Regional Offices > Laramie Region > Laramie Region News > Game and Fish urges anglers adjust fishing practices due to heat

Game and Fish urges anglers adjust fishing practices due to heat

August 06, 2021
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Laramie -

Fisheries biologists are urging anglers to adjust fishing practices due to high water temperatures in southeast Wyoming.

High air temperatures and drought conditions are causing streams and rivers to flow with less water and at warmer water temperatures. Warmer water temperatures can affect fish survival, especially trout. Of special concern in southeast Wyoming are the North Platte River from the Colorado state line to Seminoe Reservoir, the Laramie River from Monolith through the City of Laramie, and all of the Laramie Plains Lakes including Wheatland Reservoir 3.
“Rivers and some reservoirs are running low, and this, combined with high air temperatures, causes water temperatures to get high enough to be lethal to trout,” said Bobby Compton, Laramie Regional Fisheries Supervisor for the Game and Fish Department. “Warm water also holds less oxygen which can stress trout and other fish.” 

Trout experience increased mortality at prolonged exposure to water temperatures greater than 75 degrees Fahrenheit; brief exposure to temperatures over 80 degrees can be lethal. Trout stress quicker in low-oxygen warm water, which greatly hampers a trout’s ability to recover from the rigors of being caught.
Anglers who adjust their practices can help more trout survive the heat.
“Anglers should monitor water temps while trout fishing. When water temperatures hit 70 degrees, it is recommended anglers stop catching and releasing trout,” Compton said. “Late afternoon into evening can be the worst time to fish for trout on a hot day, because the water temperatures don’t start to cool down until well after dark.”

The Game and Fish asks all anglers practicing catch and release to consider the following:
  • Fish for trout early in the morning while the water temperature is cooler.
  • Carry a pocket thermometer to monitor the water temperature.
  • If the water temperature is at or above 65 degrees, consider keeping what you catch within the regulations. If the temperature is 70 degrees or higher, do not attempt to catch and release trout.
  • As water temperature increases, using the proper techniques to catch and release a trout becomes increasingly more important to help ensure the fish has a chance to survive:
  • Land fish as rapidly as possible to reduce exhaustion stress.  
  • Keep the fish in the water as much as possible.
  • Do not squeeze the fish or place fingers in the gills.
  • Remove the hook gently. If hooked deeply, cut the leader.
  • Flies and lures are recommended whenever many trout are being caught and released.
  • Barbless hooks allow easier hook removal.
  • If a fish is exhausted and cannot hold itself upright, and if regulations allow, consider having it for dinner because the fish has a poor chance of surviving.
Compton said anglers should also consider fishing for warm-water fish instead of trout during the warmest months of summer. “While we need to be mindful of trout fisheries during the summer months, warm water fish such as bass and bluegill thrive in these temperatures. These species fish really well in the middle of the summer.”

- WGFD -

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