Record cold in Florida causing massive fish kills... [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Record cold in Florida causing massive fish kills...

01-27-2010, 03:02 PM

And frozen iguanas are falling from trees...:Eyecrazy:

01-27-2010, 10:27 PM
Makes one wonder how cold it got even further South and West of Key West. Did North Andros and Grand Bahamas take a hit? Bimini, Abaco and the Berry Islands......?


01-28-2010, 07:42 AM
I was on North Bight during the ten days of cold weather. And it was quite cold (in the thirties a couple of mornings.) Water temps in the morning were around 55-56*F. Amazingly, the fishing wasn't all that bad there. We saw a lot of bones, and quite a few big ones (8lb or larger.) There were a lot of flats that had nothing, but overall the fishing was way better than it should have been. We didn't see any dead fish. I doubt that there will be much fishkill in that area because deep water is almost always quite close for those fish. The problem areas for Florida are where deep water is anywhere from 10-20 miles away from the mangroves. According to my tarpon guide down there, whom I just spoke to on Saturday, the snook kill is very serious, and it may be years before they can (or at least should) re-open the season. Bonefish and permit had minimal issues due to the same reason as the Bahamas fish, ie. they venture onto the flats from deep water so many just stayed in deep water. There was a fairly serious tarpon kill in the Glades and other areas of extensive flats on the west coast of Florida. Perhaps as serious is the amount of prey that perished. Even for the game fish that did survive, the issue is going to be having enough food to make it through the next six months or so until the prey that survived can reproduce and fill in that gap.

Trust me when I say that a few days I was almost as cold, personally, as I've been in Alaska while fishing. Though I usually bring some reasonably warm clothing because I've been on Andros the first two weeks of January for nine years now and know it can get cold, it's never gotten anywhere near this cold, nor for that long. I had a period where I had the shivers almost constantly for about 36 hours. The lodges have no heat, no blankets on the bed, and one day I came in from fishing and the shower had no hot water. I smile about it now, and those kinds of stories are what makes traveling an adventure, but it was a little scary at the time when you just couldn't get warm.

01-28-2010, 06:34 PM
According to the online fishing reports for the Tampa Bay/Sarasota area, the shoreline is littered with thousands of dead fish, mostly snook (who are very temperature sensitive). The redfish and speckled sea trout faired better. They have already pushed back the start of the snook season to September, and may end up closing it altogether (making it catch and release only for snook) until the population has a chance to rebound. I'll be heading down there for a week on March 13.

Here's a link to the Tampa Bay Online fishing reports, for those who might be interested:

01-31-2010, 05:03 PM
Just came back from 3 weeks in Sanibel about timing!!!! Snook kill reported to be in the 10s of thousands.......dead fish all over the place....quite sad!!!! Tried fishing 4 times and just gave was senseless to try....even boaters using bait failed to attract anything. walked about 200yards of a short beach....saw 5 different species of dead fish on shore....sad indeed!!
Only fish spottted were sheepshead and needle fish and one red when I went kayaking with the wife. No bait in sight paddling over the grass flats.
According to local papers....the cold spell broke a 23 yr old record for most consequtive days with a temp reading in the 30s (10 days in a row). Gulf temp went from 74 to 47 degrees...Pine Island Sound which is very shallow was even worse. Was up to 64 degrees when we left like 70 and above.
The alligator on Sanibel which has been there for 30 yrs died....dead manatees as well.....................there is so much swallow water there just was no place to hide.
Was planning on a return trip in mid June when the snook migrate the gulf shores...not sure if there will be any.

01-31-2010, 07:34 PM
Were heading to Captiva/Sanibel in late April and it looks like we'll be fishing for trout, gaff top catfish, and reds, if we're lucky. Nobody's mentioned ladyfish in the kills, but, then, I guess, who cares.

The people we stay with live in Melrose -- they informed me that tarpon and snook died in great numbers in the Intercoastal Canal just east of where they live.

Very sad business.