How Fish Are Affected by Water Temperature

August 21, 2018

On a hot summer afternoon, a dip in a cool pool might feel wonderful. On a cold winter morning, a hot shower might be preferable. In either situation, your body continues to regulate its temperature at roughly 98.6 degrees. The same is not true for fish. As cold­blooded creatures, they take on the temperature of their surroundings. This is an important concept to keep in mind if you’re considering fly fishing in Fraser, CO.

Because their bodies adjust to the temperature of the water, fish are greatly affected by fluctuations in this temperature. In fact, the water temperature can alter every aspect of their survival:

  • Breathing
    Fish breathe by passing water over their gills. The water flows into the fish’s mouth and is forced out through its gills. Along this pathway, dissolved oxygen travels to the fish’s blood cells. However, as water temperature rises, the oxygen in the water is decreased. This makes warmer water less habitable for fish. If the temperature reaches critical levels, the fish can no longer breathe.
  • Reproduction
    To reproduce, each species of fish has specific requirements for water temperature. If these temperatures are not achieved, the fish will not reproduce. Coldwater fish often breed at low temperatures. Salmon, grayling and trout breed at a few degrees above freezing. On the other hand, warm­water fish require much higher temperatures. Due to these preferences, a body of water that experiences a drastic temperature change inconsistent with its history can cause fish to either leave the area or reduce in number due to lack of reproduction.
  • Feeding
    When a fish is in water that offers an optimal temperature for its body, it is most likely to feed. The fish’s metabolism, oxygen demand and activity will be functioning at healthy levels, which will encourage feeding. Since various fish prefer different temperatures, it is important for fishing tours in Fraser, CO to schedule outings at appropriate times and locations for the best results. Fishermen who wish to attempt fly fishing in Fraser, CO on their own should familiarize themselves with the desired temperatures of the fish they hope to catch and use this information to plan their days accordingly.
  • Mortality
    While some fish prefer warmer temperatures, water that is too warm can be lethal to any fish. Higher temperatures increase the demand for oxygen and decrease its supply. As temperatures rise, toxicity of the water may also increase, as toxic substances become more soluble. Warmer water is also more likely to grow fungus, which can be detrimental to fish life.

Would you like to learn more about fly fishing in Fraser, CO and how water temperature affects this sport and its participants? For detailed information on the best times and temperatures for fishing and fish survival, contact the experts at Winter Park Flyfisher. Our experienced guides can answer all your questions and provide the fishing experience of a lifetime. Stop in today or give us a call to schedule your next fishing tour in Fraser, CO!

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