March 7, 1915
Dear Mr. Steenrod:
I have some exquisitely fine hooks Nos. 12 and 14. The 14’s are about perfect but the 12’s are a shade fine for the model and size. I can not afford to have a second lot made to order but this is a very perfect model, if it was made shorter for hard work.
I had to take a quantity to get them made and have parted with a great many to friends who fancied them. The 14’s have killed many fish on the Beaverkill as a good many skilled anglers go in for small flies there. A little dark dun with orange bag of eggs was very killing for several season, then it played out. I was glad as it was very hard to get wings and the boys would have been quick to notice a substitution. A small yellow dun has killed very well but in some way they got to calling it a “Cowdung.” The yellow fly you mention is plentiful in all these streams if weather is right. It is a member of the perlidae and does not greatly enjoy cold windy weather. It killed well tied as a hackle but the color must be right. Saves a lot of bother dyeing wings to shade. The duns are usually a safe play early in the season. They fly that I think Cooper took the Female Beaverkill from is rather different in some respects from the imitation, but the latter kills, so it is all right.
I am very tired tonight, so many things turned up that I could not make flies as I wished. I did manage 4 after dinner. My Mother is the same, weak and sleepy but not in danger at present.
The chenille does not hold its color well. I shall be glad to crawl into bed, but it is too early yet, not 8 o’clock. Bed is a great institution.
I don’t know whether I told you, that at last, yesterday I received a letter from a real angler at Bellefonte. I had been trying to get information, on and off, for ten years. Now I know why I got no replies. In such a large town there are a great number of local anglers who are jealous of strangers, and want to keep all foreign fisherman from taking their trout. The Brown trout have taken possession of the 2 streams that join just above and flow through the town. They get them up to 5 or 6 lbs. now and then, but many fish of 16-18, 19 inches are killed. All fish with fly. My informant sold 50 gross last spring but for the town Brown trout they use minnows on a special rig they make themselves.
There are plenty of native trout within 20 miles. One stream 18 miles out he describes as a fisherman’s paradise, after you know it well. It is very large and flows between high mountains. A favorite place to camp out in summer. I had such a delightful week at Bellfonte when I was 18 or 19 years old. Good hotel, everybody kind, and lots of very shy trout. I had one big day when I got 40 just before going home.
I am glad to know modern conditions at last but my correspondent doesn’t wish his name mentioned, as it would hurt his business if it was known that he was posting outsiders. He says that the show of big Brown trout on summer evenings makes your heart jump.
Edited by John McDonald, by permission of Theodore Gordon Flyfishers.