George Streynsham Master.

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inferior land — near a village and a railroad
depot than to attempt to grow these perish-
able fruits in remoter regions. A water com-
munication with the market is, of course,
preferable to any other.



THB STRAWBERRY OP MBMORY.



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THE MICHIGAN GRAYLING.



17



THE MICHIGAN GRAYLING.



THE MICHIGAN GRAYUNC (THYMALLU8 TRICOLOR).



Until within a few years that portion of
Michigan extending from the forty-fourth
parallel to the Straits of Mackinaw, dotted
with beautiful lakes and traversed by many
a clear winding river was terra incognita to the
fly-fisher ; and although we were told years
ago by explorers and adventurous anglers
tl^t trout in ^eat numbers and of large
size were taken in the waters of the northern
portion of the peninsula, the grayling by its
true name was imknown, and does not now
form a subject for any of our angling authors.
It was supposed that, except in the Arctic
regions, it did not exist on our continent.
About ten years ago, however, hunters and
those who were looking up timber lands be-
gan to talk of a white-meated fish wilh all
Uie game qualities of the trout, which they
captured in streams of both water-sheds —
east and west — as an addition to their
venison and " hard tack.'' It was known
to them as the " white trout," the
" Crawford County trout," and under
other local names until a specimen in
alcohol was sent to Professor E. D. Cope,
of the Philadelphia Academy of Natural
Sciences, who described it in the proceedings
of that institution in the year 1865, and gave
it the scientific name of ThymaUus tricolor^
the generic name arising from the fresh
thyme-y smell of tiie fish when first taken
firom the water, the specific appellation hav-
ing reference to its beautiful dorsal fin. And
yet its discovery as a true grayling escaped
the notice of nearly all of our fly-fishers ;
Vol. XIX.— 2.



and to the few who might have meditated
an expedition in search of it, its habitat was
far ofl* and then almost inaccessible. The
following passage, however, from " Ameri-
can Fish Culture " (p. 196), by the present
writer and published by Porter & Coates,
in 1867, soon after Professor Cope described
the fish, attracted the notice of Mr. J. V.
Le Moyne, of Chicago.

" While on a trout-fishing excursion lately
in the northern part of Pennsylvania, I met
a very intelligent, though not a scientific
person, who informed me that in exploring
some timber lands on the Au Sable, in
Michigan, he came across a new kind of
trout which he had never seen before.
From his description it was doubdess this
new species of ThymaUus, He said it read-
ily took a bait of a piece of one of its
fellows, a piece of meat being used to capt-
ure the first fish ; and that it was very
beautiful and of delicious flavor."

The following summer, after consulting
persons interested in timber lands, Mr. Le
Moyne packed hus " kit " and found his
way by steamer to Little Traverse Bay, and
thence by canoe through a series of lakes to
the River Jordan, where he had great sport,
not only with grayling, but with trout of
good size, taking both from the same pool,
and not unfrequently one of each on the
same cast. I may here mention that the
Jordan is one of the few streams of Michi-
gan in which both are found. Trout are
unknown in the Manistee and Au Sable.



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THE MICHIGAN GRAYLING,



My friend, Mr. D. H. Fitzhugh, jr., of
Bay City, the year following took them in
the Rifle and went by a new railroad then
being built to the Hersey and Muskegon,
walking twenty miles of the distance. He
had been waiting with much interest the
extension of the Jackson, Lansing and
Saginaw Railroad northward, and in 1873,
when it crossed the Au Sable, he launched
his boat high up on that lovely river. Since
then the fame of the rare sporting qualities
of this fish has spread among anglers, and
they now come from many of our large
towns and cities (especially those of the
West) to camp on the banks of the Michi-
gan rivers and enjoy the sport.

The European species (T, veodllifer) is
mentioned- by all English authors on
angling from the time of Dame Juliana
Berners to the present. The opinion is
advanced by some of them that it was
introduced mto England when under the
religious sway of the see of Rome, as it is
generally found in rivers near th« ruins of
old monasteries. Sir Humphrey Davy,
in his "Salmonia" (1828), wrote of it as
inhabiting the Avon, the Ure, the Nye and
the Dee ; and Hofland (1839) in addition to
those mentions the Trent, the Dove, the
Derwent, the Wharfe, and a few other
rivers. Sir Humphrey Davy also tells us
that it is found in some of the streams of
the Alpine valleys, and he intimates in some
of the rivers of Sweden and Norway. A
friend of the writer, who of late years has
been in the habit of spending his summers
in Bavaria, has had fair sport with grayling
in the Isar and Traun, near Munich and
Traunstein, as also in the Inn and Salza,
and mentions the names of a few quiet Eng-
lish anglers who come annually in September
to fish these rivers.

