Fishermen are worried about a possible cold-stun event during this week’s blast of winter weather, but a biologist with the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries has listed only small stun-kill events in two places along the coastline.
Chip Collier, the lead speckled trout biologist for the Division, said small stun/kill events had taken place in the Pungo River and Spooner’s Creek as of Thursday morning. He said biologists and Marine Patrol officers have been patrolling and are expected to have reports from more areas in a few days.
Noah Lynk of Noah’s Ark Charters in Harkers Island said the polar vortex from two weeks ago was intense but short-lived; he’s worried that this week’s ice and snow isn’t going away as quickly and may be more harmful to trout.
“After the last two cold systems, we saw trout activity pretty much right away,” Lynk said. “That isn’t the case with this one, at least not yet. It moved in Tuesday during the day, and there was still heavy ice on the ground in a lot of places on Thursday. Our temperatures aren’t supposed to get but a few degrees above freezing until Friday and then the weekend is forecast to warm to the 60s. I sure hope the fish moved to deeper, warmer water and will be okay.”
Lynk (252-342-6911) he hasn’t seen any floating fish or huge gatherings of pelicans that would indicate a kill and was remaining cautiously optimistic but is concerned the full effects of this cold and ice won’t be known until the ice clears today and over the weekend.
“The fish survived the first two shots of extreme cold well,” Lynk said. “The action wasn’t as good as it had been after the first shot of cold and ice, but there were trout and drum caught this past weekend and Monday. They were biting in the warm weather on Monday. I sure hope they took the warning and moved to deeper water and survived. I guess we’ll see over the weekend, when it warms and clears enough for fishermen to get out.”
Lynk heard this cold snap had frozen the surface of the North River and Ward’s Creek from the US 70 bridges inland, but on Thursday morning when he was finally able to check, there was only a little ice along the shoreline. He said the wind was blowing really hard, and he thought the resulting chop might have prevented more freezing.
“The trout and drum were moving slowly after the last cold snap, but they were feeding,” Lynk said. “They might have fed as recently as Tuesday morning, but the weather was so bad no one was trying to find them.”