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How Climate Change Will Affect Fishing

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Climate change.

Those two words will spark some very heated debates these days. If you understand climate change to be true, then there are some very far-reaching implications on what must be done to curb the effects of it. Our two major political parties are at odds on how to deal with the issue. This isn’t a political forum, though. You’re here to read about fishing. Warmer water this summer from El Niño is going to change my fishing dramatically. While it will be fun, I’m a little worried about the aftereffects next year. It would be devastating to think what it will be like if this is the new normal.

Writer Todd Tanner of Hatch Magazine asks himself about this new normal, and explores how will it impact anglers.

fly-fishing-brown-trout_GnG“Luckily, though, there are still a few guys around who will look you straight in the eye and say, eloquently and to the point, ‘It’s been too goddamned hot for too long and the river has gone off.’” — John Gierach, Sex, Death, and Fly-Fishing

I cut my fly fishing teeth on John Gierach, and when he first published those words back in 1990, it all seemed innocent enough. Sure, ’88 was a hot son-of-a-gun, and the legendary waters around Yellowstone were beaten up by the heat in ways that nobody back then ever anticipated. Still, it seemed like an anomaly. Weather does crazy stuff. Some years are wet, others are dry; some are hot, some are cold, and some, on those occasions when the fishing gods happen to smile down from on high, are classic ‘Goldilocks’ just right. That’s how it always worked, and nobody I knew back in the early ‘90s ever considered that things might end up differently.

Fast forward to 2014, though, and any mention of extreme weather starts to sound ominous.

“Fluctuations in the weather used to be just that, but now, with everyone looking over their shoulders at global climate change, there’s the fear that any extreme could become the new normal. And when you guide fishermen for a living, the thought of your rivers drying up is the stuff of nightmares.”

Photos: Hatchfly Magazine (top); Gink and Gasoline (above)

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