The big rain event we had the first week of May has not had a devastating effect on the water quality of the Halifax. Even though we had enough rainfall to normally pollute the river with run-off, the fact was the Halifax was in the best condition I had seen it in quite a while.
I am a guy who keeps a close eye on water quality, and especially salinity, for I know that it is going to affect my fishing.
Just after New Year's, we had a mini nor'easter that blew down the river for days, bringing with it a lot of clear, green sea water from Matanzas Inlet. When that happened, the water in the Halifax was already in fair shape and after that it turned great.
When the Halifax is filled with clean, salty water, my spirits soar, for I know that good fishing is not far behind.
Now, the May rains are threatening my playhouse, but hopefully the river can withstand all of the dirty water that was dumped into it. If it does turn brown and loses the sodium content, the fishing usually lasts for about two weeks before it pretty much dies. Just to be on the safe side, you might try to get out while you can.
Down in the Mosquito Lagoon, the water is not good. If you recall, last summer we had a season of algae blooms there and the fishing suffered. All through the hot months my pal Capt. Leo Hiles reported the fishing was off due to the turbid water. That also kept the baitfish away and, of course, one thing leads to another.
Just recently, Capt. Leo reported he suspected another bloom had begun.
Unfortunately, Lori Morris an environmental scientist with the St. Johns River Water Management District said that, indeed, conditions are right for another algae bloom there. She also reported that in the remainder of the Indian River Lagoon system a brown tide prevails. It seems so far that tide has stayed south of Oak Hill, but that could change any day. Things are not looking well for a good summer of fishing in our most popular waters.
As many of you have heard, a hundred sea cows have died in the past year in the Indian River Lagoon system. The knee-jerk reaction to that was to blame the proliferation of fertilizers, but I believe little has changed in that use for many years. I would look to the major polluters and those who dump toxic metals into the water for a better answer.
The manatee people like to blame fishermen for the kills, but that 100 all died from some other cause while a comparatively few were killed by boats. To be sure, I have never met a fisherman who would intentionally harm a manatee. We all treasure the gentle giants of the inshore.
On a better note, I received a call from Scott Breeding, who told me he will soon re-open the High Bridge bait shop. That was good news for sure. Scott said he will have snacks, bait and tackle and even a kayak rental. Let's all support him in his new endeavor. We need that shop to remain open.
Over on the West Coast, the scallop season is set to open July first and it's not too soon to make your reservations. I already have mine for Crystal River.
Well, that's about all the news that's fit to print. The kids will be out of school soon, so let's make plans to get them fishing.
Dan Smith has fished the waters of Volusia County for more than 40 years. Email questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. His book, "I Swear the Snook Drowned," is available for $10.95 at (386) 441-7793.