European waters, however, were probably
never as prolific of grayling as those of
Michigan ; for trout, which feed largely on
the young of all fish, are there found in the
same streams. In Michigan rivers, where
grayling most abound there are no trout,
and the fry of their own and other species
are never found in their stomachs. The
various orders of flies which lay their eggs
in running water and the larvae of such flies
appear to be their only food.

Writers in sporting papers have recently
claimed that grayling have also been found
in the older states of the Union. If this be
the fact, they are now extinct. They are
said to exist in some few of the rivers of
Wisconsin, which is quite probable, and



also in Montana and Dakota. Dr. Rich-
ardson, in his " Fauna Boreali- Americana,"
gives not only a glowing description of
the exquisite beauty of Back's grayling (T,
signiferjy but speaks with all the ardor of a
true angler of its game qualities. The Es-
quimaux title, Htwlook powak, denoting
wing-hke fin, he says, alludes to its magnifi-
cent dorsal, which, as in the Michigan gray-
ling, exceeds in size and beauty that of the
European species.

Grayling, wherever found, are spring
spawners, as also are the smelt and the cape-
lin or spearling. All other genera of the
salmon family spawn in autumn. The usual
time with grayling, both here and in Europe,
is the latter part of April and early in May.
They do not push for the very sources of
rivers, leaping falls and flappmg sidewise
over shallows to find some little rivulet as
trout do, but deposit their ova in the parts
of the stream where they are taken, or if
such portions are not of the proper temper-
ature, they will sometimes seek the mouths
of smaller and cooler affluents. The time
of their spawning is limited to a few days,
or a week or so. Of the experts who have
gone to the Au Sable to express the ova, fertil-
ize it, and bring it East to introduce this fish
into the Atlantic states, one found that they
were not ready to spawn, and the next sea-
son, another, who went a week or so later,
found that they had spawned. I have taken
fiy as long as my little finger on the first
of September, which were the produce of
eggs spawned in April. Those that came
fi-om ova of the preceding year were six
inches long; at two years old, they are ten
or twelve inches long ; at three years old,
they are thirteen to fifteen inches long, and
at four years, sixteen or seventeen inches,
and weigh firom three-quarters of a pound
to a pound and a quarter; each succeeding
year adding proportionately less to their
length and more to their girth. An abim-
dance or deficiency of food, however, has
much influence on their growth, while some
are naturally more thrifty than others. Sir
Humphrey Davy says : " Grayling hatched
in June become in the same year, in Sep-
tember or October, nine or ten inches
long, and weigh from half a pound to ten
ounces, and the next year are fi-om twelve
to fifteen inches." On this point, as will
be seen firom the foregoing, I differ with
him. I think he must have written fix>m
hearsay.

In Michigan, in a day's fishing, the true-
hearted angler returns to the water a great



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19



many more than he puts in his live-box. He
will keep none under a half pound, and
where the streams are so abundantly stocked,
he will not begrudge their liberty to all
under that weight Our grayling are much
more slender that the European species,
but, if we credit English authors, do not at-
tain as large a size. Three-fourths of a
pound with us is a good average size, and
one of a pound and a quarter is considered
a large fish. I have heard, however, of
their being taken in the Jordan over three
pounds. The grayling is a fish of more
symmetrical proportions than th^ trout, al-
though it has not the vermilion spots and
toight colors over its body, but its head and
mouth are much smaller, and with handsome,
prominent eyes. Its habits also difier ma-
terially fix>m those of the trout. It is never
found in the strong tiu-bulent water at the
head of a rift, but in the deeper portions of
the smoothly gliding stream. It avoids a
bottom of clay or the mosses so common to
the beds of Michigan rivers, but is always
found on gravel or sand. Its rise is
straight up— sharp and sudden, and when its
attention is once drawn to the artificial line,
it does not turn back as a trout does, on get-
ting a sight of the angler, but in its eager-
ness disregards him entirely, and in running a
river with the speed of the ciurent, or even
if the boat is poled along down stream, it
frequendy takes the fly within a few feet of
the pole or the boat Its play is quite
as vigorous as that of the trout, and it
leaps fi-equently above the sur&ce of the
water before it is sufficiently exhausted to
be drawn in. There is this difference,
however, between the two. The trout, like
a certain denomination of Christians, seems
to believe in " final perseverance,'* and will
kick and struggle to the last, even as it is
Hfted in, while the grayling, after you have
sufficiently overcome its obstinate pluck to
get its head above water, is taken in with
pendbnt tail, as much as to say, ** It's all up ; "
but as soon as it touches the floor of the
boat, its flapping and floundering begin. If
it takes a sheer across the current, with its
large dorsal fin, it offers greater resistance
than the trout Where they are so numer-
ous, one seldom uses the landing net, for few
escape by breaking away, and if they do
there are more to take hold at the next
cast.

