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of Ferguson who were clearing the jam of logs here in the gorge last Spring, stabled their mules in our old log hut, and knocked off some of the slabs on the roof, to pitch in their hay from above. But you see my boys have patched it with spruce and birch bark, and now it is as tight as a kettle. You will observe we have new benches and tables, which they rived from one of Ferguson's logs; and that my campkeeper has laid a slab edgewise and piled dirt against the log chimney outside where that hole is burnt in it; and now it does not smoke any worse than it did last summer. When the emanations of that splendid fireplace are beyond endurance, I go to my tent, which you observe is pitched on that little grass sward, and drawing my mosquito net, read and tie flies during the heat of the day; leaving the threescore of kippered salmon, which you see slatted and hanging by cedar-bark strings from the rafters, to receive the undivided benefit of the smoke; that is, when my men decline participating in such benefit by sitting out-of-doors. When there is no cooking going on, we make a smudge outside before the door, and then it is bearable inside. This is our diningroom, kitchen, workshop, storehouse, and the men's dormitory, when the smoke or the mosquitoes will allow them to sleep; for at night, when the smoke is out these pests are in.
Maybe you may not like this kind of life-a little rugged, perhaps. But there is Dashwood, of Her Majesty's Fusileers, says he doesn't care much for salmon-fishing in Scotland or Ireland, where there is a water-bailiff every hundred yards along the river, and where cockney anglers eat their plum-pudding and drink their port in sumptuous fishing-lodges. He laughed when I asked him about the fishing on the Galway, and told me he had hooked and killed salmon on that river from a wharf with a warehouse alongside. He says he likes this "happy-go-lucky" way of sporting-plenty of "hopen au." A very good type of a Saxon is that athletic little Captain Dashwood. When
he fishes this river he has only one canoeman; he takes the bow of the canoe himself. When he goes to the lake at the head of the river for moose and carraboo, and his Indian gets unruly or obstinate, by way of moral suasion he "punches his head" to make him tractable.
As we have fortified our inner works, let us light our pipes and take a walk. The scene before us-save the green trees and the blue sky-is a record of violence of a long-continued conflict of the elements. See how the contraction of this little ball on which we live, as it cooled, opened fissures in the hard granite, which extends northeast and southwest for hundreds of miles. Wher, ever the river crosses its course it crops out. Here you observe we are on a slope of this primitive rock, and the river at one time descended it in a broad, smooth shallow. But finding these fissures in some places close together and extending along its course, it called to its aid the disintegrating frost, its Spring freshets, and masses of floating ice; and so has worn that rough, turbulent channel. By such agents, masses of granite, some of them large enough to load a good-sized schooner, have been torn from the gorge, and strewn along the river for miles below. You observe where the river comes with such a din over that fall into the head of Flat-rock Pool; there it is not wider than the length of my salmonrod. I have seen salmon jump that fall in cloudy weather at this stage of water. All that go up the river, and they are tons upon tons,* leap that narrow cataract.
Let us take our course down the river along the path that leads through that grove of tall spindling yellow pines, where there is such a commotion amongst the crows, we cannot hear their crowing
* The number of salmon taken in the bay and estuary of this river, between the 1st of June and the 1st of August, 1869, was about 27,500; at an average of 10 lbs. to the fish, this would be 275,000 lbs., or 137 tons, 10 cwt., or 1,375 barrels. There were about 600 salmon taken above tide with the fly, to say nothing of grilso; i. e., young salmon of 3 or 4 pounds
from here on account of the noise of the water. Every summer they colonize there for a time to build their nests
and rear their young. I see Bruno there at the pool where I hooked my big fish this morning; we will take a canoe and cross the still part of it to the portage. There is, necessarily, a portage here, or a carry," as you would say in the Adirondacks; for the river here, in its saults and cataracts, falls about eighty feet in a distance of three hundred yards. Now you can look up the gorge-softly there, Bruno, hold out your paddle and rescue that little red squirrel-so. Poor little fellow; the current, even here, is too strong for him in so long a passage; but they will attempt it at the risk of their lives. The "grand passion " impels them, and the Hellespont could not restrain them at this season of the year. They breed in communities here as the crows do. There is a little island with a stunted growth of trees on it, just across the little back channel above our camp, where they collect every summer. There is a great chattering there later in the season, when their fuzzy little babies come. See how he suns himself on the blade of that paddle. Now he is as good as new over he goes and makes toward land without even shaking a "thankee" to us for giving him a free passage.
