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Artistic view of a Male Pteronarcys californica (Pteronarcyidae) (Giant Salmonfly) Stonefly Adult from the Gallatin River in Montana
Salmonflies
Pteronarcys californica

The giant Salmonflies of the Western mountains are legendary for their proclivity to elicit consistent dry-fly action and ferocious strikes.

Dorsal view of a Zapada cinctipes (Nemouridae) (Tiny Winter Black) Stonefly Nymph from the Yakima River in Washington
Nymphs of this species were fairly common in late-winter kick net samples from the upper Yakima River. Although I could not find a key to species of Zapada nymphs, a revision of the Nemouridae family by Baumann (1975) includes the following helpful sentence: "2 cervical gills on each side of midline, 1 arising inside and 1 outside of lateral cervical sclerites, usually single and elongate, sometimes constricted but with 3 or 4 branches arising beyond gill base in Zapada cinctipes." This specimen clearly has the branches and is within the range of that species.
27" brown trout, my largest ever. It was the sub-dominant fish in its pool. After this, I hooked the bigger one, but I couldn't land it.
Troutnut is a project started in 2003 by salmonid ecologist Jason "Troutnut" Neuswanger to help anglers and fly tyers unabashedly embrace the entomological side of the sport. Learn more about Troutnut or support the project for an enhanced experience here.

Motrout
Motrout's profile picture
Posts: 319
Motrout on May 24, 2011May 24th, 2011, 6:28 pm EDT
I realize it's not really that time of year just yet, but it soon will be. I mean when you have to take a water thermometer on every fishing trip to any trout stream that is even remotely temperature sensitive. I know a lot of people on here know a lot more about fishery biology than I do, so I have a question. As of now, this is kind of how I try to handle things to keep from stressing fish too awful much when the water temps are up.
under 64 degrees- good to go, no worries
64-68 degrees-it's okay to fish but I try not to fight them too long and make sure to revive them well
68-71- I only will fish if I'm desperate. Preferably I will find colder water.
above 71 degrees- either find colder water or stop bothering trout and go after smallmouth
I also try not to fish in isolated thermal refuges (ie spring holes).

Is this pretty close to right, or am I off base? I'm particularly curious about your opinions on fishing spring holes during the summer. That's something I just don't know enough about to have an intelligent opinion on.
"I don't know what fly fishing teaches us, but I think it's something we need to know."-John Gierach
http://fishingintheozarks.blogspot.com/
Softhackle
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Wellsville, NY

Posts: 540
Softhackle on May 25, 2011May 25th, 2011, 1:25 pm EDT
I'd say you are correct. I carry a thermometer and take the temperature where I'm fishing. I record that into my fishing diary. One can see a pattern develop by looking back. Years ago I thought that the barometric pressure affected fishing, however, while it probably does, I believe water temperature affects fishing activity more.

Mark
"I have the highest respect for the skilled wet-fly fisherman, as he has mastered an art of very great difficulty." Edward R. Hewitt

Flymphs, Soft-hackles and Spiders: http://www.troutnut.com/libstudio/FS&S/index.html
Adirman
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Monticello, NY

Posts: 479
Adirman on May 25, 2011May 25th, 2011, 1:37 pm EDT
This is something I DEFINITELY have to add to my normal fishing gear: A thermometer!! And, A pen w/ diary!! Took me long enough to start brining a siene net as I used to be in too much of a hurry to sample prior to fishing. sometimes i still slip into that old habit, too much in a hurry to start fishing, you know?!
Jmd123
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Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on May 25, 2011May 25th, 2011, 3:16 pm EDT
MO, I would go with your instincts. If you think it is too warm for trout, and we all know trout get stressed out when the waters are too warm, give 'em a break. Go after the smallies and rockies instead, they can handle the warmer water temperatures without stressing out - mid-70s is perfectly comfortable for them. As for the spring holes, if they're all stacked up on top of each other in them, they're probably getting stressed out from being too crowded, but if there's plenty of room they might be just fine. If I remember correctly, groundwater temps in Missouri average around 57 F, which is plenty cold, although actual dissolved oxygen content is also a factor (I don't believe there's much if any when it comes right out of the ground, as biological decay processes consume it while below the ground). As I said, if you can observe the fish, see how they look and make a judgement based on that.

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
Motrout
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Posts: 319
Motrout on May 25, 2011May 25th, 2011, 7:03 pm EDT
Thanks for the input.


"I don't know what fly fishing teaches us, but I think it's something we need to know."-John Gierach
http://fishingintheozarks.blogspot.com/
PaulRoberts
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Colorado

Posts: 1776
PaulRoberts on May 26, 2011May 26th, 2011, 8:15 am EDT
Temperature is so important. It's effects can be masked, or altered by food availability, but it affects basic activity levels -esp trout's relationship to current speed. Since we fly-fishers are married to the current, just like trout are, this is no small understanding.

