Tuesday, July 26, 2011
The Swift And Thoughts On HOT Weather Fishing
First, The Swift - Everything is RIGHT! The July 1st stockers have wised up and the days of double digit catches of 12 inch or better bows are now, for me, a memory. I fished the PIPE and below starting at 5:45 Sunday morning and took ten bows but all were in the six to eight inch range. It was a far cry from the Sunday before. That's fly fishing. Next time will be better!!
Now for the topic that seems to have taken over some blogs this Summer and that's if it is ETHICAL to fish during heat waves on freestone rivers. Here's how I feel.
One can go out on the Millers or any similar river when the temperatures are in the 90's, fish the pools and runs that you had great success on during April, May and June and you will NOT have a detrimental effect on the trout population for one simple reason: YOU will not catch ANY trout!!!
There's a reason for that. I am still amazed that there are those out there that still believe that trout must constantly feed to maintain vitality to survive and that the catching of trout in mid Summer will weaken them. The "science" is below.
Trout are cold blooded animals, their metabolism is based on their SURROUNDINGS, namely the temperature of the water that they live in. They have a temperature ZONE that is optimal for their metabolism. Take this example - You're fishing your favorite pool (if you can) on the last week of February, hoping for holdovers, and if you catch anything, while fishing slow and deep, it will be an event!! Why?? Because the trout, in that 35 degree water, are in slow mode because of the temperature and do not require that much food. I worked in a trout hatchery 20+ years ago and the time of slowest growth and less food consumption was during the Winter. Their "motors" are not in second gear yet. They are not active because of the temperature and don't require much food, pure and simple.
Now forward cast to the second week in May. The water temperature is in the mid 50's, we are catching trout on EVERYTHING, and we are all experts. Why is that? It's because trout, in that low 50 to mid 60 degree range, are at their most active behavior. So is everything that they feed on. It all depends on water temperature for most trout. That temperature range is their comfort range.
The heat wave and July drought that we have experienced will kill off any worthwhile fishing. You may catch a FEW but not the numbers that you did a month and a half ago and that will not be detrimental to the whole population because the trout are not actively feeding. The bulk of the trout population has found a place to hunker down to make it through the Summer. They will not respond to you.
Robert Behnke, maybe the world's foremost authority on trout, has stated that the greatest cause of natural trout mortality on freestone streams is WINTER kill, not Summer kill.
Many of you will say that "You fish the Millers during the Summer". That's RIGHT! I fish during NORMAL Summer weather. I didn't fish the Millers in 2010 from the end of June to late August. It was too hot and dry. In normal Summers I will fish as long as it isn't too hot and dry and I catch trout (browns) in the evening. There's a reason for that.
Browns handle warmer water better than rainbows and brookies in the Millers. I've seen dozens of browns rising (they are feeding) at dusk in July and August after a normal Summer day especially when there is a healthy (normal) flow. That's why I am pushing for more browns on this river. They will survive the weather and US. They swim away strongly when released because they adjust to this river nicely.
Behnke spoke of this ability to adjust (over many centuries) when he spoke of catching a high country desert population of rainbows that rose to dry flies and swam away briskly in 83 degree water!! Millers River browns don't need centuries to adjust, just a few months on the Millers.
One person said to me that he stopped fishing when the water temperature hit 65 degrees. Too bad. No science there!
Posted by Millers River Flyfisher at 4:55 PM