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I expect this to be a sad news post. But the information would be useful.

Please report your March 1 to date speckled trout catches to date this year. How many times you went out and tried and how many fish that you caught. You do not need to say if you kept them or not. Heck I do not even care if you got them in the boat just so long as you saw the fish and could identify it as a speckled trout. Comments on what you did with similar hours on the water targeting specks in years gone by would also be useful. Area of interest all VA waters. You can choose to give general locations, etc. but that is not necessary or expected.
 

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Bob,
Met you at the special meeting for Speckles Wednesday night. I have fished everyday since Thursday and have not had any quiet time to write up the Speckle notes/info I promised you. I do not plan to fish tomorrow so should be able to get it done.

I have scrubbed a month or two of notes from last year and compare it to this year. Just to give you a quick idea of how poor it has been - last year, in March alone, my boat had 170 Speckled Trout with 9 citations in 13 trips. This year, I have not had 1 Speckled Trout since before the cold stun in early/mid February...not 1 in 17 trips that targeted Speckled Trout.

More to follow.

Best. jb
 

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Knowing how cold the winter was, I haven't targeted them much. Shouldn't be a surprise to see low numbers since this is what normally happens after a very cold winter. Same goes for the pups. On the other hand, schoolie stripers are pretty thick in the shallows so I would consider that a good sign. We have been spoiled with great speck fishing last 3 years due to the mild winters so naturally people think that is the norm and are disappointed when not the case. The only thing that will remain consistent is that there will always be change. Give it some time they will be back.
 

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I caught a ~17" speckled trout on Saturday while flounder fishing. Cut squid along the CBBT. Unfortunately I tried to lift it in the boat instead of netting it and it ended up being C&R. Surprised me as I thought it was a croaker when I was reeling it in. That is the only spec that I have caught since 3/1/15. Fished a couple times in the rivers in the spring with no luck on specs or puppy drum.
 

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In reading some of the summaries on the situation for the E. River it almost seems some were surprised by what happened. I hope people understand that with the winding down of the Dominion plant and the elimination of the warm water discharge, that what happened was predictable, especially with the extreme cold snap we encountered. There is a new norm now for that river and any stock assessment can not be compared to the warm water years. We need to establish a new baseline based on the new environmental condition which could take 3-5 years to figure out. Is it a shame that fishery will never be the same? Definitely. Will people have to go fish outside of the barrel now to find their trophy speck? Definitely. Whaler, was it a grey or speck? Reason I ask is I have been seeing more greys on some of the AR's and deeper structure last couple of years while flounder fishing. Would love to see them make a come back.
 

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In reading some of the summaries on the situation for the E. River it almost seems some were surprised by what happened. I hope people understand that with the winding down of the Dominion plant and the elimination of the warm water discharge, that what happened was predictable, especially with the extreme cold snap we encountered. There is a new norm now for that river and any stock assessment can not be compared to the warm water years. We need to establish a new baseline based on the new environmental condition which could take 3-5 years to figure out. Is it a shame that fishery will never be the same? Definitely. Will people have to go fish outside of the barrel now to find their trophy speck? Definitely. Whaler, was it a grey or speck? Reason I ask is I have been seeing more greys on some of the AR's and deeper structure last couple of years while flounder fishing. Would love to see them make a come back.
I'm probably 90% sure it was a spec but I didn't get a close enough look to be definite as the entire process happened pretty quickly. Still kicking myself for not getting off my lazy ass and getting the net which was in the bow. I haven't caught a grey over 14" in VA yet. We used to catch nice 5 lb+ weakies (as we called them NJ) all the time in the Delaware Bay in the 90s. Would love to have that happen down here in VA. Did catch a bunch of greys at the HRBT in the fall, probably 30+ while fishing for stripers along the lights at night. All 12-14". Released them all. I agree with you about the ER spec fishery. It should be interesting to see how this plays out. I don't think the fishery is doomed but it won't be like the last few years with all the citations. Hopefully we don't have another cold winter like last year.
 

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A quick look at the vswft citation list will also provide a clear picture of the impact of the cold stun/kill on the speckled trout population. Not a single trout citation has been reported since 20 february…not one. Taken directly from the vswft citation list, this is how citations this year compare to citations reported during the same period 01 january through 08 july of previous years:

Year citations

2015 53

2014 592

2013 460

2012 369

2011 446

2010 364


also realize, that of the 53 reported this year, 50 were from the elizabeth river, 3 from rudee inlet. None from elsewhere in virgina.
 

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A quick look at the vswft citation list will also provide a clear picture of the impact of the cold stun/kill on the speckled trout population. Not a single trout citation has been reported since 20 february…not one. Taken directly from the vswft citation list, this is how citations this year compare to citations reported during the same period 01 january through 08 july of previous years:

Year citations

2015 53

2014 592

2013 460

2012 369

2011 446

2010 364

also realize, that of the 53 reported this year, 50 were from the elizabeth river, 3 from rudee inlet. None from elsewhere in virgina.
And not a single one since the beginning of February. Not one.
 

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Night time is the right time. lots of smaller fish 10-16 inches in back river and the poquoson river. Caught 27 last thursday evening.
That is very good news. Specs are a very fast maturing fish and prodigious spawners. I do wonder however what will happen to the breeding stock without ER as a wintering site.
 

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That is very good news. Specs are a very fast maturing fish and prodigious spawners. I do wonder however what will happen to the breeding stock without ER as a wintering site.
hopefully they will learn to move out before it gets cold. the fish that commonly migrated there are now dead. Im thinking the winter migration pattern will different.
 

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I was told by a friend that this past weekend (9-7-15) he caught and released two 12" spec and one small striper in a feeder canal near Portsmouth city park.

Last year he caught some 24" spec in the same place but he said this is the first fish of any kind he caught in months. He fishes from a dock.

This is great that they are coming back, if you decide to go looking for them and are luckily enough to hook one, please take a picture and send them back to their mamma.
 

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Fished for them in York River Friday. Caught 2 small (8 to 10 inch) specs which was encouraging if we can catch a break the next couple of winters.
 

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Recently fished Crisfield area and had to switch from the mirrodine to a soft plastic because I was catching so many juvi trout. All were 10-12" and were crushing the trout colored c-eye mirrodine. Good news for the future, as long as the cold weather stays away.
 

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Two by catch trout this year - one in mid July at 17 " and one August 29th at 8 " around Gwynn's Island area.
 
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