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By OldTownYakBoi
#2315387
I hope everyone made it through the winter blast unscathed. It was heartbreaking to hear the fish kill reports up and down the Texas Coast. I’ve never experienced anything like this and am kind of left wondering where we go from here.

The Galveston bay complex is quite deep compared to other bay systems, and although west bay is pretty shallow, there are tons of deep water holes and channels for the fish to escape. The question is, whether or not the fish actually made it out. Pretty much every other day since Tuesday I’ve gone to my launch areas and shorelines, fortunately I haven’t seen a single dead fish. Now I’ve heard the theory that it takes time for fish to float off the bottom, but still all these days later I haven’t seen any fish kill.

In fact, yesterday I launched in Offatts Bayou with the sun at its warmest temperature in a week. Upon arrival as I drug my kayak in I spotted hundreds and hundreds of mullets in a foot of water schooled up and sunning themselves, they weren’t stunned either and were swimming around. I did not see the game fish, but there may have been some there as well, I moved away quickly as to not disturb the poor cold fish. The air temperature was 65 degrees and I went on a search with my Vudu shad for anything that would bite. I fished for 2 hours and managed 2 flounder back to back that were sitting on a shell pile in 6-8 feet of water, one happened to be a keeper. I didn’t see any Trout or Redfish, but catching those few flounder combined with seeing that some mullet survived has given me some hope. The question becomes, and I’m almost afraid to ask at this point, but, what’s next?


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By shoffer
#2315412
Thanks, YB. I'd say we have to wait for TDPW to give us some data, and anecdotal reports like yours will give us some data points upon which to rely. I think our bay system is better equipped to handle what happened, but if that is the eventual conclusion, you know our bay system will become even more crowded than usual. One thing is for sure - the scavenger species down south are going to gorge for weeks - blue crabs should be HUGE.

I might therefore be a contrarian the next couple of years, and take my skiff, head south and spend some time learning new waters while there won't be people fishing it since they believe the fish are not there.
By OldTownYakBoi
#2315422
shoffer wrote:Thanks, YB. I'd say we have to wait for TDPW to give us some data, and anecdotal reports like yours will give us some data points upon which to rely. I think our bay system is better equipped to handle what happened, but if that is the eventual conclusion, you know our bay system will become even more crowded than usual. One thing is for sure - the scavenger species down south are going to gorge for weeks - blue crabs should be HUGE.

I might therefore be a contrarian the next couple of years, and take my skiff, head south and spend some time learning new waters while there won't be people fishing it since they believe the fish are not there.

I guess only time will tell, I’m fairly optimistic for Galveston Bay at this point. Heading south to learn new waters may not be a bad idea though


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By OldTownYakBoi
#2315538
To add to this, been out around 3-4 trips since this one (2-3 hour max trips) and it’s been dead. The last trip I took I saw a massive amount of bait but couldn’t find the gamefish. I have jumped around most of the South Shoreline without much luck. I did talk to a guy that was wading and he said his buddies tore the trout up in West Bay, but I didn’t ask where. On the bright side, I wore shorts to fish for the first time in months. If anyone is out there that can give us some more intel on the health of our fishery please chime in


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By shoffer
#2315555
I took my boat out yesterday (2/28/21) to survey West Bay. We launched at the 61st St. ramp about 10 AM, and got off the water about 3. The wind was out of the south between five and 10, calmer in the morning, and picked up as we went through the day. I only fished about a total of two hours, as we drove around a lot. We saw zero dead fish in the bay or in shorelines - it might be because we are too late, but I would assume we would see some carcasses. I did see some flipping mullet around Confederate and in Greens.

I even caught one keeper trout in Greens Lake but threw it back. The water visibility was about a foot in some places and was a little cloudy. Not as clear as it has been earlier this winter. The water temperatures were between 58 and 67°, warmer in Greens lake, and cooler in Galveston Harbor and Offats Bayou.
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By Ron Mc
#2315556
Shoffer, thanks for the report.
The shallow water fish kill was certainly tragic, but was also a natural phenomenon, and still hasn't become a priority for TPWD.
https://tpwd.texas.gov/newsmedia/releas ... =20210224b
Note this Thursday evening, there is a webinar with question/answers on proposed 2021-22 Saltwater Fishing Regulations - the current change list includes crab traps and red snapper as it overlaps Federal and State waters. But they may have a question or comment on the freeze-kill, and may be worth watching for a TPWD public comment.
To me, the internet reactions have been a bit maudlin, in a pandemic sort of way.
In our 3 days down the coast immediately after the freeze, we saw much of the worst of the kill, but also found strong redfish and trout everywhere we went.
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By karstopo
#2315558
Yes, I’d say the reactions to the kill might be running ahead of the actual fish kill, but who is to know exactly? Some of the photos of shorelines littered with dead fish, many trout, are pretty appalling, though. East Matagorda Bay seems to have been hit hard. I don’t know anything about places to the south. I haven’t seen much of anything to be truly alarmed about north of Sargent.

