The rule of thumb in fishing is: If you can't stand the heat, get out of the valley ... and head for the mountains.
As temperatures warm, so does the water, and fish don't care much for water that's too warm. As a result they go deep and, very often, out of the range of baits and lures. Lakes and rivers at higher elevations stay cooler, so fish tend to stay within range of a good cast.
So, how many fishermen are ignoring fuel prices and instead are heeding the advice and heading for the hills for cooler temperatures and better fishing?
It appeared while on a drive last weekend along the Mirror Lake Highway that a lot of anglers are going high. There were long lines of cars parked near roadside lakes and plenty of people casting.
And on a walk around Mirror Lake, it appeared fishing was good.
According to a report from AnglerSurvey.com, though, fishermen are paying closer attention to fuel prices these days.
In a June survey, 22 percent of the fishermen interviewed said higher gas prices were not going to stop them from making scheduled fishing journeys.
A year ago, asked the same question, 35 percent said rising fuel costs would not cause them to alter their fishing plans.
In talking with a few of those around the lake, an afternoon of fishing took precedence over the cost of a tank of fuel. Whether or not they caught fish was another matter. The overriding reason for being at the lake was simply the opportunity to be outdoors in beautiful, peaceful surroundings.
The same survey found 32 percent of those interviews were making adjustment in their fishing plans because of fuel costs. This compared to 22 percent of those asked the same question a year ago and said then that fuel costs were weighing heavily on fishing decisions.
Obviously, $4 vs. $2 a gallon would cause a person to think twice about a trip, not so much about whether or not to go, but more about how far to travel.
In the overall scheme of things, however, the added fuel cost isn't as bad as it might seem.
Traveling from Salt Lake City to Jordanelle, in a vehicle that gets around 20 miles per gallon, will cost around $10 more this year than last.
Using the same premise, a trip into the Uintas will cost around $20 more, and a trip to the dam at Flaming Gorge an extra $40, give or take a few dollars based on miles per gallon.
If fuel prices are an issue, there are options. The Division of Wildlife Resources in recent years has brought fishing to the fisherman in the form of inner-city ponds.
Within Utah there are 44 urban fishing waters and more scheduled to open within the next year. Each of those waters is getting a generous dose of fish on a regular schedule, which could include everything from trout to bluegill to catfish.
What surveys have been done on the urban waters show fishing pressure on a per-acre basis is higher than on any of the more distant waters.Which, of course, supports the idea that fishermen are looking for fishing spots closer to home.
E-mail: [email protected]