I just came in from our little deck. Quite
often I take my coffee break outdoors (especially if the sun is
shinning here in the great northwest), and my favorite is to sit
on the moonbridge JC built for me and watch the fish.
There are two ponds, neither very big by the serious
water-gardeners standards. One is 150 gal. and the
other is 250 gal. They are connected by a preformed
fiberglass thing which we have named the 'Creeklet.'
Too small to be a creek, it does provide some rememberance
of creeks in other places. Water circulates from the
small one back up to the larger one and dribbles back again.
There are fish in both ponds, a few small koi in the larger
and a lot more small fan-tail goldfish in the little one.
The Creeklet is screened off so the fish can't get stranded
between the ponds. Been there, had dead fish.
I've fallen into a system to feed the fish. The goldfish
in the lower pond are fed first. They don't get very much,
and keep in mind, this water is being filtered and circulated
back up to the larger pond.
Here's where it get interesting!
It takes less than one minute for the fish in the upper
pond to be turned on to the food in the lower pond.
Of course, at that point I feed those fish too. But they
have smelled that very small amount of food, now diluted
into 400 gallons total! That sure says something about
the sensitivity of a fish's nose.
Years ago I fished for coho (silver) salmon with my dad on Lake
Michigan. Quite often I caught more fish than dad, until he
heard about a local (Frankfort, MI) custom. A bag of dog or
cat food in the boat. Before he touched a lure or fly, he
rubbed his hands with the stuff in the bag.
Question is was that the beginnings of the bottled scents the
bait fishermen use? Or - did it just remove whatever scent
from his hands?
Let that one roll around in your head for a minute. Now,
what happens when you tie a fly? How about when you tie it
on to fish? Are there substances on your hands that transfer
to the fly? Other odors, like cigarette smoke, cooking odors?
Do the scents of medications transfer to the fly from your hands?
One of the early Tying Tips articles
was about washing your hands before you start tying flies. At
the time I thought it was a good idea, but didn't really put
that much importance on it. Watching my fish changed my
The problem this all brings to mind is this: if the fish can
smell such minute amounts, is it only a reconizable food
substance that turns them on? Or do all other non-food
scents turn them off? I don't have an answer, it's just a
question at this point.
But if the non-food scents turn them off, how about the various
fly floatants we use? I've been told not to get sun screen on
my flies, maybe for the same reason.
I've considered treating a dry fly or two with floatant and
dropping them on the pond, purely in the scientific research
mode, to see if the koi would come up. I do see them take
insects from the surface of the pond, but I'm concerned the
size of the smallest hook I have would be too big. Something
mosquito size would probably work tho.
If you have any experience along this line, or have read
something about it, I'd appreciate a post on our Bulletin
Board. ~ LadyFisher
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