D o the dog days of summer have you down? Trout are also feeling the heat as stream temperatures rise above their preferred range. Springs may provide areas of relief, but the trout face a difficult trade- off as the cooler seepage water often has lower dissolved oxygen content. At this time of the year, you want the water temperatures to be below 66 degrees if you are considering release of those big trout. Above 70 de- Dog Days Too hot to sleep, too hot to golf, but not too hot to fish... Written by: Len Harris Photos by: Len Harris
False grees, the fish are likely to die after a pro-longed battle. If you are looking for eaters it is not so important. A thermometer is a must during these days. There are many types and styles available, but I opt for the cheap ones for one simple reason - I lose so many, it would be foolish for me to buy an expen-sive one. Check the water temperature near the bottom of the stream where the fish live. Surface readings will be significantly higher. Keep the thermometer submerged for at least 10 seconds. Make sure you’re not holding it by the bulb, or it will give a false reading. Don’t take the temperature right where a spring empties in. Instead, check above the spring to get a more representative reading. And check the temperature several times during your out-ing. If the water gets near the danger temper-ature, do the fish and yourself a favor and get off the water. During the dog days you need to size up your gear to minimize the battle time. Leave those ultra- lights at home, and if you are using a fly rod, this is not a good time for dries or any-thing under a 4- weight rod. The longer you battle that trout, the more lactic acid the trout builds up. The trout may appear to be fine when you revive it, but ten minutes after you release it the fish goes belly- up. From the middle of July to early September, big trout are as scarce as hen’s teeth dur-ing the day. So the dog days might require a change of tactics and fishing times. As a trout gets older it gets larger and wiser, and most big trout become nocturnal feeders. That hole you fished numerous times during the daytime might just hold the trout of a lifetime, and nighttime – especially during the Hexagenia limbata ( Hex) mayfly hatch - is the perfect time to catch it.