Monday, March 26, 2012

The Science of Fishing

Fishing may not seem like an extremely scientific activity, but in reality it can be extremely scientific.  When fishing you have to take into consideration the basic food chain, fish as well as bait behavior, and the local ecology.  For example, I grew up fly fishing for trout and learned a lot about all of the above.  Trout are towards the top of the food chain in a stream and mostly feed on small aquatic insects such as scuds, may flies, and caddis flies.   Every region and every stream has their own specific set of aquatic bugs.  So a basic knowledge of what types of bugs are in a certain stream will automatically give you a huge advantage towards a successful fishing trip.  You can easily identify the aquatic bugs of an area simply by picking-up rocks off the bottom of a lake or stream and seeing what bugs are crawling around on them.  Secondly, certain bugs are only active at certain times of the year and therefore fed on by fish at certain times of the year.  These bugs can be found simply by looking for what bugs are swimming around in the water or floating on top. 

A lot of fish behavior will be determined also by bug behavior as well as habitat.  I have found that in many trout streams bugs are most active during the middle part of the day and therefore trout are also most active during the middle of the day, making it the best time to fish.  Bass and bluegill though seem to be most active early in the morning or late in the evening, making those the best times to fish for these species.  As for habitat, nearly all fish like some sort of cover whether its a pile of rocks, weeds, or an over hanging bank making these the best areas to fish. 
Rainbow Trout.
But whatever you are fishing for, a little background knowledge can go a long ways.  Research and try to find out 1. what is available for the fish to eat at that time of the year (that is what lure or bait to use), 2. how is that food behaving or how can you get the fish to eat it (how to retrieve the bait or lure), 3. where should I place my lure or bait (in the current, next to the current, by a bank over hang, next to weeds...).  Looking at fishing this way make it a little more complex then just casting a worm out there and waiting.  But it can also make the whole experience a lot more educational, interesting and successful.  I definitely enjoy fishing a lot more when I look at the trip in this way.  With more fishing trips and more observations you should become more successful.  There is one additional guideline: whatever works for you use it, even if it breaks the above three guidelines.

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