During the hot days of summer, it is important to remember that trout and salmon experience serious physical stress whenever water temperatures climb above 70° Fahrenheit.
Anglers can help protect New York’s trout population by taking the following precautions:
- Avoid catch and release fishing for heat-stressed trout. Trout already weakened by heat stress are at risk of death no matter how carefully they are handled;
- Don’t disturb trout where they have gathered in unusually high numbers. It is likely these fish are recovering from heat stress in a pocket of cold water;
- Fish early. Stream temperatures are at their coolest in the early morning; and
- Be prepared with a backup plan. Have an alternate fishing plan ready in case water temperatures are too high at the intended destination. Consider fishing a water body that is less prone to heat stress or fishing for a more heat-tolerant species like smallmouth bass.
Anglers are advised that when fishing tailwaters, like those below New York City water supply reservoirs, remember the cooling influence of reservoir releases will not extend as far downstream during periods of intense heat. By paying attention to water temperatures and adapting fishing strategies to changing conditions, responsible anglers can help New York State’s trout and salmon to beat the heat.
DEC and the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation recently launched the PLAY SMART* PLAY SAFE* PLAY LOCAL campaign to encourage New Yorkers to engage in responsible recreation during the COVID-19 public health crisis. For more information about how to safely enjoy the outdoors while protecting yourself and others visit DEC’s website.
Photo of salmon courtesy Concordia University.