I was in the water the other day, taking in all the beauty of one of my favorite Western North Carolina streams. It was hot and muggy out, but as always the water felt so good. The water was exceptionally low and the few fish I spotted seemed very lethargic. I was flipping through my fly box trying to find a seasonal terrestrial when something in the water caught my eye. A lifeless, silvery-white object. Upon closer observation I realized it was a trout, belly-up, dead as a door nail. I immediately took the water temperature … 68 degrees.
I packed up and went for a hike instead. Why? Something told me that these trout had enough to deal with and I really didn’t need give them anything else to stress over.
As we know, trout thrive in clean, cool water. Shallow, warm waters have low oxygen levels resulting a less than ideal habitat for maintaining a healthy trout population. Even if you practice catch and release, a trout that you catch in these conditions could very well put up his last fight and go belly up later in the day.
Maybe I should consider bass fishing on these days?