Voluntary Fishing Regulations During a Drought

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RENO, NV - Low water levels means higher water temperatures, which could be deadly for the trout being re-released back into the Truckee River. Local fishermen are taking on a new effort to protect them.

"They bring us a lot of joy. The least we can do is show them some respect," said Arlo Townsend, a fly fishing guide at Arlo's Fly Fishing Services.

It's part of the angler's code of ethics and hen water levels are low, they have to band together to help protect the fish.

"If the water gets above 68 degree temperature, we need to stop thinking about fishing," Townsend adds.

That's because trout are most active when water temperatures are between 45 and 65 degrees; anything hotter will deplete the water of oxygen, making it dangerous for trout.

"We run the risk of pushing that trout to exhaustion to the point where he's not able to recuperate after we fight him at the end of the line and release him afterwards."

Townsend is proposing a hoot owl closure, meaning avoid fishing from noon to midnight when the water is hottest. The movement started in Montana, where all rivers closed between those hours do to the high temperatures.

"We just want to protect our fragile resource the trout are," he said. "They bring us a lot of joy and we want to treat them with respect and when we let them go back into the river, we want them to be in the best shape possible to return to their homes."

It's a voluntary action and it doesn't mean you have to cut fishing out entirely. Trout are cold water species but there are other fish that do just fine in warmer waters.

"There's plenty of carp fish around the pond and even in the lower river on the Truckee. There's lots of urban ponds that hold a lot of carp and bass and catfish for us."

Fly fishers carry an inexpensive thermometer with them every time they go out to the water. The best thing you can do is be aware of water temperatures at all times.