Top Florida Bass Destinations
Florida has hundreds of lakes and rivers full of fish, but some consistently produce good quality and quantities of bass, earning them a spot on the list of best bass fishing lakes in Florida.
- The best bass fishing lakes in North Florida are Rodman Reservoir, Orange Lake, The St John’s River, Lake George, and The Harris Chain of Lakes.
- The best bass fishing lakes in Central Florida are Lake Tarpon, Stick Marsh, Fellsmere Reservoir, Lake Toho, The Butler Chain, Lake Kissimmee, Lake Istokpoga, and Lake Okeechobee.
- The best bass fishing lakes in South Florida are The Golden Gate Canal, Lake Ida an Osborne, The Everglades, and Miami Airport Lakes.
All of these offer incredible fishing opportunities but also have something unique to offer.
Florida weather and healthy vegetation have promoted incredible fisheries throughout Florida all year. They range from North to South with exceptional bass fishing that is worthwhile to experience. Our adventure through the state will start in the North and move further South. Each stop along the way will provide you with a new perspective of what the sunshine state can offer you.
Whether your goals are to catch big bass or large quantities, there is a Florida fishery for you.
Here are the details on your Top Florida Bass Destinations to experience and explore while visiting the tropical state of Florida.
The Rodman Reservoir
If you are coming to Florida and are looking strictly for a trophy largemouth bass, North Florida is the place to visit. Cooler water temperatures promote a slower metabolism for the bass, allowing them to grow larger. The Rodman Reservoir in Putnam County covers 9,500 acres and has been one of the most productive fishing destinations in the state for big bass. It is a consistent fishery that promotes daily catches of over 8 pounds. Rodman has registered 348 trophycatch fish to date. If you are looking to fish a top-ranked lake in the country, the Rodman Reservoir would be an excellent choice. Experience this 19 miles long lake while enjoying the wild nature of North Florida near Gainesville with high chances of landing your dream largemouth bass.
Orange Lake is in the southeast of Gainesville designated fish management area with 20 miles of shoreline. Orange Lake has extensive aquatic vegetation of lily pads and hydrilla, providing prime bass habitats. The thriving habitat allowed Orange Lake to get on the list of many bass anglers for having the best trophy largemouth bass fishing in Florida. Along with its big bass, Orange Lake holds black crappie, redear sunfish, and bluegill in good size and numbers. The only public boat ramps are located at Heagy-Burry.
The St John’s River
The St. Johns River is a unique waterway with some of the best largemouth bass fishing in Florida. The river begins in Vero beach and winds through 12 Central Florida counties before emptying into the Atlantic Ocean. The St. Johns River is known for consistently holding trophy largemouth bass. The best big bass fishing here is done by wild shiner fishing. Along with its big bass, the St. Johns River is also known for its top-notch pan fishing for crappie and bluegill. The river consists of three basins that all offer some unique angling opportunities. The upper basin of the river is the most unpredictable and becomes best after widening up near Titusville. The middle basin is the shortest and is more navigable. This basin has access to Lakes Monroe, Harney, and Jesup, which all thrive as excellent bass fishing lakes. The lower basin starts before Lake George and runs north through Jacksonville before reaching the Atlantic. This basin is home to both freshwater and saltwater fish species.
Lake George is the second largest lake in Florida after Lake Okeechobee. The lake spans 46,000 acres and stretches 6 miles at its widest point. This fishery is relatively shallow with an average depth of eight feet and is very brackish for a lake in this part of Florida. The lake is best known for its big bass, striped bass, and sunfish.
Lake George does not have vegetation along its shoreline or on the bottom, making it more difficult to find fish than the other heavily vegetated Florida lakes. Despite the lack of foliage, there are still plenty of spots to catch big Florida bass, including the remnants of an old bombing range throughout the lake. There is also a sunken ship in the middle of the water that will be the home of a large panfish population.
The Harris Chain of Lakes
The Harris Chain of Lakes is one of the most prolific bass lakes in the state. The Harris Chain is nutrient-rich and filled with large shad, bluegills, and golden shiners to feed the enormous trophy fish. The Chain of Lakes consists of nine lakes and covers about 76,000 acres. The Chain of Lakes used to host several bass tournaments twenty years ago. The bass fishing declined and got a bad reputation for several years; however, the fishing is back and stronger than ever. Numerous big bass are caught on the Chain of lakes every day while on a fishing charter.
Today, the Harris Chain of lakes is exceptionally fertile with mostly dark stained water. This freshwater lake is primarily covered in Kissimmee grass, lily pads, eelgrass, and bulrushes. Fishing the Chain requires stout tackle and power techniques for its robust and healthy bass population.
Lake Tarpon is located about 10 miles west of Tampa in Tarpon Springs, Florida, United States. The lake covers 2,500 acres and stretches almost nine miles long. Its surrounded by houses and resorts with tons of fishing opportunities.
This fishery offers some of the best big bass fishing in Florida on the west coast. Lake Tarpon is renowned for its trophy-size bass and supports a healthy population of crappie, bluegill, blue tilapia, sunfish, and catfish.
The lake’s bottom has deep-water holes and shallow edges with grass beds for the thriving populations of various fish species. Two county parks border the lake with boat ramps, east John Chestnut Park and west A.L Anderson Park. Because of its location, Lake Tarpon hosts numerous bass tournaments.
Stick Marsh (Farm 13)
Stick Marsh, also known as Farm 13, is a 6,500-acre impoundment a part of the St Johns Water Management Area. Stick Marsh lies near the Treasure Coast of Florida and is one of the nation’s most abundant and natural big bass fisheries.
