By Kirk Deeter
Word is out that the water temperatures in some stretches of important rivers like the Roaring Fork and the Colorado have climbed above 70 degrees, and that’s not good news for trout.
Water that warm stresses the fish. And if you pull them around by their faces at this time, you add to the problem. In fact, you’re probably killing a fair number of trout, regardless if you keep ‘em wet and release them quickly.
If the water is over 65, you need to adjust and be careful. If it’s over 70, my personal preference is to sit it out. How best to deal with “iffy” water conditions? Well, you can time your fishing to early or late in the days, when the temperatures are cooler. You can fish near the deeper runs, where trout are able to find haven and do better than in warm, stagnant water. You can use heavier tippet, land the fish quicker, and forget about the photos and lifting them out of the water.
But the best solution of all is pretty straightforward… don’t fish. At least don’t fish there. You have plenty of options. Hike higher. Fish below the tailwater. Target bass or pike. Go tubing.
I know it’s a bummer, and I’m jonezing to get the boat on the Colorado. Seems like I waited for a runoff that never really occurred and then missed the show. But my boat is staying on the trailer until scheduled water releases upstream happen (and hopefully some good rains also).
I feel for those who are here on vacation and had their hearts set on fishing a certain spot. It’s like the skier who visits in winter when the snow isn’t there. I really feel for the guides who are losing business. I respect the ethical ones who are playing the long game and adjusting accordingly.
We should all pay attention to who is really paying attention.
Kirk Deeter is the editor of TROUT Magazine and the vice president of Trout Media. He lives and works in the mountains outside of Denver.