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Spotting fish?

Joined:
2008/10/8 0:36
From Florida
Posts: 277
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I would like to become better at spotting fish. I wear amber-tinted polarized shades that fit over my Rx glasses when I fish, and (I think) I'm getting better at IDing likely holding lies. However, I often have a hard time seeing or finding the fish themselves until they're spooked.

Can anyone offer any tips or ideas on how I can become better at sight fishing? All input is welcome; thanks in advance everyone.

Posted on: 2010/3/29 21:58
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"When one feels the rush of cold water against his waders, and pits his skill against the natural instincts and wariness of the trout, everything else is lost in the sheer joy of the moment."

- Ray Bergman


Re: Spotting fish?
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Joined:
2006/9/9 17:32
From Gettysburg
Posts: 8678
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Amber lenses are a good all round color. Personally, I like yellow for most stream and river fishing but truth be told I don't think there's much difference other than maybe the yellow being a slight bit better in cloudy or darker conditions. Learning to see fish, and trout in particular, is a major skill set leading to succesful fishing - esp for large trout. Once you've developed that ability to read water and know where trout are likely to be holding, you'll want to narrow it down to identifying the actual, individual fish. While there's obviously no substitute for experience, I'd suggest the following "drill." The next time you catch a trout or steelhead, release it into fairly shallow water with some current speed. Set your rod aside and just watch the newly released fish. Oftentimes, they'll lay in one spot for awhile as they regain their strength. Just watch that fish for a few minutes. Look at the profile of the fish: Notice the torpedo shape; notice that it is facing into the current; notice that the tail moves imperceptibly but moves nonetheless; notice as the fish breathes the white lining in the mouth; notice the dark shadow beneath the fish if it's sunny. After you've done this awhile, back further away from the fish and try to spot those same "markers." Then, carefully move downstream from the fish and study it again looking for the same things. Most of your trout hunting will involve looking upstream so study that fish from downstream just as if you'd actually snuck up on him. These physical markers will gradually burn into your mind and you'll soon find that you're seeing fish by actually seeing one of these markers. With practice, you'll get better at picking out trout from the rocky, natural forms on the bottom as well as learning how to tell the subtle markers that distinguish trout from suckers or other fish.

Posted on: 2010/3/29 23:24


Re: Spotting fish?

Joined:
2006/12/29 10:00
From Harrisburg
Posts: 2008
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When I scan a stretch its always looking for an object longer and thinner pointing into the current as my starting tactic.

Posted on: 2010/3/30 7:43
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Re: Spotting fish?

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2007/1/2 11:55
From Bozeman
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Go to a stocked stream and start by looking for stocked fish. The general rule there is to look for what squaretail and FI mentioned, but the fish are often dark colored. Sight fishing is very important to effectively catch stocked trout (and steelhead).

It's less important for wild fish, IMO, but the practice on stockers will help. The stuff mentioned above describes my tactics, but keep in mind that wild fish are never easy to spot. They often blend right in with the surroundings.

Posted on: 2010/3/30 12:06


Re: Spotting fish?

Joined:
2006/10/18 15:46
From Patterson twp, Pa (Beaver Falls)
Posts: 6396
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Here's a few things I'll add. I look for the specific characteristics of fish... for steelhead I look for the rosy cheeks. They usually stick out until you get caught looking at a red leaf on the bottom of the stream (been there done that). Also look for the lateral line. Sometimes that will stick out on a fish in certain water conditions. And lastly, as someone pointed out, you're usually downstream of fish so look for the tail. It is always the one consistant thing on a fish that is moving so it can sometimes be a good indicator of a fish when the rest is basically still. That's some other things I key on when trying to spot fish.

Posted on: 2010/3/30 15:34
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Re: Spotting fish?

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From Bozeman
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Another one that just occurred to me...

If you suspect you see a fish but aren't sure, focus on a rock next to it. Fish will usually drift back and forth, and you can more easily detect that movement against a fixed reference point.

Posted on: 2010/3/30 15:37


Re: Spotting fish?

