How Hot Is Too Hot?

With the recent temperatures being consistently in the low to mid 90s in the Philadelphia area, the little fishing I've done over the past few weeks has been that of the warmwater variety.  Sunfish, bluegill, rock bass, and the random smallie being the typical quarry.  And you know what, even with the consistent bite that panfish provide, that kind of fishing gets a little boring after a while.  At least to me.  If that sounds douchebaggy I apologize, but it's also the truth.


So with this past weekend's temps a bit lower, (in the high 80s), I thought I'd at least give Valley Creek a peek and see what the water temps were.  I have a rule that when water temps are in the high 60s, low 70s it's probably not a good idea to go for fishing for trout, especially wild ones.  I don't know if the 70 degree barrier is rooted in science, it's just what I've told or absorbed over the years as a good temperature to start leaving the trout alone.

Stream thermometer in hand, I headed over to The Creek Valley (the British pronunciation) yesterday afternoon.  K.C. was out with friends and Lilly was spending the afternoon at my Mom's house.  After a short dip in a few different spots; water temp...64 degrees...so I thought I'd give it a go.

Valley Creek PA Brown Trout
Valley Creek PA Brown Trout
Valley Creek PA Brown Trout

I caught a enough Valley brownies to make me content after about two and a half hours of fishing.  All the pics above and hook removal was done with the fish in the net with the fish still in the water.  I really didn't want to add additional stress to the fish in these temps.

High 80s or not, with the humidity it was still freakin' hot, and honestly, a lot of fellow anglers must have had the same idea as me...I deal with enough traffic on my commute to & from work during the week, I didn't feel like dealing with it on the weekend too.

So to close, I'm wondering - is 70 degree water temperature a legit cutoff for wild trout fishing?  I know there are other variables at play, but would love to learn your rule of thumb, if you have one... 


Comments

  1. Ya know if ya go wet wading up here,you do not mind it being 100+ out...just saying

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  2. There's some info here-http://www.70degreepledge.org/. I think you're on the right track.

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  3. When I was down by the New River a week ago (story coming....) my Dad caught a 20" rainbow (def. NOT wild). He got the mouth out of the water just to get his hemos working and the damn fish just went belly up. No oxygen near the surface of the creek, apparently. On the plus side, we cooked it over a fire and ate it...but yeah it's too hot if you can't return a live fish to water. Water temps in our coastal rivers are in the 80s. Only catching perch.

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  4. 70 degrees and plus is a no go for me too. It's a shame in VA cause it's been 100 plus several days (water temps I know over 70) and the mountains are in a drought and people are still going brook trout fishing to "cool off." I'm sure several trout have died this summer cause of that.

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  5. I fished my favorite mountain stream a few weeks ago. When I stepped into the usually cold water, it was lukewarm. No fishing that day. 70 degrees is about right.

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  6. As others have stated good choice on the cut off temp. I actually start the think of other species when it hits 68. The only reason for that is I love smallmouth! You should really think about trying to target the larger smallies if you can it's a blast!

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  7. I would have to agree with Bruce, warmwater fishing is a lot more fun when you get after some big Smallies. Stop by the blog tomorrow and see what fun we this weekend.

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  8. In the local mountain native brookie streams, I stop right around 63-5 because the brookies are more sensitive to water temps.

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    Replies
    1. Only smallies and carp for me lately, except one outing for brookies when the temp was around 60.

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  9. Seems the guys and I are in agreement. 70 is about the max and probably a tad too high.

    Mark

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  10. I max out at 68 and try to limit my fishing to either early early AM or late evening...doing has still allowed me some great fishing. Also try to only fish fast, oxygenated water at that point as well.

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  11. Let me say one thing...the lovely 54 degrees that I was fishing in a few days ago was heavenly! And for the trout too, I'm guessing! I have heard that they thrive better under 60, so I would say that the 65 mark would be my cutoff to lessen their stress.

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  12. Thanks for all the feedback. At least I feel better about using the 70 degree rule. As far as going fishing for bigger smallies, I'm generally a creature of laziness when it comes to fishing. Local creeks, small creeks, I'm fine with that.

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