If in fishing with a whip of three flies the
angler hooks a fish on either of his droppers,
the stretcher fly as it sai& around beneath
is pretty sure of enticing another, and not



unfrequenriy the disengaged dropper hooks
a third fish. Sometimes, as I have sat on the
cover of the live-box, I have looked down to
see three of these bright fish, after I had ex-
hausted them, all in a row, their dorsal fins
erect and waving in the clear water like so
many beautiful leaves of the coleus. Nor is
the grayling in taking the fly as chary a fish
as the trout On a perfecdy still water
you may see the latter rising and taking in
the minute natural flies, when the veriest
artificial midge will not tempt it; but let
even a light breeze spring up and a ripple
appear on the surface, and then it cannot
distinguish the natural firom the artificial,
and will take hold. The grayling, on the
contrary, is the most eager, unsophisticated
fish imaginable. When it sees anything
bearing the most reinote semblance of life,
it **goes for it," even if the water is as
smooth as a mirror.

The whole of Michigan, south of the Straits
of Mackinaw, may certainly be called flat
country. The only rising grounds to be found
are a few sandy eminences — they can scarcely
be called hills — the formation of which we
leave the geologist to account for. And yet
the rivers abrading against these sand-hills
occasionally cause precipitous blufls (few of
which exceed a hundred feet) or such an
elevation as is known in a lumberman's
parlance as a " roll-way."

There is a gradual but almost impercep-
tible elevation from Bay City or Grand
Rapids to the region where grayling are
found. From the former to Grayling, where
the railroad crosses the Au Sable, a distance
of nearly a hundred miles, there is a rise of
seven hundred feet, which gives the rivers
an average current of about two and a half
miles an hour. Wherever there is a con-
traction in the width of the stream, how-
ever, especially around a bend, its velocity
may be three, four, or even five miles, but
on account of the absence of rocks in the
bottom, it almost invariably flows smoothly.
The strength of the current can only be
seen where the ends of half-sunken logs or
" sweepers " project above the surface, or
when the canoeman turns his prow up
stream.

The grayling region, on the Lake Huron
water-shed, has a top stratum of coarse
white sand. On the streams flowing tow-
ard Lake Michigan, the sand is yellow,
with more or less admixture of vegetable
loam. The rains falling on these sandy
plains and percolating through, meet with a
lower stratum of impervious clay, and thus



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THE MICHIGAN GRAYLING.



form underground courses which crop out
at the margin or in the beds of the streams,
and keep them at the temperature of spring
water.

The eighth longitudinal line west from
Washington may be considered the apex of
the water-sheds, declining East and West ;
although the head-waters of streams occa-
sionally interlock. By a short " carry " one
can pass from the head-waters of the
Manistee to those of the Au Sable. I have
seen marks on both of these streams that
gave evidence that surveyors did so forty
years ago, and have no doubt that it was a
route used by the Indians in crossing from
Lake Michigan to Lake Huron.

The country, except on the barrens, fur-
nishes a fine growth of white and yellow
pine, as well as oak, beach, maple, and other
hard woods. White cedars, — the arbor vitae
of the East, — invariably fiinge the banks of
rivers a few miles below their sources, which
are generally in ponds or lakes. These
trees appear to love spring water, and do
not appear until the stream has acquired that
temperature. Growing on the banks of
the streams, the current washes away the
loose soil from their roots, which causes
them to incline over and at last to fall into
the water; and these are called " sweepers,"
These rivers, from the constant influx of



VIEW ON THE MANISTEE.



spring water, never freeze, and owing to the
slight water-shed and sandy top-soil are not
subject to freshets, a spring rise of two feet
being considered excessive. Nor are they
discolored by high water, a brown tinge only
being imparted. Such streams, here and in
Europe, are the home of the grayling, for it
loves water of a low, even temperature and
a smooth, steady current.