You ask if there is no fishing between this and Bathurst? Lots of it. The tide flows three miles above the village to the foot of the "Rough Waters." The salmon-pools extend thence for a mile or more up along the river. First comes the Gravel Pool, then, in succession, the Grand Chain Pool, the Rolls, Camp Pool, Willis' Pitch, Miller's Pitch, the Long Hole, Buchet's Falls, Procter's Rock, and a dozen others that I know, but cannot now recall their names. Mr. Spurr fished the Rough Waters last summer, as early as the 20th of June, and had good sport. Between this and Rough Waters there is a station called Round Rock, where there are a half-dozen good
But who comes here, pushing through Big Pool, right over the lay of the sal
mon? I am afraid it will spoil my afternoon's fishing there. As they must make the portage here, I will see who they are. Travellers are so few and far between on the river at this season, that we claim it as a right to know where they are going, and what for.
"Who are they, Bruno?"
"Indians, sir, goin' spear salmon above. I see de jaws of he spear stickin' out de top of he bag."
"Indians? Why, one of them has a red head!"
"Indian, sir, for all dat; he live on de island in de bay dare long wid Prisque. He cull himse'f Indian, anyhow. Maybe he half Indian."
"And maybe the other half missionI wish we could catch them spear
"Too smart for dat, sir; dey go down before mornin', and have twenty, thirty saumon sell to de sousery man in de harbor."
It is not lawful to spear salmon above tide-water; and though not sportsmanlike, I witnessed it once for the novelty of the thing. It is a grand night-scene to see a stalwart fellow in the bow of his canoe, the glare of his flambeau lighting up his bronzed features as he poises his spear in the attitude of striking,—very different from the pictures we sometimes see of it in our illustrated periodicals. I have one before me now, showing what conception an author or artist sometimes forms of a thing he has never seen. It has in the foreground a canoe, with a fire on the bottom, in the middle, and a nude Indian standing up on a level with the gunwale in front of it, in the attitude of spearing a salmon, which, from his relative position to the fire, he cannot see. As I look at this picture of "Salmon-Spearing in Oregon," I cannot help but exclaim, Foolish Indian! Do you suppose that you are in the torrid zone, that you go thus unattired like an Adamite? Why come naked and shivering out into the nightair of the frigid North? No leggins or ragged trowsers, no blanket or old coat to warm your poor carcass. Get down from your elevated position, and put
out that fire before it burns a hole in the bottom or sides of your canoe. You have no more appreciation of where you are, or what you are trying to do, than an editor of a New York weekly. Old Prisque, the chief of the fellows who have just passed up the river, would drive you from his huts as drunk or crazy for behaving thus. Go now, you unsagacious savage, and cut a stick as thick as your ankle and as long as yourself. Split one end and drive in a small flat stone to keep it open, and light your birch-bark or pine flambeau, and stick it in the cleft. Then stand on the bow, brace your knees against the gunwale, and "step" the stick that it may project out beyond the stem of your canoe like a bowsprit. With the torch thus, you can see ahead and on either side, and will not stand in your own light, or cast your shadow ahead, scaring the salmon, but you can see them when they don't see you. So poling along gently, with the butt of your spear-handle or your companion in the stern paddling noiselessly, you will come warily upon them, and can strike one when you see it.
"Let us push back over the river again, Bruno. But stop here in the middle." As I look up the gorge I see the only cast on the left side. It is there where you clamber down two precipices, each as high as my head; and where, if one hooks a fish, he has to clamber back and fight him from the high bank. It is a good pool at high water, however. A few days ago, I had a desperate fight with a seventeenpounder I hooked there. He ran me down along the edge of that high cliff, where, if I had made a false step, I would have gone headlong into the river or on the rock thirty feet below. After a stubborn contest, he stuck his nose against the rock at the head of that rapid-you can see it from here. I thought he was off and had left my hook fast. But the boys ran down to the landing we have just left for their birch, and by tremendous efforts pushed up where likely canoe never was before. Finding the fish still on, they gave him
a start, and we only gaffed him after we got to the landing a hundred yards below.
