While Fall is most definitely around the corner, temperatures in the High Country have remained high enough to impact two of our favorite rivers in the state. Voluntary closures have been put in place on the lower Eagle River, below Milk Creek, and the Yampa River, downstream of the Chuck Lewis SWA, due to high water temperatures. As water temperatures increase, the amount of dissolved oxygen decreases and the stress on trout rises. This thermal stress, especially when combined with inherent stress of hooking and fighting the fish, can be fatal for trout. As a general rule, when the water temperatures surpass 65 F, we choose to fish elsewhere. In the past week or so, the Eagle near Wolcott hit that threshold five times in the afternoon.
As a friendly reminder, we always carry sealed thermometers in the shop. When in doubt, grab that water temp real quick while you are fishing. If you are on any of the state's great freestones this weekend, "rope up" and consider using heavier tippet to reduce the length of the fight with fish. This will help to reduce the stress on fish. Good news though, cooler air temperatures, clouds, and even some rain is forecasted for the high country over the next week or two, so these high water temps should subside in the coming weeks and these rivers should round into shape for the fall. Stay tuned to the blog for updates and give us a call in the shop at 303-733-1434 if you have any questions.