The game-laws of Michigan recently en-
acted forbid the spearing and netting of
grayling at all times, and do not admit of
them being taken even with hook and line
from January unril June. These fish ac-
quire condition soon after spawning, but
are better in autumn, and in season nearly
all winter. So after the first of Septem-
ber the sportsman can unite shooting with
fishing. Several summers ago in August,
while running the Au Sable we counted
twelve deer and two bears. As they were
out of season and my finend Fitzhugh was
a stickler for the observance of the game-
laws in every instance, we resisted the temp-
tation to shoot them.

The country I have described has, of
course, none of that awe-inspiring scenery
we find on the shores of Lake Superior,
but with its clear, ever-flowing, ever-winding
rivers over white and yellow sands, with
graceful cedars projecting at a sharp angle
ft-om the banks, and every
bend of the stream opening
a new view, it is novel and
pleasing to one who has been
shut up all winter in a crowded
city. In running a grayling
stream, the feeling is one of
peace and quietude. There
are no song-birds in those deep
woods. One only hears the
far-ofif falling of some old forest
tree, or that weird sound caused
by the rubbing of the branch
of one tree against that of an-
other, as they are swayW to
and fto by the wind, and in
the distance one can almost
fancy that it is a human voice.
Otherwise all is as silent as
death.

My first raid upon the gray-
ling was in August, 1874, with
Mr. Fitzhugh, of Bay City, on
the Au Sable. We ran this
river from Grayling, on the
northern branch of the Jack-
son, Saginaw and Lansing Rail-
road to Thompson's, a distance



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THE MICHIGAN GRAYLING,



21



of a hundred and sixty miles. From Thomp-
son's, after loading our two boats on a stout
two-horse wagon and occupying another
with springs, we drove twenty-five miles to
Tawas City, and then after a few hours on
a steamer back to Bay City. There is no



leave Bay City by railroad in the morning
and arrive at Grayling early enough in the
afternoon to embark and drop down stream
seven or eight miles the same night He
should, however, engage boats and pushers
beforehand.*



SWEEPERS IN THE AU SABLE.



grayling fishing at the station called Gray-
ling, nor until one gets four or five miles
down the stream where the cedars appear.
From this as far as we ran it — and there
was yet sixty miles of it below Thompson's
— it is a beautiful stream, much prettier, I
think, more rapid, and less obstructed with
sweepers than the Manistee. The distance
by land is about seventy miles. On our
second day we killed and salted down —
heads and tails off — a hundred and twenty
pounds of fish, besides eating all we wanted.
In one hanging rift close by the bank, as
Len Iswel, my pusher, held on to the cedar
boughs, I took at five casts fifteen fish,
averaging three-quarters of a pound each.
The following day we fished along leisurely
until we had our live-boxes, containing
each sixty pounds, so full that the fish be-
gan to die. Then we passed over splendid
pools in which we could see large schools
of grayling on the bottom without casting
a fly; for we would not destroy them in
mere wantonness. In a few days, however,
we came across occasional timber camps,
when we commenced fishing again, and
supplied all hands with firesh fish. One can



There are two large branches, flowing al-
most as much as the main stream, that enter
the Au Sable. The south-west comes in
about forty-five miles below Grayling, and
the north branch sixty miles below. On
this last stream there is a sluice dam, and
when it is let off to float logs during the
summer and autumn, the water is discolored
somewhat, and the fish do not rise as well.
One can get all the fishing he wants by
running as far down as thesouth- west branch,
which as already stated, is forty-five miles
by water, and is only twelve miles back to
Grayling by land. He can engage a wagon
at Grayling to come with ice on a s;tated
day and haul back his boats, his luggage,
and his fish, thus saving the labor of push-
ing back up stream, which would occupy
two days of incessant toil.

