BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Anglers in South Mississippi have caught a break, despite heavy rain throughout the month of March resulting in many rivers reaching flood stages. In all, parts of Hancock, Harrison and Jackson counties exceeded five-inches of rain that caused a chocolate-colored layer of water just as the spring fishing season for speckled trout began.
Speckled trout generally spawn from late February through September. Meaning the first part of the spawning season occurred in the middle the rain. However, the Department of Marine Resources in Biloxi said there's no indication spawning in the Mississippi Sound will be impacted in terms of lost eggs.
But the number of times speckled trout spawn could be. In fact, Paul Mickle of the DMR is optimistic even after Thursday's rain and what's scheduled for Sunday.
"I don't think so," Mickle said of an impact on the first spawn. "Trout have been spawning for three weeks and they could slow down in terms of the number of times they spawn. But they are spawning now and have been very successful."
A big concern was the freshwater draining down the rivers systems of South Mississippi that dropped salinity levels in the Mississippi Sound below three parts per thousand last weekend. The salinity levels began to rise on Tuesday to eight parts per thousand before Thursday.
"When we start to get more salinity, trout will spawn more frequently," Mickle said. "We had a lot of freshwater and that has piled saltwater up into smaller areas. If you find the saltwater, you will find the fish.
"They are hungry and feeding now. But it will get better with warm weather and salinity We have seen this before."