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  1. #1
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    Water Level v. Water Temperature

    Water level is more important than water temperature. As an example; the best time for salmon fishing is after a good rain when the river is on the rise. Significant rise in water level will trigger the salmon to leave the lake and begin its migration to the head waters and spawning areas. Water level drops during this period, the salmon arenít likely to keep moving and will hold up in pools to wait for the next rise in the rivers level that will trigger their urge to begin again their migration up river. Good water levels in a trout stream, they are more likely to be found throughout the stream in pools, riffles, eddies, and as in the case of low levels they are more likely to be located in the deeper pools.

    Water temperature is related to the level of water in the stream, in the case of spring creeks it is not. Salmon will enter a river with temperatures above 40 degrees and as low in the 30ís. I know there must be a chart out there that has all these temperatures figured out. Maybe someone will post it.


    My point is we get so fixed on water temperature, when in my opinion it is the water level that is more important.


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    With all due respect.....
    I got the impression that most of the recent "temperature" discussion was centered on the chances of a released trout surviving. (Some of us could "lighten-up" a bit, C&R is good conservation, not religious dogma).

    Salmon/steelhead migration wasn't really the topic of discussion.

    IMHO: As to "catchability" I beleive that it's a combination of factors, including temperature, water level, clarity, light, available forage (like hatches), pollution & etc. If any one of these factors is less than ideal, fishing can be difficult. The "important" one is the one that's hindering your success....During NJ summers, temperature is often the critical factor.


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    Ak,
    Totally agree with Pete here. For migrating species of fish, water depth may be more important but for all the chit chat on this site centered areound rainbow and brown trout survival, temp is more important for their survival.

    If you had added to your title, "for migrating salmon", I may agree.

    --FT
    Nothing grows faster than a fish between the time the fish takes your fly...and the time he gets away.

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    Reason Behind This Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete
    With all due respect.....
    I got the impression that most of the recent "temperature" discussion was centered on the chances of a released trout surviving.

    IMHO: As to "catchability" I beleive that it's a combination of factors, including temperature, water level, clarity, light, available forage (like hatches), pollution & etc. If any one of these factors is less than ideal, fishing can be difficult. The "important" one is the one that's hindering your success....During NJ summers, temperature is often the critical factor.
    Gentlemen:

    This is a new thread and other than conversing about "temperature" it is not connected to that other thread, and it is open to all fishing, salmon, steelhead, trout, LLS and so on.

    I started this thread with education in mind. We have many fly fisherman who come here to pick up some new information, get the latest river information, fly tying, and all other aspects of the sport.

    By my posting I hoped to get others involved with their thoughts and comments with the hopes that we all can share our experiences, beliefs, and to learn from each other. I could have gone into greater detail than I did, but that was intentional, for I wanted gaps, that way others would add to the thread and we all could learn some new idreas.

    As for temperature for trout, Fly Tier, please make your point as to why you feel it is more important than water depth, I would like to hear your thoughts, so I may learn more.


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    I agree with Pete too. Take for instance the West Branch. It could be flowing at 5000cfs, a roaring rumbling river during a summer flood, and still be 75* if the spill is coming over the TOP of the dam. Trout will not bode well in that temp, even though there is plenty of water. Conversely, it could be a trickle at 500cfs, but with a BOTTOM release, the water may be 45-50*. There isn't much water, but trout survival is greatly increased.

    I think this post should be prefaced with "migratory fish" or something, like Fly Tier said.


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    Once again, it is complicated, Water level and water temps work in mysterious ways on stream temperatures. Streams are complicated and I have not been entirely successful in predicting stream temps. Sometimes high water in the summer cools a stream and other times it warms it and sometimes it is obvious why and other times it baffles me. Always use a thermometer in the summer, and I don't buy that "feel" works.

    As far as trout and salmon running, I have only studied rainbows in the Finger Lakes, but their behavior should be similar to other salmonids. The same thing happens with the shad run.

    First trigger is photo period. Length of night/day gets the hormones pumping. (trout in hatcheries have their spawning period adjusted by putting them in a building and varying the light - ie NJ spawns rainbows in the fall when they are naturally spring spawners. Some hatcheries speed the cycle and breed fish twice a year). Some smaller males enter the streams in the fall.

    Second trigger was temperature. If the water was too hot or too cold the fish would wait in the lake regardless of stream levels. Not normally an issue since fish are usually where temps are right for them.

    Next trigger was water level. Too low and the fish couldn't make it up the stream; too high and they had problems too. Many small streams only pass fish with a pulse of water and they move up after a rain - but if the time is wrong or the temperatures are off most fish wouldn't move. But when it is spawning time and the temps are acceptable (which they normally are) the pulse of water will drive then upstream and it is usually the final trigger. On the high water side, Shad in the Delaware have been stopped by floods recently (low water is rarely the issue for shad in the Delaware). The shad wouldn't fight a flow of above 25,000 cfs at Trenton and will wait for the peak flow to drop before heading up. Generally not a problem, but last Aprils flood put a hold on the shad run. Another case was salmon heading up the Machias R in Maine. Right at the head of tide behind Helen's Restaurant is a waterfall and the water level had to be just so for the salmon to jump it. Too low and they couldn't get the speed up to jump and too high and they couldn't fight the flow. Unfortunately, salmon runs in Maine are nearly extinction and you can't have coffee at Helen's and watch salmon mill around anymore.

    Another interesting thing is that the female rainbows felt for slippery algae on rocks to make their redds - it was a way to check if the redd would be in a reliably wet spot after the water dropped.

    One final note: trout in warm weather can frequently be found in riffles and rapids where more oxygen is found in addition to the more obvious spring holes. Many times they are right at the drop off at the head of a pool. It is amazing to see how shallow trout will go in the summer, but the water must be broken so they can't be seen.


  7. #7
    czech is offline Fishizzle, I use worms but I'm looking to upgrade!
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    This might sound stupid, but, in replying the the 1st posting of this thread, where is there Slamon in NJ?


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    Empire v. Garden

    Quote Originally Posted by czech
    This might sound stupid, but, in replying the the 1st posting of this thread, where is there Slamon in NJ?
    The Salmon River I refer to is in up state New York.

    I can see where you my be stymied by the NJ thread site v. NY.

    However, if you are able to follow the main point, it is not the state that is important but in fact it is not even a factor at all. It is merely a vehicle.

    I hope this will set you on the right path.

    I look forward to you thoughts on the "Subject" and please for give me if I gave the impression that a Salmon River exists in the Great Garden State.

    As always, on your side,
    AKS


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