do trout learn? [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: do trout learn?

02-17-2008, 12:04 PM
Hello people long time no see.
I was wondering if there´s any studies regarding how many times the same trout can be taken on flies. Do they get smart? Or supossing the fly is properly presented, can they get fooled time after time?

02-17-2008, 07:20 PM
They absolutely learn. There's a river up here in central Massachusetts where the fish are nearly impossible to fool on most patterns, no matter how close to a bug they look like.

02-18-2008, 07:42 PM
There are some studies that show that some cutthroats can be caught 6+ times. I'll through some native brookies in that group but not all of them. I fish a tailwater in central Ma.(Swift River) that have rainbows with multiple hook marks and these fish are supposed to be wise. Browns seem to be different. When I worked at a trout hatchery years ago it was the browns that seemed to be naturally cautious regardless of their hatchery upbringing.

I think that the stream that they are in, if it is heavily fished, dictates how cautious the trout are.


05-02-2008, 11:22 PM
One thing that I have learned, and have had confirmed by guides / other fly fishermen is a trout's "short term" learning. For instance, you will usually only get one strike from a fish, and after that - the fish will more than likely not strike at the same fly again for the rest of the day.

05-11-2008, 09:11 AM
I help maintain a trout club in Eastern Mass. We put hundreds of fish in three big ponds over the year and fly fish for them all year long. There is a significant hold- over from year to year and the species are two strains of rainbow, brown trout and brook trout.
The fish get surprisingly selective and shy very quickly after being introduced to the ponds. Natural enemies such as Osprey, Great Blue Herons and otters take their toll as well, making the fish spooky. The fish seem to turn on and off reacting to something hard to fathom sometimes. At times they will cooperate tied to the local hatches that you can see and imitate but at other times they will be very active, leaping clear of the water frequently, but not take any artificial flies presented. The most effective strategy seems to be matching the current hatch or fishing sinking line with nymphs that are active or present year round. Very early and very late, dawn and dusk time frames can help sometimes too, although many of the good hatches occur in the mid to late afternoon.
Today there was an early morning hatch of tiny size 22 grey flies all over the place and the little mosquito size 18 that I had on only produced occasionally. Still lots to learn even pushing 60.