The Farm 13 water depths average 4 to 8 feet, but navigating the area can be difficult with its numerous underwater stumps. Stick Marsh holds prime waters for trophy bass, with many catches being in close to double digits. Live bait is the most effective method for catching trophies, but artificial lures can often produce as well. It’s best for an angler new to the area to fish with an experienced local captain to safely and efficiently get the full experience of this trophy bass lake.
Fellsmere Reservoir, also known as Lake Eden, Headwaters Lake, and Lake Headwaters, is a world-class human-made lake in Indian River County, covering 10,000 acres. Fellsmere borders Stick Marsh, Blue Cypress, and Lake Garcia.
The underwater features and structural habitat of Fellsmere lake provide an exceptional experience for a visiting bass fisherman. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation stocked nearly 1,000,000 sport fish in the reservoir along with bluegill, crappie, and redear sunfish. Fellsmere is one of the lakes a visiting angler must experience when freshwater fishing in Florida.
Lake Tohopekaliga (Lake Toho)
Lake Toho in Central Florida is an 18,810-acre bass fishery southeast of Kissimmee and is the uppermost lake in the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes.
Lake Toho is full of vegetation, including lily pads, cattails, weed mats, bulrush, and Kissimmee grass, all supporting a healthy bass population. In addition to its vegetation, Fish management practices improved the bottom of Lake Toho by allowing extreme drawdowns to its water level. During the drawdowns, deposits of muck are removed by bulldozers from the shoreline areas imitating a natural drought, making the shoreline of Lake Toho prime for bass spawning success.
Lake Toho is home to numerous annual bass fishing tournaments, including Bassmaster opens. Lake Toho also supports healthy populations of bluegill, crappie, redear sunfish, pickerel, gar, and catfish.
The Butler Chain
As we travel further south into Central Florida, you land yourself through a maze of a chain of lakes. There is one particular Chain that stands out from the rest: The Butler Chain of Lakes. This interconnected Chain of 11 lakes promotes one of the most unique Florida bass experiences. It is considered relatively deep for a Florida lake with 20 to 40-foot holes. One of the most incredible aspects is its deep vegetation structures in some of the clearest fresh water in Florida that the bass love.
Bass fishing on this lake can get very exciting. It has a large quantity of largemouth bass that causes them to school regularly, making Butler best known for its numbers rather than size. This allows for some of the best action you can explore here in Florida. As you are fishing these schools, enjoy catching quality 4 to 5-pound bass throwing artificial topwater bait fish. Springtime is when the bass truly begins to school up and produce what you are searching for. Explore the R.D. Keene Park for a great trophy bass adventure.
Lake Kissimmee is the southernmost lake in the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes. It covers 34,948 acres and is located 18 miles east of Lake Wales and 40 miles south of Orlando. Lake Kissimmee is a fertile environment making it a top trophy bass fishery. Lake Kissimmee has produced over 497 TrophyCatch fish, including 1 Hall of Famer, 87 Trophy Club, and 409 Lunker Club. The fertile soil of Lake Kissimmee creates a healthy abundance of food sources such as zooplankton, insects, and forage fish. The rich food sources allow the Lake Kissimmee bass to grow fast. Along with the food abundance, Lake Kissimmee has an excellent habitat consisting of a diverse combination of emergent and submerged vegetation ideal for bass spawning.
Lake Istokpoga in Highlands County is located five miles northeast of Lake Placid and is the fifth-largest natural lake in Florida, covering 27,692 acres. It has numerous boat ramps on the North, Northeast, and Southwest sides of the lake.
Since a significant restoration effort in the 2000’s, Lake Istokpoga has consistently cranked out quality-sized bass. Lake Istokpoga had 329 trophycatch fish.
Lake Istokpoga has an average depth of 6 feet, offering a vast amount of shallow vegetation, including spatterdock, hydrilla, Kissimmee grass, bulrush, lily pads, eelgrass, and cattails. According to Bassmaster Elite Bobby Lane, bass anglers will likely get 10-15 quality bites a day any time of year when fishing on Lake Istokpoga.
Moving further on our Florida Bass Fishing Tour, Lake Okeechobee is our next stop. Okeechobee is an enormous 730 plus square-mile freshwater lake in Florida known for its legendary largemouth fishing throughout the year. Spring Bass Fishing has been truly heating up every year, especially in the southern destinations on the lake. You can experience fantastic fishing across the whole lake, but the South has been producing the best. Clewiston and Belle Glade will be the best locations to fish this spring. Anglers can experience big numbers and great-quality largemouth bass this time of year as the bass are still in their spawning process.
Lake Okeechobee has one of the most vibrant and abundant largemouth bass populations in the state of Florida. You can fish there your whole life and never see the same fish twice. One of the best parts about fishing Lake Okeechobee is that wherever you are traveling from, there is a destination near you. If you are coming from Miami or Fort Lauderdale, Belle Glade or the southeast side of the lake would be your best bet. If Fort Myers or Naples is the vacation or home destination, Clewiston would be the best location. When coming from Central Florida, make sure you experience Okeechobee City to provide you with a truly unique perspective on the lake.
The Golden Gate Canal is centrally located between Naples-Marco Island’s beaches and The Everglades National Park, Big Cypress Preserve, and Collier-Seminole State Park.
Popular exotic fish such as the peacock bass and Oscars have found their way into southwest Florida from Miami. These fish are now extremely abundant here, making the Golden Gate a top peacock fishing lake in the state. The fishing is excellent year-round for peacock bass, largemouth bass, and panfish. The big bass are most often caught during the colder months when they are actively feeding during their peak spawning time. In addition to these popular freshwater fish, anglers can also catch snook and tarpon in these canals.
