We’ve all read the stories of the guys that look at topo maps, (ok, so I’m a little dated here, get over it) – alright, or their iPhones, and they find these obscure trickles of water. They go hiking miles to get a chance at catching Brookies in very remote places. That’s about what it will take to find water cool enough to catch trout in this summer’s conditions. It has been a HOT summer in the area. With very little rain, the water levels are extremely low. The contributions of these two factors has warmed the streams to the point of stressing the trout with lethal results. This is certainly the case in Pine Creek this summer.
Fishing over trout with what has been dealt us climatologically can be done, but you have to respect the trout even more now. Don’t play them to exhaustion – wet your hands before touching them – leave them in the water till that moment of picture taking. Try holding your breath for as long as the fish is out of the water. That’s what it’s like to be a fish getting it’s picture taken. No, that’s not exactly right – you can probably hold your breath longer than a fish can. But you get the point I hope! Just get them back into the water faster than you normally do.
And if we are going to be ethical about this, we must be able to stop ourselves when the water temperatures come close to jeopardizing the life of the fish.
One has to travel and/or hike long distances in order to find conditions where trout are surviving in water temperatures that are sufficiently below 70 degrees. If you observe water even close to 70 degrees, please consider not fishing the waterway.
When you can find such a place, fly fishermen (and fisher-women) tend to guard it with the secrecy of the Philadelphia Mint or Fort Knox. You may know of the location, but getting into the place is harder than hacking your way through the Amazon (the real Amazon, not the pseudo-Amazon online).
We have some of those places in the greater Pine Creek Valley. I was able to touch a few Brookies that reside in such places last week.
Second brookie came almost immediately after the first.
I saw several places that had these pretty red/orange flowers. When I looked them up online, they appear to be Spotted Touch Me Nots – aka Jewel Weed. Supposedly this plant can help with poison ivy or bug bites.
I managed a third fish from my favorite little spot way up high the tribs.
It may not be obvious from the picture, but this third fish turned out to be a little larger than the other 2.
Forgot to include this last picture on the “This Is What Stressed Trout Look Like” post. Jed Grove from the store was taking water temperatures at, and above, Little Slate on Pine Creek.
With all the stress we’re experiencing this year, maybe we can consider exerting a little less stress on the trout that are residing in waters that are approaching marginal holding conditions. It means a bit more work on our part to find cool enough conditions, but it is the ethical, ‘right’ thing to do.
Till was see each other again… UB