Fly Fishers' Republic

“Clever Little Fish!”

May 6, 2008

by Raif Killips

Clever Little Fish

My daily read the Metro is running a piece on training fish [link: 2008]. I quote:

He can shoot hoops, slip through a slalom and is limber at limbo – the only obstacle to global sports stardom is that Comet lives in a tank.

The goldfish has been trained to perform a range of tricks, debunking the myth of a three-second memory.

His owner, Dr Dean Pomerleau, gave him a piece of food every time he correctly performed a trick.

I wonder does this backup angler’s claims that fish can be clever. If a goldfish can be trained then does it follow that a trout for instance can acquire skills. Allowing that the fish would have to be caught and released several times in order to reach the point of enlightenment, could it actually learn to distinguish between real food and artificial offerings. Or is it simply that the fish doesn’t recognise an artificial as food at all because the likeness is so far out?