Lake Ida and Lake Osborne
The Lake Ida Chain of Lakes starts in Boynton Beach and ends in Delray Beach. The lake to the North in Boynton is Lake Osborne, while to the South in Delray is Lake Ida. Lake Ida and Osborne both offer some of the best south Florida lakes for largemouth and peacock fishing. The lakes have some good-size largemouth and peacock bass, sunshine bass, bluegills, Mayan cichlids, and other exotic fish species like the clown knife fish.
These Florida lakes in Palm Beach are the furthest North in the sunshine state that an angler can experience a peacock bass fishing charter. The Chain of Lakes has convenient access points allowing anglers to start searching for big bad and beautiful peacock bass within minutes.
The endless canals of the Chain of lakes provide the high opportunity to catch peacock bass in good numbers. The numerous structures, including docks, bridges, cuts, and seawalls, are good focus points for largemouth and peacock bass.
The Florida Everglades
When you think of Florida Bass Fishing, the Florida Everglades or “the river of grass” should hopefully ring clear. Cruise through the miles of canal systems that dominate South Florida while uncovering untouched waters pristine for largemouth fishing. If you are looking for extreme numbers of largemouth bass and some peacock bass, the Florida Everglades is the place to explore. The Everglades covers a large area with many access points; some of the more popular areas are Everglades Holiday Park, Sawgrass Rec Center, and Mile Marker 35 and 41. Every cast can yield a fish during these fantastic spring conditions. Another unbelievable feature of this incredible fishing destination is the abundance of wildlife.
Enjoy your fishing experience while listening to the birds, alligators and many other inhabitants create a song before you. We would also recommend this location for young kids and family members that love to be in the outdoors and have not yet experienced what Florida fishing is all about. Come enjoy catching 100-200 largemouth bass in a trip for memories we genuinely believe you will not forget.
Miami Airport Lakes
This Miami destination stands out from the rest. It is a location that you can experience the total abundance of Florida exotics and largemouth fishing to its fullest. The Miami Airport Lakes is an excellent location to catch the hardest fighting bass in the state, the peacock bass. Blue Lagoon or Airport Lakes is home to the Florida Peacock Bass and some quality largemouth bass fish. It was one of the first locations they stocked this incredible species of bass. When it comes to fishing for peacock bass, domestic shiners are most productive, however artificial lures especially topwater lures can often produce. Your Bassonline fishing guide comes with all artificial fishing tackle needed for success. One of the significant aspects of fishing the Miami Airport system is the ability to catch saltwater species.
When the locks open to release water, many species, including snook, tarpon, and jack crevalle, travel through and get trapped in when they close them. These species can live in this water which provides you ample opportunities to hook one as well. Don’t count out catching some quality largemouth bass along with your adventures in the heart of Miami.
Best Time For Bass Fishing
Bass fishing in Florida is incredible throughout the year, contributing to it being the “Fishing Capital of the World.” However, the springtime is when largemouths spawn and provide anglers with their best opportunity to catch a double-digit trophy. Typically the spawn starts when water temperature becomes optimal as early as December and goes into June, varying slightly throughout the state.
Springtime here in Florida is the perfect time to take a vacation. As the northern states are still experiencing cold fronts, Florida is beginning to warm up. The characteristics of this spring have been considerably different than the many before it. Colder weather throughout the whole United States has made for exciting fishing conditions.
Freshwater fishing in Florida often gets overlooked, but has really heated up with the warming trends.
Late Spawns at our Top Florida Bass Destinations
One of the main reasons our fishing has been so fantastic here in Florida is the extreme weather. The cold fronts that have pushed through changed the water temperatures dramatically throughout our season. As temperatures change, the Florida largemouths pushed off spawns that they are now engaging in. During these new moon phases, our professional captains and experts have been catching largemouth bass filled with eggs and preparing for their spawning process. April will most likely be the last time they spawn, but it will also be one of the best months to catch excellent bass at all our top Florida bass destinations.
Florida Fishing Experience
Don’t miss out on our Top Florida largemouth Fishing Destinations across the whole state. Action will be consistent all year long. Each month will provide new challenges, different techniques, and great fishing. Florida is the best destination to catch that big largemouth bass or peacock you are looking for. We would love to create a memory worth a lifetime while you reel in that fish that will make you smile!
If you enjoyed this post about our Top Florida Bass Destinations, you might also enjoy this fishing report from the same area.
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We’ve all heard of panfishing and any angler has used to term “panfish” to describe something they’ve caught. These are usually the fish we catch when we’re out there trying to catch bass because we’re using lightweight lures and fast action applications along the shoreline.
Every now and then, a bluegill or crappie will take hold and we’ll end up with one of these at the end of the line.
But, do we actually understand what a panfish is and how to catch one? Panfishing in Florida is popular because not only are these fish plentiful, they’re delicious and simple to cook.
This guide to Florida panfishing will help you better understand these fish and how to catch them.
What are Panfish?
Panfish is not actually a scientific term at all, it’s more so “angler slang.” That doesn’t mean that it’s not a correct way to describe these fish, it just means that you won’t find the word panfish in any fishing encyclopedias.
The word panfish actually refers to the fact that you can fit the entire fish in one single pan and they’ll never grow larger than the size of a pan.
For example, if you caught a six-pound largemouth bass, you wouldn’t be able to fit that in a pan. A one pound crappie, will fit in a pan.
Simple enough right?
What Fish Are Considered Panfish?