Joined:
2006/9/11 13:05
From Lewistown
Posts: 3550
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Finding wher the fish are are the biggest aid in catching fish; stocked or wild (but wild for sure).

My advise is to spook holding areas, or what you think are good holding areas, to see where the fish sit and feed. Look for the darks and where they originate.

I still do this from time to time to make sure I'm not crazy.

Knowing where the fish are and good presentation is 95% of the game/battle. Fly selection and fish mood are about 4 more % and the final percent is random.

Posted on: 2010/3/30 19:05
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Re: Spotting fish?

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2009/8/19 17:22
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i don't stare at fish .......they don't like it and its not nice to stare anyways ......

Posted on: 2010/3/30 20:47


Re: Spotting fish?

Joined:
2009/3/3 19:40
From girard pa
Posts: 221
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i like to look for shadows that look out of place. if the sun is out you can tell if the shadow is from a rock or tree limb. also look for dark spots in off colored water it just takes time up here for steelhead for some reson i can relly pick them out in off colored water. sometimes you cast at sticks but if you make some cast and nothing happens move closer then you will know for sure. you wont see all fish i have spooked steelhead that i about steped on because they were hugging a rock right on the bottom and they blend in relly well with the bottom when the streams are gin clear and the sun is at the right angle.

Posted on: 2010/3/30 20:58
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Re: Spotting fish?

Joined:
2009/12/17 20:43
From Souderton PA
Posts: 841
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I subscribe to this podcast and they just did a show with Landon Mayer on sight fishing:
http://www.askaboutflyfishing.com/archive.cfm
I learned quite a bit from this and recommend the other shows Roger has done. I'm curious what percent of the time you all sight fish as opposed to blind casting to suspected lies in and around PA? Unless there is a hatch on I spend a lot of time blind casting (and getting skunked )
Mike.

Posted on: 2010/3/30 21:39


Re: Spotting fish?

Joined:
2008/1/21 19:15
From Pittsburgh
Posts: 2627
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Jim "I spot 'em, I got 'em" Teeney does a good job describing how to spot fish in the "Catching More Steelhead" video here...
http://www.jimteeny.com/indexMain.htm ... atalog/catalog/video.html

I can loan it to you if we meet up fishing again (and you can get your sunglass case back, too!)

Posted on: 2010/3/30 22:56


Re: Spotting fish?

Joined:
2008/10/8 0:36
From Florida
Posts: 277
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Thanks for the tips and suggestions everyone; I plan to use them all.

Quote:

David wrote:
Jim "I spot 'em, I got 'em" Teeney does a good job describing how to spot fish in the "Catching More Steelhead" video here...
http://www.jimteeny.com/indexMain.htm ... atalog/catalog/video.html

I can loan it to you if we meet up fishing again (and you can get your sunglass case back, too!)


David, I'd like to take you up on the offer for the Video. With the spring hatches season approaching, it will be good to spend some time on the water with you guys again .

Posted on: 2010/4/1 9:24
_________________
"When one feels the rush of cold water against his waders, and pits his skill against the natural instincts and wariness of the trout, everything else is lost in the sheer joy of the moment."

- Ray Bergman


Re: Spotting fish?

Joined:
2010/1/7 0:41
From "THE VILLE"
Posts: 1079
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Usally I find more fish on sunnydays. There shadows are easier to see on the creek bed than the fish them selves . It's like being able to spot deer in a thicket some people have the abilty some people learn how to do it. Some never develop it.

Posted on: 2010/4/2 0:36
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don’t hear drums and can’t smell
chicken blood in the air, put it back
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same.”



Re: Spotting fish?

Joined:
2007/10/17 10:49
From florida
Posts: 6137
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Good sunglasse are the key ,imo. I carry 2 pair one grey for bright sun and amber for cloudy days.

Posted on: 2010/4/4 15:45
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Gothe


Re: Spotting fish?

Joined:
2007/4/8 20:43
From Lehigh Valley
Posts: 11200
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And a hat to help keep errant light out.

Posted on: 2010/4/7 14:46
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April 8, 2007 - December 4, 2011.
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