BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - It's been five months, but water temperatures in the Mississippi Sound have finally reached the 70 degree mark.
This comes on the heels of a winter that featured freezes from November through early March in which water temperatures dipped below 40 degrees at times in some areas of South Mississippi.
The end result was a couple of fish kills involving mullet and minnows from Pass Christian to Gautier.
With water temperatures now on the rise Read Hendon, of the Gulf Coast Research Lab in Ocean Springs, said the fish kills could have been much worse since no reports dealt with speckled trout, redfish or flounder.
Therefore, Hendon doesn't see any impact on the spring and summer fishing seasons along the immediate beachfront or the barrier islands.
''Although it was definitely a cold winter, we've had similar unusually cold seasons in the recent past, and our coastal fisheries fared pretty well through those,'' Hendon said. ''We didn't receive reports of any large fish kills over the last couple of months, and I'm not aware of any major cold weather related mortality events that Mississippi Department of Marine Resources investigated.''
Hendon said cobia could be the lone species impacted by the cold winter.
Cobia generally enter the Mississippi Sound in late April during their annual migration from the Florida Keys to the mouth of the Mississippi River to spawn.
''All things considered, I expect we will have rather typical spring and summer fishing trends,'' Hendon said. ''If anything, the relatively cold March may delay the migration of cobia into northern Gulf waters and hold off that season a bit. Hopefully, things getting pushed back a couple of weeks from what we normally see will be the only product of the cold winter.''