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> > Wild 'bows and Summer heat

Report at a Glance

General RegionMissouri Ozarks
Specific Locationa medium sized spring-fed creek
Time of Daydawn to 11 AM
Fish Caughta few wild rainbows
Conditions & Hatchesstream levels normal and clear
air temp 75-upper 80s (after I got done fishing the temps reached the mid 90s)
water temp- not good (68-70)

Details and Discussion

MotroutJune 6th, 2011, 3:01 pm
Posts: 319
Yesterday I headed down to one of my favorite wild trout creeks with the expectation of excellent dry fly fishing. Right now Missouri is infested with Cicadas, with the 13 year crop of them. They are dying over our lakes, rivers, and creeks in massive numbers, and the fish are eating them like crazy. I have been fishing to Cicadas on warm-water for a couple weeks now, but I had yet to fish it on a trout stream. Yesterday I was going to change that.

Whenever you plan to have an excellent day of fishing, it never seems to actually works out the way you intended. I know that it is best to go to the water without any expectations at all, and yesterday bore that out pretty clearly. When I got to the stream right at dawn, there were few Cicadas buzzing the water. That's not abnormal, as that usually doesn't start happening until closer to mid-day. I tied on my normal rig for this creek since the Cicadas weren't on yet (a #12 Para Adams with a #18 Hare's Ear as a dropper) and began fishing the riffle right at the access that is so often productive. I didn't pick up any fish there, which was kind of a surprise, although I told myself it was probably just the pressure-I'd do better as I went downstream where less people fished. But then I fished a couple other of my favorite pools, deep, green runs that are just about always productive...Still nothing. Finally I made it down to a well-shaded, fast moving stretch of the creek that flows through almost impenetrable brush. The casting was very tough, but I almost immediately starting hooking into wild rainbows. I fished that section hard, and did quite well, before I moved downstream to the next pool, another old favorite of mine. By this time the cicadas were coming off, and I switch to a cicada pattern. But no fish were rising there to the big bugs, either to naturals or to my imitation. As a matter of fact, I could see no signs of life whatsoever, save the occasional chub slapping at the struggling cicadas. It was about 9 AM by this time, and I hadn't caught anything except in that one stretch of fast water. Wondering what was going on, I took out my water thermometer, and immediately grasped the problem.It read 68 degrees, a number I'm not used to seeing on this creek until mid to late July. No wonder the fishing had been good in the shaded, riffly section, and so poor everywhere else. By this time the air temp was in the mid-80s, and I knew the water temp would be shooting up. I figured I had maybe an hour or two until the water got too warm to fish and I would have to quit. So I started skipping all the slow pools and the open riffles, and just started fished the kind of brush tunnel sections that would produce, and I continued to do well until around 11 o'clock when the water temp hit 70, and I forced myself to quit fishing. It probably won't do much good, but I am getting worried about the creek. I have never seen water temps like this so early in the year, and I really don't want to think about what we are going to be looking at come July or August. We need some cooler weather bad, but who knows how long it will be until we get any. After a very rough summer last year, I don't know how much more my little creeks can take. I still think there's a pretty good chance they'll weather it though; those wild trout often prove to be a lot more resilient than I give them credit for.

I think I may be doing a lot of bass fishing this summer though.
"I don't know what fly fishing teaches us, but I think it's something we need to know."-John Gierach
PaulRobertsJune 6th, 2011, 6:23 pm

Posts: 1776
IME, the naturalized (hatchery origin) bows I fished for in the East, handle warm water better than either brown or brook. Not sure about the bows here in CO yet, it being so easy to avoid too warm water here.

The reason I think this is so is bc bows handle and feed in strong current better than browns, so they are better able to make use of "ram-jet" ventilation. Riffles don't actually hold more O2 than nearby pools bc in streams (moving water) oxygen content is more a matter of water temperature, since moving streams are usually at saturation anyway, and stay mixed. Now big pools and beaver ponds (as well as stagnant flow) can become depleted, but in a riffle/pool structure that isn't stagnating, it's my understanding that there isn't much difference in O2 content.

The advantage for trout in too warm (low o2 content despite saturation) riffles is the opportunity to have water rapidly pass the gills without having to pump it through. This is called "ram-jet" ventilation, and it's why trout move into riffles at high temps. Every bit of energy savings helps. Browns and brooks do this too, they are just not very efficient at feeding there, esp when they aren't feeling too well it seems. Bows seem to be different.

