To the angler it is of no small importance to be acquainted with the several kind of rivers, streams, soils, and waters, wrhich e?.ch sort of fish usually frequent; for although it is well known, that fish are sometimes to be met with in rivers and places which they do not usually frequent, yet the exact knowledge of what particular river or soils, or what part of the river such or such kinds of fish usually frequent, will be almost a never-failing guide to the knowledge of the most suitable baits, and of the fish which are likely to be caught.
The Salmon frequents large swift rivers, which are influenced by the tide; they are, however, to be found in lesser rivers, high up the country, but chiefly at the latter end of the year; and when they proceed thither to spawn, they choose the swiftest and most violent streams, or rather cataracts, and the clearest gravelly rivers abounding with rocks and weeds.
The Trout is found in small purling brooks or rivers that are very swift, feeding behind a stone, or log, or some small bank, which, shooting into the river, acts as a partial dam to the water. He there lies watching for what comes down the stream, and suddenly darts upon it. His hold is usually in the deep, under a hollow place of the bank, but his most favourite resort is, under a stone, beneath a part of which the current has carried away the gravel. He is seldom found amongst weeds.
The Perch prefers a gentle stream of moderate depth, but it seldom frequents the shallows. There are very few of the canals of England in which the Perch is not to be found in high condition. They are sometimes found in slow muddy rivers, but not in such plenty nor goodness.
The Carp, Tench, and Eel choose a muddy and still river ; the two former prefer the deepest and stillest part of a pond or river; and the same remark will apply to the larger Eels, but the smaller ones are found in all kinds of rivers and soils.
The Pike, Bream, and Chub choose sand or clay; the former prefers the still pools which abound with fry, and he shelters himself, in order to come upon his prey unawares, amongst bulrushes, water-docks, or under bushes. The Bream prefers a gentle stream, and the broadest part of the river. The Chub delights in the same ground, but is rarely found without some tree to shade or cover him in large rivers and streams.
The Gudgeon is to be found chiefly in sandy, gravelly, gentle, streams, and smaller rivers.
The Flounder covets sand and gravel, deep gentle streams near the bank, or at the end of a stream, in a deep still place.
It must, however, be understood, that as some fish covet one soil more than another, so they differ every season in their choice of places. Some keep during the whole of the summer near the top, whilst others never leave the bottom. The former may be angled for, with a quill or small float, near the top, with a fly or any sort of worm bred in herbs or trees, or with a fly at the top; the latter will be found at the tails of weirs, mills, flood-gates, arches of bridges, or the more shallow parts of the river, in a strong, swift, or gentle stream. During the winter, they all retire into the deep still places.