How do Salmon find the Worm in Dirty Water?

YoungRyan

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I fish my local river in big dirty water with the worm, I know this is the case on a lot of rivers when the rain comes. But I have often wondered what sense do salmon use to detect the worm? Surely the water is too dirty for them to see the worm or do they have addapted vision? Or maybe is it the sence of smell/taste of the worm in the water?
I always believed that it would be sight because in similar conditions we often fish the flying c to good effect.
 
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I'll kick this one off by saying that what ever answer you get to this question will be a guess..
My guess is smell and the taste of scent coming downstream of the bait.
 

Jockiescott

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You can fish absolutly anything in dirty water Ryan. If you get the worm, spinner or fly (Yes, I said FLY) close enough to the fish you run a chance of a take.

I've had quite a few on the fly in 'Worm Only' water and as you said yourself, you'll get them on flying C no problem.
 

YoungRyan

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I think maybe it is just the case of anything close enough to a taking fish will do!
There are 2 men in particular on my Local that are very successful on the fly in big brown water. Big Brass Tubes seem to be the way to go, not necessarily casting into the main, heavy flow but short casts in slacker parts of water where the salmon move in this heavy water. I did not have a setup that allowed me to have a go at this last year but im well kitted out for it this year and will certainly be giving it a go.
Thanks men
 

MCXFisher

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Seeing in Dirty Water

Have a look at 2 posts on Just One Week to get a better handle on how and what salmon see.
Windows on the World - this looks at the physics of underwater visibility
Here's Looking at You - this examines the operation of the salmon's eye in more detail.
I'll be putting up a post in a few weeks on how they focus on objects and the effect of the short focal length of their eyes on depth of field.
But as someone else pointed out earlier, if you get it close enough even in Brown Windsor Soup, it may get taken.
I haven't studied the salmon's sense of smell yet, apart from its use in relation to sex and breeding (both male and female fish discharge substantial quantities of hormones through their urine that increase as the season progresses. In fresh water they have to urinate to maintain fluid balance owing to the osmosis of less dense water into their systems which are conditioned for salt). Recent Norwegian research suggests that the role of smell is less significant in navigation than we had previously assumed.

Michael

Just One Week
 

YoungRyan

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Have a look at 2 posts on Just One Week to get a better handle on how and what salmon see.
Windows on the World - this looks at the physics of underwater visibility
Here's Looking at You - this examines the operation of the salmon's eye in more detail.
I'll be putting up a post in a few weeks on how they focus on objects and the effect of the short focal length of their eyes on depth of field.
But as someone else pointed out earlier, if you get it close enough even in Brown Windsor Soup, it may get taken.
I haven't studied the salmon's sense of smell yet, apart from its use in relation to sex and breeding (both male and female fish discharge substantial quantities of hormones through their urine that increase as the season progresses. In fresh water they have to urinate to maintain fluid balance owing to the osmosis of less dense water into their systems which are conditioned for salt). Recent Norwegian research suggests that the role of smell is less significant in navigation than we had previously assumed.

Michael

Just One Week


Two very interesting articles Michael. I always assumed that sight was the dominant sense, but in that Brown soup I though their vision my be useless (which is not the case).
So putting the science from the 2 articles together you could assume it is more about fishing correct depths and colours with an aim to triggering a take (albeit in a closer proximity to the fish) in these conditions rather than relying on the asumption that the fish taste/ smell your bait rather than seeing it.
But lets never forget this is salmon fishing, science helps but if we are honest the luck is as big a factor as any, thats why we are all addicted. :)
 

MCXFisher

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Dirty Water

Two very interesting articles Michael. I always assumed that sight was the dominant sense, but in that Brown soup I though their vision my be useless (which is not the case).
So putting the science from the 2 articles together you could assume it is more about fishing correct depths and colours with an aim to triggering a take (albeit in a closer proximity to the fish) in these conditions rather than relying on the asumption that the fish taste/ smell your bait rather than seeing it.
But lets never forget this is salmon fishing, science helps but if we are honest the luck is as big a factor as any, thats why we are all addicted. :)

First, thanks for the feedback - always welcome. I know nothing of worming and so can't really comment on that. However, I'm coming to the view that depth, fly size and speed of movement are critical variables. For me the jury is still out on colour, primarily because so much of the spectrum is absorbed by brown-tinted water (that's why it looks brown!) it is quite difficult to differentiate colour with any precision. To that end I'm starting to explore the ultra-violet component to see whether it's significant. Even the humble stickleback has a proven capability in that range, so the salmon may well also (a UV shot of Sockeye salmon in the Pacific is very revaling). Unfortunately my kit and software does not currently do UV, so you'll have to wait a while for a post on that area.
And of course, ultimately, it's all a fluke that we don't understand.

