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Using Water Temperature to Locate Stillwater Trout


Water temperature is one of the methods for the stillwater fly fisher to eliminate non productive water.  No matter the species all fish have a preferred temperature range where they are most active.  For rainbow trout I use a scale of 55F to 65F.  Within this range the trout’s metabolism is at its peak and it should be feeding.  Keep in mind that as water temperature increases its ability to hold oxygen decreases.  As a result trout avoid high temperatures in excess of their comfort zone.  


One of the most valuable tools in my kit bag is a thermometer attached to a 25 foot cord.  Starting in the shallow food rich areas around 10 feet deep lower the thermometer into the water and note the surface temperature.  If it falls within the trout’s preferred range chances are trout will be in the vicinity.  Should the temperature exceed the range the shallow reaches will probably be avoided.  Move out to deeper water between 10 and 20 feet and lower the thermometer into the depths.  Allow it to adjust and then quickly raise it to determine the temperature.  Continue eliminating high temperature water to find trout. 


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