Whether you are a libratard, bunny hugger, arm chair scientist like me or a right-wing nut, anti-environmentalist, addicted to "Koch", gun slinger. It really doesn't matter. We have had a very long dry and beastly hot summer with virtually no rain. Normally, the labor day weekend gives us lake surface temps in the upper 50's or lower 60's. In case you haven't looked at the weather predictions they are f----en July-like! Mid to upper 80's and in some cases lower 90's. That does little to lower surface temps.

I fished once on Labor Day Saturday at 3800 feet where the water temp was at 65 by the time I quit fishing in the early afternoon. I have not returned because the days just kept getting hotter and hotter. I will patiently wait for day time temps to drop into the 60s and 70s and this becomes the trend. Just because your have had a decent fishing day and the fish "SEEM" healthy doesn't mean that the fish are surviving.

Here in town we touch a big lake called Osoyoos that has had a large run of sockeye ascend into its depths. Thousands and thousands of these fish have washed up on shore because of what a fish biologist "suspects" is due to warm water temps. WTF, do ya think!!!!!!!!!!

Maybe it's time to start lobbying for a change in the fishing regulations for no (catch and release trout) fishing until surface temps are less than 65 degrees. I say this because the voluntary system is obviously not working.

Try blackleing articles on how much longer the salmonid fishing has left in the West. Why in the hell would we want to shorten that?


Indi "Ira" Jones
With most of us using the LCD screens on our computers or looking info up on phones or IPads. Blackle really does not save us or the world any energy, so saying try Googling it would have sufficed.

Now I know you don't want us to fish when temps are high because you believe there is a mortality rate, but as of yet I haven't read from you any specific percents. For example Let's just say I landed 30 trout last Sunday at Pass lake and the water temp on my depth finder measured around 67 degrees. I used heavy Tippett and sufficient rods to land the fish quickly and I used a rubber net. Let's also say I never touched the fish and they always stayed in the water. What mortality would I be looking at fishing those temps? Does it increase by a specific percentage each degree rise? Do the studies you want me to look up include Variables for fish handling?

I'd be much more likely to respect your opinion on this with a fact accompaniment.


Active Member
I would also like to read some studies of what water temps are at say 10' - 20' - 30' and so on - on any given lake being studied or talked about. just saying the surface temp is 70 and not to fish is to me false! many a lake is much colder just 5 to 7 feet down with underwater springs or rivers and creeks interring it.

We used to fish a inlet from the columbia that was basically influenced by the columbia water and a very small creek that dumped in "herman creek" now the top of the water was very warm but when we jumped off an old tug boat tower and went down about 6 to 8 feet it was freezing water. funny how we would catch steelhead at 7 feet or deeper with slip bobbers. via lake turn over is caused by cooler water mixing with the warmer surface water in the fall in many deep lakes. If pass is fished so much then why hasen't anybody sent a thermometer down on a 8 ounce weight in different depths to see how much cooler the deeper water is then the surface water for a true lake temp? I don't fish it so I can't help you there!

I myself am waiting for oct. to head east to fish a couple of my favorite lakes because they are still warm and "GREEN" with algae bloom. I don't know how algae bloom can tell you how warm the water is but it seems when it's cold there is no algae floating. and I want the fish shallow, I don't need to fly fish so bad as to go fish 25 to 30 ft. deep to catch trout but then again I am fishing up river brights and coho with gear this time of year. oct. I will for the most part put the gear rods away and head east for big "rainbows" not worrying about water temps being it was 32 degrees in the morning in la grande the other day! BUT yes I am watching temps and pming someone from the area who is keeping an eye out on temps and water color and lake levels! you can never do to much research only to little!
I like the overall idea here so protecting the resource is certainly not lost on me. And I don't see the need to get caught up in the communication or the finer points of the argument. I can share a bit of what I've observed on the water and keep it simple, but it seems to me water temps are only the tip of the conservation iceberg, if that. Regulations, ratio of C&R lakes to P&T, poaching, enforcement, crowding, overstocking (to name a few) would be elephants in the room in a discussion about warm water and lethargic fish. I'll stop there.

But regarding those water temps, here are a few thoughts based on pure observation:
  • Trout tend to react more to rate of change vs. a given set of conditions (did it go from 60 to 68 "overnight" or over a period of days/weeks?)
  • 70 on one lake might be just fine, whereas 65 on another might spell disaster
  • 70 on one lake might be just fine, whereas 65 on the same lake in different circumstance might spell disaster
  • Point is there are too many moving parts and conditions are never the same for any two locations or any two periods of time in the same location
  • For me, if they appear low on energy I lay off
I don't claim to be full of answers here. Just a few thoughts is all. Post #1 is fine with me if it stirs the pot a little. Doesn't happen often enough in WFF_SW.
FF nailed it. All depends on the lake and the variables. Brookies and cutts seem to have a much higher mortality rate than do rainbows or browns. I've seen bows thrive in a swamp that traditionally only supported largemouth. Even the biologists couldn't figure out how they survived in such high water temps.


