With air temperatures forecast to hit 50 degrees today and 70 degrees by Saturday, state officials are hopeful that speckled trout along Louisiana’s coast will dodge another cold-weather bullet and survive this week’s blast of Arctic air.
Randy Pausina, head of fisheries with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, said he believes last week’s cold snap actually helped the fish prepare for this week’s freezing temperatures.
“Because we had a cold snap and it stayed cool before it got really cold, it works in our favor because the fish have moved and gotten acclimated a little more than if this cold would have just hit out of nowhere and maybe trapped them in a canal,” Pausina said. “Hopefully, they would have already started moving to warmer or deeper areas.
“I would think it got them acclimated a bit, and got them moving to where they needed to be before this one hit. Everything should be fine.”
However, he cautioned there could still be isolated pockets of fish kills if fish for some reason stayed in shallow water.
“We really won’t know anything until later next week, but it’s supposed to be 70 Saturday so my guess is we’ll be okay,” Pausina said. “Then again, there are always isolated manmade canals and shallow areas where they sometimes get trapped.”
Earlier this month, Jason Adriance, finfish program manager for LDWF, said speckled trout usually have no issues until water temperatures drop below 40 degrees, and redfish are even hardier than that.
“Typically water temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit for any more than a day begin to cause problems for spotted sea trout, whereas red drum are slightly more tolerant and will begin to experience problems in the mid-30s,” Adriance said.
This afternoon, the buoy at The Rigolets near Slidell showed a water temperature of almost 44 degrees, while information from Southwest Pass at Vermilion Bay indicated water temperatures slightly higher than 40 degrees. At Big Lake near Hackberry, the buoy also showed a water temperature of 44 degrees.
If you do observe a fish kill or stunned fish, please contact LDWF at 1-800-256-2749 with your specific location so it can be investigated.