Reports from around Florida confirm that snook are dying by the thousands due to a series of record-breaking cold fronts. Snook are notoriously intolerant of chilly weather, and prolonged exposure to water temperatures below 60 degrees usually proves lethal. Though snook are the most vulnerable species, water has claimed many other types of fish, including mullet, catfish, tarpon, mojarra, snapper and gag grouper, as well as countless smaller species that are an important forage food for Florida’s game fish, including ladyfish and pinfish. To those of us who catch and release snook and carefully monitor their status, this is a big blow. Alas. There’s a wistful irony in Mother Nature ultimately being the biggest threat to snook populations since commercial fishing for them was banned in the late 1980s. For more info, visit this site.
To report a fish kill, visit FWC here or the Snook Foundation here. Please record pertinent fact such as date, time, GPS coordinates (if possible), number and size of dead or near-dead fish, and conditions observed. If you see someone illegally harvesting dead or dying snook, dial #DEP on a cell phone, or call (877) 2-SAVE-FL (1.877.272.8335).