When the 15th of April comes around each year there are certain wise men who proceed to load up their automobiles with their fishing tackle and in the early morning turn Capeward. They have experiences of previous years to guide them and know certain brooks and pools where the speckled beauties await them. The wise ones know just where to throw their lines and the kind of bait that is sure to lure the denizens of that particular spot. For fishing is a science, as well as a sport requiring skill and judgment. The born fisherman seems to have an uncanny sense of piscatorial thoughts and almost instinctively can determine just the right thing to do and the right time to do it, while the mere amateur fisherman who only wets a line occasionally guesses whether to use a fly or a worm.
Yes, the Cape is a noted Mecca for trout fishermen, at least certain parts of the Cape. Within the confines of Bourne, Mashpee, Falmouth and Barnstable are many likely trout brooks and from them are annually taken many catches that gladden the hearts of the sportsmen.
These brooks run into the ponds and the sea, they run through marshes and woods. They abound in trout, of the square-tail variety, and those who know them keep their secrets closely.
Sometimes a fisherman exhibits a basket of fish that astonishes all beholders. Big speckled beauties they are and in quantity sufficient to satisfy any one.
Some of the biggest of them may be “salters,” fish caught near the mouths of the brooks that run into the sea and weighing all the way from a pound to two pounds or more. There is authentic information that trout weighing more than two and a half pounds have been taken from these Cape Cod streams.
Unfortunately for the general public many of the brooks are “posted,” but there are a lot of fishermen that “don’t believe in signs” and when they see a sign of “no fishing here” they are apt to challenge the statement and some of them aver that there is very good fishing there indeed.
It is a matter of history that the Pilgrims found trout in the Cape Cod streams. It is a matter of fact that many of the brooks have been stocked by private individuals and by the state. Every year the fish in these stocked brooks increase in size and the sophisticated fishermen keep track of them from year to year. The state keeps a record of the stocking of streams and that information can be obtained and made use of.
At Sandwich the state maintains a trout hatchery where millions of eggs are secured. These eggs develop into fry and fingerlings and they are distributed throughout the state, the Cape getting its full share.
A visit to this hatchery is interesting. It demonstrates how the state strives to increase sport for its residents. Science and experience are exercised and the result is that the fishing advantages of the state are steadily increasing.
One of the chief drawbacks of having well stocked streams is the unsportsmanlike conduct of many fishermen. To them a trout is a trout regardless of its size and hundreds of small fish are taken from the streams that should be put back and allowed to grow for another year. There may be satisfaction for some in catching a large quantity of seven-inch fish, but there is a greater satisfaction in catching fewer in number and larger in size.