Can Fish Hear?

Submitted by Joe Panfalone

When I was visiting a supplier in Japan, our host was extremely proud of their koi pond and wanted to demonstrate something. He took us to the pond’s edge and clapped his hands. From the murky depths of the pond emerged huge koi breaking the surface with mouths open. As their reward, he tossed them a handful of fish food.

While everyone else was enamored with his ability to have trained the fish, I was awestruck with the fact that they could hear the sound of clapping deep down into the pond. No wonder dad kept telling me to be quiet or I’d scare the fish away. I just thought it was his way of getting some peace and quiet.


 According to the National Wildlife Federation, fish don’t have ears that we can see, but they do have ear parts inside their heads. They pick up sounds in the water through the lateral lines that run down each side of its body and is transmitted to their internal ear. The lateral line also acts like a sonar. Most bodies of water have limited range of sight so the lateral line enables the fish to sense movement around them. Some fishing lures have small BB’s inside to make noise and supposedly attract fish.

So the next time you are fishing, remember Dad’s words…be quiet or you will scare the fish away.