This can be a tough time of year for our local trout streams, particularly as our summers have gotten warmer.
Trout need cold, clean water, and it's tough to have both during dry, hot periods in the summer. They are resourceful fish that find cold spring holes and tributaries to survive hot spells, but that can make them more susceptible to predators and unsportsmanlike anglers.
While we had a wet spring and early summer, the last couple of weeks have been dry across much of the region. This is the time of year when I start thinking about getting back on the streams if they start to cool off, and recent stream levels were concerning.
For instance, the Poultney River on the state line was running at just over 10, yes 10, cfs the other day. That is a quarter of the median flow, and well below fishable levels. Things weren't much better on the Mettawee River.
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The downpours we had this week have helped the levels of streams in the southern part of our region like the Batten Kill, Owl Kill and Hoosic River, but other parts of the area missed out. So the fish in those streams can just hold on and hope for rain and cooler temperatures.
Really, at this point, as evidence piles up, its undeniable that our climate has changed. You can debate what the cause is, and whether it is human-caused or a natural cycle, but the facts are that we are seeing warmer temperatures and more extreme weather.
That is not good news for trout anglers. Truthfully, having already noticed a drop in the number of wild trout I am seeing in many streams, I think the impacts are already being felt.
-- Don Lehman