The Sound of Silence: Does Talking Scare Fish Away?

person holding black and silver fishing reel


Many anglers have debated whether talking or making noise while fishing scares fish away, potentially ruining a day on the water. While some swear by maintaining silence, others believe that talking has little to no impact on their fishing success. In this blog post, we’ll explore the science behind fish hearing, the potential effects of talking on fish behavior, and tips for minimizing disturbance while fishing.

Can Fish Hear?

Contrary to popular belief, fish do have the ability to hear sounds. While they don’t possess external ears like humans, fish have internal ears that detect vibrations and sounds through their swim bladders and lateral lines. The lateral line is a series of sensory cells that run along a fish’s body, allowing them to pick up on water movements and vibrations. Depending on the species, fish can hear a wide range of frequencies, from low-frequency sounds to ultrasonic frequencies.

The Effects of Talking on Fish Behavior

The impact of talking or making noise on fish behavior depends on several factors, including the species, their environment, and the type and volume of noise. Some fish species, such as bass and catfish, are less sensitive to noise and may not be significantly affected by talking or other human-generated sounds. Other species, like trout or salmon, may be more sensitive to disturbances and more likely to be startled or scared by loud noises.

In general, sudden and loud noises are more likely to scare fish away than softer, more consistent sounds. Fish can become accustomed to background noises, such as those from boats or people talking, particularly in areas where human activity is common. However, even in these situations, sudden or unexpected noises can still startle fish, potentially causing them to flee.

Tips for Minimizing Disturbance While Fishing

To reduce the risk of scaring fish away while fishing, consider the following tips:

  • Keep conversations at a low volume: If you must talk while fishing, try to keep your voice at a low and consistent volume. Sudden shouts or bursts of laughter are more likely to scare fish than quiet conversation.
  • Minimize noise from equipment: Be mindful of the noise created by your fishing gear, such as dropping tackle boxes or banging on the side of a boat. Try to move and handle your equipment as quietly as possible.
  • Avoid splashing and sudden movements: When wading or fishing from the shore, try to move slowly and smoothly to minimize splashing and water disturbance. Sudden movements in the water can send vibrations that alert fish to your presence.
  • Choose your fishing spot wisely: In areas where fish are more sensitive to noise, such as clear and shallow water, maintaining a greater distance from the fish may reduce the impact of talking and other noises on their behavior.


While talking or making noise may not always scare fish away, it’s essential to be mindful of the potential impact your actions can have on fish behavior. By keeping conversations quiet, minimizing equipment noise, and moving carefully in the water, you can reduce the risk of scaring fish and improve your chances of a successful day on the water. Remember, when it comes to fishing, sometimes silence is golden.