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This is just an observation of what I've seen these past few years but go me or seems like snook are making their way further north and that very much excites and frightens me. A few years ago catching a snook around Jacksonville was unheard of but these last few years with the weather getting warmer and warmer I've seen quite a few caught, no size but still snook in north east Florida. As someone who typically at least once a year heads south to hunt these fish this excites me that I might within a few years be able to catch them somewhat regularly in my home waters. But it also scares me, if one of the most aggressive inshore fish is moving in the potential impact on our other fisheries here is astronomical. I appreciate all opinions, do you think they'll stay in their home range and just keep getting the few stragglers up here or are we possibly looking at a proper population of snook possibly being up here after a few more warm winters?
 

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waterman 16
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I'm sure you are correct, their range appears to be sneaking north. As far as predation, you already have trout and tarpon and jacks...all eating the same food. Much the same as everywhere else in the snook's range. Largemouth have adapted to peacocks. Maybe similar.
 

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Was talking to a biologist from University of Florida's Cedar Key lab last week about this. They're studying the huge increase in snook in that area of the west coast due to consistently warming average water temps. That area now has a healthy population of resident snook of all sizes that didn't exist 7-8 years ago, and they're seeing continued northward spread. Interestingly, he said that it appears that seatrout populations are down due to the abundance of snook - sounds like predation on smaller trout may be the issue, or maybe they are just displacing them otherwise. Up here in Charleston, while snook are still a rarity, you do hear about people catching snook more frequently these days.
 

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Panhandler
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Yes, they are moving northward on the West Coast of Florida. I wrote an article for Salt Water Sportsman a couple years ago detailing the migration. Snook are becoming more common north of Cedar Key and throughout the Big Bend. Warming water temperatures, mild winters and the abundant number of springs in the region are helping with the population shift. The springs provide sanctuary during the cold snaps.

The numbers aren't there for specific targeting north of Steinhatchee/Keaton Beach, but they certainly are a bonus catch when fishing for trout and reds.
 

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I haven't seen any but have heard of a few being caught in the St Marks area during the summer months. Did come upon an unusual site recently, a single small mangrove growing along a grass shoreline in the Panacea area. If the mangroves take hold and survive the winters, snook may have a chance.
 

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Was talking to a biologist from University of Florida's Cedar Key lab last week about this. They're studying the huge increase in snook in that area of the west coast due to consistently warming average water temps. That area now has a healthy population of resident snook of all sizes that didn't exist 7-8 years ago, and they're seeing continued northward spread. Interestingly, he said that it appears that seatrout populations are down due to the abundance of snook - sounds like predation on smaller trout may be the issue, or maybe they are just displacing them otherwise. Up here in Charleston, while snook are still a rarity, you do hear about people catching snook more frequently these days.
Seatrout are temperate species..snook are tropical ....seatrout populations will continue to decline in the GOM. There is no where for seatrout to migrate to. East coast seatrout will continue to move north, along with near shore/ocean warm water species like tarpon, cobia, dorado, bonito, mackerel, etc. Blue water fishermen in Rhode Island are landing species they have never seen in those waters.
Also extreme weather events are more frequent, but average water temps are higher through out the winter, allowing more tropical species to move to northern latitudes.
 

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Zephyr Cove is on FIRE!
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Seatrout are temperate species..snook are tropical ....seatrout populations will continue to decline in the GOM. They is no where to migrate to. East coast seatrout will continue to move north, along with near shore/ocean warm water species like tarpon, cobia, dorado, bonito, mackerel, etc. Blue water fishermen in Rhode Island are landing species they have never seen in those waters.
Why?
 

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There have been smaller hard freezes in the last decade but nothing comparing to the winter of 2010 freeze. This freeze impacted the entire state, especially everywhere north of central Florida. I remember floating snook and even trout that didn't leave the flats in NSB.
I am no scientist but I believe the northern snook populations are still recovering and moving north. Another hard freeze like 2010 will just restart the cycle and we will have this conversation all over again.
 

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Yep I think it’s in part from the freeze of 2010. But also just read where mangroves(black?) have started growing as far north into GA. Bonefish are starting to show up more in Charlotte Harbor all small so far.
 

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Undoubtedly they are moving north but I recall as a kid seeing them in Crystal River and Weekie Watchee. The warm water discharge gave them a refugee and the child tolerant ones made it through and bred.

I tell you what's not around anymore is the winter river run of trout.
 

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Got to rain on y'alls parade here... You can count on a killing cold every seven to ten years in my experience (came to south Florida in 1971, fresh back from my senior trip... and started fishing anywhere I was allowed - and a few places I wasn't...). Seriously here's the pattern to expect... In the years when it's mild the snook population will expand farther and farther to the north but all of that ends when we get another seriously killing cold (as noted above). That will pretty much wipe out the expansion and you'll have to wait a few years afterwards before everyone starts finding them again north of where you'd expect to find them - until the cycle repeats itself...

Once again, this past winter was very mild and, who knows - maybe it will be mild again next winter - but I wouldn't count on it... Enjoy it while you can but don't expect it to last...
 

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Got to rain on y'alls parade here... You can count on a killing cold every seven to ten years in my experience (came to south Florida in 1971, fresh back from my senior trip... and started fishing anywhere I was allowed - and a few places I wasn't...). Seriously here's the pattern to expect... In the years when it's mild the snook population will expand farther and farther to the north but all of that ends when we get another seriously killing cold (as noted above). That will pretty much wipe out the expansion and you'll have to wait a few years afterwards before everyone starts finding them again north of where you'd expect to find them - until the cycle repeats itself...

Once again, this past winter was very mild and, who knows - maybe it will be mild again next winter - but I wouldn't count on it... Enjoy it while you can but don't expect it to last...
This is factual information.
 

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Saw the biggest snook ever in my life at the entrance to Three Sisters Spring in Crystal River/ Kings Bay...that's saying something considering I grew up snook fishing Sebastian and Ft Pierce inlets
 

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Conservation and regulation may be a key to this as well. The 2 year closure made a pretty big difference on the west coast. Could be too many snook in some areas where they migrate north to have less competition.
 

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Well, on the west coast over the past 2 decades it seems they weather the freezes better. That will occur as the very few that survive a freeze outside of a thermal refuge are the ones that produce the next generation, and so on. Something has definitely changed besides the warmer weather.
 
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