ALBANY, N. Y., JULY 3, 1893.
Freed from the cares of official life by the expiration of his term of office ex-Police Commissioner William J. Walker has turned his attention to angling, and launched himself boldly into the deeper waters of piscatorial pursuits. His first bow and general introduction was made to the trout of Vermont and in the “wide water” of a private preserve on Mount Tabor he cut quite a swath, if much mixed metaphor is adequate in the description of his performances as an angler. The ex-police commissioner is a merry fellow and he had as much, if not more, fun out or his vigorous attempts to throw his bait at the leaping trout as did the guides and attendants who had to make forced marches into the interior whenever Mr. Walker threw a captured fish ashore. Mr. Walker was not alone. He took with him an experienced angler, ex-Mayor James H. Manning, of the Capital city. It was a three days’ trip which Messrs. Manning and Walker took and they caught 100 trout each day and might have caught 300 a day had they been pan fishermen instead of sportsmen. The fancy affidavit printed in the best Weed-Parsons Co.’s style of the art preservative and solemnly subscribed to before School Commissioner and Official Court Stenographer James M. Ruso does not attest more than 100 trout caught per day nor specify whether ex-Police Commissioner Walker caught 75 of the daily quota or only an even 50 per cent. Let it suffice that both the ex-city officials fished and caught 100 trout per day. No mention is made of the 10 or 20 black flies caught on face or hand or wrist at every cast of the line. No affidavit is needed. The flies left their marks. Surprising as it may seem ex-Police Commissioner Walker brought back no personal testimonials as to the efficacy of any favorite remedy for fly bites out of the many in the stock of Walker & Gibson. And where did they go? Mount Tabor, a wild and picturesque member of the Green Mountain family in the State of Vermont, owned by that well-known lumber king and successful Yankee merchant, Silas Griffith, recently nominated for State Senator by the Republicans of his district.
“Mr. Griffith is not only a genial host, but is one of the most progressive and successful business men in the State of Vermont. He is every inch a Vermonter, and has in his employ the year round several hundred workmen, whose homes are upon the mountain. The Bennington and Rutland road will soon begin building a station at what is known as the south end of Mount Tabor. It will be called Griffith Station. It will be very near the hatchery and trout preserves of Mr. Griffith. The trout preserves are among the most extensive of any in the United States, and they yield a handsome product. A good deal of work has been going on of late at the hatchery. An artificial well is being sunk to furnish water for the vats and ponds in case the two mountain streams and spring now in use as a source of supply give out. An ice house, with a capacity of 500 tons, and refrigerator, have been built, and work on an addition to the trout hatchery 60 feet by 20 was begun last week. The latter building, when completed, will be 100 feet long, permitting the setting of 30 more hatching troughs, with a capacity of 75,000 eggs each. The total capacity of the building when enlarged wilt be 3,000,000 eggs.
“The work on the new earth vats for trout is also being pushed forward. There are now at the preserves 15,000 trout, yearlings and older, 50,000 fry and a large number of fingerlings. The owner gave this year 50,000 fry to the State and received from the State preserves at St. Johnsbury 10,000 fry. He will receive 35,000 fry from Massachusetts this week. There are at the Griffith preserves 10 earth vats 150 feet long and 1.2 feet wide, and within a week water will be turned into 30 more earth vats 30 feet by 6. Some 15 more vats, 18 feet by 9, made of plank, complete the present outfit.
“A building for cooking food for the trout is to be started this month. There is now consumed at the preserves 400 pounds of trout food per week. Next year the number of earth vats will be more than doubled, when there will be four acres of vats with a capacity of 100,000 trout. It will then take 2,500 pounds of food to keep the fish in good shape, and they will be the most extensive trout preserves and hatchery in the United States.
“The greatest difficulty in vat-fed trout has been found to be the loss of the peculiar flavor that makes the mountain brook trout such a delicacy. The present experiment at Mount Tabor is a new departure in the matter of feeding. The food adopted consists of sheep’s pluck, wheat middlings, corn meal and salt, all ground up and cooked by steam. The feeding of 15,000 trout down to Mount Tabor, each afternoon, affords a lively sight, and some of the beauties will turn complete somersaults in the air as they rise and take the food.”
Many trout are daily caught three miles from the hatchery, in Lake Griffith, on Tabor mountain, which is 2,300 feet above sea level. The best of these fish are transferred to the preserves below. These trout are caught by the friends of the proprietor who have the luck to secure an invitation, as did Messrs. Walker and Manning, to visit the lake on title mountains. It was in Lake Griffith that our Albany anglers did their fishing and while they caught none over eight or ten inches long, yet 1 ’twas rare sport and they are anxious to go again and try the neighboring brooks which are also well stocked. Down at the foot of the mountain where the trout hatchery is located it is a rare sight to see 15,000 trout rise and display their brilliantly spotted sides when the food, prepared “cheeps pluck” is thrown over the surface of the stream. They resemble the so called many-hued electric fountains and cascades.
Proprietor Griffith expects in a few years to be in a position to supply, on telegraphic order, a trout supper at any table in Greater New York, and have the trout taken fresh from their native waters the morning of the day they are eaten. Ex-Commissioner Walker when he has become a trifle more skillful in handling a rod and line or a net will perchance assist in capturing these trout dinners.