Warm Water Temperatures and Fishing (2015 blog post)

Warm Water Temperatures and Fishing (2015 blog post)

Seems this is the summer of hot temperatures and low river flows. These two trends combine to mean increased water temperature. We’ve been very lucky to date because we’ve been experiencing enough rain and temperature cool downs to offer some reprieve – but the most recent spell of hot weather means that water temperatures are once again reaching potentially stressful levels. Fortunately the forecast for the next few days is for cooler temperature and some rain. Our 2015 reality though is continued concern about water temperatures and water levels…..

So…. the question becomes do we (the angling public) continue to fish in these conditions?

For some folks fishing is a passion. It’s  an escape. It’s how they connect to nature and “get out there” to de-stress from life. For others it’s a family adventure – a way to create memories. And for some – like us -fishing is a livelihood. Interestingly, a viable and sustainable fishery for the long-term is what’s in the best interest of all of these groups. The Alberta provincial government has yet to implement any closures to our fisheries although they did “urge caution” for sportfishers prior to the recent long weekend…..

While we haven’t suspended our guiding operation and we aren’t telling folks to walk the river valleys without a rod in-the-hand (yet) we do feel it’s our responsibility to continue trying to educate folks about fishing in these kinds of conditions. The reality is trout do best in water temperatures ranging from 10 to 18 degrees celsius (50-65 Fahrenheit). Fortunately for Bow river anglers, rainbow and brown trout have a slightly higher temperature tolerance than other Alberta sportfish. But with the Bow temperatures at around 21 celsius (70 Fahrenheit) we still – at a minimum – need to be exercising best practices for catch and release angling.

  • Fish early in the day. Try to limit your fishing during the heat of the day. Early is best.
  • Use slightly heavier tippet/leader material than your ‘normal.’ This will allow you to land your catch and get it back in to the water in less time.
  • Pinch your barbs – this will minimize the stress to the fish when you are releasing it.
  • Keep your catch in the water.  If you want to take pictures try taking them with the fish in the net or while hEach of olding the fish halfway in the water.
  • Take some time to revive any fish you are releasing – experts suggest at least as much time should be spent ensuring your catch has recovered from the fight as you spent fighting the fish.
  • Be aware of water temp…. if it feels warm to you it’s likely time to reel in and fish another day. Better yet – carry a thermometer with you and take intermittent readings while on the water.

Ultimately whether to fish in these conditions or not is a personal decision until the government tells us otherwise. We are so fortunate that we’ve had cool downs and rain throughout the last month – and that the upcoming forecast is once again for cooler temps. But the reality is each of these cool downs is only a reprieve. We’ve asked our guides to continue to monitor water temperatures and will work to continue to keep folks informed about what’s happening.

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