Water temperature & Catch & Release
In the previous thread JR Spey said,
The bad news is that it has been scorching hot up there. The York River reported a water temperature of 71 degrees F. late last week and the water levels were dropping. Since it's still June there is some concern. They need rain and cooler weather soon.
Do you stop fishing as I understand that the fish get very stressed when the water temperatures start to climb?
The Spey is low and the temperature is creeping up but it is not as bad as that.
I, personally, would stop fishing. Catch and release is a marginal tool, at best, in temperatures over 65 degrees F. Unless one is willing (and it is legal) to keep your catch, I would say it was time to look for a different spot to fish or time to get caught up on your reading. Incidentally, I guess a day or two later the temperature had come back down to the lower 60's on the York. I see that Lady Amherst has responded to my other post, maybe that's what she'll point out. Luckily, on some waters those type of high temperatures only last for a short time. Someone told me that the air temperatures in that area were approaching 100 degrees F last week. Ouch.
It was scorching hot on the Matapedia last week: we saw peak air temperatures of 95 degrees F.--enough to make one believe in global warming.
Early morning water temperatures were in the low sixties. With unusually high air temperatures, salmon fishing for me is a 3:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. affair, after which I call it a day. The river has usually not cooled sufficiently to permit evening fishing.
I agree with JR SPEY: catch & release anglers should avoid water temperatures above 65-66 degrees F. Although the salmon of some river systems seem better adapted to warm water (Miramichi), a true conservationist will reel up when the health of the salmon is in any doubt.
Here is a rather preliminary and now old 8 page document from 1998 done by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans examining the efficacy of catch and release measures for conservation of Atlantic salmon in eastern Canada. Some of the major conclusions are:
survival rates can be 100% in well handled fish
Temperatures above 20 C (68 F) are very stressful
MSW salmon likely have higher survival rates than grilse owing to the fact that they have more energy reserves
Higher mortality occurs in fish that have recently entered freshwater than those who have had time to adapt to the osmotic stress of going from salt to freshwater
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