Ways to help trout, salmon avoid heat stress in summer

ALBANY - Fishermen are being urged to follow some simple steps during trout and salmon fishing trips this summer.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation states this past spring, trout living in streams benefited from abundant rainfall and cool weather conditions that promote the growth and survival of these popular game fish.

However, with the steamy days of summer, it is important to remember that trout and salmon can experience physical stress whenever water temperatures climb above 70 degrees Fahrenheit. In streams, heat-stressed fish will seek deep pockets of cold water, small feeder streams, or water released from deep reservoirs.

These refuges allow trout to avoid or recover from potentially fatal levels of heat stress.

Anglers can help trout and salmon by taking the following precautions during warm-weather fishing trips:

n Avoid catch-and-release fishing for heat-stressed trout on hot days. Trout already weakened by heat stress are at risk of death no matter how carefully they are handled;

n Do not disturb trout where they have gathered in unusually high numbers. It is likely these fish are recovering from heat stress in a pocket of cold water;

n Fish early in the day. Stream temperatures are at their coolest in the early morning hours; and

n Have Plan B ready. Always have an alternate fishing plan in case water temperatures are too high at the intended destination. Consider fishing a water body less prone to heat stress or fishing for more heat-tolerant species, like small and largemouth bass.

When fishing tailwaters, such as those below New York City water supply reservoirs, remember the cooling influence of reservoir releases will not extend as far downstream during periods of intense heat.

By paying attention to water temperatures and adapting fishing strategies to changing conditions, responsible anglers can help New York state’s trout and salmon to beat the heat.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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