While humans, birds, and most terrestrial animals have been sweltering during this week’s heat wave, at least one creature under the broiling heavens has been all too happy to keep chilling out.

Ben Anderson with the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife says thanks to this year’s unusually cool spring and protracted mountain snowpacks, fish in most of the region’s rivers, lakes, and other bodies of water have remained protected from the torrid temperatures.

“We’re certainly keeping an eye out for any potential impacts to fish populations,” explained Anderson. “But at this time, waters in the Columbia River and most of its tributaries are still pretty cool and are not particularly stressing salmon. We’re also seeing pretty good river flows and those are usually pretty good signs for survival of fish, even in heat waves like this.”

When water temperatures become elevated enough, particularly during lengthy spells of extreme heat, it can actually kill fish, as well as cause them to migrate en masse to cooler waters.

Anderson says WDFW biologists are staying vigilant to any potential changes in fish health and behavior due to the hot weather, and adds the public can help them out by doing the same.

“We’re cautiously optimistic that we won’t see widespread impacts but we’re definitely monitoring the situation. And we do have an online reporting tool that we ask people to use to let us know if they spot anything unusual (like) dead fish on the side of a river or lake or anything like that – because we do want to know about it.”

Recreationists can make reports about fish and other wildlife to the WDFW by clicking here.

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