Altitude is one of the first things considered before a day of fishing. High altitude lakes are the only ones that can withstand blistering heat, while low elevation lakes are a good option on cold days and early in the season when the weather is most unpredictable. A great example would be this time of year, early June when we begin to see some of our first real heat waves.
Heat waves are a double edged sword, they will kickstart some lakes that are high elevation while they can quickly spike the water temperature past its prime on low elevation fisheries. Once a lake gets over 65 degrees I choose to leave it alone and keep moving up in elevation. Sometimes a cold front will drop surface temperature and bring things back into shape for a period of time.
If you visit a lake that is 3,000 feet in elevation only to find out it is well past a good water temperature, you can most likely write off most lakes in a similar elevation. It is a good indication to head up in search of prime hatches.
There are lakes right now that are producing at a rapid pace and right in their prime water temps (more on that next time), while others are already getting too warm and the best part of the spring has come and gone for them.
Next time you’re heading out for a day trip consider what elevation you visited previously, how long it’s been since and what the weather has been like. You can chase the chironomid hatch up in elevation for another few weeks until things start to get a little too warm. Keep in mind every lake is different and some start to fish really well in temps that others don’t fish at all. Until next time happy fishing!