February 9, 1915
Dear Mr. Steenrod:Athenian’s writings began in the columns of the Field and were always interesting. I had a fine edition of his book which was burned in the Liberty fire (also “Dry Fly Fishing in Theory and Practice,” 1st edition, and “Dry Fly Entomology.” The former can not be replaced, but I am in hopes of getting a second hand copy of the last.) McClelland’s (Athenian) book has been selling right along in the cheap edition, and is very useful. He was a very young man when he died of tuberculosis, only about 21 years, I think, but he had devoted all his time to fishing, etc. Val Conson (Skues) did rather a plucky thing some years ago. He worked out a system of wet fly fishing for the chalk dry fly streams, and killed many trout when the dry fly would not work. Then he published a book on “Minor Tactics of the Chalk Streams” that stirred up all the prejudice in the dry fly ranks. Mr. Halford was particularly fierce, and gave V.C. (of course not mentioning him) the devil in his last book. I was very sorry as Halford had always been so fair for over 20 years, but he was growing old; for years he had fished only certain preserved lengths of the Test and Itchen. He was recognized at the great authority, and had become a bit prejudiced and dictatorial. He was tremendously opposed to light rod.
English woodcock [enclosed] P.S. There was not a croak of dry fly for years after I began. Halsey started in 1896 or 1897 and fancied he got it from me, but I think he thought it out for himself. Halford was the one supreme authority, and I tackled a new art by myself.
Edited by John McDonald, by permission of Theodore Gordon Flyfishers.