I think if someone was cruising around West Galveston bay this weekend and covered as much area as reported, there would be more evidence of a significant kill than actually seen. Evidently, similar cruises on East Matagorda Bay over the same time frame yielded plenty of evidence of a significant kill. Same time period, ostensibly the same methodology, very different results between the two water bodies. Photos of Shorelines litered with large numbers of dead and decomposing trout, sheepshead, and other finfish in one bay and nothing of the kind reported in the other bay.
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By Dandydon
#2315559
Many thanks to you fisherman who are surveying our baywaters to assess the freeze damage. It's been a mixed bag, with few dead fish found in our deeper waters north of Matagorda Bay.

But yesterday I watched a recent YouTube video from Thresher Fisherman down in Corpus Christi. He explored the shallow flats down south and saw many big Speckled Trout and a few Redfish floating or dead on the bottom. At one point he had his mini-boat piled up with Trout bodies.

So that's more anecdotal evidence of a bad fish kill down south. Let's hope it rebounds soon.

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By OldTownYakBoi
#2315560
I’ve been out on and around the water just about every day since the freeze and haven’t seen a single dead fish. I’ve been up and down the majority of the South Shoreline, concentrating my efforts from Sea Aisle all the way east to Offatts Bayou. I haven’t been out towards Christmas bay or the Pass yet, so not sure how it’s looking there. Image


I think it’s hard for us to gauge how significant the event was, partly due to the mania of the media and partly bc of the over saturation of information. The fact is until we get the Spring reports from TPWD we truly won’t understand the impact. I encourage all to keep others up to date with what they are seeing out on the water. For me, I’m noticing the bait activity has increased significantly, but the overall feel on the water is still one devoid of life. As Shoffer mentioned, the water temps in Offatts seemed pretty cool, while the flats have started to warm again. The tides on Friday were some of the lowest I’ve ever seen. Here’s a picture of the launch at Offatts, crazy low water.Image

I haven’t seen the fish moving back to their normal haunts yet, but I believe it’s only a matter of time. I’m very optimistic for our fishery on the upper coast. If our trout do end up taking a significant hit, well then I will simply be hitting the surf more this Spring and Summer to get my fix to catch some big girls.


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By Dandydon
#2315566
Yak Boi, good work on your recent survey trips. You have the East Galveston areas covered, so now get on over to San Luis Pass and let us know how it looks. Ha ha.

You may save some of us a depressing skunk outing...

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By OldTownYakBoi
#2315569
Dandydon wrote:Yak Boi, good work on your recent survey trips. You have the East Galveston areas covered, so now get on over to San Luis Pass and let us know how it looks. Ha ha.

You may save some of us a depressing skunk outing...

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Haha I will fill you in if I do make a trek out there but don’t hold your breath! Skunks have been a normal occurrence on my trips lately, but that warm weather is coming and sure to improve the fishing.


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By katt72
#2315591
OldTownYakBoi wrote:I’ve been out on and around the water just about every day since the freeze and haven’t seen a single dead fish. I’ve been up and down the majority of the South Shoreline, concentrating my efforts from Sea Aisle all the way east to Offatts Bayou. I haven’t been out towards Christmas bay or the Pass yet, so not sure how it’s looking there. Image


I think it’s hard for us to gauge how significant the event was, partly due to the mania of the media and partly bc of the over saturation of information. The fact is until we get the Spring reports from TPWD we truly won’t understand the impact. I encourage all to keep others up to date with what they are seeing out on the water. For me, I’m noticing the bait activity has increased significantly, but the overall feel on the water is still one devoid of life. As Shoffer mentioned, the water temps in Offatts seemed pretty cool, while the flats have started to warm again. The tides on Friday were some of the lowest I’ve ever seen. Here’s a picture of the launch at Offatts, crazy low water.Image

I haven’t seen the fish moving back to their normal haunts yet, but I believe it’s only a matter of time. I’m very optimistic for our fishery on the upper coast. If our trout do end up taking a significant hit, well then I will simply be hitting the surf more this Spring and Summer to get my fix to catch some big girls.


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Sunday i was able to take a trip with the wife and grandson. We started at BNC, where i saw plenty of baitfish/mullet activity. No catches there, for the say 2hrs there. Next stop was Morgan's Point, no bites/catches after about30-45min. I briefly spoke with another fisherman there, he reported no catches after 2hrs of fishing there. I proceeded to go south down 146, with the intent going to Galveston. Areas, where water could be seen from the road, showed signs of fisherman activity. Once in Galveston, I drove to SWP. We did not fish around there, but there were people fishing from the piers, on the side of the rd(wading). It as other locations, looked optimistic, no one was catching. The last location, we stopped was around 61st/45(Offatts bayou). This area was the only place to produce bites, and 1 catch(piggy perch) for the entire trip. It was refreshing, to get out on the water, after all this turmoil we've endured over the last 365 days. :horse:
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By katt72
#2315592
OldTownYakBoi wrote:I’ve been out on and around the water just about every day since the freeze and haven’t seen a single dead fish. I’ve been up and down the majority of the South Shoreline, concentrating my efforts from Sea Aisle all the way east to Offatts Bayou. I haven’t been out towards Christmas bay or the Pass yet, so not sure how it’s looking there. Image


