Can’t Stand the Heat? Neither Can Trout

George Abernathy

I have fished a variety of trout fisheries in Arizona off and on since 1966, and this summer has been one of the most challenging summers that I can remember due to the high temperatures we have experienced. According to Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD), record-setting heat has raised water temperatures in many trout lakes and streams.

Trout thrive in cool (below 68 degrees), clean, well-oxygenated water. During the summer months when water levels and flows decrease due to lack of rainfall, water temperatures rise and dissolved oxygen decreases, which, in turn, causes additional stress on trout.

Sun Lakes Fly Fishing Club (SLFFC) members believe in a “catch and release” philosophy and consider these conditions and take some personal responsibility when fishing for trout during these periods of stress. Fish early in the morning when water temperatures are cooler. Land a hooked fish quickly—do not “play” the fish. After landing a fish, release it as quickly as possible without removing it from the water. Try to avoid fishing when water temperatures are above 68 degrees. This is especially important, because larger fish are generally more sensitive to increased water temperatures than smaller fish. The proper handling and care of trout can greatly reduce their stress and the potential for post-release mortality. Check with the appropriate AZGFD regional office for the latest fishing conditions before heading out.

The Sun Lakes Fly Fishing Club is open to anyone interested in fly fishing different fisheries, primarily throughout Arizona. The club’s philosophy is to bring people together who want to fly fish—no red tape, no politics, “catch and release,” just wet your lines and go hunting. Whether you are an experienced caster or new to fly fishing, you’re welcomed to our club. Throughout the year, club members get together and go on one- to multiple-day fishing trips to one of Arizona’s diverse fisheries. Depending on what you are looking to fish for, Arizona fisheries offer everything from a variety of trout and bass, to sunfish, perch, walleye, and pike. If you enjoy fly fishing and have a desire to meet up with others who enjoy the same, then our club is what you are looking for.

In addition to keeping our lines wet, the SLFFC supports the Arizona Veterans Fly Fishing (, which is a not-for-profit organization that is designed to help facilitate the physical and emotional well-being of disabled veterans through fly fishing and related activities. For the past nine years, our club has sponsored numerous events and raised thousands of dollars for them. If you have fly fishing equipment that is gathering dust in your garage and would like to donate it to help, please contact me at [email protected] or 480-521-1060. You can also learn more about our club by visiting or by contacting Randy Smith at [email protected].

“Men and fish are alike. They both get into trouble when they open their mouths.” –Author unknown