Hot Water & Trout Don’t Mix - Be Temp Aware!

Between last Summer’s very hot summer and this Spring’s unusual Opening Week warmth; anglers are becoming more aware of the impact of high temperatures on our wild trout populations. Simply put, we need to modify our fishing plans when river temps endanger the trout. Higher water temps mean that there is less dissolved oxygen which results in the trout becoming stressed. Prolonged periods of high temps can, and do, lead to trout mortality. If the river is hot and an already stressed trout is taken from a low energy holding spot – the subsequent fight will almost certainly kill the trout. So how hot is too hot? Most anglers are aware of the 70 degree pledge - this is a great start. However, brook trout actually become stressed at a mere 65 degrees. Browns and Rainbows start getting stressed at 68 degrees. So how can anglers respond? On days when we’re expecting high heat, plan an early morning trip. Targeting to be off the water by 1 pm can really help the trout population. Montana’s Hoot Owl warnings worked very well last summer. During prolonged periods of high heat; stay off cold water trout streams and investigate the plethora of nearby fish bearing lakes and ponds. Warm water species are fun on a fly rod, too. Bottomline, keep and use a pocket thermometer. Monitor the various web sites (click here for ours) that have real time temp and flow rates. Base your fishing on the temps that are healthy for our wild trout population. Forsaking the stream for a day or two is much better than losing our delicate trout fisheries. As Art Neumann said: "Take care of the fish and the fishing will take care of itself."

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