The Acoustic Footprint

Fly fishers have spent an inordinate amount of  time studying the visual acuity of trout. That’s good because it has given us some remarkable data that have helped shape not only our flies but also our angling tactics and the clothing we wear. But, in the process, we have neglected the acoustic acuity of fish. I think this has happened largely because most fly fishers fish for trout with insect imitations, Insects don’t make a lot of noise, even when the stamp their feet. But, minnows, frogs, tadpoles, leeches, mice, big dragonfly nymphs, and other large creatures certainly do. Their swimming motions displace water and fish can sense that with the lateral line. Flies that push water are far more effective when imitating these water-pushing organisms than are slim, profile-only flies. There are some excellent data available to us on the acoustic footprint of organisms and flies, and we will investigate these from time to time on this site. Watch for upcoming posts, In the meantime, start thinking about fish hearing as well as seeing their food.


Trout have ears--OK so they don't look like this, but they can hear very well, and anglers need to pay attention to the fish's acoustic acuity.


  1. Josh B says:

    Maybe you could invent sumthing like the dumbell eyes that has sideways windmills going skinny (near streamer)to fat (away) that can be easilly tied in and give the impression of fluttering fins while producing vibrations downstream of the fly. In any case, when your right your right. Sounds easier than it is isn’t it HAHA, well we still got the Harvey Pusher…