Hand & Fly Cleansing [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Hand & Fly Cleansing

01-12-2002, 11:33 AM
Does any one regularly use an anti bacterial or other soap to remove personal body scents from your hands and flys ?

I have heard of those who do it and I have tried it, but not sure if it makes any difference. Also have tried putting vanilla extract on hands prior to fishing to deodarize the human scent on flies and leader we are continually working with while on the river.

Wondering what if anything others are doing on this and what they think?

As you know steelhead and salmon have extraordinary smell senses using them to find their way back to their home rivers from perhaps a thousand or more miles away in the ocean or great lakes.

Thinking about this though as soon as your fly hits the water it is being washed into the river's odors. So not sure if us deordizing the fly and leader has any impact at all.

Just pray that you are not a high body oder person, maybe that is why some guys seem to always catch the fish even when others using the same methods and section of the river are not.

Something to think about on this winter day before we watch the start of the NFL playoffs GO BEARS !!!!

01-12-2002, 01:16 PM
I don't know about the solutions you have been trying but I do know salmon react negatively to human scent. I saw a video once where a man, sans waders, stood in the flow of water used by salmon to bypass a dam or lock and the fish cleared out quickly.

01-12-2002, 02:33 PM
Yes I would not recommend wading in your shorts and sneakers for andramous steelhead and salmon due to their extraordinary sense of smell.

No problem here in the mid west it is always to cold to even think of that when they are in the rivers, except for the summer run steelhead period.

Somthing to think about


01-12-2002, 02:53 PM
I just read that there is one human scent given off that fish react adversely to. cannot find the spot in my book to get the name....

Anyway human saliva counteracts that scent so the old spitting on the lure or fly seems to have some scientific backing.Well post more info when I find it in my book...


01-12-2002, 04:44 PM
And then there are tobacco products. Is that an old wives tale or what? I'll bet there's something to it when fishing small fresh water bodies for trout.


01-12-2002, 05:39 PM
I did some web research, today, do not think this iis an issue.

Will post a link with some technical research on the subject.

01-12-2002, 05:56 PM
See the link below for a technical article on Fish Scent impact. By this is an excellent web site on fishing in general world wide, locations, species, techniques, etc.. Has some fly fishing also.

With all of this knowledge easily available I can see our fisheries further depleting as more anglers develop their knowledge faster than we were able to do.

When they have imaged technology like that State of Washingon coast line URL that is posted on the forumn, anglers have it to easy to find a place to fish through the web. Before long they will be putting micro chips in our fish so we can all track them and meet on the river to fish the same pool. Imagine that, I don't think it is to far away unless our governement slows down the application of technology.

Perhaps those older anglers on this site (I am 54) remember the book in the early 70s "Future Schock by Alvin Toffler which predicted the down fall of society due to the rapidly advancing information age predicted. Well with the amazing internet we now have we are now well on our way.

Sorry I had to get that out. But it is just to easy to get information now thru the net on any subject, let alone fishing.

Personal privacy is an issue for us all and a threat to our fisheries, as well as to many other areas of our society.


Fish Scent (http://www.kenschultz.com/template3.asp?bookname=scents)

01-13-2002, 11:01 PM
Would have to disagree about technology and the downfall of fishing. Yes it is easier to gain knowledge faster than ever before I think anglers are also becoming more responsible.

How many people were catch and releasing 20-30 years ago? My bet would be hardly any. The internet is a great tool for educating young anglers in the ways of responsible fishery management and we should leverage that power as much as we can.


01-14-2002, 06:58 PM

I hope so, but I can tell you it is a whole lot easier then even 3-4 years ago for a person to obtain lots of good knowledge on how, when, and where to fish due to internet linking every one together. In just the past two months on this board I have gained a lot of knowledge on waters I was aware of but did not have good knowledge of how to fish it and when. Now I do, am I dangerous, no, because if I fish these waters it would be for a short time, a few days perhaps and all fish would be released. The knowledge gained through the internet resources will defintiely make me a lot more proficient on the river had I gone without the additional information.

Previously, it may take a couple of years on the river through hard fishing trial and error to learn how, where, and when to fish. You had to pay your dues by fishing hard and picking things up from the other fisherman and your own trial and error.

Now there are web sites full of technical how to information which expedites the learning curve and eventually the number of competent fisherman which will place more demand on the fisheries.

Here we are in 2002 and how many rivers and lakes in North America are no kill or managed for a quality fishery ? Very little here in the mid west and not many that I am aware of in other states. Yes some states have a couple of rivers no kill or fly fishing only in some sections, but it is definitely in the minority compared to the total water available to fish. It has to be less than 2% of the available fishable waters in the US. Just a guess on my part. One stream has a no kill section in Michigan for all trout and salmon all year, a couple of others have limited kill and fly fishing or artificial lure only sections of the river.

