Finding cool spots where fish hang
Have you noticed just how warm our region has been this summer? After a long winter and a cool spring transition, summer hit us with some of the warmest temperatures in quite sometime.I have not lived up here that long (going on 28 years), but local long-term residents tell me that this is one of the warmest summers in their memories. This was confirmed when I happened to watch a news account of our unseasonably warm temperatures.According to the Desert Research Institute, nighttime temperatures in Reno have risen an average of 8- to 10-degrees since the mid-1970’s. They attribute 1- to 2-degrees of this rise to a global change in the weather pattern or possible global warming.The rest of the temperature increase is attributed to a phenomenon called an urban heat bubble. Apparently, as development increases, so does the capacity to retain heat. When put in terms of asphalt replacing natural vegetation this tends to make some sense. There has certainly been a large amount of development occurring over the past 35 years.Sitting along the Truckee River after a late evening of fishing will reinforce just how warm it has been. Enjoying a cool beverage and some small talk with the fishing partners late into the night has been a normal occurrence this season.I am being asked just how the warm temperatures will affect the fishing in the lakes and streams. The obvious answer is that it depends on the water.Typically in lakes, fish will generally seek out cooler water, which generally means going deeper. If you can locate areas where underground springs seep into the lake; the water temperatures there will be much more favorable to the fish and you will find good concentrations of fish.In streams, generally the warmer water will tend to concentrate fish where they find the most oxygen. Since warm water tends not to hold much oxygen, cooler areas where springs are located tend to concentrate fish. Faster water tumbling over rocks tends to also create oxygen. That is why areas that have pocket water (small calm spots behind rocks) are where most anglers tend to fish as it gets warmer.An exception to the above is when you have a tailwater fishery, such as the catch-and-release section of the Little Truckee River. This water tends to be cooler because it is being released from the bottom of Stampede Reservoir. As a result, the warm days do not affect this fishery as much as say the Truckee River.If you are fishing during these warm spells, be sure and try to land your fish quickly. Warm water depleted of oxygen is really tough on the fish. Studies have shown that the mortality for released fish goes way up as water temperatures increase. You will need to spend a little extra time to make sure the fish is in good shape before you release it.Bruce Ajari is a Truckee resident and regular fishing columnist for the Sierra Sun and other area newspapers.