Keep effects of warm temperatures in mind when fishing

Published 10:58 am Monday, June 6, 2011

Although the calendar doesn‘t agree, I think it’s safe to say summer is upon us.

The third week in June is a ways away, but the mercury is high enough for me to call it summer. The best I can tell, fish and wildlife do not go by calendars anyway.

That being said here’s what you can expect in the outdoors.

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Area lakes

The bass family of fish is through spawning and is either still guarding late hatches of fry, or they have moved out to deeper water to try and fatten up a little before the heat of summer zaps them.

Fish patterns as a whole seem to be about two weeks late this year because of the up and down temps of spring.

Lake Lure has been fishing well lately. The largemouth and white bass have bit well as of late, but the smallmouth are hiding somewhat.

I’m glad to report that I have seen good numbers of last year’s hatch, fish in the 4”-6” range the past two years, signs of good spawns.

The town of Lake Lure has taken several steps in the past five years to improve a declining fishery and it seems to be working. The lake now includes everything from fish habitats to shad stockings to spawning benches for smallmouth.

Area rivers

One of the best ways to catch fish in the summer is to float or wade a river.

Floating in the summer can be some work, especially when the water is low, but river fish, as a whole, respond better in the heat than lake fish. Lake fish are positioned by bait, thermoclines and oxygen content in the summer and, although river fish are too, the possible depth changes are not as drastic in a river.

Remember, no matter if you are fishing lakes or rivers, summer’s heat is very stressful on fish. Fish expend a large amount of energy when caught and a lower amount of oxygen and raised body temps (fish are cold blooded) make for a lower successful release rate.

One thing you can do to help the situation is to keep the fish in the water as much as possible. Take the hook out while leaving the fish in the water, not touching the fish and using a pair of pliers. If you have to take the fish out of the water, do so as quickly as possible. The bigger the fish, the more important it is.

The fish also have a coat of slime that protects them from algae and bacteria.

By handling a fish you remove this slime, and in the summer, algae and bacteria are much more prevalent and can start growing on the fish.

I see many fish in the summer floating with algae growing on them. These fish become turtle food, if you know what I mean.

Also, if you catch fish in deeper water, do not reel them in too fast. The water is much cooler just 20 feet down and bringing them up too fast stresses them. If really deep, say 40-feet-plus deep, reeling them in too fast can cause their air bladders to rapidly expand and blow out their mouth.

That thought makes you want to listen to your scuba trainer and not ascend too quickly, huh?

Rob McComas is a licensed North Carolina fishing guide on Lake Lure and Lake Jocassee in S.C. He has been a guide for 11 years and fishing for more than 30. McComas lives with his wife, Amanda, in Sunny View and runs Robs Guide Service. He can be reached at