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Trout, Buckskin, And Prospectors
by [?]

As I have said, a river flows through the canon. It is a very good river with some riffles that can be waded down to the edges of black pools or white chutes of water; with appropriate big trees fallen slantwise into it to form deep holes; and with hurrying smooth stretches of some breadth. In all of these various places are rainbow trout.

There is no use fishing until late afternoon. The clear sun of the high altitudes searches out mercilessly the bottom of the stream, throwing its miniature boulders, mountains, and valleys as plainly into relief as the buttes of Arizona at noon. Then the trout quite refuse. Here and there, if you walk far enough and climb hard enough over all sorts of obstructions, you may discover a few spots shaded by big trees or rocks where you can pick up a half dozen fish; but it is slow work. When, however, the shadow of the two huge mountains feels its way across the stream, then, as though a signal had been given, the trout begin to rise. For an hour and a half there is noble sport indeed.

The stream fairly swarmed with them, but of course some places were better than others. Near the upper reaches the water boiled like seltzer around the base of a tremendous tree. There the pool was at least ten feet deep and shot with bubbles throughout the whole of its depth, but it was full of fish. They rose eagerly to your gyrating fly,–and took it away with them down to subaqueous chambers and passages among the roots of that tree. After which you broke your leader. Royal Coachman was the best lure, and therefore valuable exceedingly were Royal Coachmen. Whenever we lost one we lifted up our voices in lament, and went away from there, calling to mind that there were other pools, many other pools, free of obstruction and with fish in them. Yet such is the perversity of fishermen, we were back losing more Royal Coachmen the very next day. In all I managed to disengage just three rather small trout from that pool, and in return decorated their ancestral halls with festoons of leaders and the brilliance of many flies.

Now this was foolishness. All you had to do was to walk through a grove of cottonwoods, over a brook, through another grove of pines, down a sloping meadow to where one of the gigantic pine-trees had obligingly spanned the current. You crossed that, traversed another meadow, broke through a thicket, slid down a steep grassy bank, and there you were. A great many years before a pine-tree had fallen across the current. Now its whitened skeleton lay there, opposing a barrier for about twenty-five feet out into the stream. Most of the water turned aside, of course, and boiled frantically around the end as though trying to catch up with the rest of the stream which had gone on without it, but some of it dived down under and came up on the other side. There, as though bewildered, it paused in an uneasy pool. Its constant action had excavated a very deep hole, the debris of which had formed a bar immediately below. You waded out on the bar and cast along the length of the pine skeleton over the pool.

If you were methodical, you first shortened your line, and began near the bank, gradually working out until you were casting forty-five feet to the very edge of the fast current. I know of nothing pleasanter for you to do. You see, the evening shadow was across the river, and a beautiful grass slope at your back. Over the way was a grove of trees whose birds were very busy because it was near their sunset, while towering over them were mountains, quite peaceful by way of contrast because THEIR sunset was still far distant. The river was in a great hurry, and was talking to itself like a man who has been detained and is now at last making up time to his important engagement. And from the deep black shadow beneath the pine skeleton, occasionally flashed white bodies that made concentric circles where they broke the surface of the water, and which fought you to a finish in the glory of battle. The casting was against the current, so your flies could rest but the briefest possible moment on the surface of the stream. That moment was enough. Day after day you could catch your required number from an apparently inexhaustible supply.