Warm water, drought conditions and a little reflection about anadromous salmonids. Took this pic just before dark on my favorite piece of the Klickitat River. The pic is dark because it should be. Something to reflect upon.
Fished the water to the left of this pic tonight. Briefly hooked a bunch of smallish O. mykiss (assumed) and one that wasn’t so smallish but not a steelhead. Water temp at about 8pm was 65.7F per my digital thermometer. Used to think 70F was the cutoff for steelhead fishing but I’m rethinking it. 70F might be closer to the edge for resident rainbows or fry hanging out on the edges in a few inches of water (look around, you’ll see them and I’ve taken the water temps). Got to thinking about up-river migrating salmonids and now wonder if it’s not so much the water temp, which it certainly is, but the dissolved O2 in the water. Warmer water holds less dissolved O2 so the fish need the O2, water temps are the cause but not killer. The killer is reduced dissolved O2 Steelhead don’t breath like we do, it takes much longer for them to absorb/assimilate the O2 going past their gills.
Though the Klicktitat hasn’t been effected by the very recent WDFW rule changes it’s fish will have to live with it. The slower the water moves the more it’ll warm and the less O2 it’ll absorb, as glaciers recede the less cooling influence they have. Ice coverage or meltable mass is everything in glacial melt and river temps, hence O2 concentrations. Sturgeon are dying in the Columbia likely because of low 02 concentrations.
Please look for temps below 65F prior to fishing for anadromous salmonids. Catch and release fishing doesn’t work very well when the water is approaching or over 65F.