Rivers are getting very low [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Rivers are getting very low

07-22-2004, 06:42 PM
It is time for me to stop fishing for the famed summer run fish and turn my attention to sea run cutthroat.

The Skagit has dropped into a clear enough state that the cutt fishing is starting to look good. I think I will drop the boat in tonight and do a little hunting.

07-22-2004, 07:15 PM
Yep the snoq is pushing 65 degrees and unfortunately that means things may be over until september. 68 is as high as I will go. Good thing is in 2 weeks we got coho cruising the beaches :smokin:


07-22-2004, 09:18 PM
Ah yes, low-water time. Time of year to fish first light and again late evening into dark with small wet flies on floating line or slow type 2 sinktips. Also time to break out the dries. Great time for using the hitch too with flies dressed 3/4 size on low-water hooks. And the best part, the crowds just sort of disappear with the low-water.

07-23-2004, 01:23 AM
I'm not waiting two weeks for Silver. I'll be out tomorrow. Those flows are low and the water on the Sky is clear, clear, clear. I'll bet if I could shoot a picture underwater, I could see the other side. Stealth is a must. Leland reports some luck on his favorite run.

Really miss the Salt and the Silvers. Need a break from the Sky.

07-23-2004, 11:39 PM
Not only are the rivers getting very low they are getting very warm.
Many are so warm that we need to consider our own ethics as to whether it is best for the fish to continue to fish. Many streams are seeing temperatures in the high 60s and low 70s here in the Puget Sound region. On even those streams where the main stream is still somewhat cool the slow water along the bars are quite warm and I don't feel landing fish into such water is a prudent thing for the fish. Found such conditions on the Sauk last week and under such conditions I am opting to put the river gear away until temperatures return to more favorable conditions for the fish.

I see that some are advising fishing early and late in the day. While that is common advice during low flows it may not be the best during the warm weather for the fish. Generally the evening temperatures are the highest of the day. An example would be the South Fork Nooksack at Saxon (one of the USGS stream gauge stations that record temperatures every 15 minutes).

High temperature today was 23.2 C or 73.8 F which was recorded between 4:30 and 6:00 PM.

At 7:30 this evening latest reading at the time of this post it was still 73.3 F.

The low temeprature of the day was at 7:30 AM - 62 F.

By noon temerpatures were above 65 F.

While the SF Nooksack is warmer than some our other streams the daily temperature patterns remain much the same.

Tight lines
S malma

07-24-2004, 03:46 PM

What temp is a good cutoff fish wise? I have always kept the 65 to 66 range in mind but I don't know where I got that data. The river I have been fishing the last week or two have ranged from 58 to 61 at first light (or shortly thereafter). I( heard today that the one that was 58 Thursday morning was 62 last evening. Still it is quickly getting up there.

Soon it will be time to go to 4# test and start fishing for the grab. :wink:

07-24-2004, 08:37 PM
Sinktip -
The research that I ahve seen is pretty meager on what would be a clear temperature threshold. In is commonly agreed that stress and hooking mortality increases with water temperature and mortalitie jump dramatically once temperatures reach around 70 degrees. The mid-70s is generally considered lethal.

The preferred temperature range for rainbow/steelhead is from the low 50s to low 60s and once the temperature exceeds that range any fish handled would experience increased stress. In addition to the stress from warm water there is the compounding factor of lower dissolved oxygen - warm water holds less oxygen that cool water. This increased stress means that we are likely to see higher delayed mortality and injuries that were lethal may become lethal. Ther amount of stress for the fish will be part influenced on what if any temperature refugia are available to the fish. If the deep pools or night ttime temepratures remain cool the fish would be pretty. Obviously releasing fish in warm stagnnt shallows is more stressful that the situation where the fish has quick access to cool water.

Bottom line there are no hard and fast guidelines but rather as is often the case it is for each of us to decide based on how risk adverse one wishes to be with their fishing impacts. If you wish to opt to keep you impacts as low as possible then I would suggest a threshold in the low 60s. If you are willing to accept some increased risk to the fish than the mid-60s might be appropriate. If you don't care about the risk to the resource continue to fish away; eventaully the water will get warm enough that the fish will essentially quit biting.

Tight lines
S malma

07-24-2004, 09:16 PM
Thanks Smalma!

Looks like I need to drop my threshhold.


07-25-2004, 12:41 AM
Thank goodness for saltwater!


08-17-2004, 11:45 PM
i make my cutoff temp. at 70 degrees. the grand ronde will change more than 10 degrees in 12 hours. i feel the morn is better but that might be because of the hot water in the p.m.. fish in the morning and absorb beer in the evening.