Give ‘Em A Rest

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Photo by Louis Cahill

Photo by Louis Cahill

By Justin Pickett

It’s Summer.

What that means for most of the country is low water and high temps. And while those two factors will vary from year to year, and region to region, one thing should stay the same…

We need to be keeping a close eye on water temps.

Just about every year in the Southeast, you can count on most trout streams rising well above sixty-five degrees. Here in Georgia, when June rolls around, the state-run trophy waters and privately held waters begin either shutting down, or limiting the fishing to the early morning hours when the water temps are at their coolest. 

Trout-tempsWe all know trout are extremely susceptible to succumbing to the rigors of a fight in warm water conditions. It can be impossible to recover a trout once those water temps start creeping closer to seventy degrees. There is just not enough oxygen contained within that warmer water to revive them. And even if that trout does swim off initially, it’s more likely to go “belly up” in the minutes that follow.

That is why I typically switch to warm water species, such as largemouth bass and carp once the hot temps of summer settle in. There are a couple north-facing streams here in Georgia that can offer year ‘round trout fishing, but even then I will cut it off around 11 o’ clock. Past that, I don’t want to be out there anyways. It’s hot and muggy as hell! Fishing in high elevations can be a great alternative option. These headwater streams and alpine lakes offer up cooler temps and don’t warm as quickly during the summer months. And there is some great fishing that can be had if you’re willing to put forth a little effort to get there. 

Aside from that, it’s just a good idea to give trout a rest this time of year. I know, it’s hard to get up on a beautiful morning and resist the urge to toss a few bugs, but the trout will thank you and the fishery will be better for it. Be sure to carry a thermometer while you’re out on the water so that you are aware of when temperatures are rising. Talk with your local fly shop before hitting the water. They are a great resource for what’s happening on the water on a daily basis. Don’t worry… It’s temporary. Fall is just around the corner and the fishing will back to good!

Here is a great chart created by our friend’s at Trouts Fly Fishing that keeps it simple.


Justin Pickett
Gink & Gasoline
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2 thoughts on “Give ‘Em A Rest

  1. Boy, Justin, I am 100% right there with you. In the warmer months I turn to trap shooting, which is something I suck at, about as much as fly fishing. Apparently, I thrive on ineptitude.

  2. Having just moved to Georgia from Texas I was looking forward to go try trout fishing close to the house, but my heart fell when I saw the trout stocking schedule. Why do they stock from March to August???? Do we just hope that fisheries will hold wild trout through the colder months? In Texas a trout is a rare commodity so maybe I’m concerned about nothing here.

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