Heat and Drought Shrink Prized Western Trout Streams
In a stark example of how climate change can damage the outdoor recreation industry, heat and drought in the Rocky Mountain area have nearly dried up many prized trout streams. The Associated Press reported in a September 7, 2021 article that the Mountain West region has become hotter and drier and has experienced more frequent severe weather events. Blistering heat waves and extended drought have raised water temperatures and imperiled fish species in several states.
Fly fishing in the West is a big part of the United States’ $1 billion per year fly fishing industry. Water above 68 degrees can be rough on trout caught for sport. Low water warms up quickly in hot weather, and warm water carries less oxygen, stressing fish and making them less likely to survive catch-and-release fishing.