Cheyenne - Summer days are a beacon calling anglers to the water to cast out a fly and see what bites. But, those fishing in the hottest months should be aware of the effects warmer water has on fish, especially Wyoming’s trout.
“Low water flows combined with high air temperatures cause water temperatures to get high enough to be lethal to trout,” said Alan Osterland, Wyoming Game and Fish Department fish division chief. “Warm water also holds less oxygen which can stress not only trout, but also all fish.”
Trout experience increased mortality at prolonged exposure to water temperatures greater than 75 degrees Fahrenheit; brief exposure to temperatures over 80 degrees are lethal. Fish stress quicker in low-oxygen warm water, which greatly hampers a fish’s ability to recover from the rigors of being caught. However, as water temperature approaches 70 degrees the chance for any fish species to survive being caught and released is reduced.
Anglers who adjust their practices during the summer can help more fish survive the heat.
“As water temperatures increase anglers should monitor water temps while fishing. When water temperature hits 70 degrees, it is recommended anglers should stop catching and releasing fish,” Osterland said. “Anglers should practice self-restraint to help fish survive.”
The Game and Fish asks all anglers practicing catch and release to consider the following:
Osterland says these are not new regulations, just recommendations to assist with the conservation of the fishery resource. If water temperatures are too high, consider escaping the heat with a trip to another top-notch high country fishery where it’s cooler.