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Old 07-28-2017, 11:33 AM
PaysonLazerLiner PaysonLazerLiner is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 131
Fish Feeding in Muddy Water

My favorite small stream water conditions to fish are higher than normal flows that are somewhat tea colored. But since the monsoons began earlier this month, most of the streams on the Rim (and I'm sure elsewhere in N. Az) have been running quite colored. Depending on the stream, some are more like chocolate milk. After fishing several Rim streams recently, my success rate has dropped substantially and the fish seem to be noticeably skinnier and stressed. The obvious assumption is that fish just can't see as well. Therefore, they can't find either their natural food or my bugs. I never really consciously noticed this condition before but thinking back to prior years I can remember similar conditions-much tougher fishing and I believe I can recall that many of the fish I did manage to entice to my bug also seemed stressed and skinny during times of dark, muddy water. If my observations are correct, it would indicate that the trout in our small streams seem to be much more vulnerable to difficult feeding conditions like chocolate water, and the resulting drop in food intake seems to noticeably affect their overall condition in a very short time, maybe even in only a few days. Maybe some of you may have made similar observations. I'd be interested in other comments, especially from some of you fishy science guys or gals.
Again, assuming this is all somewhat correct, it further enforces the importance of proper and careful catch and release practices. Just as a note, I try to always do these simple things after landing a fish. The obvious is to make sure barbs are pinched, don't overplay and keep the fish in the water as much as possible, and always hold he fish facing the current to allow it to recover before releasing. But I've found that there are a couple of other simple things that I believe help to the degree that can get you to almost 100% survival rate. First, I always wear glacier gloves. Besides protecting the back of your hands from the sun, they provide a safety buffer between your hands and the fish, eliminating direct contact that can harm the fish. The other great thing with glacier gloves is that they make it super easy to test to see if your barbs are pinched all the way down. Just poke your hook thru the gloves. If your barb is completely pinched down it will pop right back out but if not it will catch on the spandex fiber and you'll know to give it another pinch. Most know this but flipping the fish upside down will immobilize it and make gentle handling much easier, especially while the fish is still in the water. Using smaller bugs with smaller hooks that reduce deeper penetrations. This is especially important in the rare case of a hook up deeper in the throat area. Always make note of where the fish is hooked and be very gentle if you happen to hook the fish in the tiny bone at the bottom hinge of the jaw. It can be severed quite easily during hook removal if extra caution isn't taken. I'm sure there are a few other ideas out there that someone might want to list.
The seeming fragility of our fishery I described above just motivated me to share my thoughts in hopes of doing all we can to protect all those piscatorial beauties that we are so obsessed with. I'm sure many of you feel the same way.
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Old 08-01-2017, 09:52 AM
Litespeed1 Litespeed1 is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Tempe
Posts: 1,204
I like off colored water as long as its not muddy.
A favorite time to fish for me. My main observation has been fly choice makes a huge difference. Not so much fly pattern as fly contrast......

I always like reading a post where the priority is to be gentle with the fish, and thinking how to keep them alive after a battle.
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