The studies say.. :lol

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Posted by David Dempsey on 2013-04-30 23:50:13 in reply to Re: Seriously :lol posted by Parker on 2013-04-30 13:50:06

No question-fish often begin feeding on smaller and smaller insects etc in situations where they are dealing with intense angling pressure.

Bear in mind, I think we are talking about the renowned spring creeks, nutrient rich tailwaters and other Blue Ribbon fisheries that often end up pretty well trampled by the end of a season ;-)

The angler that is fishing smaller, lesser known, epauperate ( sp?--relatively barren in terms of nutrients/water chemistry and bug life) and remote streams--or pocket water-- may not ever have to deal with this. There are hundreds of Sierra streams--and Nevada, Idaho and Montana streams as well where a fish will grab almost any poorly presented fly even if it is dragging like a motorboat. :lol It's eat--or starve in some of these streams and if the water is fast enough, a trout doesn't have time to think about it.

In fact, I'd have to agree with just about everything you've said. Presentation is critical on some of these waters--and a lighter rod and a longer leader gives you or anyone else quite the advantage. My 4 weight loaded up with a good ol' fashioned double taper in just about the drabbest non-osprey color I can find ;-) is my "go to" rod for almost all of my dry fly fishing--and even some of my nymphing--unless I know or think I will be getting into some big fish consistently (wishful thinking).

I was fishing Silver Creek last season and had a very enjoyable outing--with fish rising all day to a scattering of Mahoganies (Paraleptophlebia sp?) and a small (size 18 and 20's) caddis that I did not identify. Some fellow was lecturing me about how I DID NOT need to fish such long leaders as long as I was "fishing downstream" (in theory, showing the fly first--before the tippet) to a rising fish.

Hard to say what the difference was: I had some patterns and variations on old standbys that the fish had not seen before--and I had close to a 20 foot (maybe longer) leader so I was able to float my fly and leader over an awful lot of fish without spooking them. Whatever the reason I was probably hooking fish on average about 8 to every one he hooked or had grab...

Rene Harrop as well as others apparently have been writing on this topic--the idea that fish behavior changes under intense angling pressure. We KNOW that fish are capable of learning: Pavlov proved it and tourists see it every time they hand feed the Koi at the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park ;-) At one time, I had about 20 aquariums --mostly tropicals--and ALL those fish knew when Mr. Hand with the yellow can of food was nearby :lol

In fact, I had a few bluegill that I had rescued from a farm pond that was being drained--and within a week, these fish were swimming up to the side of the tank to be fed!

The unknown is how quickly these learned behaviors are extinguished --which may be in part why early season fishing can be so phenomenal. The fish are ravenous after a long hard winter--and they perhaps have forgotten all the hook stings, poorly presented flies and mishandling of last season :lol

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