Anglers can Alleviate Pressure on Fish Stressed by Hot Weather
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is urging anglers this summer fishing season to follow a few simple steps when planning trout and salmon fishing trips.
This past spring, trout living in streams benefited from abundant rainfall and cool weather conditions that promote the growth and survival of these popular game fish. However, with the steamy days of summer approaching, it is important to remember that trout and salmon can experience physical stress whenever water temperatures climb above 70 degrees Fahrenheit. In streams, heat-stressed fish will seek deep pockets of cold water, small feeder streams, or water released from deep reservoirs. These refuges allow trout to avoid or recover from potentially fatal levels of heat stress.
Anglers can help trout and salmon by taking the following precautions during warm-weather fishing trips:
- Avoid catch-and-release fishing for heat-stressed trout on hot days. Trout already weakened by heat stress are at risk of death no matter how carefully they are handled;
- Do not 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 in the day. Stream temperatures are at their coolest in the early morning hours; and
- Have Plan B ready. Always have an alternate fishing plan in case water temperatures are too high at the intended destination. Consider fishing a water body less prone to heat stress or fishing for more heat-tolerant species, like small and largemouth bass.
When fishing tailwaters, such as those below New York City water supply reservoirs, remember that 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.
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo also announced that New York residents can fish for free without a license in any of the 7,500 lakes and ponds or 70,000 miles of rivers and streams across the state this weekend, June 29-30, 2019. New York’s Free Fishing Weekends help encourage more people – whether skilled or new to the sport – to get outdoors and enjoy the many world-class fishing opportunities.
There are plenty of places to try freshwater fishing in New York, like smallmouth bass fishing on Lake Erie, brook trout fishing on a crystal clear Adirondack lake, Pacific salmon fishing on Lake Ontario, fishing for stripers on the Hudson River, brown trout fishing on the Beaver Kill, or fishing for panfish on a local pond.