November 25th, 2002

Buy a Thermometer
By James Castwell

Aw, come on now, it is not silly! In fact, a thermometer can help you catch more fish, great big ones. Might be something for your Christmas stocking.

One of the first things you can do is test the stream temperature where you fish. A lot can be learned by doing this. If the water is too warm it may not be a good idea to fish. When it is in some ranges it stresses the fish a lot and even if they seem alright when you carefully release them, they can poop-out a little later in the day. I am sure you would not want to be responsible for any fish dying that way. You will need to do a bit of studying to find out what temperatures are unsafe for the fish in your region though.

At the last 'Fish-In' in New York we passed up many of the classic waters as they were over 70 degrees. We felt that was the limit for there. You can tell too, when some insects may hatch by the stream temps. Again, you will need to read more on this on your own.

And here is an interesting thing for you to do someday when around noon and the fish seem to be taking a siesta, sketch out a section of the stream you are on and take some temp readings in several places. Find the shady spots, the ripples and the center of the stream. Tie the thermometer to a stick and take the temp on the bottom of the stream too. You will learn more about where the fish may like to spend time.

If the stream edges are shallow and reading 68, but the holding riffles are at 65, where do you think the oxygen is? And, where should you cast your fly? The fish will seek the cooler water whenever other conditions allow. Deep holes are cooler on the bottom, so, go wet? Might be something to consider.

Those are just two of the things having and using a stream thermometer can do for you, but they are not the most important. You will learn more about your stream, not only where the temperature is different, but it will give you one more insight to everything that is involved. It may enhance your appreciation of your time on the water and add another factor of stewardship of your recreation. Buy a good one. The cost spread over the years you use one will be negligible and the rewards can last a lifetime. ~ James Castwell

Till next week, remember . . .

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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