The Fish KIll

The Fish KIll

Andy Dear | Thursday, 4 March 2021

As many of you read on a previous Front Page, the week before last, the state of Texas, among many others went through one of the worst cold weather events in recent decades. One of the unfortunate byproducts of this weather system was a fairly sizable fish kill along the entire length of the Texas Gulf Coast.

  This of course is not the first time we've experienced an event like this. Folks my age will remember the freeze of 1983 that had a profound negative effect on the Speckled Trout population. By far the worst however was the doubleheader freeze in both December and February in 1989 where there was a kill of monumental proportions. It was so bad in fact that for several years after that, catching a Trout over 24" was a rare event.

  In addition to weather-related kills, we also have the occasional infestation of a red tide algae bloom that causes large-scale kills. Those of you that live and/or fish in the great state of Florida are all too familiar with the damage these blooms can do.

  In order to protect the vulnerable fish that found deep enough water to survive, our Texas Parks and wildlife department implemented restrictions on fishing until it was safe  to do so. Additionally much of the barge traffic was (or at least is supposed to be) curtailed during events like this. Much of the vulnerable population seeks refuge in the deep Intercoastal canal, and the constant churning of the water from the barges turns a would be safehaven into a frigid death trap. The sad part is that the fish that didn't make it through the freeze actually don't start floating to the surface until several days after the devastating weather has passed. There were many of us who had hoped that the early lack of visual signs of a kill were a good indication of the reduced severity, but unfortunately were was bad.

  However, as I alluded to in a previous Front Page, the same mother nature that caused this, will be the same mother nature that repairs it not too far down the road. In the meantime, my hope is that the local angling population can come together to self-manage their catch and release habits to speed the process of recovery up.

Hope all of you are staying safe and healthy,