Can trout be caught when people are swimming nearby?

Is it worthwhile to go trout fishing when there are swimmers nearby? Over the hot summer months, swimmers and fishermen often want to enjoy the same water.

Swimmers do scare trout and stop them from feeding. In most situations, it is not worth fishing a pool where someone is currently swimming.

I love trout fishing and swimming, and during the summer, after a morning fish, I often will dive into the river and go for a swim. Not only is it a great way to cool off, but it also gives me a chance to see what is hiding at the bottom of deep pools and maybe even recover some lures.

During my swims, I see a lot of trout. But usually, just their tails as they dart away and out of sight for the remainder of my swim. They do not return to their lie while I am in the water. If I spend a lot of time looking, and diving, I sometimes do find them again tuck beneath a boulder or in some other hidey hole.

I also have swum a lot in popular swimming holes. These holes have people there throughout the day. I always dive down deep to look for fish and I rarely see anything other than minnows. Trout do not stick around when large numbers of people are swimming above them.

This situation repeats itself in lakes. When I swim off a popular swimming beach I rarely see trout, but if I walk half an hour along the shoreline before jumping in chances are I will glimpse a few tails heading towards the open water. When I was younger, I use to spear saltwater fish, so even when swimming as stealthy and non-threatening as possible trout usually make for a quick exit.

How about the scent of swimmers washing downstream?

I am not too concerned about people swimming upriver from where I am fishing. In popular swimming rivers, trout do become more tolerant of human scents so I do not believe it puts trout of their feed.

Stock trout are very tolerant of human scents, sometimes they even follow people around feeding on the debris they kick up while wading. So if it is a stock fishery, It will not bother me at all.

Now, there are always exceptions to the rule. If it is a river where people rarely or never swim and the trout are heavily pressured. I will not bother to fish downstream of people swimming. Trout have excellent senses, and it is quite widely accepted that they can be spooked by scent alone.

Can tubers scare trout?

It always surprises me the rivers and streams I meet tubers on. Some of them must be walking more than they can float. At first, they annoyed me somewhat. But over time I started to realize their presence did not really impact on the quality of the fishing.

In my experience people tubing downriver do not usually scare trout for long. But, it depends on how deep the water is and how frequently trout encounter tubers. If the water is very deep, tubers can pass overhead and the trout will likely continue feeding. Trout near the surface might dive down and hide for a few minutes before resuming feeding.

If the water is shallow, such as a ripple. Then any trout feeding there usually darts away to the safety of a deeper hole and might take a while to return.

Does Kayak and other watercraft scare trout?

Trout rivers are often popular among kayakers and rafters. But how does their presence affect the fishing?

Much like tubers, if kayaks keep moving they do seem to have a lasting impact on fishing. On one river I was fishing, I did encounter a large group of Whitewater kayakers training and practicing dropping down rapids in the best pool of that section of the river. Let’s just downstream of them the trout were well and truly spooked.

But I pushed on further up the river, the water they must have paddled down and the fishing was still half decent. So, the immediate presence of a kayak does spook trout but once they move on they do come back out of hiding.

I do not allow the presence of Whitewater kayakers or rafters to ruin my day on the water.

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