The term describes a fish that is always small enough to fit in a pan. So, which fish does that include? It will include species such as bluegill, crappie, and sunfish because they’re never going to grow larger than a pan.
Panfish are also fish that when filleted, are small enough to fit in some of the tiniest pans. Keep in mind that no matter how small a bass or walleye is, it’s still not going to ever be a panfish.
This is where things get confusing because we said “a fish small enough to fit in a pan.” Following that logic, a small bass would be a panfish.
Generally speaking, bluegill, crappie, sunfish, perch, pumpkinseed, and even rock bass are the only fish that we would label as a “panfish.”
Panfishing in Florida: The Basics
Now let’s get a little more specific. This is a Florida fishing guide after all. Let’s talk about some of the panfish you can expect to find when fishing the canals and ponds throughout Florida. There’s a large assortment of panfish here and this section of the guide will break it down for you.
Florida black crappie has a few different names. Some people call them specks and speckled perch, while others still refer to them as “crappie.” Either way, Lake Okeechobee is the greatest place for crappie fishing in the state.
Contrary to what we think we know about panfish, these guys spend some time offshore feeding on smaller fish so they grow much larger in Florida than they do in other states up north. Fishing with small minnows and grass shrimp are one of the best ways to find crappie.
Many anglers also attribute a lot of their success to night fishing. Keeping a lantern or boat light can draw a lot of attention from insects forcing the fish to come closer to the surface for pitching action.
Fishing for Bluegill
Bluegill fishing is the most common panfish in Florida because they thrive in a lot of situations across many of the lakes and ponds throughout the state. They have a large population in rivers as well with most anglers targeting them at the base of dams. They eat larvae and insects but live worms are considered the best bait for most bluegill anglers.
They spawn throughout the late spring and summer and it’s not uncommon to find as many as 30 or 40 of them in the same location. They’re pretty easy to catch with lightweight tackle, finesse techniques, and fast action rods and reels.
Ultralight is the best way to go because feeling every little nibble is essential. These guys don’t strike hard like bass do so you’ll need to feel everything otherwise they’ll eat your bait without you even knowing it.
Sunfish Fishing in Florida
These guys are known as shellcrackers around here and they eat a variety of live bait ranging from worms to clams and snails. March and April is their prime spawning season and they spend most of their time around hard bottoms near rocky dams. They grow a little bit larger than most bluegill and it’s not uncommon to find sunfish larger than one pound.
Lightweight tackle and ultralight applications are best here as well. Be alert and pay attention to every little nibble you feel.
Top Panfishing Techniques
We’ve talked about the baits and lures we should use but let’s speak more specifically about the fishing techniques you should use for panfishing in Florida. We know that fishing near rocks and dams is the best strategy but how should we present our bait?
Slow Rolling – Slow rolling jigs is one of my favorite methods. It involves casting long-distance beyond your target area and returning back to that area with a slow and steady retrieval. It’s one of the simplest methods of casting but it allows you to pass right over your target.
Vertical Jigging – If you’re fishing around the structure you’ll want to try vertical jigging. This involves pitching or dropping the bait near the boat and jigging it with the tip of the rod. Being able to identify shoreline structure is key so having a fish finder like the Lowrance HDS will help you locate fish that are holding to structure.
Dabbling – This technique works best when fishing the area of a river that dumps into a larger body of water. You’ll cast out right where the river feeds in and use the water movement to keep the lure in place. This action creates a natural movement of the lure and works great with live bait.
Where to Find Panfish in FL?
The best part about panfishing in Florida is that you can find them almost anywhere. If you’re targeting them for cooking or to introduce your kids to fishing, this is a great place to start. Most panfish start spawning season in the spring with their best fishing around April. All the canals surrounding the Everglades, Lake Okeechobee, Orlando, and Kissimmee are great places to find most panfish.
To Charter or Not to Charter?
If you’re traveling to the area, we always recommend taking advantage of a panfish fishing guide. Going out on the water with a guide is the best way to introduce yourself and your family to the sport of fishing and if you’re bringing kids along with you, it’s even better.
Many guides guarantee that you’ll catch something and they turn a fishing trip into a complete experience. They’ll show you exactly where you need to go, what gear to use, and how to fish the right techniques to catch as many fish as possible during your trip.
At this point, you should understand what panfishing is and know all about the most popular panfish in Florida. These fish are a great introduction to fishing for children, they’re tasty, and fun to chase.
If you’re in need of a unique and exciting day of fishing, panfishing offers a lot more of a thrill than you think. Good luck out there!
The Indian River is 121 miles long and it runs throughout the Indian River Lagoon system in East Florida. The river system runs right along the coast and it forms the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway. Its name came from the Rio de Ais Indian tribe and along the river, you’ll find dozens of incredibly historic Florida towns.
So, what draws people here? Why would it be worth it for you to leave your cozy little sleepy town to visit Florida for a river?
If you stick around long enough, you just might find out. Indian River fishing is some of the best in Florida. There’s a large variety of species, really healthy water, plenty of access points, and great opportunities to fish brackish inshore water.
Indian River Inlet Fishing
The Indian River Lagoon is minutes away from the Orlando International Airport and it stretches for 121 miles from New Smyrna Beach down to Vero Beach. On the way, it passes through other highly desirable areas such as Cocoa Beach and Sebastian. This river is one of the top destinations in the world for record spotted sea trout and redfish. Not to mention a majority of state records set in the state of Florida happened on the river.
The Northern stretch of the Indian River at Cape Canaveral houses the Kennedy Space Station so if that’s your cup of tea, millions have sat along the shorelines to watch NASA rocket launches over the years.
