RED TIDE UPDATE


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Posted by Bill Bishop on 2018-07-10 05:37:45

I left Boca Grande on the Busted Flush June 25th. I have made the 2 1/2 day trip via the Okeechobee Waterway back to New Smyrna Beach many times. Leaving the west coast, boaters pass through a total of five locks. Stained brown water was present in Pine Island Sound. This was not red tide. It was discharge by way of the Caloosahatchee via the Okeechobee Waterway. I entered the first lock just east of Ft. Myers at 9:00 am. and it was wide open. The remaining locks west of the lake were closed however some of the discharge gates were open thus water from the lake was flowing west toward the gulf.

The closer I approached lake "O" a bright green, thick coat of algae was present. My boat cut a path in the algae blanket. Upon crossing the lake to the east the lock on the east side was wide open as well. At this point the water from the lake was being direct east.

It's true that red tide on the west coast isn't a new event. I am seventy years old and a native Floridian. I haven't missed a summer on the west coast since my childhood days. I've spent in excess of 100 days on the water each tarpon season over the past 20 plus years.The devastation I witnessed in late June was beyond my wildest dreams and by my standards, unprecedented.

The day before I left this season I saw dead manatees being dragged to the boat ramp by law enforcement. I was told this was to perform test for cause of death. I saw five Goliath Grouper, estimate weight 200 plus pounds or more, floating belly up in Boca Grande Pass and along the adjacent beaches. Twenty plus pound snook were bobbing in the harbor and dead tarpon were also observed by others

Local guide friends report yesterday, virtually no tarpon have returned to date.
Dan, you are spot on with your previous report and your concerns about the long term effects from the dumping and discharge from Okeechobee.

Unfortunately, the impact goes beyond the west coast. The areas on the east coast outside and beyond the St. Luci River have suffered as well.

Two of my grandchildren were aboard the Flush for the trip home. They saw first hand what was occurring. These boys are on fire about fly fishing for tarpon. A few weeks ago I took them to the Everglades for a two day trip where they jumped 16 fish on fly landing about half that many.

What's next?????


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