When is it ok to fish lakes again?

Discussion in 'Stillwater' started by Nick Clayton, Sep 12, 2011.

  1. Nick Clayton Active Member

    Posts: 2,834
    Ratings: +1,101 / 4
    I know that when the local lakes warm up it gets to be too hard on the fish to catch/release them, so it is advised to stay off the lakes during the hot part of the summer.

    What I'm wondering is when is it ok to fish them again? Is there a certain water temp to be looking for? Or just a general time frame? Or is it just a judgement call?
  2. Travis Bille Active Member

    Posts: 644
    McKinleyville, CA
    Ratings: +356 / 0
    I'm going to the basin lakes on the 25th of 28th, I hope that's late enough! I'm gonna be hitting Dry Falls and Lenice hard at night trying to get my first brown a fly rod. According to the extended forecast, it looks like eastern WA is going to be getting a little cooler this week, I'm hoping it keeps up
  3. Vladimir Steblina Retired Forester...now fishing instead of working

    Posts: 724
    Wenatchee, WA
    Ratings: +236 / 0
    Well, the magic number is surface temp of 70 degrees. I quit about 65 or so.
  4. Ed Call Mumbling Moderator

    Posts: 17,357
    Kitsap Peninsula
    Ratings: +1,324 / 9
    I'm with the Forester on this one. I was taught 70 degrees. I think normally I stop and then restart in the 65-68 range. If you are going to keep the fish you cacth in a stocked location...
  5. Nick Clayton Active Member

    Posts: 2,834
    Ratings: +1,101 / 4
    Sounds reasonable to me. I need to pick up a thermometer.

    Ed, you know the lakes I fish in our general area.... Any idea when I should expect to see temps drop enough to start fishing? Just in a general sense?
  6. Ed Call Mumbling Moderator

    Posts: 17,357
    Kitsap Peninsula
    Ratings: +1,324 / 9
    Nick, based on the recent very hot and sunny weather I'm unsure. Often I find temps creeping back down in late September or early October. I'm not sure that the temps got too hot until much later than normal. Be advised, I know that local lake, but have only been fishing stillwaters for about three years. Take the inflata-pram and the boy, you row, let him troll a bugger. If it is too hot, don't fish and when he catches one have it for dinner. One fish, stocker, dinner, smiles all around.
  7. Nick Clayton Active Member

    Posts: 2,834
    Ratings: +1,101 / 4

    Thanks for the insight. That's about what i was thinking, especially in regards to our late arriving summer this year. I guess I forget that he could just keep a fish if need be.
  8. Tim Lockhart Working late at The Office

    Posts: 1,930
    Mill Creek, WA
    Ratings: +259 / 0
    Good subject, Nick. In my experience it’s a bit of a fallacy in western WA. On its own, simple warm weather does not curb the action on lakes around here when it comes to trout. Consider the following:

    - All lakes are not created equal. While some may slow down during warmer periods, others might come on nicely for bass/warm water fish, and still others will just continue producing trout with good energy.
    - Lakes with more depth, cover, abundant foods or even a locational advantage (i.e. near the saltwater, at elevation or in a steep draw) are commonly less affected by warmer weather.
    - At any temperature, trout have the most adverse reaction to abrupt significant change. That means the current trend affects behavior much more than the current temperature. They can adapt to most conditions with enough time, but they really don't like a sudden change of any kind.
    - This year, for example, the bite was actually better than average thanks to a late summer and very stable warmer conditions over the last several weeks. If you think about it, despite all this “heat” nothing has changed in quite a while. Where food has been in good supply, a lot of trout populations have kept right on feeding aggressively. Furthermore, they’ve been coming up with a surprising amount of strength and energy. The best part of all that is lakes are largely being ignored at the moment since everyone thinks summer is the death of stillwater (a few pinks are doing their part as well). For what it’s worth, over the last month I’ve seen exceptional trout activity in several lakes and ponds coupled with minimal to nonexistent pressure.
    - Food for thought: As an experiment, I hit Pass on the last day of that extreme heat wave a couple years back when it was well over 100 for several days. The lake surface topped out at 72 (those constant winds from the salt certainly helped) with obvious lower temps at a little depth. Though unusually hot, the weather had been stable for a number of days and the lake was not exactly lacking for food. For one, I found that saltwater air to be rather comfortable and wished I had gone up more that week to escape the heat. Secondly, feeding kept right on going lower down and fish were coming up in really good shape. It made sense. They had a nice cooler layer at depth and a good food source, both of which had been stable for some time. As you can imagine, the same lake is doing quite well for itself as we speak while remaining underfished - hate it when that happens.
    - In short, on our side of the state there really is no such thing as “too warm for lakes.” Yes, it happens on a lot of lakes and, yes, other circumstances (spikes, turnover, food cycles, etc.) can put them down at times. But, short of ice-out, there is no such thing as unfishable conditions across all our lakes at once. If you want to catch energetic trout in lakes all summer, you can. I don’t know many guys who will seek that situation out but it’s not that hard.

    Still goes without saying, if they're coming up sleepy call it a day.
  9. Nick Clayton Active Member

    Posts: 2,834
    Ratings: +1,101 / 4
    Wow, thank you for the great response Ford! That was alot of really good information. I always enjoy reading your posts, especially when it comes to still water. Thanks a bunch.
  10. Drifter Active Member

    Posts: 1,616
    Ratings: +631 / 2
    I agree with ford . when lakes are warm on top they maybe 10 degrees cooler at depth . if they have any cold water springs running into them or in lake springs the cool water will get pushed down to the bottom making a layer of cold water for the fish to thrive in .

    we used to fish the columbia at herman creek a back water of the columbia that made a still water with cold water running in . the top of the water would be 68 to 72 degrees but when we went swimming and diving off an old tug boat tower you would jump off and go down about 6 feet and it was cold as heck when you hit the level of the cold water . the warmer water always pushes the cold water down and creates a level where the trout have plenty of cold water to thrive in . many times the insect life will get caught in this thermal spot because the hot water is harder then the cold water and nymphs will get stuck trying to brake through the hard warm water . many times when you see fish at a certain level in the lake on the finder what they are doing is swimming right below this warm water level staying in the cold portion of the lake , so when released they go right back to the cold water level no problems .

    If it were me i would look for lakes with springs or rivers that feed into the lake , these springs and rivers keep the lower levels of the lake cool for the trout . even if the lake has no spring or river 10 feet down it can still be 5 degrees cooler then the surface . just saying the surface is 70 degrees don't fish - to me is a false statement !
  11. Golden Trout Active Member

    Posts: 280
    North Central Washington
    Ratings: +35 / 0
    All very interesting debate "but" fished are played, for the most part, in the upper column of the lake where temps are warmest and potentially lethal for trout. This morning I had the good fortune to fish a lake with 59.1 degree surface temps. Even after quickly playing a few fish I had to carefully revive these trout because they have spent the last two months trying to avoid water temps that were near 70 degrees. We have had some mid to upper 40 degree nights at higher elevations that have temporarily brought down surface temps in a few lakes. This will not doubt be short lived because 80 degree weather is due by mid week.