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Unformatted text preview: ot; like Tamlane in the ballad. Wherefore are the trout in Loch Tummell so big and strong, from one to five pounds, and so scarce, while those in Loch Awe are numerous and small? One occasionally sees examples of how quickly trout will increase in weight, and what curious habits they will adopt. In a county of south-western Scotland there is a large village, populated by a keenly devoted set of anglers, who miss no opportunity. Within a quarter of a mile of the village is a small tarn, very picturesquely situated among low hills, and provided with the very tiniest feeder and outflow. There is a sluice at the outflow, and, for some reason, the farmer used to let most of the water out, in the summer of every year. In winter the tarn is used by the curling club. It is not deep, has rather a marshy bottom, and many ducks, snipe, and wild-fowl generally dwell among the reeds and marish plants of its sides. Nobody ever dreamed of fishing here, but one day a rustic, "glowering" idly over the wall of the adjacent road, saw fish rising. He mentioned his discovery to an angler,
32 ANGLING SKETCHES who is said to have caught some large trout, but tradition varies about everything, except that the fish are very "dour." One evening in August, a warm, still evening, I happened to visit the tarn. As soon as the sun fell below the hills, it was literally alive with large trout rising. As far as one could estimate from the brief view of heads and shoulders, they were sometimes two or three pounds in weight. I got my rod, of course, as did a rural friend. Mine was a small cane rod, his a salmon-rod. I fished with one Test-fly; he with three large loch-flies. The fish were rising actually at our feet, but they seemed to move about very much, never, or seldom, rising twice exactly at the same place. The hypothesis was started that there were but few of them, and that they ran round and round, like a stage army, to give an appearance of multitude. But this appears improbable. What is certain was our utter inability...
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