Tropical Storm Hilary caused extensive flooding and damage in California and parts of Arizona last week, but it also temporarily lowered temperatures for a few days before they shot back up. Trout anglers are advised that the record-setting heat conditions that occurred in July and early August are still having an impact on our lakes and streams.
Trout thrive in cool (below 68 degrees), clean, well-oxygenated water. During the summer months, when water levels and flows decrease due to lack of rainfall, water temperatures rise and dissolved oxygen decreases, which in turn causes additional stress on trout.
Anglers are reminded to consider these conditions and take some personal responsibility when fishing for trout during these periods of stress. AZGFD recommends the following practices:
- Fish early in the morning when water temperatures are cooler.
- Land a hooked fish quickly – do not “play” the fish.
- After landing a fish, release it as quickly as possible without removing it from the water.
- Avoid fishing when water temperatures are above 68 degrees. This is especially important at special regulation waters (such as Becker Lake) that rely on low fishing-related mortality to maintain populations due to the limited number of trout that are stocked each year (in the hopes of growing trout as large as possible). Even a limited number of mortalities related to fishing during high-water temperatures at Becker Lake could harm the fishery for years, because larger fish are generally more sensitive to increased temperatures than smaller fish.
- When fishing for stocked trout in waters with a temperature greater than 68 F, plan to keep the first four fish that are caught (check the 2023 and 2024 Fishing Regulations before heading out).
- Anglers seeking to catch Apache or Gila trout in recovery streams are advised to avoid the summer months of June, July and August, as elevated stream temperatures can create stressful conditions for trout and poor conditions for angling.
- Check with the appropriate AZGFD regional office for the latest fishing conditions before heading out.
AZGFD appreciates anglers for taking responsibility when fishing for trout during the summer months. The proper handling and care of trout can greatly reduce their stress and the potential for post-release mortality.