A man fishes the Green River along a grassy stretch of shoreline with mountains in the background

Fishing in the heat

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department urges anglers to adjust fishing practices during the state's hottest stretch of summer to help fish beat the heat.

When it’s hot and dry, Wyoming's streams and rivers flow with less water. High air temperatures cause water temperatures to rise. The higher water temperatures and loss of deep-pool habitats can prove lethal to trout. In lower-elevation reservoirs, lakes and ponds trout and salmon may become stressed, particularly when hooked and pulled into the warm surface waters.

Practices you can adjust to help more fish survive the heat

  • Follow voluntary closure guidance (see above for active closures and advisories).
  • Pursue some of Wyoming’s warm and coolwater game fish like walleye, bass and catfish instead of trout.
  • Escape the heat by fishing Wyoming’s high country where temperatures are cooler.
  • Carry a pocket thermometer to monitor the water temperature.
  • If the water temperature is above 65 degrees, consider keeping what you catch within the regulations.
  • Don’t release trout once water temperatures reach 70 degrees – often about noon on warm summer days.
  • As water temperature increases, using the proper techniques to catch and release a fish become increasingly more important to help insure the fish has a chance to survive.
  • Avoid using any bait if fish are being caught and released.
  • Consider barbless hooks for easier hook removal.
  • Play and land fish as rapidly as possible to reduce exhaustion stress.
  • Do not squeeze the fish or place fingers in the gills.
  • Remove hooks gently. If hooked deeply, cut the leader.
  • Release fish gently in the water. If a fish is exhausted and cannot hold itself upright, and if regulations allow, consider having it for supper as the fish has a poor chance of surviving.

Anglers who adjust their practices can help more fish survive the heat.