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#2253253
https://tpwd.texas.gov/newsmedia/releas ... =20180101a
Temporary Fishing Closure in Place on Texas Coast during Freeze

AUSTIN – The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has issued a temporary closure to saltwater fishing along parts of the Texas coast to protect resources during freezing weather conditions. The closure takes effect at 6 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 2 and extends through 10 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2018.

In addition to killing game fish in shallow bay waters, a hard freeze can also cause surviving fish to congregate in a few deeper areas where they become sluggish and prone to capture. Those are the areas the department has temporarily closed.

"The high mortality that a freeze can cause may deplete fish stocks for years," said Robin Riechers, director of TPWD’s Coastal Fisheries Division. "Protection of the surviving fish during the few days when they are especially vulnerable to capture would likely shorten the time period for overall recovery of coastal species, especially spotted sea trout."

Texas has about two million acres of bays and estuaries susceptible to freeze. There were three major freezes during the 1980s, including one in 1989 when the temperature at Brownsville dropped to 16 degrees and an estimated 11 million fish were killed in the freeze event.

Anglers and coastal residents can report any freeze related fish kills or large numbers of sluggish or cold-stunned fish by contacting TPWD’s Law Enforcement Communications office at (281) 842-8100 or (512) 389-4848.
#2253301
I think the closure is a good idea. Yes the impact is not great, but every little bit helps if there is any significant fish kill.

About the only people hurt by this would be guides with trips booked. They are likely to have the not-so-hardcore clients want to cancel the trip anyway because of the weather, but especially in light of this closure. Otherwise, the bite after an arctic front like this will be really slow and even their hardcore clients may want to cancel. Back in the day, times like these we would go to Moses or Offats and jig heavy lures on the bottom and catch good fish, but those two places would, I assume, be at the top of the list of areas they are shutting down.
#2253303
Crusader wrote:Meh... I don't see any significant benefit in doing this -- daily limit is already low and cold will keep most anglers away anyway.


Here's the logic as I see it. The fish are certainly stressed to the or almost to the breaking point by the cold water when the State announces these closures, rare that the closures are. That's not anything anyone that's serious is likely to debate. These fish, many that might be near death from physiological stress from the cold water, remember fish can't maintain their body temperatures like birds and mammals, will likely incur additional stress with people coming along in boats trying to scoop up stunned fish or catch them with rods and reels. They might actually bite a lure or bait in their stressed state and the additional stress of the fight and exposure to colder surface water and air temperatures will stress them past the breaking point.

Don't think people won't take advantage of fish bunched up in a hole during extreme cold events. They did in 1983 and again in 1989 freeze events and stacked stunned giant trout like cord wood in their boats. They will go into a hole and catch as many as they can keep legally or otherwise and then C&R dozens more just for the bragging rights. You might not do that and I wouldn't, but plenty have and would continue to do so if given the chance.

Close the vulnerable spots for a couple of days once every 5 or 10 years when these cold snaps come along. Potentially save hundreds if not thousands of stressed fish, trout mainly, to go on and breed abundantly later in the year to provide years of future enjoyment. I think it's a good bargain.
#2253327
karstopo wrote:Here's the logic as I see it. The fish are certainly stressed to the or almost to the breaking point by the cold water when the State announces these closures, rare that the closures are. That's not anything anyone that's serious is likely to debate. These fish, many that might be near death from physiological stress from the cold water, remember fish can't maintain their body temperatures like birds and mammals, will likely incur additional stress with people coming along in boats trying to scoop up stunned fish or catch them with rods and reels. They might actually bite a lure or bait in their stressed state and the additional stress of the fight and exposure to colder surface water and air temperatures will stress them past the breaking point.

I'd argue with this point of view -- to me it looks like a bunch of projections of how we perceive "cold stress" onto fish (who's biology is very different from ours).

Don't think people won't take advantage of fish bunched up in a hole during extreme cold events. They did in 1983 and again in 1989 freeze events and stacked stunned giant trout like cord wood in their boats. They will go into a hole and catch as many as they can keep legally or otherwise and then C&R dozens more just for the bragging rights.

Nowadays they still can do it and can stack "giant trout like cord wood in their boats". All five of them... :) My point was that benefit of this ban is likely insignificant.

You might not do that and I wouldn't, but plenty have and would continue to do so if given the chance.
Close the vulnerable spots for a couple of days once every 5 or 10 years when these cold snaps come along. Potentially save hundreds if not thousands of stressed fish, trout mainly, to go on and breed abundantly later in the year to provide years of future enjoyment. I think it's a good bargain.

There is no argument here -- any type of ban is good for our (quite depleted) fishery. If it was for me to decide -- I'd ban all fishing for about 5 years and even after that keep limits low until fish becomes a pest.
#2253329
http://www.chron.com/sports/outdoors/ar ... 092926.php

An older article about the freezes in the 1980s

https://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/map/i ... gion=Texas

It’s hard to know how this cold event will play out. I wish we had some sun today. That would have really helped to warm the shallow bays and that sun warmed water would have found its way into the deeper spot with the tide and helped the fish. Some of the stations have had water temperatures in the danger zone for a long duration. The fish have another long cold night ahead. Tomorrow’s forecast has sun and things should be warming up after that. I don’t think it will be anywhere as bad as the 1980s events where millions of game fish died.

The whole attitude towards the resource is way better than it was prior to the 1983 event.

The following information was recently compiled by Coastal Fisheries Science Director, Dr. Mark Fisher.


