Trout are taking the brunt of the hot dry summer

Posted 7/30/18

The unusually high, nagging Colorado summer temperatures anglers find uncomfortable have an even more stressful impact on trout we pursue. The Colorado Parks & Wildlife (CPW) fishery staff is …

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Trout are taking the brunt of the hot dry summer

Posted

The unusually high, nagging Colorado summer temperatures anglers find uncomfortable have an even more stressful impact on trout we pursue.

The Colorado Parks & Wildlife (CPW) fishery staff is strongly urging anglers statewide to consider trout fishing early in the day and in higher mountain altitudes lakes and streams. The drought conditions Colorado is experiencing across our state is starting to take its toll on trout.

Trout are considered a “cold” water species fish as opposed to catfish, walleyes, bass and other “warm” water species that occupy east slope plains lakes and reservoirs. “Trout can thrive in 50 degree waters, get lethargic at 60 degrees, become stressed at 70 degrees and can expire when water temperatures exceed 70 degrees,” according to Josh Nehring, senior aquatic biologist. The higher the water temperatures raise the greater the oxygen loss, which is the vital element of water conditions for trout.

Unfortunately, lower river flows caused by drought periods not only create high risk conditions for trout, but less water for farm and ranch irrigation needs. These conditions can result in higher levels of water diversions for crops, thus compounding the lower stream flows and resulting higher water temperatures.

Nehring encourages anglers to fish streams in the early morning hours and seek out high elevation lakes and streams where lower water temperatures prevail.

Some normal fishing ethics can help struggling trout. Those include using barbless hooks, quickly releasing fish, keep fish submerged, keep your hands wet and cool when handling fish, monitor the water temperature and simply end the fishing day when temperatures close in on the 70 degree heat.

Keep updated on stream closures due to local area warm water conditions by calling the NE region Denver 303-291-7227, the SE region Colorado Springs 719-227-5200, the SW region Durango 970-375-6708 or the NW region Grand Junction 970-225-6100.

Outdoorsman and Westminster resident Ron Hellbusch can be reached at Ron-Hellbusch Comcast.net

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