A favorite old camp is Grand Falls, where my tent is now pitched. Those who travel the river to or from the lumber regions above make it an object to stop here all night when they make the portage of the Falls. The toiling canoemen, as they pole their bark laden with the angler and his outfit against the stubborn stream, look to it as a haven of rest. It is the angler's paradise, and many pleasant days have been passed here by jolly brethren of the rod, who have travelled far by land, or crossed the Atlantic to fish at the far-famed "Grand Falls." I have pleasant memories of this old camp,-the bright rushing river below, and the hill rising behind covered with luscious berries; the songs and stories of the simple canoemen; the oozy meadow with its wild shrubbery, where choirs of song-birds rouse the angler from his early morning slumber, that he may souse his head in the cold brook and prepare for his day's sport. I have lit my pipe at the campfire here at sunrise and killed a brace of twelve-pounders at Rock Pool before I knocked the ashes out.
The pools in succession, beginning above, are Fall's Pool, Hagerty's Pool, Camp Pool, Rock Pool, Cooper's Point, the Unlucky, and many more below the basin. By walking ten steps from our bark-shanty one can look down, when the water is clear, and count every fish in Camp Pool. The grilso can even be distinguished from the larger salmon. When anglers are here in company, it is nothing uncommon for one of them, from the point just mentioned, to see his chum hook and play a salmon in Camp Pool. It is an interesting exhibition. The height above and the great angle at which he looks down enables the observer to see the fish rise and take the fly. The whole contest,—the runs, jumps, sulks, and finally bringing the fish to gaff,- -are as plainly visible as if the fight was on land.
I had been here four or five days without much fishing. The continued
heavy rain kept the river too high, although I killed a fish daily close inshore at the landing on the opposite side above Cooper's Point.
About the expiration of the time just mentioned, an incident occurred, which, strange to say, caused the abandonment of this fine old camp, and established a new one at the head of the basin a halfmile below. To the annoyance of anglers, the basin had been subjected every summer to more or less nightpoaching. Old Prisque's Indians would come up from their island in the bay and spear it; and net-fishers from Middle River, some eight miles to the east, and from the northwest branch of the Miramichi to the west, would in the darkness sweep the "jaws" of this fine sheet of water; or setting their net, would drive them into its meshes. When infrequent visitors, therefore, would visit our camp or loiter around, if the explanation as to the nature of their business was questionable, we were apt to suspect that they were going to poach the basin. Bruno had met two stalwart fellows in the rough timber road a hundred rods back of the camp, and another came to our shanty one day, and asked such questions and gave such replies to our queries as induced us to conclude that they intended to net the basin that night. So we determined to watch and prevent it. Accordingly at dusk, leaving Peter to keep camp, I took the other men, and we paddled softly down the river. All the firearms we had was Roma's cheap single-barreled gun,―a very inefficient weapon-and the law on our side, with which to encounter the poachers: we did not know how many there were.
We took our position close in-shore, under the shadow of a precipitous rock, opposite a pebbly beach, where they must necessarily land to prepare their net, if they came. We were careful to avoid any bumping of the canoe or other noise; our words were few, and only in whispers. We waited an hour, and thought of giving up our vigils, when Roma inquired in an undertone, "Hear dat?
"No," I replied; for to my ears no sound broke the deep stillness.
"Hish," said Bruno, after a lapse of a few minutes, "hear 'em ag'in ?" Then a low whistle from far down the east side of the basin was borne on the night-breeze.
In a few minutes more we heard a sound as if of muffled oars, which grew distinct as they approached. In ten or fifteen minutes they landed some eighty yards from us on the opposite shore, and after waiting a short time, struck a light and built a fire. They threw on some light stuff, and Roma counted five, six, eight burly figures, as they passed between ourselves and the bright blaze. Growing more confident they talk aloud, and from their brogue they were of the "Emerald Isle," or were provincial Irish.