On the Eastern portion of the river is where you’ll find the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. Here you can see acres upon acres of alligators, dolphins, birds, otters, and manatees.
Indian River fishing is so much more than fishing, it’s great fun and wonderful activities for the whole family even if you’re visiting with a crew that isn’t as into fishing as you are. There are plenty of things for everyone to see.
Indian River Inlet Fishing Report: Top Catches
Alright, enough about all of that; let’s talk fishing. If you’re visiting the Indian River to snag some picture-worthy catches then you’ll want to know what you can expect to find. The Indian River is well known for having a large number of fish and plenty of different species.
Redfish are the number one catch throughout the Indian River Lagoon system and when you think of a true Florida fishing experience, this is where your mind goes. There are plenty of grassy shallow waters throughout the riverbanks so it’s the perfect habitat for redfish.
One thing that redfish are known for is having a heavy appetite and they’ll feast on everything that comes their way. They’re attracted to a lot of different lures and live baits so you really don’t have to think about it too much. Most locals recommend going with soft plastic and sight fishing along with the shallow parts of the river.
Spinning gear is the tackle of choice and it’s a great choice if you don’t have a lot of experience. Interestingly enough, most of the record size redfish caught in this river have actually been caught with flies. So, you have your choice.
I’d suggest bringing a large variety of lures with you and making your choice based on the situation that day. Pay attention to the weather, take a look at your surroundings, and talk with other anglers and anyone else you come in contact with when you reach the river.
This is a world-famous destination for speckled trout and it’s no surprise. The state record for speckled trout was caught here and weighed in at more than 17 pounds. The best part about fishing for specks here is the fact that there is a large quantity of fish in this size range. It’s not uncommon for someone to simply stumble upon one without even chasing it down.
The reason for this is the ecosystem. It’s prime territory for speckled trout because of the grassy beds and mangroves that attract tons of shrimp and mullet which is exactly what the speckled trout want to feed on. It makes it really easy to blend in and with the right presentation and lure you should have no problem being able to attract them to you too.
Locals suggest getting to the river early or right before dusk when you have an overcast sky. These are the ideal trout fishing conditions. They recommend light spinning tackle here as well and prepare for a fight when you hook one.
This wouldn’t be a Florida fishing guide without talking about Tarpon. This river is like a tarpon highway and they just fly up and down the river. The silver king is a hard-fighting, challenging, and acrobatic fish that inhabits the water year-round so you don’t have to time your trip that carefully if this is the species you’re after.
The locals recommend fishing Ponce Inlet during the summer months though if you’re really after some Tarpon. You might want to size up your tackle a little bit because tarpon put up quite a fight and they’re not the easiest fish to get into the boat unless you’ve got the right line and rod on your side.
Top Indian River Fishing Spots
Now that you have an idea of what kind of fish you’ll catch, you’ll need to get a little more specific on where you want to fish. Keep in mind that this river is huge so don’t expect to drop in on very many of these locations because the river stretches down a large portion of the east coast of Florida.
New Smyrna Beach
If you want to start at the top and attempt to work your way down, New Smyrna Beach is where you’ll start. It’s the northernmost section of the river and there are plenty of ways for you to access it. Here you’ll find some of the largest redfish and plenty of sea trout as well. If you’re looking for a New Smyrna Beach fishing charter, this is where you’ll want to look as well.
Working our way down, the next stop on the river is Titusville. It’s the ideal shallow water location and it’s right across the way from the Kennedy Space Center. If you find the Causeway Bridge you know you’ve found the best place on the water for Tarpon and Snook. Maybe you’ll be lucky enough to catch a rocket launch, plan accordingly!
Melbourne is home to great Indian River Lagoon fishing because it offers great shallow water opportunities for kayak anglers. There are plenty of locations to rent a kayak from if you didn’t bring your own as well. Not to mention the fact that the water is saturated with huge redfish and speckled trout. If you’re looking for the spot with the highest concentration of large fish, Melbourne is the stop you won’t want to miss.
If you’re planning a trip around the fall, Sebastian is the place you want to go. The mullet run happens between September and October and it’s a beautiful thing to see. Not to mention the fact that the snook and redfish will be chasing down the mullet so it brings upon some excellent fishing opportunities as well.
Fly anglers, hold onto your hat because Vero Beach is the spot for you. There are hundreds of places for you to wade and find incredibly productive snook and redfish angling. There are not quite as many places to launch a boat if that’s your game but MacWilliam Park is one of them and there are many great activities for the whole family here.
Indian River Fishing: How to Do It
The last choice you have to make is how you plan to tackle these brackish waters. You’ve got a few choices but we always recommend one for certain.
Charter a Boat
We suggest chartering whenever you can, especially if you’re not familiar with the area. There are great Florida fishing charters dotted up and down the Indian River in places like New Smyrna Beach, Melbourne, Cocoa Beach, and more.
Fishing alongside a captain is always a great way to go because you don’t have to worry about bringing gear, you can piggyback off their knowledge, and they’ll make sure you catch something. In fact, many fishing charters have a “catch” guarantee otherwise you get a portion or all of your money back. If you’re really looking to create a unique experience, we highly suggest chartering a boat.
Few things in this world compare to the feeling of wade fishing on the Indian River. It allows you to get up close and personal with the ecosystem and target exactly where you want to fish. The big advantage is that you don’t need anything other than your rod and reel. If you’re traveling light or roughing it “nomad style” all you need to do is grab your waders and get in the river.
Most of the places that local anglers recommend are around bridges that run over the river. These are ideal locations but you’ll want to look out for overhanging trees, mangroves, and tall grassy areas as well. Just be careful and watch out for private property signs.
