Stream Temperatures


West fork sports club

Avalanche, Wisconsin

The West Fork – like other larger trout streams in the area – can get warm, particularly during stretches of hot, dry days and warm evenings. While this typically only affects the West Fork and other large streams – lower Coon Creek, streams below dams like the North Fork of the Bad Axe, the Kickapoo River, and the downstream ends of other large streams – we suggest you keep an eye on water temperatures, not only for the fish but to improve your odds of 


Why it Matters

Trout only live in the cleanest and coldest streams and have very high dissolved oxygen requirements. Warm water holds less oxygen and catching fish in warm water increases the likelihood that released fish do not survive – even if they appear to swim away “fine”.  Catch and release mortality can lead to a decrease in trout, particularly larger trout that have the highest oxygen requirements.

We suggest carrying and using a thermometer during warm weather to reduce the stress on fish and to help you find cold water where trout are more likely to be active, providing you with better angling opportunities.

Wisconsin DNR’s best management practices for responsible release fishing for trout can be summarized by:

  1. Reducing reel-time with fish
  2. Using a rubber net.
  3. Wetting your hands.
  4. Minimizing handling time and keeping unhooking tools readily available.
  5. Cutting the line close to the hook if the hook is too deep.
  6. Supporting fish with both hands.
  7. Recovering the fish in the water facing the current or move fish from side to side.

Keep fish wet . org

For more information about the organization, click this panel to link to their website.

Responsible Catch and Release

This image links to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources page on catch and release fishing.