What could we do,-a rather shortwinded old man, stiff in the knees, who had "lost his figure,” and two timid French "Blue Noses,"-against such odds? It was ludicrous, though serious to think it. I did not give up my purpose, however, but resolved to put on a bold front and speak as "one in authority." They cut their light billets to buoy up the cork-line of their net, and after other preliminaries, got it into the stern of their skiff, and stretched it across the entrance to the basin. Then going below in their boat, they beat the water to drive the salmon into the fatal meshes. Presently Roma said he heard the salmon striking the net, and I could stand it no longer.
"Softly, boys, we will get close alongside," I said, cocking the gun, as we paddled silently from our hiding-place towards them. When we got within ten or fifteen yards, Roma, in his excitement, addressed Bruno audibly in his provincial idiom.
"Who the devil's that talking French?" exclaimed Redding, the leader, and then there was a dead silence.
"That will do, my good fellows," I said. "You have gone far enough. Now I want you to go, and go quick.
I have something here that is good for four or five of your number, at any rate, if you do not."
There was a commotion, and a confusion of voices amongst them. At length Redding (the man who had visited our camp) was heard: "In with the net! haul it ashore! Douce that fire." His orders were obeyed instantly. There was a lively, bustling time. In a few minutes the net was in the boat, and they were pulling, "as if the old Harry had kicked them," down the basin. One unlucky fellow was somehow left behind. He hallooed to them and cursed and swore some." But there was no waiting. He was told, as they went off, to run down the shore a half-mile and they would take him in. But his progress was soon barred by a perpendicular bluff on one side and the water he did not know how deep-on the other. Then there was more cursing and loud hallooing to his companions; but after a while it ceased. So also did the sound of the deftly-plied oars gradually die away in the distance. We had drawn a long breath on their departure; and Bruno, whose voice was quavering a few minutes before, now broke into a loud laugh, as he slapped Roma on the back with his paddle, saying, "Did you hear de Captain cuss? dat make 'em go so quick. Oh, Captain, I t'ought you was Sunday-man. know some mans fish Sundays never cuss savage like you did dat time. I never hear you say sich ting before, Captain."
I tried to explain to Bruno that my "cussing" was with the same intent as intimating that I held a six-shooter in my hand, and that it was as harmless and at the same time, perhaps, more efficacious than Roma's four-dollar gun. The poachers could have ducked us in the basin and continued fishing, if they had chosen to do so. But they did not know but what Hickson, the fish-warden, and a posse was at hand. And as we had the law on our side, and three of them at least could be identified, they substituted discretion for resistance, and "vacated."
In the morning I decided to do what had been talked of for many years-to establish a camp at the "Jaws" for the
protection of the basin. So we moved down tent, bag, and baggage; teapot, oven, and kettle. The water being still too high for good fishing, we devoted two days to making a new camp, locating it on a bluff that went sheer down fifty feet to the water. We trimmed out the undergrowth, lopped off the lower branches of the young spruces to admit of a free circulation of air, and cleaned up a good space where tents could be pitched. I named the camp after a dear Irish lady, who once spent a week with her husband and myself on the river-" Camp Olivia." Then the water began falling, and, as a matter-of-course, the salmon commenced rising. ""Twere vain to tell" of the many stubborn contests I had with the fresh-run fish that had come up on the rise of the river. For three days I had "sport galore;" on the last I entered ten fish on my score, whose aggregate weight was a hundred and twenty-one pounds. I took them mostly at Cooper's Point. It was a dark day, with a chilly, spitting rain; so the fish, which lay close into the Point, not being disturbed by my presence or movements, took my bright orange fly almost at the end of my rod. I was wet, cold, and tired, when I returned to camp that evening. After putting on a dry coat and eating a hearty supper, I was laying on the firboughs listening to Roma's fiddle, when, rising to light my pipe, I looked toward the landing and saw the bright glare of a flambeau. It soon approached along the path, and I heard a cheery voice, as it came, singing,
"Oh, love is the soul of the nate Irishman;
He loves all that is lovely, loves all that he can. With his sprig of shillalah and shamrock so green-"
And then Nick, for whom I had been waiting so long, came through the bushes and slapped me on the shoulder. There was short greeting, and then an exclamation, "Don't you see I have a mouth in my face? Put on your teakettle. Divil the morsel but the stem of my pipe has passed my lips since one o'clock, when I dined at Mid Landing. There was a beast of a salmon, too, that