All eyes are on the weather as anglers watch helplessly to see the effects of this morning’s freeze.
There is little doubt that there will be fish lost to the bitter cold conditions, just hopefully a very limited number.
Monday it was about as cold as it gets in Galveston, as far as wind chill goes. Early in the day the North Jetty weather buoy reported winds gusting to 25 knots and a chill factor of 15 degrees.
Eagle Point was showing water temperatures in the upper 40-degree range and, with the colder temperatures called for this morning, readings are likely to fall into the low to mid 40s. That is the range where trout are affected.
Hopefully, a quick warming trend later this week will help avoid a major problem.
Another positive sign is the marine forecast calls for a wind direction change this afternoon, when moderate to strong southeast winds take over, and the good news here is warmer Gulf water will be pushed into the bays.
Several bait camps were closed Monday; however, there were a surprising number open for business.
Normally, it takes several days to evaluate the mortality rate from a freeze as the surveys are dependent upon finding floating fish.
At this point we need to address stunned and floating fish. Texas regulations provide that game fish may be taken only by pole and line, which includes rod and reel. Gaffing, fowl hooking (defined as hooked anywhere other than the fish’s mouth) and nets are prohibited. Any stunned or floating trout or reds must not be taken.
This weekend, conditions should be such that fishermen can comfortably return to the water. It will be difficult to say where the fish will be.
Assuming we avoid a significant fish kill, trout likely will be returning to the shallower waters in search of food, and most likely during the afternoons.
For now, about all we can do is to sit by the fire and wait for warmer weather.