When is warm too warm - Fly Fishing Forum
Pacific Northwest Sea Run Forum No such thing as rainbow trout, only landlocked steelhead

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Old 07-31-2003, 11:31 AM
Jeff Jeff is offline
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When is warm too warm

So last night I went up to the river and did a couple of hours of fishing. Wading wet I the water felt warm so I took the temp and I got 68. I did fish for the next two hours but didn't touch anything but I felt guilty the whole time because of the temp and if a miracle happened and I hooked a fish what stress would I be putting on the fish. I went back and forth and I hope if I would have hooked a fish I could have followed through on what I set for myself in that I would have broke it off after a very short time.

I don't think I will be up on the river until the nights cool down more then they have been and no more evening fishing. So it looks like it won't be until next week.

So do you think that we should close rivers down at some point if water temps get to high. I hate feeling guilty when I am fishing and felt like a two face jerk by fishing for a a fish I say to love and want to perserve in those water temps.

JJ
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Old 07-31-2003, 12:33 PM
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Howdy Jeff, I don't know the rules and species for the river mentioned in your post but unless it is strictly a catch and release river for all species during the hot weather I would not be for letting some part of a govermental agency decide this for everyone. In my opinion there is a great trend in this counrty for letting the goverment take the place of personal responsibility. The more this is done the more freedoms we will lose. I am not judging you as a person because you went fishing, I'm just saying that if YOU thought the river was to hot for fishing then YOU should of not of fished. The next guy may not have the same feelings or opinions as you do. Take care, MJC
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Old 07-31-2003, 12:56 PM
Jeff Jeff is offline
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MJC,

I totally agree. I am not for more government regulations. This was a we as fly fishers might want to think about regulating ourselves but if we can't there might need to be a stronger rule to protect fish. Also I fish for Steelhead 95% of the time if not more and where it is C and R on wild fish.

JJ
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Old 07-31-2003, 05:19 PM
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Temp??

If the water temp really was 68 degrees, I'd be suprised. I know of others that have registered temps of 55 to 58 degrees depending on the time of day on our W Washington rivers, but no others in the 60s.

Is it possible you tested in shallow water, or in the sun??

Either way, if I felt it was too hot for the fish to handle the fight but I just had to keep fishing I'd put on one of my ultra-lightwire barbless scud hooks (one of the advantages of tube flies). A bit of pressure, the hook straightens and Mr or Mrs Steelie is on their merry way.

DS
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Old 07-31-2003, 05:39 PM
Jeff Jeff is offline
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Yes I really did get a 68 in swifter water and I took it twice because I didn't believe it. I was shocked to. I went to lighter tippet and new I could break it off.

JJ
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Old 07-31-2003, 06:52 PM
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I have been fishing without a thermometer for far too long. That in spite of a good friend giving me a gift certificate to go buy one.

I do know though that the water temps on the river Jeff was fishing are in the 60s. I fished it yesterday morning with just shorts under my Pategonias and the water was quite warm. I heard on Sunday a reading of 64 so I think 68 very likely.

I like Doublespey's idea of the light wire hook. I have been going with heavy tippet (13#) so that I could horse the fish in. Of course that presupposes being able to entice a fish to take and we all know that is impossible.
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Old 07-31-2003, 07:00 PM
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These temperature readings are not surprising me at all. I took a reading over a week ago and the thermometer read 62 after the sun had left the water.

The forecast is calling for cooler temperatures but alas, no rain!
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Old 07-31-2003, 08:21 PM
flytyer flytyer is offline
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Ryan,

The temp of 82 today here in Mount Vernon was a very welcome relief from the 90+ we have had the past 4 days. On a another note, only George and I shared the Flats Saturday eveining, and neither of us took a fish. In fact, George has not gotten any so far this summer. It sure is a strange year.
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Old 08-01-2003, 09:15 AM
Smalma Smalma is offline
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Not surprised at the temperatures being reported, at least here in Western Washington.

Two of the USGS gauges have thermographes that recorded daily high temperatures above 70 degrees this week - South Fork Nooksack above Skookum Creek at nearly 75 degrees and the Cedar at Renton at 70. On Monday evening (7/28) I took a hand held temperature on the North Fork Stilaguamish at Arlington that was 78 degrees. In past years under similar conditions I have seen temperatures on lower Deer Creek (NF Stilli) exceed 80 degrees!!

Obviously under such conditions the fish are very stressed. They only survive by finding cooler waters. This generally is located in deeper pools that have ground water inputs through the pool bottom. Such spots may 10 or more degrees cooler. Such fish are difficult to take with swung flies as the fish would have to venture into the warm water however they are can be taken when forced feed "jig flies".

Something to think about - Our summer steelhead as they enter the rivers are bring with them all the fat reserves that they have to maintain themselves until spawning. If the fish exhaust this reserve they will not survive to spawn. It is not uncommon to see some females run out of fat reserves and begin to re-adsorb their own eggs to stay alive - needless to say they don't spawn successfully. Following summers such as this becomes much more common. It just takes more energy for the fish to stay alive when they are stress in such conditions. Unlike trout that can replenish their reserves when conditions return to more favorable temperatures the steelhead can not. Certainly current conditions are pushing the fish nearer the metabolic edge of survival. Any additional stress under these conditions is not benefical to the fish. I'm not sure that the fish can afford any additional stress - and I mean any - that includes even the metaboloc cost of being caught and released once the water cools. How do we know how empty their tank is? And whether they have enough to last to next spring?

