Question about fish behavior

I was fishing yesterday on a river in WA (hint, it starts with an 'S' ;)) and found a nice pool that was holding some really big fish and at least one HUGE fish. I could see them easily from on top of a boulder near the river. I assume the really big one was a Salmon. Anyway, I tried everything in my fly box to induce a strike from the smaller fish but they didn't care at all: dry, wet, streamers, etc. But it was fun to watch them chase each other around with the occasional rise/burst out of the water.

Does this behavior suggest that they were all migrating Salmon/Steelhead, had found their spot to spawn, and were just hanging around to guard their eggs until they die? They didn't seem to have any interest in eating. No fish showed any signs of decay from what I could see and all were super quick swimming around with good reflexes which made me think they were in good health.

Thanks
 

Salmo_g

WFF Premium
Does this behavior suggest that they were all migrating Salmon/Steelhead, had found their spot to spawn, and were just hanging around to guard their eggs until they die?
No. You post doesn't present enough information to know what species of fish you observed or what life history phase they are in.
 
Is that usual behavior then for fish in general? I was just surprised that I couldn't even get any interest from them, not even movement to check out my flies (I could see them the whole time from my vantage point), and I used a pretty wide variety over the course of 30-60 mins. I was catching fish all day up/downstream of that spot so it confused me.
 

Salmo_g

WFF Premium
Is it possible that the fish you were observing could also see you? If so, their reluctance to feed or respond to your presentations would be smart behavior on their part. It is possible that those fish were not feeding so were not interested in your offerings, or not feeding on what you were offering. Lots of possibilities, but not much usable information.
 
Ah gotcha, thanks. All of those things could have been possible so it's helpful to know that it may have been something I was doing (usually my first assumption) because I can try to correct that. Might just have to go back to that spot again but this time wearing camo or covering myself in leaves!

Thanks
 

MGTom

Living at the place of many waters
WFF Premium
This time of year I used to come across pools like that on the rivers up US 2. Stressed, tired, staging sea run fish I believe.
 
You might be right about that with these fish too, they were hanging just downstream of some small falls so maybe regaining energy before fighting their way up.

As I understand it, they typically don't feed much on their runs back to spawn, am I right about that? So they usually hit streamers not necessarily because they think it's food but because it's something annoying that's in their space?
 
Very true, and I haven't been in a situation like that before where the water is clear enough for me to see the fish, but now I'm realizing how important stealth can be
 

long_rod_silvers

WFF Premium
So you found a pool of huge fish eh? If you would politely send me the GPS coordinates (PM of course, wouldn't want the whole world to know where you're talking about) I'd be happy to report back to you what species the fish were and if there behavior is typical or not. ;)
 

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