This week’s picture is a scene that is taking place on many streams where rising water temperatures are sending trout to areas that offer a cold-water refuge and it’s not uncommon to see fish stacked up at the mouth of a cold water tributary. Water flows at a stream mouth are often low; preventing fish from moving into the tributaries until a storm brings up the water level enough for them to move. This is one of the most stressful periods of the year for our trout and they are more exposed to predators than they would normally be. Eagles, osprey, heron, kingfishers, otters, mink and other natural predators will capitalize on this time of vulnerability and availability of a food source. So will some anglers …..
Sadly some anglers will see a scene like this and see an opportunity to get a hero shot, rack up numbers and boast about how many fish they caught, while never realizing the stress they are putting on trout that are already stressed. Caught and released fish have a much lower level of survival in warmer water temperatures, and a trout released with good intention might not make it for long after it swims away. A true conservation minded angler will recognize this scene for what it is, whisper a little prayer for rain, hope that those fish survive to make more, and walk away. Move your fishing to warm water species or places that stay cold through the summer months instead. Our streams will flow cold again in the fall. We should value the fish more than our fishing, and if it looks like you are fishing in a barrel, you probably are ….. www.ramsayflies.com #ItsAboutTheFish