SALEM, Ore. -- With the advent of extremely warm summer temperatures, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is asking anglers to take special care when catching and releasing fish.
“Fish mortality can increase drastically when water temperatures reach 74 degrees,” said Charlie Corrarino, ODFW Conservation and Recovery Program manager.
Warm water does not hold as much oxygen as cooler water. This means fish are getting less oxygen while they are being caught, and take longer to recover once they are released.
“Many anglers will voluntary limit their fishing when air and water temperatures are high in order protect trout populations,” Corrarino noted. “However, anglers can safely continue fishing if they follow a few precautions.”
To help minimize the impact on fish and fish populations, ODFW makes the following recommendations when fishing during prolonged periods of warm weather:
- Fish early in the mornings when water temperatures are lower.
- Fish in lakes and reservoirs with deep waters that provide a cooler refuge for fish.
- Use barbless hooks, land fish quickly and keep them in the water as much as possible in order to minimize stress.
- Shift your fishing efforts to higher elevation mountain lakes and streams where water temperatures often remain cool.
Gary Galovich, ODFW warmwater fish biologist, suggests anglers turn their attention to warmwater species, such as bass, bluegill and crappie, that are available in many lakes and reservoirs statewide. Even with warmwater fish, Galovich cautions, anglers should try to land and release fish as quickly as possible.
“While trout are especially sensitive to high temperatures, warmwater fish such as bass and bluegill also can become stressed when battling with an angler,” he said.
Corrarino points out that hot summer temperatures don’t necessarily mark the end of trout fishing for the year.
“Once cool fall weather arrives, water temperatures will drop and trout will begin actively feeding again. ODFW also will resume stocking trout in many lakes and reservoirs,” he said. “In fact, fall can offer some of the best fishing of the year.”