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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Any comments on a potential fish kill/stun based on tonights potential snowfall? Doesn't sound like temps will be too bad but runoff should be pretty chilly.......
 

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Seems like the cold water kills we get on the speckled trout are mostly about fish in relatively shallow water. Cold strong winds and low Air temperatures over a period combine to rapidly chill shallow bays to water temperatures that first stun then kill the fish. Usually takes many Sustained hours of this to be dangerous for the fish and not just a cold night or two.

Fish up in the deeper creeks and rivers weather the cold periods better as deeper water holds heat longer than more shallow areas.

Freshwater runoff tends to float over the denser saltier water. That’s something we see a lot, a layer of freshwater near the surface and a lens on saltier water at depth. Eventually, they might mix, but it can be miles before they do.

Lots of freshwater runoff will push out the saltwater. I fish a local river or two that have USGS Flow gauges and the rivers can only handle so much freshwater runoff before even the deeper, saltier areas get pushed towards the ocean. There’s a Cubic Feet per second flow value I watch to get a handle on how much runoff is actually happening.

I believe trout can handle more freshwater than people may give them credit for, but they don’t seem to stay long in water that’s getting close to being all freshwater. It might taste 100% fresh on the surface, but there might be a brackish layer down just a few feet.

Long story short (too late for that) speckled trout seem to fare better in creeks, rivers and other deep spots during cold blasts, wet ones or dry, than they do if they happen to be in a shallow spot without deep water access nearby.
 

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We had 6-8 inches of snow in one event along much the coast 15 years ago with a warm up the following days and I don’t remember any bad fish kills from that episode.

We had a couple of devastating kills in the 1980s and those were ones where air temperatures stayed at or well below freezing over three days and the sun never really came out. One Shallow bay here had a layer of ice on it that could support a person. The 1983 and 1989 freezes killed millions of fish, but neither were big snow or runoff producers. It was the long periods of sustained freezing weather that got the fish.
 

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Sub freezing , shallow water is all it takes. Trout get so sluggish you can scoop them. Follow the pelicans
Never seen salinity effect much in brackish water but shrimp , they high tail it
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Storm was a no show.......had 28℉ temp overnight but doubt it was long enough to create a stun situation. If we can make it through the next couple of weeks we should be well on our way to a decent spawn........
 

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Storm was a no show.......had 28℉ temp overnight but doubt it was long enough to create a stun situation. If we can make it through the next couple of weeks we should be well on our way to a decent spawn........
Most of the real bad freeze kills happen when fish get up on the flats in the shallow back lakes and sun themselves then a front hits and the temps drop 30-40 degrees in 6-8 hours. They don’t have time to get to deep water fast enough because the tide drops out and they get trapped in 2-3 feet of water. We had this situation 4 times on on winter I think 3 years ago. Here’s the aftermath in just one back lake. I’ve seen much worse but this was 4 times in 3 months.

 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Most of the real bad freeze kills happen when fish get up on the flats in the shallow back lakes and sun themselves then a front hits and the temps drop 30-40 degrees in 6-8 hours. They don’t have time to get to deep water fast enough because the tide drops out and they get trapped in 2-3 feet of water. We had this situation 4 times on on winter I think 3 years ago. Here’s the aftermath in just one back lake. I’ve seen much worse but this was 4 times in 3 months.

I agree, but there is also an issue here in eastern NC when we have snow melt that feeds into our deeper creeks. That cold water sinks rapidly to the bottom and the fish who have moved to those deeper areas are affected by it. Fortunately it doesn't happen very often as this is not an area known for lots of snow accumulation but when it does and we have melt during the day followed by temps in the low 20's and teens it impacts our speck population in a pretty significant way.......
 

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We really don’t have kills here due to cold water runoff. But runoff from the rivers rising and rain makes the water unbelievably muddy. It’s already muddy enough here as it is. The weather in general over the past couple of months has affected my small windows of opportunity. Sunny and 70’s at work. 40’s, rain, 20-30mph NE-SE when I’m off. I haven’t caught anything to speak of since before Thanksgiving. Sorry for the de-rail. Rant over.
 

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Fished on Monday.....shunked on Reds, saw 3 Trout in my favorite creek.
Creek had dirty water, but still was able to see 3 Trout left by the netters....ICM
 
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