If you’ve ever had a fish on the line or seen them jumping out of the water in the evening then you might be wondering why they’re actually doing that. I’m not a fish scientist or anything like that but have done a bit of research and this is what makes the most sense to me.
There are mainly three reasons why a trout will jump out of the water.
- To try to get the hook out of their mouth.
- To catch insects flying close to the water.
- To get rid of irritations such as lice.
If you had a hook in your mouth I’m sure you’d go crazy and try to get it out any way you can. I think they’re able to flip and flop better out of the water to get some slack in the line (it’s easier for the hook to come out). I’ve lost plenty of fish from them breaching the water so maybe they know that.
A lot of insects hatch on the surface of the water and that’s when the feeding frenzy starts. During the summer, insects seem to come out in the evening and that’s also when fish eat. It’s pretty crazy to see, especially if you’re on a calm lake.
The final reason trout jump out of the water is to get rid of lice or other things that could be on them. I guess by splashing back into the water it can get rid of some of that stuff. Obviously, they can’t scratch themselves so this is the only thing they can really do.
How High Can Trout Jump?
A lot of it is going to depend on the what they’re jumping for (food or to get up a waterfall), the flow of the stream, and slope of the fall. It’ll also depend on what type of trout it is as well. It’s actually pretty surprising how high they can jump.
According to thetroutlook, trout normally will jump somewhere between 4-5 feet. If they need to get upstream to get to a certain spot they’ve been seen jumping up to a height of 13 feet. Pretty crazy if you ask me.
If it’s a fast-moving stream then they might have troubles gaining speed and won’t be able to jump as high. If there isn’t a good place for them to rest (and maybe eat) then they probably can’t jump as high. Also, if it’s a straight-up and down jump then it’ll probably be harder for them to make it up.
I’ve never really seen a trout jumping upstream but have seen a ton jumping out of the lake. Most of the time it’s only a foot or two but there have been a few times I’ve seen them reach somewhere close to the 5-foot mark.
Happy fishing. There are plenty of fish in the sea.
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