Unless extended, the closures of parts of the Galveston Bay Complex will end at midnight Tuesday. Still, anglers cannot pick up stunned or floating fish.
In their announcement of the closures, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department issued this statement:
“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 2 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. The last time there was a closure due to freezing temperatures was in January 2018. That freeze did not kill significant numbers of fish.
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.
In addition to the numbers above please call us at 409-683- 5273 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with any information on sightings of fish kills.