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The fisherman's calendar

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After describing the angler and his equipment, what to fish for, and where, the question naturally arises, When are we to fish? We have known tyros, and even people who ought to have known better, rush to the river side on the first fine day with their rods, creels, and tackle, heedless that the fish were out of season, and consequently unwholesome. I will therefore review the angler's year, and show what to fish for in each month, in answer to the question of when to fish.

January. - Chill and inhospitable as January sometimes is, it is one that sometimes affords a little sport to the angler on a mild and open day. Jack and perch w ill bite freely at a live bait if you can procure one. Minnows, which may be caught by thousands when you do not want them, are somewhat scarce now, and without them you may fish for perch in vain. If, however, you search in a quiet retired nook in the creaks and brooks, you may find them; but you will have to do it quietly. You may find them in an out-of-the-way hole, and secure them by means of a hand-net; nay, I am not certain that the minnow bottle would not answer the purpose best. If you are bent upon securing the sharp-set jack, by all means secure a fair- sized dace rather than a gudgeon, it will be seen better in the. murky waters. Towards the latter end of the month, the finest roach may be taken. A fine red worm will be found the most tempting bait if you know where there are any red worms to be found. Boiled pearl-barley, allowed to get cold, and then cut into suitable bait pieces, will be found attractive, next to freshly-made clean bread-paste. Don't he afraid of the damp and muddy banks of the river; put on your waterproofs, and you may easily secure a fair basket of fish. Grayling, too, may be caught, in suitable waters, in the far off Westmoreland lakes, the famed char may be caught also in January. The fly-fisher should air his budget of feathers, furs, and dubbings, and flies, in the sun, just to see that the moth is not taking his revenge on his effigies. Look out your rod, and examine the splices of your top-joint, and see that the mildew is not seizing the ring fastenings, or decaying the varnish. A glance at the fly-hooks will not be amiss.

February. - This month is not an enticing season for the angler. Perch, jack, and roach may be still taken in open weather. Grayling -will rise to the fly, if the. angler can tickle his fancy with a tempting one a few inches beneath the surface. A light dun will often prove effective; if the angler knows what flies are earliest in the stream, let him use one of the same kind; he will not regret the trouble. Salmon-fishing commences this month; but the angler should rather look to and air his fishing-boots, wading-stockings, and flies, than to the fish. If you do try your luck with a fly, Let it be a big and a gaudy one.

March. - Though salmon-fishing is sometimes in its prime this month, yet the prospect of sport depends somewhat on the state of the rivers, and whether there is any " snow-broth " about. Salmon fishers should remember to hang their lines up to dry on their return home, or else they will find them crack and snap when that " exceedingly fine fish " of a disappointed angler happens to fancy your fly. You may tickle a trout's memory and make his mouth water by a delicate blue dun. The February-red, the cow dung, and the brown dun and the March brown, are a good selection for troutie's bill of tare in the merry month of March. Remember, jack are spawning; perch and grayling are heavy with spawn, and should not be taken even where the law does not interfere to prevent it.

April. - Trout-fishing commences in the Thames, and salmon-fishing is in its zenith. The artificial flies must now decrease somewhat in size, as the waters are become clearer. The trout will take a small dace in the larger streams, and the minnow, and even a fine scoured lobworm, has an attraction for them, and the salmon will nut refuse the latter. In addition to the flies mentioned in the chapter for trout-fishing, try the yellow dun on bright days. The hawthorn is not to be despised. As the month passes on, the iron-blue and other flies of that class will be found taking. It is thought that the larger Thames trout are too voracious to be in good condition until May. If the spring is a forward one, carp and tench may be taken. jack, grayling, and porch are spawning. Spring is now coming on apace; the hedges are green, and the sides of the streams are redolent with life.

May. - Every north stream is now open, and the fly- fisher is in his glory. The bottom-fisher, however, finds his occupation gone. Barbel, carp, tench, bream, chub, roach, and gudgeon, are spawning. Eels run well, but setting a night-line hardly becomes an angler, though it is the only engine that can be depended on for capturing them. After rain, when the water in the river runs: high or is coloured, perhaps the spinning-minnow will afford the best bait for trout. In clearer waters, in rivers where the stone-fly abound, its larva, or "creepers," form a most seductive bait. The most sagacious of the trout family are deceived by it. "in a retired nook or cranny on the banks of the rivers, or under damp mossy stones, they may be looked for and found. The yellow May-fly now appears as a precursor to the May-fly. The stone-fly jerks along the surface of the water, and the black gnat lies thick on the water, but the angler should beware of its sting. The yellow " sally " on some streams forms an excellent bait; but in others, gray and green drakes are in request, and the "alder" forms a tit-bit seldom refused. Dipping with either of these flies on warm days will secure a good basketful of fish. The appetite of the finny tribes, however, is satiated by the plentiful, supply of food, and it is only by presenting the most attractive bait that the angler can succeed. In the very early morning, or in the " gloaming," a pair of light wings, and the top of the hook covered with a gentle or a creeper, will bring the angler a ran, and furnish him with a breakfast or a supper.

