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Can Trout survive the heat?

Jack Danchak - Columnist
Posted 7/30/20

Reading an opinion about trout by Outdoor News columnist writer Tom Venesky, I thought the article would be interesting for fishermen.

Venesky goes on to say, it's not uncommon for many stocked …

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Can Trout survive the heat?

Posted

Reading an opinion about trout by Outdoor News columnist writer Tom Venesky, I thought the article would be interesting for fishermen.

Venesky goes on to say, it's not uncommon for many stocked trout waters across the country to flow low and warm in the middle of the summer. A dry spell hastens the process and makes it a difficult time for trout.

The low flows allow the water temperature to rise faster and it also makes trout more susceptible to predators such as raccoons and the great blue heron. That's nature and there is nothing we can do about it. However, while warm water and low flows make trout a target for predators, they are also more vulnerable to anglers as well. Perhaps that's an issue we can do something about.

On many streams and rivers, summer is a tough time for trout. When water temperatures climb into the 70's, stocked trout can perish. For wild trout, the heat of summer isn't as big an issue because they are adapted.

They know to seek out places where conditions are favorable all year such as mountain streams shaded by thick tree canopy. Stocked trout on the other hand, up until the time they were released, spent all of their lives in a controlled hatchery setting. They haven't had time to adapt to adverse conditions.

The last thing trout need during the hot summer, is more stress from angling pressure, even if it is catch-and- release.

Venesky goes on to say, for the sake of stocked trout, should the season extend through the hot summer months? Is it time to back off, close the trout season when it gets hot and start it back up in the fall. This seems like the ethical thing to do.

Any move made to limit angling opportunities are bound to be met with opposition, especially when it comes to trout. Closing the trout season statewide for the summer isn't going to set well with a lot of people, regardless if such a measure saves trout from perishing.

With a little bit of education and self-discipline, the ethical dilemma of summer fishing for trout is an issue that can be resolved not through regulation but by anglers themselves using a little common sense. That's grassroots conservation, and it's always the best approach.

Jack Danchak is the President of the Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs of Sullivan County.

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