Fishing reports have been hard to come by since the off-again, on-again freezing weather began more than a week ago. While there is some cold weather in the near-term forecast, there is no freezing weather predicted for the Galveston area for the next 10 days.
Once we get past the first week of February, we normally are in the clear as far as any severe freezes. The thermometer has hit the freezing mark as late as March 21 in Galveston, but such conditions do not last long that late in the year. December and January are our worst months for fish-killing freezes and, apparently, one of our readers refreshed his memory as to how severe some of those freezes were.
Jud McCann, who is about three years my senior, called to talk about the severe freeze of 1962 when the Texas City Dike was frozen over and people were picking up stunned trout. He said he saw one person filling the back of a pickup with fish.
Interestingly, I recall the freeze he mentions; however, I thought it was in January 1963 when the Houston schools were closed and Metro bus service suspended. It was the coldest temperatures I had ever seen and, except for a trip to Calgary, Alberta, years later when I experienced minus-40 degree readings, it still is the coldest. I’m sure some of you will ask whether it was in centigrade or Fahrenheit. It does not matter because at minus-40 the two scales reach parity.
In Houston, we were worried more about our pipes than the fish in Galveston Bay. A lot has happened on the regulatory scene since then, and today it is illegal to take stunned fish by any means. During that era, Offatts Bayou produced a lot, and I mean lots, of trout during freezing weather. Today, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has the authority to close most of that body of water when freezing temperatures persist.
Spring cannot get here too quickly for me!