PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

Sports

January 29, 2014

MOORE: Five local outdoors implications of cold winter

PORT ARTHUR — In case you have not noticed it has been cold.

When is the last time you can remember multiple days in a week with temperatures in the 20s and even a couple of days where they never went above freezing?

It has been awhile and the cold is having an impact on our outdoors scene that includes some interesting scenarios.

1. Mosquitoes: Just as this story went to press, I read a piece on NBCnews.com about mosquitoes being impacted by the cold throughout the country.

“Most arthropods have the ability to super-cool themselves in order to survive extreme cold winters in the ranges they’ve become adapted to. However, if unusually cold temperatures strike, it could be below their threshold of tolerance," Cornell University's Laura Harrington explained in the story.

Harrington said most insects produce "antifreeze proteins and other compounds to protect their cells from freezing and dying." If it gets too cold, though, this natural antifreeze could cease to function properly.

The freezes we have had will not wipe out the mosquitoes in our area but they will certainly lessen their presence at least in the interim. In February 2012, I went to Pleasure Island to go fishing and had the worse mosquito attack I have ever faced. It was like something from a horror movie.

If the winter continues it should give us some break from the bugs and maybe, just maybe enough to lessen what we will face in the spring.

2. Flounder Spawning: Flounder spawn in the Gulf of Mexico and studies have shown cooler winter water temperatures produce better flounder spawns.

We have had cool temperatures in the Gulf all winter so there is a good chance we will have a good crop of baby flounder entering the bays this spring.

3. Bass Spawning: According to the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, largemouth bass spawning begins in the spring when water temperatures reach about 60 degrees. This could occur as early as February or as late as May, depending one where one is in the state.

I have seen bass on beds on Fayette County Reservoir near LaGrange (a heated, power plant lake) in December so the impact of temperature is great on the spawn. If it stays cold, we will see a little bit later main spawn than we have perhaps become accustomed to and if it does warm up and the bass hit their beds there is a good chance strong fronts will move back in and push them off.

4. State water snapper: There are no studies to back this up but local anglers will tell you snapper mover closer to shore during cool weather. Snapper are not legal to take in federal waters now but are legal in state waters. Could the cold weather bring some even closer to shore than normal?

Finding out would require a fishing trip and that is good thing.

5. Fishing Pressure: Our final factor is not a scientific observation but a practical one. The colder it gets, the less people fish.

If you do not mind braving the cold temperatures there can be great fish caught. During the ice storm of 1997, I was actually out running a trotline that had been producing some nice blues. A lack of pressure in the winter can also lead to more opportunities for certain species in the spring.

Weather is always a huge factor in the great outdoors and as you can see it has many different kinds of impacts.

(To contact Chester Moore, e-mail him at cmooreoutdoors@gmail.com. You can watch him on "God's Outdoors with Chester Moore" Saturdays on GETV.org at 10 a.m. and listen to "Moore Outdoors" Fridays from 6-7 p.m. on Newstalk AM 560 KLVI.)

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