I also heard of a pretty significant kill on the Piankatank.
The state of North Carolina has taken emergency action to close all Speckled Trout fishing due to cold-stun conditions.
The official notice reads,
North Carolina will close all coastal and inland waters to commercial and recreational spotted seatrout harvest at noon Wednesday and remain closed until June 15.
“N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries Director Louis Daniel issued a proclamation today closing all coastal waters after cold-stun events were confirmed on Friday and Saturday in several coastal rivers, bays and creeks. Cold- stun events were confirmed in the Pamlico, Alligator, Pungo, Scuppernong, Trent, Neuse and Cape Fear rivers; Chocowinity, Blounts and Chadwick bays; and Slades, Bath, Cahooque, Hancock and Spooners creeks.
Under N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission rules, the spotted seatrout season automatically closes in inland waters when it closes in adjacent coastal waters.
Cold stun is a naturally occurring event. When waters cool during the winter, spotted seatrout move to deeper, warmer waters in the estuaries and ocean. But if there is a large drop in water temperature over a short period of time, the fish may be stunned or die from it.
Studies have found that cold-stun events can have a significant impact on spotted seatrout populations.
Under the N.C. Spotted Seatrout Fishery Management Plan, if a significant cold-stun event occurs the Division of Marine Fisheries will close all spotted seatrout harvest. The intent of the closure is to allow the fish that survive the cold-stun event the maximum change to spawn in this spring. Peak spawning occurs in May.”
“Seafood dealers will have until Feb. 12 to dispose of unfrozen spotted seatrout taken prior to the closure.”
Good Information but Bad News
Wow! Very disappointing to hear of the massive fish kills of specks in NC leading to a closure of that fishery until June. Glad to hear that NC is taking action and closed the fishery until after the spawn. It had to be as cold or colder in VA, so we are probably going to see similar fish kills here.
Just got enthusiastic about speck fishing the last couple of years and hope that we can get through this cold weather without significant losses. In any event, it is time for VMRC to lower the daily bag limit. Maybe 4 per day per person year round.
Cold Water Speck Kills
I heard from a friend tonight that dead speckled trout were seen in the creek near his pier in Lancaster County, VA. Some specks were recovered and were supposed to be taken to VIMS. Don't know what VIMS could learn from them unless they could confirm that it was the cold water that killed them and not some other cause.
Doesn't sound good for the speck fishery this year.