Hundreds of Little Jumping Fish....

Discussion in 'Stillwater' started by Dchang253, May 23, 2013.

  1. I was walking along the south end of Lake Union, and hundreds of little silver fish were jumping out of the water. It looked like it was raining fish. What kind fish are these little guys? They were about 3" long.
  2. Sockeye smolt.
  3. The real question is, what was chasing them?
    wlai likes this.
  4. So is it a fact that whenever any kind of bait fish jump, they are being chased? I would think so but am not totally sure.
  5. I've watched small schools of these fish around the marina in Leschi, and I can say that in my opinion they often just jump for the fun of it. Nothing was chasing them. One or two would just peel off and dart to the surface. Maybe after some microscopic morsel, I'm not sure. If I'm out on the boat they will just start jumping around me with no obvious pattern based on pursuit.

    I have seen them chased at least two times. One time I watched from the dock two LMB cooperatively hunting a school of them. I'm not sure it was cooperative, but it sure looked organized. One would attack from the front, and the other would lurk in the back and pick them off when they turned.

    Another time I was fishing off a pier on Lake Washington and saw some nervous water about 30 yards out. Suddenly the water just erupted with small fish, followed by a big splash. That was definitely a big fish chasing a school of them.
  6. Occasional jumping smolt is regular behavior, and doesn't always mean something is feeding on them. Despite knowing this I still have wasted many hours this spring casting at them. ;)
  7. All salmon "happy jump" even the juveniles and smolt. Lake Union is a salmon highway and no doubt you were seeing outmigrating juveniles. If they were being fed upon, the riseforms would be "spraying" as the try to escape.

    daveypetey likes this.
  8. Sockeye don't normally smolt (smoltification is the physiological process which prepares an anadromous fish to survive the change to a saltwater environment) until reaching a length of 5-6 inches. Sockeye fry/parr live for 1-2 years in fresh water (usually in a lake) before migrating to salt water.

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