A question for those that prefer no government restrictions - Can I asssume that you also dislike fly only restrictions, or no bait allowed (selective gear), or bag limits, or wild steelhead release regulations? - all State imposed restrictions. Or is it that you object to such interfenence only when your own fishery is being threatened?

Whether we fish, or when we fish again, or how we fish of course depends on each of our own ethic.

Tight lines
Smalma

Last edited by Smalma; 08-01-2003 at 09:18 AM.
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Old 08-01-2003, 09:28 AM
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The Klamath in N California often runs in the 70+ range in the fall. I think the fish must be better adapted to these high temps. though you do need to spend some time reviving some of the hotter fish that takea bit of time to bring in. I also like the idea of the small light hook. I apply a great deal of pressure to get the fish in quickly and do not much care if it pulls loose. Once he has been on for awhile I will take more care as a fish that pulls loose after he has fought hard will have less chance of survival than if brought to hand and revived.

Regarding the closing of rivers I'm not sure I totally agree with MJC. I know that my favorite trout stream, Silver Creek, seems to have been hit hard by some calamity over the last couple of years that is likely related to some extent to warm, low oxygenated water. The Conservancy was asking that folks limit fishing to certain hours. If a watershed is threatened due to adverse conditions and can be monitored by fisheries biolologists - these guys have the most information available to make an educated evaluation on when it might make sense to shut things down.

There is a run on the Klamath called Blue Creek where cooler water from a tributary enters - there can be literally hundreds of steelhead and silvers that hold up in this run and just get hammered. I have been in favor of DFG closing this reach of river during certain times when river flows are low and hot and the fish are not spreading out through the system.
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Old 08-01-2003, 09:39 AM
KerryS KerryS is offline
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Smalma,

I have voluntarily stopped fishing the NF Stilly for the reasons mentioned in this thread.

It appears to me that Deer Creek does not have enough water for fish to migrate up the stream. I would assume that these fish would start to stack up in those sections directly below the mouth of Deer Creek perhaps making them far easier to hook and possibly allowing the fish to be hooked multiple times. In this time of low water and high temperatures this could be a death sentence to those fish staging to go up Deer Creek. Given the high temperatures and the low water conditions does WDFW, at some point, consider closing certain areas to fishing?

Thanks,

KLS
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Old 08-01-2003, 11:22 AM
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While I am always against more government intrusion into our daily lives, I'm not against all government imposed restrictions. On rivers with a varied fishery I would be opposed to closing the whole river to benefit one species, or segment of the fishing population. In my opinion this just causes alienation between fisherpersons of different persuasions which is already a very large problem to the determent of all fishing resources.
Rick, I would not necessarily be opposed to closing your favorite trout stream to benefit the fishery during warm water, and I'm not opposed to closing certain reaches of a river, however should your favorite stream have a warm water fishery in it's lower reaches than I would be opposed to closing the whole stream.
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Old 08-01-2003, 11:51 AM
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Wow!

I guess I'm just suprised at how warm our Western Washington rivers (or more accurately creeks) can get. I used to take temps regularly during summer steelheading outings and only remember an occasional reading approaching 60 degrees.

Do others remember our local rivers regularly getting into the mid/upper 60s? Is this another aspect of global warming? :eyecrazy:

Next time I go to the river, instead of fishing I think i'll just throw in a few handfuls of icecubes!
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Old 08-01-2003, 06:13 PM
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Recent temps. in Stilly

I will list some of the warmest temps in the past hot spell. NF 8-29 at daylight. 64 F. 8-29 lower river at 3 pm 73 F. 8-30 lower river at 3pm 74 F. This morning at 8am below Arlington 65 F. My thermometer is calibrated and these reading were taken in the faster deeper water. Over the past 20 years or so it is not unusual to have over 70 F on the warmest days. The 74 F. is the highest temp reading I have ever taken in the lower Stilly. It is very important to have as many shade trees as possible along the river. Jerry
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Old 08-01-2003, 08:42 PM
Smalma Smalma is offline
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Kerry -
I have been concern about whether the fish can get up Deer Creek since early June. Just not very much water. In the past WDFW has closed the North Fork at the mouth of Deer Creek several times. See -
http://www.wa.gov/wdfw/fish/regs/regchng/aug0103a.htm

Rick -
If your fish are need of being revived then they are pretty stressed. This would be doublely so if you had played them hard (quickly) and they still need reiving.

Doublespey -
I have also noted that the stream temperatures are higher than 20 years ago. The water below Oso would rarely get about the mid sixties and today it maybe 10 degrees warmer. Believe this is due to a combination of factors:
1) Weather pattern changes have resulted in lower snow packs, and shrinking snow fields and glaciers.

2) Increased bed load inputs have resulted in wider stream channels and shallower pools.

3) Less shading from ripparian zones - due in part to the wider river beds.

4) Lower ground water inputs (springs) due in part to increase use of ground water for domestic uses.

Tight lines
Smalma
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