One thing I purposefully did during summer on temperature-marginal trout waters was to target 'bows. I'd look for larger pools (esp those with laminar flows -bows LIKE that), and fish the riffles above, or other really turbulent cuts. The bows were there and I caught them consistently on nymphs and wets. Bows can simply feed effectively in fast water.
JesseJune 8th, 2011, 11:05 pm
Posts: 378
A sad happeneing it is man it sucks to hear that. I have a feeling a lot of anglers are going to be doing the same thing all over the place..
Most of us fish our whole lives..not knowing its not the fish that we are after.
MotroutJune 9th, 2011, 12:01 am
Posts: 319
I'm happy for you living up in Montana. I know you guys aren't immune to warm water problems up there, but with your massive snow-pack this year you folks should at least have some good summer fishing-if run-off ever ends! I am giving the trout creeks a break for a while until the heat backs off a little, but if the weathermen right, that should happen within the next four or five days. I just hope the trout make it through okay. I guess being streamborn fish they know how to find the spring-holes and other coldwater refuges.
"I don't know what fly fishing teaches us, but I think it's something we need to know."-John Gierach
Jmd123June 9th, 2011, 1:10 am
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2480
I've gotten into politicized pissing contests with folks on this site before, but I'll go ahead and say it anyways: Climate Change. Our weather here in Michigan is completely whacked out - it went well over 90 F today and hit 90 F yesterday, and here it is 1:00 a.m. and it's 81 F with a massive t-shower headed our way. Weather patterns - if you can even call them that these days - are getting more chaotic and climatologists are calling this "the new normal". I talked to my best friend downstate last night and she said she had garden flowers peaking that shouldn't be doing so until well into July, and it's not even the middle of June, yet we are behind here because of a winter that wouldn't quit and I found fresh (and very tasty) morel mushrooms a week ago!

Let's just keep our fingers crossed that our trout streams manage to survive this chaos. And if you want to help stabilize the climate, I have one suggestion: start planting trees!!!

No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
MotroutJune 9th, 2011, 12:06 pm
Posts: 319
It is getting pretty hard not to believe in climate change. This year in Missouri we got our last accumulating snow on one of the last days of March ( also one of our biggest snows of the winter.In a normal year this occurs in the first or second week of the month), we had destructive tornados on New Years Eve (and it seems like we have been having them ever since), it rained and stormed pretty much the entire month of May, and as soon as the rain quit, the temperature jumped up about 30 degrees and we were immediately in a mid to late summer weather pattern-that doesn't look to be going away anytime soon. I do not know what is going on, but it just can't be good for our trout streams.
"I don't know what fly fishing teaches us, but I think it's something we need to know."-John Gierach
Jmd123June 9th, 2011, 9:35 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2480
We had a very thankful respite today - temps dropped back down to the upper 50s and low 60s F, and on one of my favorite spots on the Rifle River, the water temp was 61 F. Thank goodness!! I was pretty worried after the last couple of days...

No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
Jmd123June 10th, 2011, 3:13 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2480
Latest weather update: it's now 48 F and raining. So, two days ago we had JULY and now it's back to least the trout won't mind the cold rain! MO, if I could, I would send some your way...

No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
MotroutJune 10th, 2011, 3:32 pm
Posts: 319
I'm glad you guys are getting a break up in Michigan. Something similar, although much less pronounced, looks to be on the way here too. I can't imagine what I would do to have the temperature in the upper 40s around here now!

Right now it is 89 degrees with bright sun (which I'm afraid to say is about as cool as it has been around 3:00 in the last 5 days or so.) Still, I looked at the forecast for my corner Missouri again today, and finally some good news. Here in a few days, our daily highs are going to drop down to anywhere from the upper 70s to mid-80s, with lows anywhere from the upper 50s to upper-60s with some clouds and rain too. This is very good news if it actually pans out as the weather forecasters are predicting. If this is true, it looks as if our trout will live to see another day, and I'll at least with any luck get some more decent fishing until the next heatwave rolls in. Unless the temperatures are consistently getting up into the mid to upper 90s during the day with almost no break at night, the springs will be able to keep the creeks nice and cold, at least for a few miles. But that is exactly what has been happening over the last week.
"I don't know what fly fishing teaches us, but I think it's something we need to know."-John Gierach
MotroutJune 10th, 2011, 7:57 pm
Posts: 319
Well we just got a sudden round of thunderstorms that changed the weather completely. The storms are past now and it is again bright sunny, but 20 degrees cooler! The temperature now is 68, it actually feels good to be outside again. Tommorow I will go see how the creek is doing. Hopefully I can catch the tail end of the Cicada hatch with decent water temps, but I don't care that much just as long as the fish are okay.
"I don't know what fly fishing teaches us, but I think it's something we need to know."-John Gierach
Jmd123June 10th, 2011, 9:31 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2480
Glad to hear it! We are in for upper 60s to low 70s F for the next week or so. It's too early for the mid-90s!!

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

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