High Heat Stressing Fish PopulationsJuly 30th, 2012
The Department of Natural Resources has recently reported numerous fish kills around the state due to a combination of higher than usually water temperatures and drought flow conditions. Temperatures this summer have set record highs and have caused issues for fish populations around the state. While the DNR has been monitoring and tracking fish kills, effects on overall population numbers are unknown. The heat this summer has not stopped anglers from casting lines. With fish populations under stress from the heat, the DNR has issued a few quick tips anglers can do to keep fish healthy this summer:
- Be extra careful when handling and unhooking fish that are to be immediately released. This will keep stress to a minimum.
- Do not keep fish that you intend to release in live wells for very long.
- Avoid fishing during the hottest parts of the day. Fishing in the early morning is least stressful for fish and provides the coolest water temperatures.
In addition to tips for keeping fish healthy while catching and releasing, the DNR has highlighted localized and regional best tactics given the altered fish behavior. Walleye, trout and salmon were found in deeper parts of the Great Lakes for cooler temperatures. Fish in inland lakes have moved below the thermocline, the layer of mixed water in lakes, and can best be caught at dawn and dusk. Rivers have been affected most by the heat this summer and anglers will have better success once temperatures have cooled and game fish are more active.
For the DNR’s full report on changes to regional and localized fish populations, please read their Weekly Fishing Report available here.