This is the epitome of Indian River Florida fishing. If you want to immerse yourself in the wildlife, kayaking is a great way to do so. It allows you to navigate the water gently so you don’t scare the fish away but you also get to target specific locations because a kayak will permit access to much shallower water than most boats.
If you’ve kayak fished before, this won’t be as challenging for you but you’ll want to make sure you have a plan before hitting the water. If you’re new to it, you might want to look for a kayak guided fishing trip because kayak fishing requires a lot more strength, conditioning, and experience than you think.
If the trophy-sized redfish and exceptional ecosystem didn’t sell you, you’ll want to try Indian River fishing simply for the beautiful and majestic scenery. They don’t call this area the Treasure Coast for nothing. The Indian River offers some of the greatest fishing on the East Coast and we think it should be on every serious angler’s bucket list.
Fishing the Everglades offers an ecosystem quite like any other. People from all over the world travel here to experience some of the most exciting, thrilling, and mind-boggling fishing available. Florida houses one of the only two everglades on the planet and if this is a destination on your bucket list, it’s time to make that dream a reality.
Types of Fish in the Everglades
The Everglades houses a variety of different habitats with fresh, salt, and brackish water. The result is a large number of different species available depending on where you go. The sheer number of fish that you can catch here is enough to draw people from all over.
Whether you’re trying to fish the wetlands, waterways, canals, marshes, or mangroves, you’re sure to create a ton of amazing memories fishing the Florida Everglades.
Tarpon is a highly desirable fish in this area and the Everglades has plenty of them. It’s not uncommon for some anglers to find Tarpon as big as 150 pounds on a regular basis. Best of all, these silver giants put up an incredible fight and that’s one of the primary reasons why we find Tarpon on most anglers’ bucket lists.
If you’re fishing the shallow waters you’ll find Redfish scattered about. These fish prefer the marshland and they’re plentiful year-round. For this reason, Redfish is a common target for many travelers fishing inshore because they know it’s something they can find pretty easily. Don’t let that mistake you thought. Redfish put up quite a fish and they’re a delicious bite.
Snook are part of what makes Florida one of the top fishing destinations in the world. First, Snook is a delicious catch and a fish that tastes quite unlike any other. Second, the size of these fish is unbelievable.
The Everglades ecosystem is rich with Snook because they’re not the easiest to catch down here. As a result, they tend to grow to larger sizes than you would find elsewhere in more open waters.
Bass aren’t the official freshwater fish of Florida for nothing, right? There are few things that compare to the thrill and excitement of battling a largemouth bass in the lakes, creeks, and canals that are littered throughout the Everglades.
Fishing for bass in the Everglades is a unique treat as well because they grow like weeds around here. The average size of each largemouth bass caught is five pounds so expect them to put up a fight.
As one of the most beautiful game fish in the world, the peacock bass is in high demand around here. They put up a tremendous fight, they’re a joy to chase, and they’ve found a nice home in the Everglades so they’re not as hard to find as you think. You can expect to find peacock bass all throughout the Everglades in places like Alligator Alley and Holiday Park.
How to Fish the Everglades
When it comes to fishing the incredible 1.5 million acres of land that makes up the Everglades, the opportunities seem endless. It might seem a bit overwhelming but if you plan accordingly, you’ll have no reason to feel uneasy about the trip. We recommend having a plan drawn out for how you intend on fishing and where you want to go as well.
Let’s talk about how you plan to fish in the Florida Everglades:
From the Shore
You could always fish from the shore. This strategy has the lowest barrier of entry, doesn’t require a lot of gear, and doesn’t require any special preparation if you just want to show up and wet some lines.
If shore fishing sounds like your thing, you’ll want to check out Everglades National Park. There are plenty of places here where you can fish from the shore, enjoy a picnic, spend time with family, and still experience some of the best fishing anywhere in the world.
Close to the park’s entrance are a variety of small lakes and ponds but if you head a little deeper in you’ll start to introduce yourself to the more brackish waters.
From the Kayak
There’s something primitive and unique about kayak fishing and personally, we love kayakers on the Everglades. It allows you to get up close and personal with everything that’s going on in this incredible ecosystem. When you’re in a kayak, you can make your way through the many waterways and canals while taking in the sights and sounds of true marshland wilderness.
Where else in the world can you drop a line and catch some of the greatest game fish out there while paddling past alligators and manatees?
We suggest being extra careful about dropping a kayak and we recommend renting one in Everglades City if you choose to do so. The guides there will be able to help you stay safe on the water and they’ll tell you where you should and shouldn’t go.
From the Charter
Chartering a boat is really the best way to take in everything that fishing in the Everglades has to offer. This wild habitat requires a lot of knowledge and experience and that’s best left for the professionals.
Taking a charter will allow you to cover more ground and you’ll also have the versatility and time to not have to worry so much about where you’re going. You can sit back, relax, and let the guide take care of all the work. Best of all, they’ll share secrets with you and bring you to the best spots that no one else knows.
Where to Fish in the Everglades
The Everglades is a massive area that covers an assortment of smaller areas. Within these are hundreds of lakes, ponds, rivers, streams, mangroves, and marshes. All of these places house incredible fishing but you need to know where you want to go before hitting the water. Here are some of our top recommendations for the best places to fish in the Everglades.
Holiday Park – Holiday Park is a great bass fishing destination. You’ll be able to access the L67A canal which is considered the top bass spot in the Everglades. The canal runs to Tamiami Trail which is slower-paced, easier to fish and less pressure.