Active Member
I could be wrong, but I always thought the danger posed by heat to fish had more to do with the oxygen levels. In a deeper, more stratified lake there's generally much less oxygen in the lower portions of the water column (actual levels dependent upon the plant life in the lake since decomposition depletes oxygen). The surface waters have more oxygen which comes from the air. Hotter water holds less oxygen. Therefore when the surface waters get hot, they hold less oxygen than they would otherwise, and the lower waters would as well since hotter surface water means more stratification and less oxygen cycling down from surface waters.

In a stratified lake in the summer, the fish will hold in those cooler, less oxygen rich waters. In this case, you would be fighting an already stressed fish and it would retreat back to those cooler waters after being released. Since there's less oxygen down there, they might not be able to recover. A shallower non-stratified lake might not create this danger as easily since it won't have areas with low oxygen. When a fish is released in a shallow lake, the water it returns to has much more oxygen than in a stratified or deep lake.

If temperatures have been consistently hot, there's likely less stratification and more cycling, which will mean that there is more oxygen in the lower water column. Also, if there's no wind, less oxygen is dissolved into the water. So even if temperatures are higher in the shallower lake, they may not be as dangerous to fish. The conditions which are dangerous to fish are deep water, temporary increase in surface temps, and a lack of wind. Also, it's harder on bigger fish since they fight longer and have less gill surface area to tissue ratio.

So even if Pass lake was 5 degrees warmer than a deep lake, the fish might not be in as dire of conditions. But I am 100% not a scientist. This is just my understanding.
I have offered some articles earlier and have sent some PMs to those who have asked. Everyone on this board can dig up many more with little effort. Seriously, it is supposed to be back in the 90s by next weekend! Shouldn't we be trying everything possible to salvage any and all trout environs rather than casting doubt and denial?

Roper: I am very proud of being a libertard, bunny hugger, arm chair scientist and have been called worse. Scientifically speaking, environmentalists have led the fight for cold water environs and those species who live there. Your gun line is a cool one. I saw a similar one that went "give a man a gun and he will rob a bank, give a man a bank and he will rob the world".
Your message is clear and I don't need a scientist to verify your accuracy. I will simply heed your advice because I believe your interests in the trout's environs are sincere!


Indi "Ira" Jones
I honestly tried Golden, but even with the articles you sent me I couldn't find a reason to honestly believe a significant increase in mortality on the lakes I plan to fish this weekend. In the decrease in trout habitat article it mostly mentioned speculative information or a worse case scenario if global warning continues. The other article was specific to rivers at 70+ degrees and even there, the research made it clear that even at those temps the problem was different in different river systems based on multiple factors. From there I took your suggestion on researching terms but again could find nothing.

Over the last few years I've put in a significant amount of effort into not letting emotion dictate my decisions. When I read your original post I seriously started thinking twice about heading out to fish, but then thought I'd look into it more before making my final decision. I will concede that at this point I'm probably not as ethical as you are, but at the same time I don't believe I will feel guilty about the fish I catch this weekend. This does not for a second though mean that with more info I wouldn't change my mind.
Hmm... I always thought it was more about the stress on the fish (fighting/landing it) in the last few minutes near the surface. Temps and/or oxygen could be fine at 5' - 50', but that's not where the fish is getting stressed out. It's that last couple of feet of water that does the fish in.

Isn't that why Montana posed a ban on fishing the Clark Fork several years back, from 10 am to 3pm?

When sitting on a jury, reasonable doubt is all that is necessary to acquit. "TU" Mag. Winter 2012, page 14, "NorthWest Fly Fishing", Jan/Feb 2012 do more (for me) than cast doubt and lend credence to the issue of the decline of the salmonid in the west.

As for the second issue of surface temp the article I sent you plus those statements from others who have shared on this thread have more than cast a reasonable doubt "for me".

Environmental responsibilities have and will always be accepted by some but not by all. My concern is that those who chose not accept them might just be the Nero Fiddle players!


Indi "Ira" Jones
And I'm saying that after viewing the evidence, I dont find reasonable doubt, maybe the defense didn't quite provide enough evidence to aquit. So the fish are guilty and therefor must be punished (insert tounge in cheek). Everything I have read has been about rivers.

As for environmental responsibility to hatchery trout. Well, I'm not sure how to think about that. This one has been discussed quite a bit. Should there be a catch limit? Should I stop fishing after I have landed X number of fish on a body water?

Now for environmental responsibility otherwise, I'm willing to compare my sustainable living practices and environmental choices to most on this forum and I imagine I will fair well. I weigh this against my need to fish all the time. I have decided to not worry as much anymore about driving east to fish and the gas I expend. I understand that fishing is a blood sport and that I will kill fish even though I dont mean to. I've accepted that I will buy graphite fly rods and I will use fluorocarbon tippets and I will use synthetic fly lines and I will pee in a bucket and dump it over the side. These are conscious choices I have made.