General overview about Trout Senses

By: Brett Fogle

When fly fishing for trout, it is of crucial importance to understand their senses. Trout are fish, after all, and make different use of their senses than we do. Understanding these senses can greatly increase the prospects of a successful fly fishing trip. Many anglers make the common mistake of thinking trout are not very smart. As far as hatchery born fish are concerned, this is mostly correct.

However, in Montana and many other prime rivers in the world, most of the rivers are not stocked with hatchery born fish. Instead, the trout found will generally be wild trout.

And wild trout, whether they be rainbows, browns or brookies, are always smarter than their hatchery born counterparts.

Additionally, even if you are fly fishing primarily for hatchery born fish, it is still good to know how a trout uses their senses. Why? Quite simply, by knowing how a trout uses their senses, your approach and presentation will be better, leading to less spooked fish and thus better results in the stream. While hatchery born fish are rather stupid, they aren't so stupid as to sit right on top of an anglers foot, patiently waiting for that fake fly to float right by.

It’s also worth remembering that compared to other fish, trout tend to be smarter than most, especially the cunning Brown Trout. Because of this, when fly fishing for trout, don’t go about it like you would go about bluegill fishing. If an angler goes about fishing for trout on the basis that they are stupid, the angler is likely to be disappointed. A trout that can survive the rigors of a trout stream, especially a Brown Trout, is a very cunning animal indeed.

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