Torresdales River (JW Edy plate 11)
No. XI. VIEW IN TORREDAL RIVER.
This view represents a mountain of crumbling materials. Parts of it have been arrested in their fall by the projecting parts, which were charged with innumerable fragments poured upon them from above. From the sides of the neighbouring hills, also, stupendous pieces of rock had been detached, and carried trees and other obstacles before them until they finally vanished in the river Torredal. The source of this picturesque and majestic river is in the Hardangerfield mountains, coasting their base in a serpentine direction over cataracts and through lakes. A vast number of rivers and streams fall into the Torredal, which ultimately joins the ocean at the east end of the town of Christiansand.
This river, in common with other rivers in this part of Norway, is not subject to the influence of tides. The water may indeed at times rise and fall, but this happens only in the event of an approaching change of weather. With southerly and westerly winds the water rises, and it falls when the wind is north or east.
The river of Torredal is celebrated for excellent salmon; the salmon-fishery is not, however, so productive now, as it was in former times. In the middle of the sixteenth century, about one hundred lasts were annually exported from Mandal only, and a large quantity was salted by the inhabitants for their own consumption. Of late years only 12 or 14,000 salmons have been annually caught in the district of Mandal, of which 6 or 7000 were exported to the eastern parts of the country. The salmon-fishery is, nevertheless, still of considerable importance, many cargoes of smoked salmon being annually exported to Copenhagen, and to the eastern parts of Norway. The salmon at present fetches four-pence a pound.
The salmon leaves the ocean and the deep friths, and proceeds up the rivers for the purpose of spawning, at a pretty regular time, generally in the latter part of March or the beginning of April, when the ice disappears. No signs announce the immediate or approaching arrival of this fish, which appears to be regulated by the season of the year, a difference of eight days, sooner or later, seldom taking place. The salmon has been observed to be very cautious in its motions, and immediately seeks the upper part of the river, if it is in any manner disturbed : a leader always regulates the movements of the salmon in its passage up and down the rivers. Its shape is different in different rivers; thus the salmon entering Christiansand frith from the sea, and proceeding to Torredal river, may be distinguished from the salmon which seeks Topdal river. Indeed the salmon knows how to find the river to which it belongs; and the salmon of Torredal is fat, whereas that of Topdal is lean.
The salmon is caught in various ways, but chiefly by means of nets. It is matter of wonder, that this fish is still to be found in abundance, considering the measures which human ingenuity and cupidity have devised for its destruction, from the limits of the ocean to the sources of the rivers. It is much to be lamented, that very little, if any, attention is paid to the regulations promulgated concerning the salmonfishery ; the laws on this subject being most artfully eluded, and at times even openly set at defiance.
The smoked salmon of Norway does not possess that fine flavour which is peculiar to the salmon caught at Randers, in Jutland. This is not, however, owing to the natural qualities of the Norwegian salmon, which is as large and as fat as in Jutland; it is solely to be ascribed to the superior mode of curing and preserving this fish, practised by the natives of the latter country.
In former times the first salmon was, according to custom, presented to the minister of the parish. The Norwegian fisherman does not, however, now comprize any such acknowledgment among the articles of his faith. But this apparent want of attention to the clergyman is not, perhaps, wholly chargeable to the fisherman's account.