Missouri Trout Hunter

Blog for sharing thoughts, beliefs and opinions on issues affecting the world of trout fishing in the Ozarks.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Why I'm Going Fishing This Weekend

True or False:  Trout LOOOOVE cold water.  

False!  Trout are cold-blooded, which means they don't care what the water temperature is.  Their body temperature adjusts to its surroundings.  So, the warmer the water, the warmer their body, the higher their metabolism, the faster their heart rate and respiration, the more responsive their fast-twitch muscles are, and the more calories they burn.  

Wait, what?  

Yes... they are burning more calories.  THAT means they are hungrier when the water is warmer.  So, then why does warm water stress the trout?

Water temperature and the quantity of dissolved oxygen are inversely related.  In other words, the colder the water, the more breathable oxygen it can hold.  As the water warms, the oxygen is shed.  That's why trout fishing in August can suck.  Their metabolism is high, and they are hungry, but if they can't breathe, they have a harder time feeding successfully.  That's why different strains of trout become accustomed to a water temperature "sweet spot" where you'll find the most actively feeding fish.  In my area, that sweet spot seems to be 60-65 degrees, give or take a degree or two.  When the water temperature falls into that zone, it's warm enough that the fish are hungry and active, and it's cold enough that they can breathe and pursue prey.

Over the last several days, we've had high temperatures in the mid-90's and nightly low temperatures in the mid-70's.  Since our spring water tends to be in the 53-54 degree range, this time of year the water immediately starts warming up as it flows downstream from the spring.  One trick the successful trout hunter has in his bag is the awareness that he needs to figure out where in it's flow the river's temperature will warm to that magic 60-65 degree range.  If it's REALLY hot out, the point where it hits 60 and the point where it hits 66 may be fairly close together -- perhaps only a half a mile of "magic" water conditions.  That means all the fish upstream of that zone have had a slower metabolism (so they've been less hungry) and all the fish downstream of that zone have had a faster metabolism coupled with lower oxygen (meaning they're hungry but can't feed very successfully).  

That's what we've seen over the last week or so, but this weekend, there's a break in the heat.  Our nightly lows will be in the 60's and our daily highs in the lower 80's.  So, it will take longer for the spring water to warm to 60 (the air temperature is cooler now), and it will stay in that 60-65 degree range for a longer period of time (same reason, of course).  So the "sweet spot" will suddenly be a longer stretch of river overall from upstream boundary to downstream boundary.  And, for bonus points, since the "sweet spot" will be farther downstream than last week, that perfect high-oxygen water will be right in that zone where the fish were extra extra-hungry and less capable of successful feeding behaviors the last several days.  

That's why I'm going fishing this weekend.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would love to know how to get in touch with selling party of property you spoke about on the Merimac.


1:13 PM  
Blogger Walt Fulps said...

Sorry it took me so long to respond to this! Didn't realize I had a comment waiting for moderation. FYI: I had a computer crash autumn 2013, so the contact information for seller is lost to me. And I don't have any inside information on whether or not the property has sold. I do know the seller is related to the Sturm family, who owns the property closer to the Cardiac Hill access.

10:22 AM  

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