Ten Thousand Islands – A portion of these islands makes up the Everglades National Park so you know there are plenty of great fishing opportunities here. You’ll find Redfish, Snook, Tarpon, and more here. There is also an assortment of fishing charters operating on this part of the Everglades.
Alligator Alley – Alligator Alley produces some of the best bass fishing in the state according to all the local captains. The water is high here which creates a lot of space to fish and they’re low-pressure because this area is only accessible by boat. It’s located off I-75 near the Big Cypress Swamp Wilderness of Water Conservation Area 3.
Sawgrass Recreation Park – Sawgrass allows you to really get up close and personal with the best that the Everglades has to offer. It’s a unique subtropic ecosystem rich with wildlife and plenty of great fishing. Largemouth bass and panfish are the desired catch here. Most catches are between four and seven pounds.
Florida Bay – Florida Bay is the southernmost tip of mainland Florida before the land starts extending out to the Keys. Again, like everywhere else there are plenty of Tarpon, Redfish, and Snook here. If you’re interested in more open water fishing and fewer marshes and canals, this is an ideal destination.
Pine Glades Lake – If you’re seeking plenty of shore fishing opportunities and something to do with the whole family, Pine Glades is a nice spot. Here you’ll find easy shore fishing access and plenty of panfish like Crappie and Bluegill. It makes for a relaxing and easy fishing experience for those who aren’t as serious about hooking a big one.
Snake Bight – One specific area on the Florida Bay that draws a lot of attention is Snake Bight. The Snook cruise throughout the mangroves here and there are plenty of access points for kayaks, boats, and even shore fishing. It’s one of the easiest and most productive locations to fish in the Everglades so we recommend getting here early because it’s usually pretty crowded.
Fishing the Everglades Canals
Canals are plentiful around here and they offer the best bass fishing in the Everglades. Some of the most popular canals are the L67, Big 67, 67C, and L28. All the local charters recommend checking out Alligator Alley as well. This area is nice if you’re launching your own boat because there are plenty of ramps with a lot of different access points. It’s recommended that you hit these spots in the early morning and late afternoon.
Best Everglades Fishing Charters
Fishing the Everglades is really an experience that no one ever forgets. As you traverse through the canals you’ll almost feel as if you stepped into a different world. All around you is nothing but wildlife and fish just waiting for you to drop your bait.
We highly recommend recruiting the assistance of a fishing charter for your trip to the Everglades. It will help enhance the experience and you catch a lot more fish this way. Local Captains are able to introduce you to the best spots on the Everglades and you can even charter a boat based on what you’re trying to catch.
If South Florida has been sitting on your bucket list, it’s time to cross it off with a trip to the beautiful and simply breathtaking, Everglades.
Every location has that one fish that brings tons of people to the area and for South Florida, it’s peacock bass. Peacock bass fishing is attractive because of the eye-catching color of the fish and the brash and aggressive nature of the fish.
If you’re traveling to Miami, Naples, or anywhere in South Florida, you’ll want to continue reading to learn more about peacock bass and why they should be on your list of “fish to catch in my lifetime.”
Understanding Peacock Bass
The first thing you should understand is that peacock bass aren’t actually bass, they’re Cichlids. In fact, there are a ton of huge differences between these guys and bass. This is the reason why a lot of anglers come to Florida confused by the fact that they don’t behave the same way as largemouth bass.
First of all, there are actually 16 different species of peacock bass. The problem is you can’t catch most of them off the coast of the United States. The fish originated in the Amazon and that’s where most of the species still live.
So, that begs the question; how did they get here? According to the FWC, they were brought into Florida by the WC in 1984 and it’s also believed that they were imported from Guyana, Peru, and Brazil as well.
Why Target Peacock Bass
Another question is why would we come to Florida to fish canals and waterways when there are so many brilliant opportunities in offshore fishing? You can catch things like sailfish, snapper, group, and tarpon; why would we go after these?
While there’s no right or wrong answer to this, we think it has a lot to do with their appearance and the fight they give for a smaller canal fish. They’re finicky about what they eat but once they decide on something, they’re highly aggressive and will not give in easily. You better be prepared for a fight if getting a picture with a peacock bass is on your bucket list.
When you’re traveling and fishing the urban canals, portability is key so you’ll want to make sure you’re only traveling with the amount of gear necessary to get the job done. Telescopic rods are nice but I don’t recommend them due to the lack of durability and strength.
Where you can save a little space and weight is through using an inflatable kayak. These are highly portable and you’d be surprised by how much abuse they can take.
Best Lures for Peacock Bass Fishing
Peacock bass are a bit finicky so you want to choose the right lures and stick to them. Once you understand what lures to use you’ll have no problem bringing in a lot of peacock bass and when they bite, get ready because it’s like someone dropped a 20 lb rock on top of your hook.
Here are some of my top choices for peacock bass lures:
Rip Roller Stick Baits
Rip Rollers are some of the most popular lures for peacock bass because of their noisy presentation and larger size. You don’t have to get this specific type but you want something with a few treble hooks and the propellor on the back. 5.5-inches is around the size you’ll find most of these and they’re usually made of solid wood to create topwater buoyancy.
When it comes to color, you want to mimic something that the peacock bass are used to eating so I’d go with a perch color or something else that’s orange and bright. These are deadly in the warm water months.
Next, we have a 5-inch crankbait that creates a little less noise for the days when the fish aren’t biting. Keep in mind that if you’re fishing in South Florida, you’re fishing highly trekked waters. Peacock bass are used to people fishing this area to death so sometimes a bit loud presentation doesn’t work.