I've taken temps throughout the day for years to get a bead on how waters take and give heat. Temperature tells me more about a given "season" than anything else. It's MOST directly important to fishing results in winter and summer -extremes. But it also affects insect emergences, and appears to affect trout feeding aggressiveness in general.

I took what I learned about trout and applied it to my stillwater bass fishing and found it valuable there too.

We endotherms just don't understand ectothermy very well.
Ditch
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Fuquay-Varina NC

Posts: 36
Ditch on May 26, 2011May 26th, 2011, 12:47 pm EDT
95 in VA today looks like a hot weekend even on the trout streams but I'll still give it a try

Philip
Woodstock VA
There are no bad fishing days.
Falsifly
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Hayward, WI.

Posts: 660
Falsifly on May 26, 2011May 26th, 2011, 1:04 pm EDT
We endotherms just don't understand ectothermy very well.


Endotherms that, better, understand ectothermy, will increase their chances of catching more poikilotherms.
Falsifly
When asked what I just caught that monster on I showed him. He put on his magnifiers and said, "I can't believe they can see that."
PaulRoberts
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Colorado

Posts: 1776
PaulRoberts on May 26, 2011May 26th, 2011, 1:56 pm EDT
Let me re-phrase that... We homeotherms just don't understand poikilothermy very well.
Softhackle
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Wellsville, NY

Posts: 540
Softhackle on May 26, 2011May 26th, 2011, 5:47 pm EDT
One might find this an interesting read. I post this, strictly for informational/educational purposes. My own records verify his findings. Enjoy.

http://www.troutnut.com/libstudio/WhenTroutFeed.pdf

Mark
"I have the highest respect for the skilled wet-fly fisherman, as he has mastered an art of very great difficulty." Edward R. Hewitt

Flymphs, Soft-hackles and Spiders: http://www.troutnut.com/libstudio/FS&S/index.html
PaulRoberts
PaulRoberts's profile picture
Colorado

Posts: 1776
PaulRoberts on May 26, 2011May 26th, 2011, 7:24 pm EDT
Mark, thanks for posting that. I've read his other writings on the subject before and kept it in mind over the years. Fascinating perceptive work. I tried to verify his ideas in the scientific literature, to no avail. I corresponded with Neil Ringler on the subject but he couldn't verify the ideas bc he hadn't done or seen any supporting work either. I for one believe it -it seems to pan out. But, it's easy to see trends when confronted with lots of variables. Without solid supporting evidence it's still an asterisk.
Keystoner
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Eugene, OR - formerly Eastern PA

Posts: 145
Keystoner on May 28, 2011May 28th, 2011, 5:19 pm EDT
Ok, here's a question...

What have those of you who have taken water temps throughout the day found? Specifically, is there a big change in temp from first light to mid-day? And what about from mid-day to late evening? How do these changes vary from say a mid-summer day to a day in the dead of winter?

Pretty much just curious. Thanks.
"Out into the cool of the evening, strolls the Pretender. He knows that all his hopes and dreams, begin and end there." -JB
PaulRoberts
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Colorado

Posts: 1776
PaulRoberts on May 29, 2011May 29th, 2011, 5:10 am EDT
They can vary quite a bit -like 15 degrees -on sunny days, as sun is what does the heating. Len Wright was in a unique position to see the extremes of this bc he made his observations on the Neversink which is tucked into a cleft in the Catskill Mountains that regularly has cold nights.

Dead of winter brings changes too but much less. Winter lows tend to be around the freezing mark, sometimes supercooled, with sunny days bringing rises to 36 to 38F. Trout acclimate to such temps and daily highs can activate fish. It appears that they acclimatize too, but I've seen no data other than my observations -meaning trout at least appear to be less affected by rapidly dropping temps.

Each water, and stretch, is different depending on water sources, sun incident, volume, shade, topography, ...
Softhackle
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Wellsville, NY

Posts: 540
Softhackle on May 29, 2011May 29th, 2011, 6:09 am EDT
Hi,
I can not answer much about winter days, cause I don't fish winter days. As far as spring and summer and fall, I agree with Paul. I've been on the water in early summer mornings when water temps were in the mid to high fifties and again in the evening when it was into the low 70s, and actually too warm to fish.

There are some variables to consider like flow speed, cover and weather conditions, also location of the area you fish. For example, a river or stream that may take a quick influx of rain water after a t-storm might rise in temperature rather than go down because the influx of water from warm terrestrial and road surfaces will increase the river temps on a warm day. Good cover can reduce the affects of sun on the water, and of course the longer the water sits in the sun the warmer it gets. Therefore, using a thermometer regularly can tell you a lot about hatching and feeding periods.

