Do Streamers Make Fish Smaller?

Last week I had my streamer loving world rocked when a guide told me that he doesn’t ever let his clients fish with streamers. What!? Never...?

How could he deprive his anglers of such fun?

I should preface this with the fact that the guide I was talking with fishes almost exclusively on one section of private water. A very long stretch of it holds some very big fish. To my knowledge this stretch of water, while very very - nice isn’t stocked regularly and they don’t feed the fish on the property.

His theory goes like this … streamers scare fish and make them smaller. Big-ass fish on the edge of their caloric intake for their size need to eat a lot. So while chucking a baitfish pattern to them at first would probably yield some excellent results, he thinks that after even just one or two streamer eats that fish would get wary of eating fish and thus not eat naturals either. A sort of Pavlovian conditioning if you will. He reckoned over time this would reduce their overall size as they would eat less protein.

I had never heard this theory and while it seems to make sense on the surface, I’m a bit skeptical. I mean a fish’s brain is like the size of a pea... I’m betting this might be sort of true for a piece of private water, but what about a public section that gets hammered with streamer freaks like me. Would the theory hold up there too?

What do you think? Is this theory nuts? Has it been proven? I’d love to hear your thoughts.