The weather is making headlines at the moment but as with so many things there are downsides to all this amazing sunshine and record high temperatures.
Expert guide and fly fishing tackle consultant Chris Ogborne gives his top tips for maintaining sport on stillwaters in hot weather, even when the thermometer goes through the roof!
Fish in general and game fish in particular don’t like it too hot. Anything above 22 degrees and trout will pretty much stop feeding and become lethargic and very reluctant to take a fly. Prolonged high temperatures can actually be dangerous and this is especially relevant on shallow lakes or smaller stillwaters where the fish cant retreat to cooler depths. But there are ways around this. Here are the top tips for dealing with these conditions and still enjoying our sport:
Look for deeper water! It sounds obvious but its still the top tip. Boat and bank anglers will head for the dam wall area, submerged river beds or any area of known deep water The depths are cooler and more hospitable to the fish.
Small stillwaters: The top tip here is to look for inflow, whether from springs or inlets. Most smaller waters don’t have deep areas where fish can retreat to and instead they will look for cooler spring water, or better oxygenated inflow water. Just ask the fishery manager where the springs are – he’ll be impressed that you’ve asked!
Evenings and Early mornings are by far the best times to fish when the weather gets hot. Forget those sweltering afternoons and wait for the cool of evening when the fish will normally come on the feed to some degree. Or make a very early start and enjoy the freshness of those productive morning hours.
Trigger a reaction: When fish are in a dour mood with warm water, you can often trigger a reaction with a brighter fly. If all else fails, offer them something outrageous and it might just work.
Thermoclines and oxygenated water: Most big reservoirs these days have oxygenating pumps working These are effectively anti-stratification pumps which help to keep the water in good condition and keep algae levels down They’re also a magnet for the fish – ignore the bubbles at your peril!
Imitative flies can also often hold the key to avoiding a blank. The fish may be dour but they still need to feed and something that looks ‘just right’ presented in deeper, cooler water might just save the day.
Shade on waters big or small, look for some shade or areas where the trees overhang the water Even in shallow water, the fish will often hide in shady patches and with careful wading you can often reach them.
And if all else fails, head to the pub! Remember that you can always use the excuse that we anglers need re-hydration in this weather, and what better way than with a pint of the good stuff and a chat about the fish, even if you cannot catch them!