Fly Fishing Forum - View Single Post - Training Steelhead to take dry flies...?
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Old 06-30-2002, 06:13 AM
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juro juro is offline
Coast2coast Flyfishaholic
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: Steelhead country|striper coast|bonefish belt
Posts: 20,594
For mid-summer fish, a factor in addition to some of the great info posted by Sinktip and Smalma and others is time of day. For instance, I could go to a hatchery stack pool and skate up a fish or two consistently between dawn and 7:30-8am -or- while the ranger is threatening to lock the gates to the park at dusk but be floggin' it all day long and not raise an eyebrow on the fish. But none of that matters...

The most important comparison should not be made in terms of fishing, but the fish themselves. Hatchery steelhead are raised in concrete sloughs, fed artificial pellet food, effectively all of their natural juvenile knowledge is replaced with a manufactured mentality. It's a miracle of nature that they can overcome that void and survive to become adults. We should not regard hatchery fish (takers or non takers) as some kind of human success, it's survival in spite of human manipulation - all credit belongs to the wily steelhead itself.

Every hatchery steelhead is just a replacement for the real fish that the river had produced through the milennia, working hard to cultivate a form that had been refined to be perfect for that particular drainage. Nature is the perfect cultivator, humans really suck at it. All we're doing is isolating genetic traits to meet our one-sided needs. The fact that we are perpetuating fish that have no knowledge of digging redds (bonked and stripped), no adolescent knowledge of ways of the stream, in fact smolt swim quickly toward footsteps at hatcheries without feeding machines.

Sorry to digress, but it dawned on me that we are comparing hatchery fish to native fish in terms of sporting value, and it struck me as petty and wrong.
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