Michael
 

YoungRyan

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First, thanks for the feedback - always welcome. I know nothing of worming and so can't really comment on that. However, I'm coming to the view that depth, fly size and speed of movement are critical variables. For me the jury is still out on colour, primarily because so much of the spectrum is absorbed by brown-tinted water (that's why it looks brown!) it is quite difficult to differentiate colour with any precision. To that end I'm starting to explore the ultra-violet component to see whether it's significant. Even the humble stickleback has a proven capability in that range, so the salmon may well also (a UV shot of Sockeye salmon in the Pacific is very revaling). Unfortunately my kit and software does not currently do UV, so you'll have to wait a while for a post on that area.
And of course, ultimately, it's all a fluke that we don't understand.

Michael


Cheers Michael, be sure to post that on here as I would be very interested in getting a read at that.
The UV idea sounds an interesting one, one thing I came across only last year fishing was one man who had holographic stickers on the blades of his flying c's. This man is an old timer who knows the river like the back of his hand and is also a very talented creator of Flying c's. This man always gets a lot of fish spinning and alway has, but he put his recent success down to the introduction of these stickers on his spinners, he mentioned to me that the green and purple seemed to be the two most sucessful colours.
This man always gets his share of fish and I am not sure if it is this change that has boosted his numbers or maybe he has just totally perefected this method but it seems plausible that the stickers may help.

One other thing A man like you may be able to answer for me, are salmon only able to see in black and white? Ive got many different answers from people but one that seems common is the theory that salmon are colourblind much like colourblind humans (seeing green as red ect)
Any theorys behind this thinking?

Thanks,
Ryan
 

MCXFisher

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Dirty Water

Cheers Michael, be sure to post that on here as I would be very interested in getting a read at that.
The UV idea sounds an interesting one, one thing I came across only last year fishing was one man who had holographic stickers on the blades of his flying c's. This man is an old timer who knows the river like the back of his hand and is also a very talented creator of Flying c's. This man always gets a lot of fish spinning and alway has, but he put his recent success down to the introduction of these stickers on his spinners, he mentioned to me that the green and purple seemed to be the two most sucessful colours.
This man always gets his share of fish and I am not sure if it is this change that has boosted his numbers or maybe he has just totally perefected this method but it seems plausible that the stickers may help.

One other thing A man like you may be able to answer for me, are salmon only able to see in black and white? Ive got many different answers from people but one that seems common is the theory that salmon are colourblind much like colourblind humans (seeing green as red ect)
Any theorys behind this thinking?

Thanks,
Ryan
We know from the structure of the salmon's retina that it can detect and separate red, blue and yellow/green light. What we don't know is whether it has the capability to integrate those three colours into a full colour view within the relevant part of its brain. Technically those 3 are sufficient to form technicolour - it's what your computer printer does for the human eye by arranging the various colours in close proximity in varying proportions. We just don't know enough about its brain to reach a conclusion beyond noting that the water absorbs so much 'colour' that full integration might be an unnecessary capability in evolutionary terms.
In contrast, for example, we know that some breeds of birds and deer are bi-chromatic with limited integration leading to them 'seeing' a sort of red-greyscale world. The effect of this is evident in the hi-vis clothing worn by hunters in US and Germany, which catches the human eye but comes out dull and neutral to the deer.
The holographic strip would reflect the available light at depth and potentially catch the salmon's eye. There is also holographic material incorporated in many fly designs nowadays for the same purpose.

Michael
 

YoungRyan

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We know from the structure of the salmon's retina that it can detect and separate red, blue and yellow/green light. What we don't know is whether it has the capability to integrate those three colours into a full colour view within the relevant part of its brain. Technically those 3 are sufficient to form technicolour - it's what your computer printer does for the human eye by arranging the various colours in close proximity in varying proportions. We just don't know enough about its brain to reach a conclusion beyond noting that the water absorbs so much 'colour' that full integration might be an unnecessary capability in evolutionary terms.
In contrast, for example, we know that some breeds of birds and deer are bi-chromatic with limited integration leading to them 'seeing' a sort of red-greyscale world. The effect of this is evident in the hi-vis clothing worn by hunters in US and Germany, which catches the human eye but comes out dull and neutral to the deer.
The holographic strip would reflect the available light at depth and potentially catch the salmon's eye. There is also holographic material incorporated in many fly designs nowadays for the same purpose.

