After strong rain showers this past mid-week, area rivers and streams received a welcomed respite, and as a result, water levels rose to a more normal flow. Fishing last night was productive using a Black Leech and a Conehead Leech under the surface.
The Beaverkill at Cooks Falls was flowing at 359 cubic feet per second on Friday afternoon, June 29. This is above the average flow of 212 cfs over 104 years of record-keeping. Water temperatures ranged from a low of 60 degrees Fahrenheit the morning after the heavy rains, to a high of 72 degrees F just before the rain arrived last week.
The East Branch Delaware River at Fishs Eddy was also above the average flow; registering 831 cubic feet per second as opposed to the 63-year average of 487 cfs. Water temperatures last week ranged from a low of 61 degrees to a high of 73 degrees Fahrenheit.
The West Branch Delaware River at Fishs Eddy was also above the average flow; registering 659 cubic feet per second as opposed to the 54-year average of 576 cfs thanks to the rain. Water temperatures last week ranged from a low of 46 degrees F to a high of 58 degrees Fahrenheit.
Heading into the weekend, weather forecaster have been predicting higher-than-normal temperatures, a heat wave of temperatures around 95 Saturday afternoon and then increasing to around 100 both Sunday and Monday afternoons.
As a result, the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation has put out a press release to trout fishers reminding them that trout are cold water sport fish, and they can experience serious physical stress whenever water temperatures climb above 70° Fahrenheit. 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.
Bring along a thermometer to check the water temperature before starting to fish, and if temperatures are up in the 70s,
• Go to Plan B! Have an alternate fishing plan ready in case water temperatures are too high at your intended destination. Consider fishing the reservoir, lake or a body of water that is less prone to heat stress. Try your luck 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 beat the heat.