The Salmon Fry
These beautiful little fish, the production of the spawn of the salmon,
make their appearance in March and April, and if a flood happens to rise
or swell the rivers about the end of the latter month, they are taken
down in great numbers, till at last they enter the brackish water, where
they grow in a short time as large as white trout. The salt water adds
much to their growth. In the following spring and summer they run up the
rivers in great quantities if they are allowed, and return to the sea
again before winter. On their second return up the rivers they will be
grown very large, and are then called "Grilse," or "Peals," &c.
There is a SALMON TROUT of the same species, which is rounder in
proportion to the Salmon, of a reddish hue when in season; it has small
fine scales, beautifully intermixed with rich red and black spots on
both sides of the lateral lines, from head to tail, and its handsome
head is spotted over, as also the covers of the gills; the tail is
shorter, and not so much forked as the salmon, and the fins are very
strong. The flesh is most delicious, and some prefer it to salmon. They
may be seen in the Fishmongers' shops from May till the end of August.
Another species is the Sewen of Wales, the White Trout of Ireland and
England, and the Whiting of Scotland; they are very bright in colour,
and run about the size of Mackerel; they haunt the roughest, strong
streams, and gravelly bottoms. When they are hooked on the fly they will
spring repeatedly out of the water, and afford pleasant sport for the
angler. They take small gaudy flies like the Salmon Trout, and when the
water is low, dun flies, black hackle flies with silver ribs, and grouse
hackles of a light brown colour and yellow bodies. The hooks about Nos.
6 and 8.
Another species is the Bull-Trout, which has a short thick head, and a
brownish body, covered with spots of a brown colour, and are found in
all rivers having communication with the sea, and their tributaries, if
there are no obstructions to prevent their running up. They are found
running up the rivers in June and July, and in these months and August,
are in good season. They are rather a dry fish.
The PAR or LAST-SPRING are most plentiful in salmon rivers from May till
the end of August, and are very much like the salmon fry, only for the
dark bars across them, and towards the end of the season they are
variously marked. There is no little fish so plump and lively when taken
with the fly, except the Salmon Fry. As the Sea-Trout are known to grow
to the weight of sixteen and twenty pounds in large rivers, such as the
Tweed, the Shannon, and the Bann, the Par may be the fry of these fish,
which run up the rivers in the spring and summer. These Sea-Trout differ
much in shape and colour to the real Salmon, and are what are termed
Salmon in the London markets.--This I heard from a fisherman at the
mouth of the Tweed, who pointed out a large creel full to me, just taken
in the nets, and amongst the whole there was but one Salmon. The
Sea-Trout may be known by being paler, and covered with more spots, and
by being longer and thinner in the body; the head is also much longer.
There is a rich golden hue over the Salmon when you get a side look of
it; the body is plump and boar-backed, the head is very small, and
there are few spots, except above the lateral lines.
I have seen the Par so numerous in the River Dovey, in Wales, that a man
(a guide), took my salmon rod, and a cast of four small flies, the sun
shining, and in two hours he killed nine pounds weight of these fish,
about a finger in length or less. It perfectly surprised me; but it
seems that this was but a small quantity in comparison to what the
fishers were in the habit of taking out in a day. It appeared so, as the
inn-keeper's wife potted them in large jars. These rivers abound with
Sewen, Sea-Trout, and White Trout; the first-named fish is the White
Trout of Wales, which corresponds with the Irish fish of that name, and
called in Wales, Sewen. The Par may be the fry of these fish, which are
of the Salmon species, and ought to be protected by law.