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 Post subject: Safe Temp to Fish?
PostPosted: July 22nd, 2018, 7:22 am 
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FFIMer

Joined: May 8th, 2011, 8:20 pm
Posts: 115
What's the maximum temperature that you think it's reasonable to safely catch and release brookies and LLS? Any difference for rainbows and browns? Do you think that changing your technique to quickly haul the fish in and release it makes a significant difference? Is your answer different for rivers versus lake or pond fishing? I've made a habit of measuring temps lately and would be interested in some feedback on the subject.


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 Post subject: Re: Safe Temp to Fish?
PostPosted: July 22nd, 2018, 7:54 am 
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FFIM-aholic
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Joined: October 16th, 2006, 12:00 am
Posts: 1408
Location: Harrison
Great question.
We hear 70 being used often in Maine.
I see 67 used a lot out west.
Whatever the threshold, arbitrary numbers are only part of the equation. More important is when these readings occur. If the water is 70 at daybreak, it's probably only going to rise...not a good day to fish. Unless it's today, with rain moving in and a week of rain and cooler temps on the way.
If it's 70 at 4pm, and the weather pattern has favored cool nights, it's probably OK to fish the evening rise.
If it hits 70 at 10 am, on a sunny and hot day, probably not a good day to be fishing. But what is happening overhead?? Weather is so fickle, it really requires us to monitor the forecast and changing conditions and adjust accordingly, which is why numbers can be so deceiving.
I've watched fish go belly up after releasing them, which is a sinking feeling! Nobody wants that to happen.
In the end, it's all about good judgement, which is why I would love to see more temperature gauges in our rivers. It's much harder to make the decision not to fish once you are standing in the river, all geared up and ready to cast, staring down at your thermometer.
On the fish playing and handling techniques:
I think we should play fish as quickly as possible and keep them mostly in the water during release, whatever the conditions. Not a fan of the hero pics.

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 Post subject: Re: Safe Temp to Fish?
PostPosted: July 22nd, 2018, 5:58 pm 
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Joined: February 14th, 2007, 1:00 am
Posts: 1401
Location: New Hampshire
I have no scientific basis for this, and honestly rarely fish for trout between July 4 and Labor Day, but I have always looked at 70 degrees as the number... Land then REALLY fast.... and also focus on well oxygenated water. The last point is just particularly my idea, but seems to make sense. Oxygen comes from turbulence and plants.

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"Fishermen...spending their lives in the fields and woods...are often in a more favorable mood for observing her, in the intervals of their pursuits, than philosophers or poets even, who approach her with expectation." - Thoreau


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 Post subject: Re: Safe Temp to Fish?
PostPosted: July 22nd, 2018, 8:52 pm 
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FFIMer

Joined: July 21st, 2011, 9:30 pm
Posts: 855
Location: Brunswick
I agree with 70 being the absolute top for me to fish trout.... I occasionally fish for trout in August, but it's in cool(58-65 degree) water on small mountain streams. I was up in The County this weekend. I brought my gear hoping to sneak in a couple hours of fishing. I scouted a couple rivers, spotted fish and rising trout as well as an absolutely killer mayfly and midge hatch. Only problem was my thermometer showed 78... I didn't even rig up, just enjoyed the show. I did take that temp right on the shore in about 4 inches of water, so the main current was probably lower. I saw some good rises were coming up on the far side of the river, but I still didn't feel comfortable fishing those temps.

Peter

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 Post subject: Re: Safe Temp to Fish?
PostPosted: July 23rd, 2018, 12:18 pm 
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Joined: December 5th, 2001, 1:00 am
Posts: 5327
Location: Manchester, ME
When we were working with DIFW on trout tagging of adult brook trout in the Rapid River, they timed to the angling/tagging events to be at times the water was below 15 degrees C (59 F). These fish were caught, anesthetized, had major surgery to implant a tag, revived and released, so a lot more stressed than angled trout, and in addition to not wanting to kill fish, the tags were expensive and nobody wanted to waste them on fish that would not recover. They stretched that a bit and I think tagged fish with water as warm as 17 or 18 (62-64) when we had hot weather in early June that year. They were not happy with it.

My own guidelines for angling would be about 65 for brook trout, and 70 for landlocked salmon, which are a lot more temperature tolerant. 65 seems to be the trigger for tagged brook trout in the Rapid to move to thermal refuge areas.

At least as big an issue is whether you fish springholes in ponds and streams. I do not, figuring that even if those fish are doing well where they are, I am pulling a stressed fish out of the spot it wants to be in and into warmer water, and making it work really hard in the warm water.

Imagine it's me, sitting in an air conditioned room on a 95 degree humid day, eating bonbons. Stick a hook in a bonbon, yank me outside into the sticky heat, and make me run around the house 4 times while you haul on me with a heavy leader. Then hold my head underwater for 45 seconds while you get out your camera for a photo. I won't do well when you release me. :wink:


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 Post subject: Re: Safe Temp to Fish?
PostPosted: July 23rd, 2018, 5:03 pm 
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Joined: September 28th, 2003, 12:00 am
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Bon Bons is that the best you could go for.

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 Post subject: Re: Safe Temp to Fish?
PostPosted: July 23rd, 2018, 6:56 pm 
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Joined: December 5th, 2001, 1:00 am
Posts: 5327
Location: Manchester, ME
Vegan canapes?


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 Post subject: Re: Safe Temp to Fish?
PostPosted: July 25th, 2018, 7:58 pm 
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FFIMer

Joined: May 8th, 2011, 8:20 pm
Posts: 115
Thank you gents. This is very helpful.


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