If this forecast of the time of the rise proves correct, and there is at first neither fly nor fish to be seen, the angler has at any rate the satisfaction of feeling that the day is all before him, and that he has so far missed nothing. If he is very impatient to have an outlet at once for his energy, he may put on a medium-sized hackle fly and use it wet in the rough water of hatch-holes, but he can do no goodóand perhaps he may do some harmóby attempting to fish the river at large. Even in the hatch-holes he will probably prick more fish than he hooks, and if one or two are landed they will either be small trout, or large ones in inferior condition. The fact is, that attempts to anticipate success in a chalk stream before the proper rise begins are unsatisfactory; however resolutely the angler may have made up his mind to expect nothing from these attempts, yet if he labours at them, some sense of disappointment will insensibly steal over him, and take just a little off the edge of his keenness. In my opinion, it is better to keep this unimpaired till the rise begins. It is not hard to wait for an hour or two on such a day; one need only watch and listen to the life about the river. To read a book at this time is not so easy, for the eyes are continually being lifted to the water. On the other hand, there is not much to be gained by wandering up and down, and the best plan is for the angler to go to the lowest part of the water he means to fish, and there sit down to watch some particular bit of it, which is known to be a good place for free rising trout. The first sign of the coming rise will be a few flies upon the water, either olive duns or some near relations of theirs. These are generally noticed by the angler before the fish begin to take them, but sometimes it is a trout which first notices a fly, and then a rise is the first sign seen. When this is so, the angler becomes alert at once. The pleasure of the day began for him, let us hope, hours ago, when he woke to the consciousness of what sort of day it was; but now there is suddenly added to his happiness the delight of endeavour and excitement, suspense ends, action begins, and hope is raised to the height of expectation. He does not, however, cast at once, but gets quietly within reach, kneeling if necessary to be out of sight, and waiting for the fish to rise again. This first trout should at any rate be risen, if it is in a convenient place where the fly does not drag. In a little time it may have made up its mind not to take any flies on the surface, or its appetite may have become less keen, or its sense of what all natural flies look like more exact; but just at first, at the very beginning of the rise, there is most probability of finding it hungry and off its guard. By the time the first fish is done with, it should be easy to find others rising, and if there is a free rise and plenty of fly, the angler will in May get the best conditioned fish in comparatively quick running water in the main stream. The first half-hour will decide what kind of rise there is to be, whether it is to be a good taking one or not: if it is a good one, the angler should feel for the next two hours that there is at any rate a fair chance of his having a rise whenever he can succeed in floating his fly satisfactorily and accurately over a rising trout. Should the rise last as much as four hours, it is a long one and ought to result in an exceptionally heavy basket. I have generally found, however, that in the last hour or so of the rise the trout become very fastidious and particular. Sometimes they can be seen still in their feeding places, keeping close to the surface of the water, but only taking a fly occasionally, and the angler may, till he is weary, float his own fly over them continually and get no response whatever. As a rule, on a fairly warm day the rise of fly will be over by three or four o'clock. The trout will by then have disappeared, and the angler may leave off. Bad luck or good luck may have made the difference of one or two brace to his basket, but ten pounds' weight of trout should make him content, fifteen pounds may be considered very good, and twenty pounds and upwards exceptional.
The number of trout in different parts of the Itchen and Test is in inverse proportion to their weight; but in the parts of these rivers where the trout are not overcrowded and average from a pound and a half to two pounds, they rise freely and their appearance in a good season is splendid. The extraordinary fatness to which they attain, and the brilliancy of their colour and condition in May, June and July, surpass anything it has been my good fortune to see amongst river trout, and anything I could have believed, if I had fished only in north country rivers. On the other hand, the chalk stream trout do not fight so strongly in proportion to their size as the trout in rocky or swifter rivers with rougher water and no weeds. It is not that the southern trout is less strong, but it thinks too much of the weeds: it is always trying to hide itself instead of trying to get free by wild desperate rushes, for which indeed the presence of the weeds and the gentleness of the water make these rivers less suited. Sometimes the first rush of a chalk stream trout when hooked is as sudden and wild and strong as that of a fish of the same size in any other river; but in my experience this generally happens with a south country trout when its feeding place is far down on a shallow or in a long mill-tail, and its home is in the hatch-hole or under the mill above. In such places I have known a trout of one and a half pounds leave very few yards of line upon the reel before its first rush could be checked, and the line to be run out as swiftly and as straight as any one could wish. Twice during the last season did it happen to me to have fine experiences of this kind. In the first case the trout had something over twenty yards to go for safety, and nearly succeeded. Had the distance been two or three yards less it would have been accomplished in the first rush, but in the last few yards the trout had to collect his strength for a second effort. There was a moment's break in the impetus of the rush, and a struggle began in which at first the trout gained ground, but very slowly, while every foot was contested with the utmost pressure that I dared put upon the gut: then there ceased to be progress, and at last within close sight of his home the trout had to turn his head. The rest was easy, the mill-tail being fairly clear of weeds, and both time and stream being against the fish.