Mark
"I have the highest respect for the skilled wet-fly fisherman, as he has mastered an art of very great difficulty." Edward R. Hewitt

Flymphs, Soft-hackles and Spiders: http://www.troutnut.com/libstudio/FS&S/index.html
PaulRoberts
PaulRoberts's profile picture
Colorado

Posts: 1776
PaulRoberts on May 29, 2011May 29th, 2011, 6:35 am EDT
Good post SH.

It's not simple. When I tried to introduce the idea of using (actually using) a thermometer to the bass fishing crowd, the response was negative. "Cain't predict bass." "Bass don't use thermometers", ...

Temperature is a fundamental part of energy flow through poikilotherms, but fish are not rocks.

I do use a thermometer to roughly predict fish activity but keep an open mind, watching for other things that matter too.

Temperature rarely RULES activity, but it influences it greatly.
Motrout
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Posts: 319
Motrout on Jun 2, 2011June 2nd, 2011, 7:55 am EDT
Now that I posted this thread it is supposed to get nearly to 100 degrees here tomorrow! It's only the 2nd of June...That's not supposed to happen for another month or so.

Some of the more sensitive streams are going to see their first water temp problems I think, with consistent highs anywhere from between the upper 80s to near 100, and lows often not making it below 70. It might be another tough summer, although it's too early to know for sure.

It's way too early in the summer to have to be thinking about this seriously.
"I don't know what fly fishing teaches us, but I think it's something we need to know."-John Gierach
http://fishingintheozarks.blogspot.com/
Jmd123
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Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on Jun 2, 2011June 2nd, 2011, 8:24 am EDT
MO, the weather sure is crazy lately. We hit 91 F a few days ago - I took my first swim of the year (in the lower Au Sable), pretty darned early for Michigan and it was even comfortable. Now we're back down in the 60s again! And we got well over twice our monthly average rainfall in May...and some climatologists are saying get used to it, these wacky weather patterns we are having are the "new normal".

Paul, good luck with the bass crowd. They have all their own ideas - or, perhaps none at all? "Cain't predict bass..." Then again, they seem to have pretty wide temperature tolerances, as they bite well when the water is in the 80s F, yet I caught one that fought well from a brook trout stream at 56 F. ?????

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
Softhackle
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Wellsville, NY

Posts: 540
Softhackle on Jun 2, 2011June 2nd, 2011, 10:56 am EDT
Same thing, here, Jmd. It was 91 degrees Tuesday-today-65,and tonight 39 expected. My home river has not receded enough to fish, yet. Perhaps this weekend with temps in the mid 70s.

Mark
"I have the highest respect for the skilled wet-fly fisherman, as he has mastered an art of very great difficulty." Edward R. Hewitt

Flymphs, Soft-hackles and Spiders: http://www.troutnut.com/libstudio/FS&S/index.html
Jmd123
Jmd123's profile picture
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on Jun 2, 2011June 2nd, 2011, 7:01 pm EDT
Mark, again my condolences on your high waters - I sure hope they settle down soon so you can finally get out and chase some trout!

I took a hike out to the Marsh myself and hit the bass waters today. No tourists this time and the bass and sunnies were on the bite big time! Caught 8 bass out of one pond, biggest was 13.5", and around 40 sunfish, beautiful pumpkinseeds on the beds in full spawning colors. A #10 black Woolly Bugger with grizzly hackle did the trick! Then I found 5 nice big morels on the way home, plus a rare orchid species I have never seen before! Beautiful weather too, upper 60s F with a light breeze, was able to put enough clothes on to avoid mosquito repellent (a few did get me on the hands & face but after the fish, morels, and orchids who cares?). Gotta get back after the trout myself but I couldn't resist those gorgeous sunnies. Heard two owls hoot & saw a raccoon climb a tree and look at me on the walk back home as well. My new home is a nature-lover's paradise!

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
PaulRoberts
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Colorado

Posts: 1776
PaulRoberts on Jun 3, 2011June 3rd, 2011, 9:27 am EDT
Mark, again my condolences on your high waters - I sure hope they settle down soon so you can finally get out and chase some trout!

I took a hike out to the Marsh myself and hit the bass waters today. No tourists this time and the bass and sunnies were on the bite big time! Caught 8 bass out of one pond, biggest was 13.5", and around 40 sunfish, beautiful pumpkinseeds on the beds in full spawning colors. A #10 black Woolly Bugger with grizzly hackle did the trick! Then I found 5 nice big morels on the way home, plus a rare orchid species I have never seen before! Beautiful weather too, upper 60s F with a light breeze, was able to put enough clothes on to avoid mosquito repellent (a few did get me on the hands & face but after the fish, morels, and orchids who cares?). Gotta get back after the trout myself but I couldn't resist those gorgeous sunnies. Heard two owls hoot & saw a raccoon climb a tree and look at me on the walk back home as well. My new home is a nature-lover's paradise!

Jonathon

Sounds wonderful, Jonathan!

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