Lower lethal water temperatures for selected finfishes
Spotted seatrout - loss of equilibrium occurs at 6 °C; death occurs at 3 °C for juveniles and 2 °C for adults.
Red drum—death occurs at 4 °C.
Gray snapper—death occurs at 11-14 °C.
Common snook—death occurs at 9-14 °C for juveniles, 6-12 °C for adults.
White mullet—death occurs below 10 °C.
Striped mullet—death occurs at 2 °C.
Pinfish—death occurs at 3.5 °C.
Gulf menhaden—not well known, but death occurs around 5 °C.
Southern flounder—adult and subadult death occurs at 0 °C. Larval death occurs below 16 °C.
Lance Robinson
TPWD Coastal Fisheries
#2253330
From another site

Temporary closures of selected areas due to cold front
I just wanted to clarify some of the information contained in this thread. As has been mentioned, the temporary closures only apply to a few deeper-water areas in each bay system where fish are known to congregate during significant cold events along the Texas coast. And though we don’t expect there to be a significant fish kill associated with this particular front, these closures are designed to protect some of these fish which could shorten the time period for overall recovery of coastal species, especially spotted seatrout.

Regarding barge traffic on the ICW, TPWD does not have any authority over this activity; however, the barge industry has been very conscientious (and responsive during previous events) about potential impacts barge traffic might cause to fish and sea turtles during these significant cold fronts, especially in areas where there is limited deep water refugia. To this end, the Gulf Intracoastal Canal Association has asked all tow and barge operators to voluntarily restrict or suspend transits through the Land Cut for the next 24 hours. This will affect barge/tow traffic through the Laguna Madre reach from south of the JFK Bridge at Corpus Christi to Port Isabel. The time could be extended depending on weather conditions.

Please let me know if there are any other questions and I’ll certainly try to answer them.

Lance Robinson
TPWD Coastal Fisheries
#2253333
I had to rush down to Kemah to check on my boss's bay house pipes the morning of the '83 freeze. Once I got the water turned off and the mess cleaned up where the kitchen faucet had blown off the wall, I went down to the water's edge & became sick to my stomach. A solid strip of dead fish, about 30 yards deep from the shore, as far as I could see in either direction. That was a fish kill.
#2253354
karstopo wrote:Lower lethal water temperatures for selected finfishes
Spotted seatrout - loss of equilibrium occurs at 6 °C; death occurs at 3 °C for juveniles and 2 °C for adults.
Red drum—death occurs at 4 °C.
Southern flounder—adult and subadult death occurs at 0 °C. Larval death occurs below 16 °C.


So (assuming this data is correct -- I bet it changes depending on salinity and oxygen content) for trout danger zone starts at 43F. Having said that we should keep in mind that water is decent insulator -- on the bottom of 10' hole it will be considerably warmer. I guess when surface temp hits low temp biggest trout enemy is anything that forces water to mix -- tidal current, wind, barges in ICW, etc. This would explain why fish freeze kills usually happen when temps drop for long period of time.
#2253358
We are all on the same team here more or less. Whatever can be done to help out or that might help the fish when they are vulnerable I’m for. The barge shut down in the land cut probably means more than the fishing closures.

I just sort of hate the idea of folks going into the known holes during these freezes and catching dozens of fish even if they only keep their limit be it five or ten. I do know for a fact that this has happened in past events in my area. Bringing up fish from the relative warm water on the bottom to the probable lethal water temperatures of the surface can’t possibly help the fish. Many people I know might follow the limits, but they might catch 3 undersized Fish to every keeper or keep on fishing after boxing the limit to tell of the day they caught 40 or 60 or 100 trout. So they put way more fish than there limit at serious risk. Maybe these folks are a dying breed, but something tells me they still are out there in force based on the things I’ve seen and heard. I have called the game warden when I see folks obviously keeping multiples of undersized fish. It’s stealing as far as I can tell.
#2253376
I wouldn't worry too much about catch and release -- I've fished cold weather (just few days ago caught and released about 20 keepers) and never seen a single trout floating belly up. They dive right back to the bottom. You might argue that they may die and stay there, but I doubt it -- these holes are surrounded by shallow water and water moves through the area. Some of them would've been washed out and I would've seen it.

Everything needs to be taken in moderation... including moderation itself. There is such thing as being too careful. Again, just my opinion. :)
#2253383
Image
Same story for Offats. Water temperatures dipping below 40 and air temperature at 28. But if the State hadn’t closed it, there would be people out there right now or minutes from now killing every fish they brought up from the depths whether they kept it or not.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
#2253423
Ron Mc wrote:and obeying the law? moderately?

Hate to nitpick, but do you always drive under speed limit? The law is not a Ten Commandments with lightning as a punishment. While it should be generally obeyed -- it should not be accepted without questioning or you'll end up with empire instead of republic.

karstopo wrote:there would be people out there right now or minutes from now killing every fish they brought up from the depths whether they kept it or not

Not, not even remotely true.

Drifting Yak wrote:We all know deep in our hearts that the closings are the right thing to do.

All I see is emotions... And road to hell is paved with good intentions. Temperature graph is a good argument, but that is surface temp. As was discussed before you need few days of low temps to cool down deeper water.
#2253481
karstopo wrote:Just saw a report of a freeze kill from Wednesday afternoon at Pringle. Report said guide to say it was “real bad” and some of the trout topped 28”.

Sad news. Pringle with all its mud is a known haunt for big trout and there really isn't any water in there deep enough to give them refuge from the cold, nor is there much of a quick way out unless they are real close to a cut.
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