Bait Fishing

by Fly Fisherman

ONCE A fisherman gathers a little skill in fishing he will rarely turn to bait because the kick seems to be lacking. There isn’t a truthful expert or experienced fly fisherman but who must acknowledge the use of bait in his earlier fishing days, so there are none who can go high-hat or look down on the user of bait by those less skillful or by the youngsters just starting.

The most popular standby throughout the country is the good old garden hackle of nostalgic memory for most of us. Fishing the worm successfully is not the easiest kind of work. The worms must first have been prepared by toughening in moss and in impaling on the hook do not pierce him in several places to make a lumpy mass. Get one good hook hold either in his middle or at the larger end and let him squirm. Read the nymph fly fishing procedures and follow that pattern of handling your worm. The natural bumping along the bottom is by far the finest and most efficient exercise to follow whether fishing upstream or downstream. Grubs, rockworms and live nymphs are fished the same way.

The salmon egg is the most popular bait in the far west, whether used singly on a salmon egg hook or in clusters. The
cheese baits are next in line and becoming increasingly popular because if luck is bad one can eat the bait. The method of fishing salmon eggs, in states or areas where this bait is permitted, is the simplest possible performance and requires little or no knowledge of trout, of water currents or of fishing generally. It’s merely a matter of dunking the lure and keeping it in the water. In lakes it’s fished just off the bottom and it’s pure “chuck and chance” wherever used. I heard a salmon-egger reporting at one time why the egg must be kept off the bottom. He said, “We salmon-eggers mostly chum a bit with eggs or canned corn before we start to fish. Well at Lake Crowley (in the Sierra Nevada mountains) the whole bottom was paved with chum and to make our egg look different we had to raise it up a few inches.

If you do prefer the use of salmon eggs and must chum before you fish them I hope you’re not a canned corn user. I saw a couple baby rainbows washed to shore that had died from eating chummed canned corn and I never could forget it. Nearly all states, that are at all modern, and with the interests of future fishing in mind, prohibit chumming. In all fairness that’s the way it should be. The use of salmon eggs in some states is against the law and eventually, as those others remaining, where eggs are used, awaken, they too will clamp down. Egg clusters are used primarily for larger trout and steelheads in the streams, although lakes, too, get their share of “cluster” fishermen.

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