May 30, 2015: Yes, I know. It's been a looooooong time since I've posted anything. But, right now I'm pissed off and need to vent. Maybe not the best time to write...
The unseasonably hot weather we've had, combined with low water levels, has significantly impacted the Delaware river system and the trout fishing season thus far. Seems we barely had a taste of spring before rushing headlong into summer.
I came up to the shack today, not expecting to fish my home water. I had checked the USGS site before I left and water temps were already 71 degrees near me. Around 5pm, I noticed 2 anglers fishing out front. I recognized one of them—Ralph from New Jersey. He's been fishing the Delaware for over 20 years and his favorite spot seems to be right in front of the shack.
I checked the USGS web site again. At 5:30pm the water temperature upriver of me was just over 74 degrees. So, I decided to walk down to the river to pay Ralph and his buddy a visit.
They were in the middle of the river and as I got close, Ralph looked over his shoulder, saw me, and waved. I yelled across that the river was too warm to fish responsibly and that it probably wouldn't drop below 70 degrees (if at all) till early in the morning.
He asked nonchalantly, "What temperature is it?" I told him the gauge upriver read 74 degrees. It had to be at least 75 where he stood. He just shrugged. I couldn't hear what he said to his buddy but they stayed put and continued to fish. Maybe if I was 6' 4", built like a linebacker, and carrying my shotgun, they would have taken me more seriously. Anyway, there was really nothing else I could do...
I don't get it. What's the point of practicing catch and release when the trout you catch in 75 degree water has a significantly greater chance of dying after its release? It makes me angry! As they continued to fish and I started writing this post, I wished for a violent rain storm with thunder and lightening. Retribution from the trout gods! Well, I got part of my wish. It began to seriously downpour. Being clueless and irresponsible fly fishermen, I hoped they had forgotten to pack their rain gear ;).
I don't expect every fly fisherman to carry a thermometer but in this age of cellphones and connectivity, it takes a split second to check the water temperature on the website of the closest USGS gauge. It's something every conscionable (heck, just plain smart) fly fisherman should do.
Please, fish responsibly! Check the water temps before you fish. If it's 70+, fish elsewhere.