June. - Beautiful, indeed, are the flowers of the field in a June morning, when the dew is still upon them, and before the heat of the sun makes their beautiful heads droop. Salmon will not now take the large and gaudy flies; their appetites require to be tickled with a choice, pretty, and delicate morsel, no bigger than a trout-fly. The sea-trout (servius) and grilse are coming up. Bottom- fishing commences on the Thames, but the fish are not in condition yet. Dace w ill take a gentle, which, with red worms of the tinniest description, form the best bait for roach. Trout will rise to any of the flies mentioned last month. All kinds of dun flies, fern-flies, and the coachman, is adopted for evening sport. All flies must be small and delicate in size. The jenny-spinner (which, by-the-by, is very difficult to imitate) will be found useful. Thames trout will take the fly well, particularly in the early mornings and evenings. Dipping is the only plan of catching them in the sunny mid-days, but the angler should keep well out of sight. Loch trout-fishing may be successfully practised -when a "flush" is found; a well-scoured bait in rising water will be found the best. In falling water fish, as a rule, are gorged with food, and indifferent to the most tempting morsel.

July. - The glorious summer is now upon us, and the eventide is beautiful in its soft delicious loveliness. The waters are low, and the salmon is scarcely to be tempted; a nice fly, sunk a few inches beneath the surface, will, however, sometimes tempt him. A neat bunch of lobworms or a spinning-minnow may be tried as a change for his lordship. The sea-trout and grilse in some rivers will afford good sport, if tempted with a silver horn, with its ringed, black, and silver body - the golden-eyed gauge wing, red and black ant-flies, the July dun, the " hopper," (which is sometimes too familiar,) are the best flies. Moths are more suitable in the evening. Grubs and larvae of all kinds will be freely taken - meal-worms, and the wasp, grub, toughened, will add to the angler's resources in July. A cockroach is not despised by trout. Chub, dace, barbel, carp, gudgeon, &c., begin to bite freely. Look out for the dace with a small fly in shallow running streams, and chub under the friendly shade of the bushes with a palmer-fly. The cheese paste will not be rejected by the latter gentleman, and barbel will take the same morsel freely. Roach, perch, and jack are still suffering from the effects of spawning, but not so in.

August - For it is the bottom-fisher's carnival. On Thames, Trent, Avon, or Ribble, he may secure as many fish as he can carry, if he is industrious, and possesses a fair amount of skill, and attends to these directions. Let him look after his gentles, and try to secure a few bred from a dead rat. The roach are delicate in their appetite, but even the biggest amongst them will look at a fly tipped with a gentle. The best trout lying lazily at the bottom of the stream may be tickled with the same bait, if a shot is added to sink the line, and it is brought up and down and moved by a series of jerks. It is worth while trying, for the trout are in capital condition. The flies that may be tried are the orange, cinnamon, and the August dun. Some of the earliest flies may be tried with success; indeed, in some rivers, night is the only time to fish for trout, and the proper baits are black, white, and gray moths. Salmon art not insensible to the charms of a fine moth. Char may be taken with a spinning minnow, and may be tried with a fly. Throughout the month, fish of all kinds are in good condition.

September. - The salmon fisher on many of the livers finds his occupation gone, the fish begin to breed, and should be left quiet. In the early weeks the whirling blue dun, the little pale blue, and the willow fly may be tried for trout, but they should not be disturbed during the last fortnight in any river. Dace and gudgeon are in demand for trolling purposes, for jack are in fine condition, and bite freely. Perch may be caught by spinning with a moderate- sized dace or minnow - if the former is used, a jack is often tempted by it. This is the month for bottom-fishers; all coarse river fish bite with avidity. Cockroaches and blue bottle flies have a wonderful charm for the chub in deep holes. Roach will look at the willow-fly, and many kinds of fish will rise at night to a moth. Lobworms will now be at a premium. They should be well scoured and watched day by day, so that the dead and diseased worms may be removed.

October. - This is an excellent month for the troller and spinner, and while you have the chance, try and secure a stock of baits - a friend adds, if you can. I have already given the pike-fisher hints as to how to preserve his bait for a season, when fish are plentiful and baits scarce. Roach will take boiled malt and pearl-barley now freely, if presented in a neat an l dedicate form. Barbel and bream are in good way for their excellent condition. Except you have access to a grayling stream, put away your fly-tackle after drying it carefully. Varnish your rod when you take it to pieces, and see that it is well dried, rub boiled oil over the brass-work. In the absence of more suitable baits, pike will take mice, frogs, and other strange morsels, but the trout and salmon-fishing is over.

November. - Bleak and disagreeable as this month too frequently is, the enthusiastic angler will find much to reward his perseverance, particularly if he has secured a good stock of pike-bait and minnow for perch-fishing. Perch are in good condition, and you will find him in deep still water after a flood, or near to a gentle eddy, where the food is brought by the water. Roach of the largest kind may be taken in deep water. Bream, chub, and grayling are in fine condition. Barbel may be coaxed with greaves and chopped lampreys, if the frost holds off. Pike are ravenous, and will take almost anything. Other sports, however, interfere with the angler's recreation, and if the weather is not propitious, he had better stay at home.

December. - Jack and roach arc still to be taken in open weather, and are well worth the trouble. Trolling, which affords the angler plenty of exercise, is, however, the only endurable sport for the most enthusiastic Waltonian. Some fish are taken from under the ice. Char, grayling, and perch will bite freely if you know their winter haunts and habits. The angler may, however, cheer himself by partaking of the excellent bait which Christmas generally presents, and hope for coming triumphs in the coming spring.

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