A simple concept you should keep in mind is as water temperature rises, dissolved oxygen levels decrease. Therefore, as water temperatures drop, dissolved oxygen levels increase.
Based on the species you’re pursuing, these temperatures will effect fish behavior, sometimes dramatically.
Researching The Species You Are Fishing For Is Helpful
Where it gets a little more complex, is knowing your species. Some thrive in higher temperatures, some in lower. Know the temperature in which your quarry is most active.
You need to know where the “goldilocks zone” is for the species of trout you’re fishing for. This can and does vary with each species. We are talking about brown trout, but if you’ve ever wondered, are bass freshwater fish, find out here.
Brown Trout Are More Active In Lower Temperatures
The hardy species, such as brown seem to be most active at around 44 degrees F (7 degrees C) to 75 degrees F (24 degrees C). Much like the Brown Trout, Brook Trout seems to thrive at the same lower temperatures, however a temperature over 70 degrees F (21 degrees C) seems to stress the Brook Trout, more than the Brown Trout.
The Cutthroat Trout Do Not Like High Temperatures
The Cutthroat trout seems to be especially vulnerable. With active temperatures ranging from 39 degrees to 59 degrees F (4 degrees to 15 degrees C) they are more at home in colder, higher oxygenated waters.
We see these trout get stressed at around 60 degrees F (16 degrees C) and feed much less, making your fishing trip less enjoyable. Once the temperature of the water is around 69 degrees F (21 degrees C) the fish can actually suffer a thermal die off.
The Oxygen Content In The Water Play A Key Part
What makes a fish more active in a certain temperature range anyway? We’ve discussed oxygen content of the water. Basically, it’s easier for them to breath in lower temperature waters.
It’s very similar to elevation for us. We find ourselves stressed more in areas of higher elevation due to the lower oxygen levels. Higher temperatures in essence, leave fish gasping for air. These are not conditions in which trout are feeding or moving around.
Temperature Can Also Play A Role With The Prey Trout Seek
Temperature can also affect the prey trout seek. In any given area, the insects and bait fish trout prey upon are active during certain temperatures as well. Water temperature affects insect hatching and can give you an idea as to what fly or bait to use at your favorite location. Too high or low of a temperature, the prey species become dormant and active, making the trout react in a similar fashion.
Investing In A Stream Finder Will Help
Know your species and know how water temperature affects them. That is going to be one of the main keys in making your trout fishing excursion a successful one. I’d advise investing in a stream thermometer in order to keep better tabs on what the water temperature is. It may seem to be an insignificant aspect of fishing, because the fish have to eat, right?
Maximize your opportunities and do some research on when the fish species you’re pursuing is most comfortable. If the water temp is outside of those ranges, don’t be afraid to seek different areas, holding optimum water temperatures for the trout you’re seeking. As Anglers, it’s all about adaptation.