Wyoming and Fish ask anglers to adjust their fishing practices for the heat, and help with fish survival

Cheyenne fisherman Owen Shadd poses with tiger trout caught near Kemmerer (Wyoming Department of Fish and Game)

Casper, Wyoming — The Wyoming Department of Fish and Game requires hunters to modify hunting practices during the summer months.

“It’s that time of year when water temperatures are at their peak. Warm water also has less oxygen which can stress not only trout, but all fish as well,” said Alan Osterland, head of the fish department.

According to Wyoming Game and Fish, trout die after prolonged exposure to temperatures above 75 degrees Fahrenheit, and short exposure to temperatures over 80 degrees is fatal. Stress on fish is faster in warm, low-oxygen water, which greatly impedes the fish’s ability to recover from the rigors of fishing. However, as the water temperature approaches 70 degrees, there is less chance of any species of fish surviving when caught and released.

Anglers who adjust their practices can help more fish survive the heat.

“As water temperatures rise, anglers should monitor water temperatures while fishing. When the water temperature reaches 70 degrees, we recommend that anglers stop catching and releasing fish,” Osterland said. “Exercise self-control to help fish survive.”

To increase the chance of fish survival, catch-and-release fishermen can:

  • Fish early in the morning while the water temperature is cooler.
  • Carry a pocket thermometer to monitor the water temperature.
  • If the water temperature is 65 degrees or higher, consider keeping what is recorded in the regulations. If the temperature is 70 degrees or higher, do not attempt to catch and release the fish.

According to Wyoming Game and Fish, proper catch and release techniques are important to help ensure fish have a chance at survival:

  • Play and catch fish as fast as you can to reduce your burnout stress.
  • Keep the fish in the water as much as possible.
  • Do not squeeze the fish or put your fingers in the gills.
  • Gently remove the hook. If it gets stuck too deeply, cut off the leader.
  • It is recommended to use flies and baits whenever many fish are caught and released.
  • Barbed hooks allow easy hook removal.
  • If the fish is tired and can’t hold itself upright, and regulations allow, consider eating it for dinner because the fish has little chance of survival.


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