HOOK AND FUR
By Bob Brown
Our recent bout of hot weather affected all of us in some way or another. One of the effects was a downturn in fishing success and fishing in general.
During hot weather, fish appear to lose their appetites and will move into areas where water temperatures are cooler and oxygen levels are more to their liking. Warm water holds less oxygen fish need. In July and August, it’s not uncommon for water levels in rivers and streams to be low and clear, and because of those conditions, many anglers switch to early-morning and late-afternoon fishing, using smaller baits, lures and lighter gear.
Bob Jensen, featured writer for several North American outdoor tabloids, said in an article, “Fish in Rivers During Hot Weather”, the theory of using small lures and baits during really hot weather is that fish metabolism slows down with heat the same as it does with cold. When water temperatures climb to the upper 70s, fish are not nearly as active as they are in 50 to 60-degree water. Fish are cold-blooded creatures, meaning they adjust their activities according to body temperatures, which are tied to water temperatures.
Jensen also said rivers are productive for several reasons, such as fish in rivers are constantly dealing with current. Swimming against currents and exerting energy just to hold their position, they are exercising 24 hours a day and must eat frequently to maintain energy levels. Fish that are eating aggressively and frequently may be less cautious and apt to hit most baits presented to them.
Since river fish will frequently bite better in the summer than lake fish, they should be easier to catch?, but there are some things to keep in mind. Although river fish eat more often, they usually go for smaller meals; therefore, smaller baits will usually be better. Baits that resemble crawfish or minnows in color will be good in rivers, but if the fish are hungry almost any color will work.
River fish are aware meals come from upstream. Injured minnows, crawdads and bugs will float downstream, so hungry fish will usually face upstream, watching for their next meal. Because of this, it is important anglers cast bait upstream so it will wash downstream into the fish’s face. Floating bait around rocks and logs can be productive, but be prepared to lose gear. Fish will lurk near objects that break the current, and when a meal floats by, the fish will grab it and then dart back to its original position on the edge of the current.
Remember, fish don’t like bright sun light, so fish in shaded areas when possible. As always, there are no guarantees when it comes to fishing, but some fishing is better than no fishing.