly appears about the same time as the spider-fly, and continues till the end of May. The body is made of black ostrich's harl, and the wings of a dusky or pale-dun cock's hackle, or a pale starling's feather: it must be dressed rather short and thick. The hook No. 10.
Large Black Ant commonly appears in warm, gloomy weather, from the middle of June to the latter end of August. The ant flies are excellent killers from eleven o'clock in the forenoon until six in the evening, and they may be used in still water, as well as streams. The wings of this fly are made of the lightest blue feather from under the snipe's wing, or from the tom-tit's tail. Some make them of thistle's down, but its want of durability is a great objection to the use of the material, unless for a fly that remains on the water for a short time, which is not the case with the ant flies. The body of black ostrich harl, made thick at the tail and under the butt of the wings, with a reddish brown hackle for legs.
Dubbed with seal's fur dyed red, and brown bear's hair mixed together, but there must be bear's hair sufficient to make the body appear of a dullish red, ribbed with gold twist; the wings of a starling's feather and a red cock's hackle over the dubbing. The hook No. G or 7.
The Oak Fly, Or Canon Fly, is to be found in April, May, June, on ash trees, oaks, willows, or thorns, growing near the water. The colours of the fly being various and unequally mixed, render the imitation difficult. The head of the fur from the hare's ear; body under the wings dun fur, in the middle orange and yellow, and towards the tail a brownish dun; the wings from the feather of a yellowish brown hen; or it may be made with a bittern's hackle only without wings. It is an excellent fly both for dib-bing in the natural state and using artificially.
The body of the brown branches from the stem of a peacock's tail feather; a black cock's hackle for legs, the fibres of the hackle should be short. The hook No. 8.
Dubbed with yellow camlet, or yellow marten's fur ; the wings of a mallard's feather dyed yellow. This fly is to be made very small, but exactly in the shape of a green drake. The hook No. 0.
This fly appears in February, the wings are made of the red feather of a partridge's tail; the body of the red part of a squirrel's fur, with ginger hackle wrapped twice around it. The hook No. 7 or 8.
The body is made of white silk, ribbed with fine black silk; the wings of the dark grey feather of the mallard, with a black cock's hackle wrapped thrice around under them; and has three long tails, which are nearly black. It is used with most success in an afternoon, particularly after the green drake retires.