There has been a lot written about the poor quality of the water in the Mosquito Lagoon.
All of it has been understated.
Recently I spent a morning on the Northern Lagoon and I won't soon forget what I found there.
A while back Capt. Leo Hiles had called me to say that a brown tide was creeping up from the Indian River Lagoon System to the south. He said when you couple that with the algae bloom that had plagued the Lagoon for over a year, trouble was on the horizon. I had made one recent trip to the extreme Southern part of the Mosquito Lagoon and sure enough the water was off, but I was less than worried.
Now on this morning, I dropped my 16-foot Carolina Skiff in at the free ramp at Turtle Mound and right from the get-go I knew there was a problem.
The deep water around the mound was unusually murky. First, I ran south toward Eldora, turning west to fish around Orange Island. I stopped at a little point that has provided me with schooling trout action for many years. I was stunned at what I encountered.
The always clear shallow water was now a thick mustard colored emulsion. A dank odor hit my nose as soon as the boat slowed. When I did cast, I had nary a bite. That would be the first time I had ever fished that spot without a hit.
Thinking the water had to be better to the north, I put the Carolina up on plane and headed for Government Cut. Moving into the Cedar Creek area, I found the water quality to be no better and maybe even worse.
In all of my 45 years of fishing the Mosquito Lagoon, I have never witnessed such a mess.
Down through the years, I have come to expect poor water quality in the Northern Halifax where I live.
As I have complained for many years, the construction of bridges and causeways has dammed up the river until there is little tidal flow. Each time we have a big rain event, the Halifax becomes polluted from runoff and remains that way for months until a strong storm comes along to flush it out to the inlet.
Whenever that happened, I was always envious of the swift tidal flow in the Mosquito Lagoon. It had always seemed to me that area could dump any pollutants into the Atlantic with each tide.
Apparently I was wrong.
The nasty, yellow water has been there for some time with no signs of leaving.
According to Capt. Leo, the Lagoon will also require a storm to finally clean it out. The scientists are saying the brown tide and algae will not harm the fish. I can't buy that.
At the very least, it will affect the very bottom of the food chain. The filter feeding shellfish will surely die. I don't know what the solution is, but smarter folks than I must do something and quickly.
Mosquito Lagoon is the gem of Volusia County and responsible for many millions of dollars in commerce. We can't let it die.
In the Halifax, the water quality is surprisingly good. No signs of brown tide or an algae bloom and the recent heavy rains did little damage there.
Big reds are around north of Granada, but the great trout bite we have enjoyed for the past year and a half has slowed.
There is still some spotted sea trout around the docks and bridges, but you must fish in the dark.
The shrimp are gearing up for a summer run. A few days ago, I took my 17-foot Polar up to High Bridge to see if the guys were doing any good. I joined six or seven other boats there, but soon found the work was too much for the yield. In two hours, I had only around 100 bait shrimp. That won't do it for me. By the time this gets to print, I hope the shrimp run is in full swing.
If you see the boats gathering in the Halifax, join them and get your share.
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.