Rainbow trout

Rainbow trout become stressed when water temperatures rise above 68 degrees. The low water levels in Clear Creek through Buffalo combined with high daily temperatures are likely to cause some fish die off in the creek. 

Courtesy photo / Shutterstock

Recent hot weather and low water levels in Clear Creek have the potential to stress the rainbow and brown trout populations at lower elevations.

“It’s not uncommon to end up with some periodic fish kills,” said Paul Mavrakis, Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s regional fisheries supervisor. “It’s definitely going to be an issue this year. We have fairly low stream flows, and we just know it’s going to be warm.”

Mavrakis said that the concern is primarily for trout, which cannot tolerate warm water temperatures.

“Rainbows in particular have a lower tolerance for warmer water temperatures,” he said. “Once the water temperature gets to about 72 degrees, they stress out and die.”

Right now, stream flows are low in the creek, which means the water in the creek warms up more easily. Warmer water contains less oxygen than colder water, and as water temperatures rise and dissolved oxygen decreases, fish begin to experience stress.

Mavrakis said that anglers hoping to fish Clear Creek at lower elevations should only fish in early morning or late afternoon when the air temperature is cooler.

“If you’re going to release fish, play ’em fast, keep them in the water and let them go,” Mavrakis said. “They’re already pretty stressed this time of year.”

Fishing mountain streams is also an option because the water flows are faster and the water at higher elevations is cooler.

“This is just a lowland trout thing,” Mavrakis said.


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