Courtesy of Dette Trout Flies
February 10, 1915
Dear Mr. Steenrod:
You can discontinue the Sunday papers after this, as I find that the Weekly Digest gives me all that I require.
While I lived South there were periods when I could not wet a line for two years, although I made up for it by spending a couple of months on the streams when I did get North. I worked out very successful flies for bass but that was not trout fishing.
If business was so good that I could not get away I tried to console myself by reading all the fishy books I could get. There was an Englishman on Nassau St., N.Y. who had lots of old books on fishing and some modern ones and I had a special arrangement with him. If I had bought the most expensive and kept them until now there would have been a large profit in them. I remember Luyster offering me a unique book at a discount of $5.00. “Fles and Fle Making for Trout,” from an old (120 years old, yet flies were very good) manuscripts, by W.H. Aldam. It was a real curiosity, with the actual flies shown in medallions together with the materials used in making the imitation.
I hope some one will find a second hand copy of “Dry Fly Entomology” to replace the copy burned at Liberty. I particularly want the directions and receipts for dyeing. The Entomology part has too many small Ephemera, the small sorts found on the chalk streams. On our mountain streams we have great numbers of the caddis, and perlidae, also many good sized flies.
I am afraid to begin fly making just yet, as I am too easily exhausted, particularly, it seems to me, when I am much interested in what I am doing. What do you think of the monthly form of Forest & Stream? It is much better than I expected.
This is such a fine cold day it makes one feel quite strong. Glad to hear that your severe cold is busted up.
I did not get my Field last week (now received); must follow it up right away. I am glad that there is one weekly left and will have to continue the temporary subs I made for six months only.
Some baits are badly armed; the two little minnows I bought . . . have such big single hooks (three) that they will never spin in a lake unless dragged very fast. A friend of mine in South Carolina wanted a minnow, so I bought a thundering big one (his bass ran up to 12 pounds). It was armed in this same way. He reported that there never was a better bait for getting strikes but no one could hook one fish in ten strikes.
Much the same story is told in the Outers Book for February, see page 153. Outers is the most practical magazine of the lot in some respects. I feel like talking this morning, but have to take it out writing. The Japanese gut I sent Cave [Recreation Magazine] is 72 feet 6 inches long.
When I get Sir Edward Grey on “Dry Fly Fishing” will lend it to you. I think that it will be good. He uses a powerful Hardy rod; see their catalog. If there is a decent place to stay while fishing, that lake above De Bruce is a nice one. I forget the name as I have not been there for years. The boarders at De Bruce never brought in any bass until about the middle of August. I wish that we could have such trout fishing as we had in 1906 and 1907. It was very fine on all three streams. I fished the Neversink and Beaverkill in ’06 and Neversink and Willowemoc in ’07. Fine sport and so many large trout, and the average was excellent. I have talked myself out, so will quit.
P.S. For instance, I took 11 trout out of Knight’s pool between 1:30 and 3 o’clock p.m. that weighed full 9 pounds. All ran even except one 16 inch trout.
The priest at Livingston Manor is a great fisher. Mr. Ward said he told him that he killed 800 trout last season. He has a small automobile.
I enclose a few Summer D. You will need a few light Cahills, easily made, and a very useful floater. My stock is old and where to get more I do not know. It is a lovely feather.
Edited by John McDonald, by permission of Theodore Gordon Flyfishers.