A guest from the Beardsley House on the river called me the other day~ he had a fish question.
“I was casting a spoon and a decent trout came out to inspect it but turned away. Was I reeling too fast or too slow?” he inquired.
Difficult to have a definitive answer, but I believe it would be temperature related. It has been one of the most pleasant summers I can recall, especially after the cold wet spring that didn’t seem to end. August has not been a record breaking heat spell, but steady daytime temperatures coupled with higher lake levels and relatively little precipitation to cool the rivers make the lower Boyne River near bathwater climate.
Species of trout, especially brook trout will seek pockets of cold water usually fed by springs for thermal refuge. Browns and Rainbow Trout will migrate upstream to find riffle zones that have higher dissolved oxygen levels to help them get through the heat of summer. This is a great time to take the 70 Degree Pledge.
As an Angler- I explained to the house guest that he should probably leave the trout alone, or his catch could prove fatal for the fish. When water temperature nears the 70 degree range, a fish will exert too much energy fighting and ATP will build up in their muscles, even if released, the fish will most likely not survive. We would rather leave these fish and type of water alone. My best guide advice is to seek warm water species like bass and bluegill or go find a thin blue line on a map. Some of my best and most enjoyable fishing is at the end of the year on this type of small stream, be it upper Jordan or Manistee River near Deward. These areas are riddled with feeder creeks that rarely get above 62 degrees and have plenty of trout will to dance with a 3 weight and Chernobyl Ant or Hippie Stomper.