LDWF Warns Public of Potential Fish Kills Due to Freezing Temperatures

Published 10:55 am Wednesday, December 21, 2022

As an arctic blast is forecast to move across the state, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries warns the public of potential fish kills throughout coastal Louisiana due to freezing water temperatures.

If fish kills do occur, evidence of such could be delayed. Fish often sink to the bottom of water bodies and may not be visible for a week or more.

Coastal species commonly impacted by low water temperatures are Sand Seatrout (a.k.a. White Trout), Red Drum, Black Drum, and Spotted Seatrout.

“Typically, water temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit for more than a day cause problems for Spotted Seatrout, whereas Red Drum are slightly more tolerant and will begin to experience problems when temperatures dip into the mid-30s,” explained LDWF fisheries biologist Jason Adriance. “The rate at which the water cools is also important. If fish have a chance to acclimate and move, the potential for survival is higher.”

Overall impacts of the freeze event on fish populations within the coastal areas will be available as information is collected through the Department’s fishery-independent monitoring programs.

Inland fisheries biologists are not expecting severe impacts to freshwater sport fishes, although fish kills may occur in inland waters.  There is the potential for small isolated mortality of shad due to the colder-than-normal water temperatures, but this should not pose a significant impact to the populations.

Should you come across significant numbers of dead or dying fish, LDWF encourages you to contact the Department. Contact information and requested reporting specifics are available here: https://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/page/fish-kills.  Be prepared to provide your name, phone number (in case additional information is needed), along with the location, including good directions to the fish kill site, the approximate quantity, and species of fish, and their condition (still dying, all dead, decomposing, etc.).

Anglers should be aware that creel and size limits remain in effect, as well as legal methods of take, and harvesting fish beyond those regulations is illegal.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana’s abundant natural resources. LDWF receives no state general funding and depends on license sales as a major funding source.  Help us protect your hunting and fishing heritage while preserving habitat, wildlife, and aquatic resources by purchasing your license at www.wlf.la.gov. To receive email or text alerts signup here.