I think it’s hard for us to gauge how significant the event was, partly due to the mania of the media and partly bc of the over saturation of information. The fact is until we get the Spring reports from TPWD we truly won’t understand the impact. I encourage all to keep others up to date with what they are seeing out on the water. For me, I’m noticing the bait activity has increased significantly, but the overall feel on the water is still one devoid of life. As Shoffer mentioned, the water temps in Offatts seemed pretty cool, while the flats have started to warm again. The tides on Friday were some of the lowest I’ve ever seen. Here’s a picture of the launch at Offatts, crazy low water.Image

I haven’t seen the fish moving back to their normal haunts yet, but I believe it’s only a matter of time. I’m very optimistic for our fishery on the upper coast. If our trout do end up taking a significant hit, well then I will simply be hitting the surf more this Spring and Summer to get my fix to catch some big girls.


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Sunday i was able to take a trip with the wife and grandson. We started at BNC, where i saw plenty of baitfish/mullet activity. No catches there, for the say 2hrs there. Next stop was Morgan's Point, no bites/catches after about30-45min. I briefly spoke with another fisherman there, he reported no catches after 2hrs of fishing there. I proceeded to go south down 146, with the intent going to Galveston. Areas, where water could be seen from the road, showed signs of fisherman activity. Once in Galveston, I drove to SWP. We did not fish around there, but there were people fishing from the piers, on the side of the rd(wading). It as other locations, looked optimistic, no one was catching. The last location, we stopped was around 61st/45(Offatts bayou). This area was the only place to produce bites, and 1 catch(piggy perch) for the entire trip. It was refreshing, to get out on the water, after all this turmoil we've endured over the last 365 days. As far reporting sites of fish kill in these areas, none! :horse:
By OldTownYakBoi
#2315595
katt72 wrote:
OldTownYakBoi wrote:I’ve been out on and around the water just about every day since the freeze and haven’t seen a single dead fish. I’ve been up and down the majority of the South Shoreline, concentrating my efforts from Sea Aisle all the way east to Offatts Bayou. I haven’t been out towards Christmas bay or the Pass yet, so not sure how it’s looking there. Image


I think it’s hard for us to gauge how significant the event was, partly due to the mania of the media and partly bc of the over saturation of information. The fact is until we get the Spring reports from TPWD we truly won’t understand the impact. I encourage all to keep others up to date with what they are seeing out on the water. For me, I’m noticing the bait activity has increased significantly, but the overall feel on the water is still one devoid of life. As Shoffer mentioned, the water temps in Offatts seemed pretty cool, while the flats have started to warm again. The tides on Friday were some of the lowest I’ve ever seen. Here’s a picture of the launch at Offatts, crazy low water.Image

I haven’t seen the fish moving back to their normal haunts yet, but I believe it’s only a matter of time. I’m very optimistic for our fishery on the upper coast. If our trout do end up taking a significant hit, well then I will simply be hitting the surf more this Spring and Summer to get my fix to catch some big girls.


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Sunday i was able to take a trip with the wife and grandson. We started at BNC, where i saw plenty of baitfish/mullet activity. No catches there, for the say 2hrs there. Next stop was Morgan's Point, no bites/catches after about30-45min. I briefly spoke with another fisherman there, he reported no catches after 2hrs of fishing there. I proceeded to go south down 146, with the intent going to Galveston. Areas, where water could be seen from the road, showed signs of fisherman activity. Once in Galveston, I drove to SWP. We did not fish around there, but there were people fishing from the piers, on the side of the rd(wading). It as other locations, looked optimistic, no one was catching. The last location, we stopped was around 61st/45(Offatts bayou). This area was the only place to produce bites, and 1 catch(piggy perch) for the entire trip. It was refreshing, to get out on the water, after all this turmoil we've endured over the last 365 days. As far reporting sites of fish kill in these areas, none! :horse:

I agree that fish or no fish, it’s just nice to be out on the water and out of the house. Thanks for the report.


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By Dandydon
#2315596
OldTownYakBoi wrote:
Dandydon wrote:Yak Boi, good work on your recent survey trips. You have the East Galveston areas covered, so now get on over to San Luis Pass and let us know how it looks. Ha ha.

You may save some of us a depressing skunk outing...

Sent from my SM-G973U1 using Tapatalk

Haha I will fill you in if I do make a trek out there but don’t hold your breath! Skunks have been a normal occurrence on my trips lately, but that warm weather is coming and sure to improve the fishing.


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Watch out for those damn Skunks! Image

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