For these ‘guys’…….
Will you take the 70° pledge?
Over the years, we have heard stories, or may have even witnessed, what happens when the water temperature in fishing streams gets warm. Trout congregate in deeper pools or at the mouths of tributaries in an attempt to get to the cooler water and the needed oxygen to survive. It may be, or just seem to be, easier to catch these fish in such areas since large numbers of trout may collect there. Some Anglers know this but disregard the life and respect for trout and fish these areas anyway. Last year (2016), there are stories of people swimming in some of these areas on Pine Creek and grabbing the trout. Targeting the trout in these areas and in the warmer water temperature leads to higher mortality.
As water temperature rises, trout become more stressed due to their slowing metabolism. Additionally oxygen levels decrease as the water temperature increases. The fish exert more effort due to the increased water temp and less oxygen is getting to their muscles and heart. Because of this the trout can not regulate the effects of exertion without oxygen and death occurs.
The website http://www.70degreepledge.org/ states that a water temperature of 60 degrees is ideal for trout, and as the temperature rises, so does the mortality of those same trout. Some studies indicate that there is significant hook mortality when the water temperature is 65 – 68 degrees. “By 70 degrees the chances of surviving catch and release are very low” and when water temps reach 75 degrees, many more trout will die whether caught or not.”
How can you help reduce trout mortality?
- Carry a thermometer with you and take water temp before fishing. If the water temp is 70 degrees or higher, choose not to fish that waterway. Consider fishing early in the morning or late evening when water temperature may be cooler. There are many warm water fish present in our streams that you can go after and they are just as fun to catch.
- If you do catch trout in warm water, take your time in releasing it. Keep the fish in the water and hold it by its tail while facing the fish upstream. Move the fish in a swimming motion (side to side). Keep doing this until the fish begins to kick and try to get free from your grip. This is not a guarantee the fish will survive, but it’s chances are increased.
Please don’t fish for trout when the water temperature gets near 70° or higher. Fish in the mornings or later in the evening when the water temperatures drop or fish for another species of fish altogether. By taking and practicing this pledge, you are helping to maintain and protect the trout that we all love.