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Prized trout streams shrink as heat, drought grip US West

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Exposed rocks and aquatic plants are seen alongside the North Platte River at Treasure Island in southern Wyoming, on Tuesday,Aug. 24, 2021.The upper North Platte is one of several renowned trout streams affected by climate change, which has brought both abnormally dry, and sometimes unusually wet, conditions to the western U.S. (AP Photo/Mead Gruver)

SARATOGA, Wyo. (AP) — The North Platte River in southern Wyoming is flowing low, slow and warm — not great conditions for trout fishing.

After two dry summers in a row, low water and hot weather have spelled trouble for trout streams in the Rocky Mountain west.

Warm water, especially, can be hard on trout because it carries less oxygen. Trout that are caught in warm water and released tend to have a lower survival rate.

Yet extreme flooding also has been a problem on the North Platte and other Rockies rivers.

Retired fishing guide Tom Wiersema says he’s seen the extremes and thinks climate change is at work.

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