Michael



Facinating stuff, theres a lot of people dont believe in the science behind it all but in my mind set is that all the knowledege I can get on the subject helps.
The 3 colours mentioned are of a bit of personal interest to me as my 2 favourite flees are the Garry Dog and a Munro Killer, 2 patterns with these 3 colours. Perhaps a varient on these patterens with holographic will have to be prepared. I'll Share copyrights on this deadly fly and we will name it 'The Scientist' ;)
 

keirstream

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For a very specialised view on UV light and it's effects on what the salmon sees have a look at Mick Bell's theories regarding his fly the Ettrick Special , which B.T.W. does work.:cool:

Ettrick Special Salmon fly 1" brass tube | eBay

He previously wrote an article on the subject as you will see I'm sure if you contacted him at blokerods@yahoo.co.uk he would send it on to you.
 

flipflop111

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i used to see a guy continually take salmon in the dark on small shrimp pattern fly's and despite my best efforts I have never been able to catch salmon in the total dark with the bunch of worms..regarding soup like spates, i have always thought that whatever natural conditions the rivers are in the salmon has naturally adapted to live and survive and continue their journeys upstream... I just dont think there are ever conditions other than really bad droughts or toxic conditions that will render salmon incapable and even in the worst condition i think they could still see OK, but this is just my thoughts. someday i hope to complete an interview with a salmon and check these details.. hahaha
 

mcminnow

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For a very specialised view on UV light and it's effects on what the salmon sees have a look at Mick Bell's theories regarding his fly the Ettrick Special , which B.T.W. does work.:cool:

Ettrick Special Salmon fly 1" brass tube | eBay

He previously wrote an article on the subject as you will see I'm sure if you contacted him at blokerods@yahoo.co.uk he would send it on to you.

I remember reading this article somewhere and being extremely interested and impressed in what Mick was suggesting.
 

Greatwhite

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You can fish absolutly anything in dirty water Ryan. If you get the worm, spinner or fly (Yes, I said FLY) close enough to the fish you run a chance of a take.

I've had quite a few on the fly in 'Worm Only' water and as you said yourself, you'll get them on flying C no problem.

Don't think fly would work in brown water that's going to far the speed alone of the water not a chance :p
 

Jockiescott

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You have to change the way you fish the fly in big water. There is no point in casting square as the fly moves round too quickly. You do what you can to slow the fly down. Usually throwing a straighter cast, and giving a couple of upstream mends as the fly fishes round.

You may need to change your setup slightly too. Floating lines are just pointless in big water. You might need a slow sinker or sink tip to get the fly that wee bit deeper, unless you are using heavy tubes.
 

YoungRyan

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You have to change the way you fish the fly in big water. There is no point in casting square as the fly moves round too quickly. You do what you can to slow the fly down. Usually throwing a straighter cast, and giving a couple of upstream mends as the fly fishes round.

You may need to change your setup slightly too. Floating lines are just pointless in big water. You might need a slow sinker or sink tip to get the fly that wee bit deeper, unless you are using heavy tubes.

Would you frown upon somone fishing the end of a pool and not moving in these conditions provided there are no other anglers looking to fish the hole?
 

Jockiescott

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Would you frown upon somone fishing the end of a pool and not moving in these conditions provided there are no other anglers looking to fish the hole?

I don't think fishing fly, spinning or worming in the one spot causes any problems unless someone else wants to fish through. What harm are you doing?

Sometimes in big water it can be unsafe to wade down a pool or stream. If standing in one spot is the safest option and you are not blocking or obstructing anyone then I don't have a problem with this.
 

YoungRyan

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Id agree with you 100%, just saying as I heard a few grumbles about the men fishing like this on our local. Its a method I will certainly be trying this year given the right oppertunity
 
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Jockiescott

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Here is a fly that I hooked 3 fish on, in a couple of hours, last season in big dirty water. I tied this fly for this years March fly swap:



I was only fishing a size 6 that day too on a 15ft sinking tip. Faughan was over 3 foot that day.
 
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FaughanPurple

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I beg to differ GW! ;)

So do I.

Had 2 in quick succession last year on the bait in brown water. I had the Fly Rod with me so set it up to fish on instead of going home after only starting.. Hopeless fly conditions or so I thought, couldn't beieve it when I started hooking them again... bloody barbless singles I'd have had a bag full:D:p:p I wasn't even fishing that big about an 8 or a 6.

You get that fly on the lie and keep it there long enough a fish will see it and just might take it no matter the water colour. The hard bit is finding the lie for the conditions your fishing.
 
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