When I fished the Manistee the latter
part of August, 1875, I ^^^^ ^0°* Grayling
with Mr. Fitzhugh and another fiiend, ac-
companied by our pushers, over "the

* I would here say that sportsmen wishing to
secure good men for fishing or hunting can do so by
addressmg L. P. RamsdelT or I. F. Babbit at Gray-
ling, Crawford County, Michigan.



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THE MICHIGAN GRAYLING,



barrens," a distance of eight miles, to a
camp established by I. F. Babbit, to fish
with hook and line for the Bay City and
Detroit markets. We made a permanent
camp four miles below Babbit's and fished
five days, giving him three-fourths of our
fish, which he came for every day, and
which (keeping none under a half pound)
amounted to over five hundred pounds.

One of my most pleasant trips, however,
was that of the latter part of August, and
early in September, 1876, when in company
with two young friends, I spent two weeks
on the Manistee. We went by the Grand
Rapids and Indiana Railroad to Mance-
lona, well up toward the Straits of Macki-
naw. Here we loaded boats, stores, and
camp equipage on a wagon drawn by a pair
of stout horses, and journeyed eleven miles
east to the head-waters of tiie main branch.
Our trip was dashed with a spice of advent-
ure and a good deal of hard work. We
had struck the stream higher up than we ex-
pected. It was small, scarcely sufficient t<5
float our boats, and still had the temperature
it had acquired in tiie litde lake which was
its source. There were no cedars, which



which have been undermined by the current
and have fallen in the water, and always
across the stream. We had three days and
a half of hard chopping, and hauling our
boats over huge cedar logs, some of which had
probably lain there for a century — for a cedar
log if it remains in the water, never rots. On
coming to some of these logs we had to
make a " carry," placing our luggage on their
mossy covered trunks and pulling our empty
boats over. We would then load up and go
on to cut more sweepers and make more car-
ries. At last the stream widened and was
free of sweepers, and we had magnificent
fishing. The grayling were perfecdy reck-
less, and would take one's flies within ten
feet of the boats. It was virgin water; no
fly had heretofore been cast on it After a
day's sport we came to the sweepers again,
and had a day and a half more with them
and half-sunken logs and a few carries. At
two or three of these carries, the logs were
over two feet through. Mosses had grown
and spread on them until, as we saw by
certain signs, bears used them as a highway.
On one we found thrifty cedars growing at
regular intervals fix>m the parent trunk that



ON THK manistbb: cleak of the swbeprrs and into good pishing.



only appear when the streams have flown
far enough from the ponds to feel the influ-
ence of spring water. On the morning of
the second day we came to the cedars and
cold water; and with them the sweepers,
which are cedars, as already described.



were more than half a century old. Soon
the stream increased so much in volume
and was so wide that a tree falling across
could not obstruct the passage of our boats ;
and finally we came to open water again.
And so we ran the stream down to Walton



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junction, a hundred and fifty miles by
water, while it was scarce fifty on a bee-
line.

Notwithstanding the difficulties we en-
countered on this last trip, those who follow
us over the same route will find it quite easy
on account of the passage we opened, and
in a day will make as much way down
stream from the small bridge at its head as
we made in four. On looking back 1 hardly
begrudge the hard work it cost us ; for the
subsequent running of a hundred and fifty
miles of beautiful river was much more
enjoyable than camping for nearly a week,
as we did in the summer of 1875, lower
down the river.

The boat used on my first trip is worth
description. It was built of white pine ; bot-
tom, I inch thick; sides, f ; 16 feet long; 2.10
wide on top, 2.4 at bottom, and with a
sheer of three inches on each side. The
bottom was nearly level for eight feet in the
center, with a sheer of five inches to the bow
and seven inches to stem. The live-box was
six feet from bow, extending back two feet.
The sides were nailed to the bottom. Its
weight was eighty pounds, and it carried two
men — the angler and the pusher — with 200
pounds of luggage. With two coats of paint
it cost about fifteen dollars. The angler sits
on the movable cover of the live-box, which
is water-tight firom Qther portions of the boat,
and has holes bored in sides and bottom to
admit of the circulation of the water to keep
the fish alive, and as he captures his fish he
slips them into holes on the right and left
sides. An ax was always taken along to clear
the river of fallen logs and sweepers.

My customary tackle on these excursions
is a twelve-foot rod of about eight and a
half ounces ; leaders eight feet long, and
flies on hooks ranging from No. 7 to No. 10 i



(O'Shaughnessy). I have found most of



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