Help Trout Beat the Heat

Posted on: June 29th, 2018 by Leslie_Zucker

With high tem­per­a­tures fore­cast this week­end through next week, it’s impor­tant for anglers to remem­ber that cold­wa­ter fish like Eso­pus Creek trout expe­ri­ence seri­ous phys­i­cal stress when­ev­er water tem­per­a­tures climb above 70 degrees Fahren­heit. Fish­eries man­agers at the NYS Depart­ment of Envi­ron­men­tal Con­ser­va­tion (DEC) are offer­ing angling tips on how to help trout and salmon beat the heat.

Heat stressed fish often seek pock­ets of cold water cre­at­ed by upwelling ground­wa­ter, small feed­er streams, or water released from deep reser­voirs. These refuges allow trout to avoid or recov­er from poten­tial­ly fatal lev­els of heat stress. You can help by tak­ing the fol­low­ing pre­cau­tions dur­ing your warm weath­er fish­ing trips.

  • Avoid catch and release fish­ing for heat stressed trout. Trout already weak­ened by heat stress are at risk of death no mat­ter how care­ful­ly they are handled.
  • Don’t dis­turb trout where they have gath­ered in unusu­al­ly high num­bers. Because these fish are like­ly to be suf­fer­ing from heat stress and seek­ing relief, respon­si­ble anglers will not take unfair advan­tage of their distress.
  • Fish Ear­ly. Stream tem­per­a­tures are at their coolest in the ear­ly morning.
  • Go to Plan B! Have an alter­nate fish­ing plan ready in case water tem­per­a­tures are too high at your intend­ed des­ti­na­tion. Con­sid­er fish­ing a water­body that is less prone to heat stress or fish­ing for a more heat tol­er­ant species like small­mouth bass.


When fish­ing tail­wa­ters, such as those below New York City water sup­ply reser­voirs, remem­ber that the cool­ing influ­ence of reser­voir releas­es will not extend as far down­stream dur­ing peri­ods of intense heat. By pay­ing atten­tion to water tem­per­a­tures and adapt­ing fish­ing strate­gies to chang­ing con­di­tions, anglers can help New York State’s trout and salmon beat the heat.

Anglers can check stream water tem­per­a­tures on the Eso­pus Creek at the USGS Cold­brook gage. A graph avail­able online shows dai­ly fluc­tu­a­tions in water tem­per­a­ture (see an exam­ple below).

Graph of water temperatures