In summer's heat, timing is everything

Submitted by Paula Piatt on August 11, 2013
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Categories: Schroon Lake, Fishing, Adirondacks

Concerned that your summer “to do” list is going to interfere with your time on the water?

Not to worry.

These hot August days were made for “getting all your work done during the day” and “fishin’ early and late.”

If you’re looking for a quiet paddle on a pond or lake at a relaxing pace, or a quick and productive fishing outing on your boat, stick to sunrise and sunset.

Once the kids roll out of bed and grab some breakfast, chances are they’re heading down to the lake, especially with the daytime temps we’ve been experiencing. Mom and Dad will outfit the boat for a day, probably tow behind an inner tube or two for some fun and there go the fish, headed down to the depths.

Recreational boat traffic on some of the region’s larger lakes can be pretty significant during the dog days of August, and it can make for a tough time for an angler, particularly if you’re trolling.

You may find a quiet bay or backwater if the lake is big enough, but you’ll miss out on the solitude that many look for.

As the temperatures soar on either side of the noon hour, it’s best to leave the fish alone, anyway, especially if you’re plying the area’s trout streams. Water temperatures are extremely important to the trout, from regulating their body temperature to holding enough oxygen and when the stream thermometer inches it’s way toward 68 degrees or so, neither are working very well, and it’s time to get that yard work done and come back later.

Sure, you can still catch fish, although they might be a bit more sluggish in the warmer water. But if you’re a proponent of catch-and-release, the warmer water makes the “release” end of the statement a dicey proposition.  You’re not the only one stressed by an afternoon in the 90s; but you have options. The fish? They’ve got no place to go and no choice but to live with that 100 percent humidity. The energy they’ll use to get to your fly and the fight after they’ve taken it won’t leave them much to go on once you’ve let them go.

If you’re headed to the stream, however, to catch a few for the dinner plate, don’t worry about it, but remember, you’re going to have to get that fly right in front of their nose; they aren’t moving very far during the dog days.

So that leaves a fish-early-or-fish late scenario for a lot of anglers.

I’ll opt for fish early. It’s going to be cooler at sunrise and the overnights (hopefully, they’ve been clear and cool) have dropped the water temperature to acceptable levels. If we’re really lucky, we may have even gotten some rain overnight. And, honestly? There’s nothing more I hate than getting on the stream and slowly losing sunlight. I’ve got a hard enough time tying knots and these small flies. It gets exponentially frustrating the darker it gets. At least if I hit the stream in the dark, I know it’s only going to get better.

And later, when it gets really hot – too hot for yard work – there’s always that inner tube.

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