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Is there any publication that would show what the water temp would need to be in order to get the fish active....

or better yet is there an optimum temp range that fish seem to be more active or responsive to taking a well presented fly.

specifically geared toward salmon and steelehead.

one last question -- how many fishermen pay attention to temperature when fishing... I'll be honest that I don't carry a thermometer but do know that as the water warms the fishing can get better.


Thanks...

Hansen
 

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Water Temperature

Hansen, If you can get your hands on a copy of Bill McMillan's book "Dry Line Steelhead" he has some good info on water temps in relation to fishing for steelhead. I have a thermometer but I but I use it very little. I've never heard of anyone going to the river, taking some readings and then saying X$&*%! the water temp is not ideal for optimal fishing so I'll just go home, at least I have never done this. I'm not saying this has never happened but in my opinion it is not the norm. Take care, MJC
 

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I have been without a thermometer for over a year now but when I can keep one in my vest, I do take readings daily and eneter into my journal. The old rule of thumb for a fish cuoming up is 55 degrees. I think this probably applies more to US fish then up north as I hear that they continue to rise into the high 30s. For me, I usually switch over when it gets in the low 50s.

On the other end of the spectrum, I think they can get sluggish when the temp gets too high. I know there is danger tot eh fish once you get into the mid to high sixties. In my experience, they are either less willing to rise at these temps or maybe just holding in deep pools where the fly is tough to present.

Great question, anxious to see how others respond.
 

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I seldom fish for winter fish, I only fish a few rivers, and I don't fish as much as most here, so YMMV, but...

I have taken steelhead on waking dries in western Oregon at temps down to 43 deg F, and on a floating line with unweighted flies down to 41 deg F. My buddy hooked a fish on the Grande Ronde on a waker when the water temp was 39.

Yes, I always carry a thermometer, and I will use it if I feel the temps are marginal for fishing on top, just to check, but as time passes, I fish on top more and more, and when not on top, I'm still fishing a floater until the temps drop below, typically, about 42 deg F.

I also have McMillan's book. I recall he says, and I believe, that the willingness of steelhead to rise can vary with climate. Fish from east of the Cascades, or from more northern climes, are used to more extreme temps, and will come up at colder temps.

If I recall correctly, McMillan shows, for his old home river, that steelhead were reasonably responsive to surface and near-surface approaches at 44 deg F, and were increasingly active up to 58 to 60 deg F. On the Deschutes (east of the Cascades), I would certainly extend the activity range up to at least 65 deg F, and probably go down a few degrees on the low side, also.

--Bill
 
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