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  1. Default Stacked up fish?

    So about a month ago, I was fishing a river canyon where the average water height is normally about 2.5 to 3.5 feet. With the low snow packs this year, and lack of rainfall, the river dropped significantly, so much so that the fish were forced to school up in the deep portions of the canyon. When I say they are stacked up, I mean that a pool that would normally hold 10-12 fish, was then holding 80-90 fish in a 50 foot stretch of river. The water temps were still good, and even though the trout were probably having a tough competition for food, they all looked very healthy.

    I'm wondering if anyone has any insight or suggestions to the behavior of these stacked up fish? I was able to catch many trout that day, but all of the trout I caught were isolated from the schools. When I came to the schools and presented the same flies that were catching fish 30 feet away, all 80-90 trout would refuse the fly. I had the luxury of sitting there and trying every fly in the box, including my go to trico on 7x tippet during a trico hatch, while some of the smaller trout in the school were hitting tricos on the surface...and yet still saw no interest from the fish. I should say that the fish in the schools were in water moving slower than the water where I was hooking up.

    I chopped up experience to wary/spooky trout not being fooled, and the group mentality somehow adding to the intelligence of determining all my flies as artificial. I'll tell you this though, it sure is fun to hook up with one trout in the middle of 30 others, and watching the other 30 fish go crazy as their buddy dances on the end of your line.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Portland and Maupin, Oregon
    Posts
    524

    Default Re: Stacked up fish?

    Trout have feeding lies and resting lies. When fish are stacked up in large pods in a deep pool sanctuary they are usually resting. They may also be under stress, especially if the water is low and lacking oxygen. If they were feeding they would be seen moving or turning to capture food. Otherwise, leave them in peace and look for fish that are actively feeding. Isn't that what flyfishing is all about? Attempting to provoke a resting fish into striking by repeatedly casting to it is ethically questionable and the risk of foul hooking is high. Some anglers, including myself, might consider it harassment.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    White City (tad north of Medford) Oar-E-Gone
    Posts
    10,825

    Thumbs up Re: Stacked up fish?

    +1 to Dillon's comment above.

    fae
    When wealth is lost, nothing is lost; when health is lost, something is lost; when character is lost, all is lost. - Billy Graham"

  4. Default Re: Stacked up fish?

    Quote Originally Posted by dillon View Post
    Trout have feeding lies and resting lies. When fish are stacked up in large pods in a deep pool sanctuary they are usually resting. They may also be under stress, especially if the water is low and lacking oxygen. If they were feeding they would be seen moving or turning to capture food. Otherwise, leave them in peace and look for fish that are actively feeding. Isn't that what flyfishing is all about? Attempting to provoke a resting fish into striking by repeatedly casting to it is ethically questionable and the risk of foul hooking is high. Some anglers, including myself, might consider it harassment.
    Okay, to explain further, we aren't talking about resting fish here. The fish were feeding and very active, it was just my flies they weren't feeding on. Additionally perplexing to myself was the aggression they were taking the naturals at. I wouldn't call it a feeding frenzy, but when the fish decided he was going to eat, he got after it.

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