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Outdoors: Be responsible when fishing in the heat

With July 4 being a Fish for Free Day in Pennsylvania, when a fishing license is not needed, those fishing trout streams need to take precautions when fishing for them during summer heat conditions.

According to the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission, trout thrive in cool (below 68 degrees), clean, well-oxygenated water. They go on to explain that during summer months, when water levels and flows decrease due to lack of rainfall, water temperatures rise and dissolved oxygen decreases, which in turn causes additional stress on trout.

As such, anglers are reminded to consider these conditions and take some personal responsibility when fishing or trout during these periods of stress. The PFBC recommends the following practices.

* Fish early in the morning when water temperatures are cooler.

* Land a hooked fish quickly - do not “play” the fish.

* After landing a fish, release it as quickly as possible without removing it from the water.

* Avoid fishing when water temperatures are above 67 degrees.

One area stream that maintains a decent temperature year-round is the Little Lehigh. And despite not being stocked since the last in-season stocking, there are still some trout remaining and anglers who fish in cool morning hours often fish the deep holes and catch a trout or two. Fly fishermen also work the riffles, where water is more oxygenated, with flys that match the hatch. The upper Jordan Creek is productive especially near the game lands. There are also native trout in Cedar Creek in the Rose Garden stretch where one fly angler customarily fishes it but releases them.

If going to the South Jersey shore for the July 4 holiday, the best bet says On the Water Magazine is to target some kingfish off the beaches with small pieces of worms tipped on rigs. The Delaware Bay and Cape May beaches are probably the best spots to look for these fish. But it’s recommended you bring a few different soft plastics like Fin-S Fish or Zoom Flukes for potential weakfish.

Anglers looking for sheepshead should grab some crabs or sand fleas and hit the backwater bridges. Fluke fishing on the other hand seems to be slower everywhere last week.

If you have a hankering for Old Bay steamed crabs, pick up some bunker from a local tackle shop and hit the bays or tidal creeks for Jersey blue claws. Crabbing has been on fire!

Opting to fish North Jersey, Kyle Tanger at Fishermen’s Supply in Point Pleasant Beach, said fluking in the Manasquan River has been really good especially farther back with fish up to 22 inches being caught.

Cold water has hurt the surf fishing somewhat, except for those targeting sharks as that bite is pretty good. One South Whitehall restaurant used to have shark bites on the menu and they are delightful.

There’s also good fluking reports from the Sea Girt Reef, along with some bonito being caught offshore on jigs. The offshore tuna bite has been spotty because of the weather. Tanger added that there are loads of sand eels at Little Italy where anglers have been sight fishing for cobia.

Contributed photo The temperatures shown in this pictorial are recommended for thoughtful trout fishing during hot summer weather.