Not sure about an increase in the Mid west steelhead fisherman releasing more fish yet. When ever no kill or decreased daily bag limits are discussed the red flags raise all over out here. When they made the Pere Marquette no kill 3 years ago there were a lot of people upset. I know of one land owner that sold out their cabin on a prime stretch of the fly fishing only water just because it went no kill year round. It was owned by a corporation who used it to entertain guests. They did not think it would be right for their guests not to keep the fish they caught. Must of moved to another river in Michigan.

Lets hope our state conservation organizations and the state and federal governments start to see the light, before more of our wild fisheries are lost. Look at the plight of the US Atlantic Salmon, they have been working on this issue since the 1970s and it has now reached an extremely dangerous situation of possible extinction of Atlantic Salmon from US rivers.


P.S. I know I sound like an elitist fly fishing only guy but I am really not. I have been fly fishing only for about 30 years for trout and salmon, but I do think the fisheries should be open to other methods, bait, spinning etc... I served 4 years in the USAF and US citizens should have the freedoms we have all fought for through out our history. I have traveled a lot to other parts of the world, and believe me no country has the freedoms we do here when it comes to open use of natural resources. But lets start preserving them for the future. Technology is another risk to be assessed and controlled to protect these resources.

01-15-2002, 08:21 AM
Sean, arguably, technology IS accommodating the demise of certain fisheries, perhaps not streamside or inland, but pelagic/salt oriented. This is just a comment, not intended to be the beginning of a flamefest. With electronics so sensitive and capable of identifying a species of fish, way too many commercial interests overfish target species and at the same time batter attendant populations as well as "by-catch", which in most instances is illegal to be brought to shore.


01-15-2002, 08:43 AM
Good point Dave but what is in question here is not technology per se but the ready availability of angling information.

With all due respect to Hal and others I have to go with Sean on this one because of a number of points:

a) I have personally witnessed a lot of convergence of people around more conservation minded sporting methods as a result of internet based communities over the last two decades - including here on the Forum

b) The internet has provided a medium for communicating the principles of respect for our natural resources beyond any medium that has ever existed before. In comparison it's use to promote exploitation is infinitesimally small; I would think that when one is weighed against the other there is no comparison.

c) The biggest impact on a fish population is not smart fishermen, it's stupid policies. Habitat destruction - one dam makes all anadromous species extinct on a river. Commercial season mgmt - let Chesapeake Bay's striper spawn fishery not fade from our memories, or better yet the effect of stopping it. Smart fishermen are usually informed and more conscientious, in tune with things.

Then there's human nature... eventually in any web community the 'real' inside scoop has to be hidden from general knowledge because of lurkers. Using the Forum for instance, there are some real meccas being shared with those who are willing to give to the community on both coasts that we need to hide from general readership. We invite and personally bring people to these spots and share them openly with people who 'chip in' to the community but hide this info from open view. It's nobody's intention to give away the real hot information anyway! :devil:

Bottom line: much more good than harm IMHO..


01-15-2002, 10:17 AM
For a historical perspective of the web info sharing:

Prior to about 3-5 years ago there were no web based (easily accessed) discussion boards. You had to use the usenet groups or listserv subscriptions- sort of technical to access for the common web cruiser. Then came the web boards like this one. I remember about 3 seasons ago, everyone was proud of their fishing accomplishments and posted them openly with vital location and tide info etc. That wasn't too bad that first couple of seasons. But as the web cruisers increased and the lurking increased along with it, people were finding their fishing spots crowded when they returned after posting. So last season the dedicated web board members seemed to clammed up. Reports were still coming but with limited info (ie: no exact location). As a side effect email lists of small groups were invented to pass info amongst friends who share common fishing locales together. I find this evolution fascinating and believe it's a positive development helping to keep things in balance. It's based on trust pretty much. Who knows what will happen next? This private info passing to date lies outside of the weboard owners realm. I'm sure they would like to harness it somehow, but they haven't figured out (in my neck of the woods anyways) how to have private discussion groups for reports without alienating new users. For now it works. And I'm often reminded of the expression: "It's just fishing".

I also agree with the sentiment that the internet is a great messenger for the conservation ideas.


01-15-2002, 01:26 PM
No argument against either Juro or Terry's points; valid and well taken. I spoke to the aspect of the word alone and it's effect on current points of interest.

To return to the original subject matter, I've used Crabtree and Evelyn liquid handsoap (biodegradable, kitchen, kinda clear green bottle, sort of a clear liquid) that consists of something and something else and cucumber/whatever and doesn't smell, to wash all manner of rotten smells off things, fishy or otherwise. I'm familiar with a fish's sensitivity to scent, and think this soap would also work to remove the amount of human scent mentioned by the author. Worth a try.

01-15-2002, 04:03 PM
The little bugger have a very keen sense of smell which is why I parked my aftershave lotions, etc., under the sink years ago. 'Everyone' produces one type of body chemical (name a blank to me now) but men most, women least (is that why they smell so good?:D So what ever you use/don't use make sure it's unsented .... this includes body soap in the shower. Dog's also produce a lot of this in their body oils.

I acutually use a 'rock stick' deord. that my daughter put me onto; works like a charm and very hypo alergenic (sp?)