This is a spook type crankbait, it’s big, durable, and comes with heavy treble hooks that can handle this type of power. It also has an internal rattle so it’s not completely silent. Go with the redhead on overcast days and a brighter bronze color on sunny days.
Bear in mind that a lot of peacock bass feed below the surface so topwaters won’t always work. Yo-Zuri is a great saltwater lure brand and their minnows allow you to walk the dog, jerk erratically, and create the presentation of a wounded baitfish.
This is especially helpful if you’re not having any luck. The area you’re fishing may simply be overdone and the bass are very timid. This method is a great way to get them biting again.
Bucktail Extended Jigs
The last piece of peacock bass fishing tackle I’ll give you are extended tail jigs. These are growing in popularity amongst peacock bass anglers for a few reasons.
One, you can work them in heavily vegetated areas because the tail helps you cruise over stumps and dense brush.
Second, you can troll with them if you’re trying to cover a lot of water. You can fish them by working through the vegetation with erratic short jerks followed by lull periods of trolling but make sure to keep it moving quickly. If you slow down the presentation too much you’ll attract black bass.
Third, they’re a dime a dozen and you’ll lose a lot in the water because most fish take a liking to these. You don’t have to spend $25 on one lure and you can pair up a variety of color combinations.
Lures To Stay Away From
It’s not often that we tell you lures to avoid but as mentioned, peacock bass are finicky so you want to stick to what works and avoid what doesn’t like the plague. Soft plastics are generally the worst-performing lures for peacock bass fish. They just don’t like them.
Another reason we don’t recommend soft plastics are because every other fish in the water will chew up all your time. You’re not out here targeting black bass and panfish right now, we’re looking for the bright and beautiful peacock so let’s not waste any time. It’s like they say in business, “if you try to win every one, you win no one.” Focus on the species you’re targeting and leave the rest for another day.
We also highly suggest against using live bait. A lot of people will tell you that live bait is the best way to go for peacock bass but as local guides and experts, we recommend you don’t use lie bait, and here’s why.
Peacock bass like to swallow live bait which will result in a deep hook down in the throat or gills. These are a pain to remove and almost always ends with a dead fish. We practice catch and release with peacock bass and we suggest you do the same. Fishing live bait is frowned upon for this reason.
Top Peacock Bass Fishing Locations
We’re separating this part of the guide into three sections. These are the “big 3” when it comes to peacock bass fishing in Florida. If you’re tracking peacock, you want to catch some, and you’re on your own without a guide. These are the three places you’ll want to go.
Best Peacock Bass Fishing in West Palm Beach
Urban canal fishing in Palm Beach county is incredibly popular and it brings a lot of people to the area. If you’re looking in this area, expect to fish around Delray Beach and Boynton Beach. Lake Osborne and Lake Ida Park are part of the Lake Ida chain of lakes and they house some of the best peacock bass fishing in the world.
Best Peacock Bass Fishing in Miami
There are many different locations in Miami and Dade county but there’s one that always seems to exceed expectations. Miami Airport Lakes is the number one destination for peacock bass so you’ll want to check it out especially around Anthony Marcelo Park. Falls Mall Canal is another big one and it’s located near 13145 SW 89 PL. It’s a canal that runs behind the “Falls Mall” in Miami but this is a convenient access point with plenty of parking.
Best Peacock Bass Fishing in Naples
They don’t call Naples, “Paradise Coast” for nothing. There are a ton of things to do here for the whole family and some of the greatest peacock bass fishing you could imagine. The urban canal systems bring about a great population of peacocks and the fight that they put up is next to nothing.
The Golden Gate canal system is where you’ll find the most peacock bass as well as plenty of other saltwater species. Warm water fishing is the best way to go here and as mentioned, the fun doesn’t have to stop once you get off the boat.
Peacock Bass Fishing Charters in Florida
There are great fishing charters all over South Florida and each of them specializes in a specific area and species so be sure to choose wisely.
For example, Captain Mark Rogers has the biggest boat in the fleet that they call the “Big O” on Lake Okeechobee. He does most of his fishing near his home in Naples, Florida so if you have a larger party and want to fish Naples for peacock bass, you might want to talk to Captain Mark.
Either way, we highly recommend fishing with a charter if you come to Florida. Of course, fishing inshore canals and waterways is easy to do on your own compared to braving the offshore waters but to get the full experience, a charter is the way to go.
The best Lake Erie fishing charters aren’t just there to take you out on the water; they’re responsible for providing you with an experience. They should offer Lake Erie fishing reports, all the gear you need, and the guidance you want to catch more fish. That’s what you’re paying for.
We’re breaking down the best charters on the Lake from Ohio to New York in this guide. By the end, you’ll understand what to catch, how to catch it, and what charters you should consider looking into this year.
Fishing Lake Erie
If you’re considering a fishing trip to Lake Erie, one of the first things that should come to your mind is what you can expect to catch there. The good news is, Lake Erie is a popular destination for smallmouth bass anglers of all skill levels, and if you’ve never considered it, you should add it to your bucket list.
One of the reasons it’s so popular is that it’s an affordable fishing destination compared to offshore chartering or some of the other great lakes.
Lake Erie has experienced its share of hardship over the years. Throughout the 1960s and for many years after, Lake Erie was a perfect example of water pollution from factories, sewer systems, and pesticides from farms. The water was so polluted that you could actually stick your hand in and pull out a handful of algae.
Even today, fertilizer and manure runoff runs into the streams and rivers that flow into Lake Erie, which is why the lake has such large algae bloom compared to all of the other Great Lakes.
All of that aside, anglers still have a ton of success on the lake and consider it some of the best smallmouth, steelhead, and walleye fishing in the country.
What Can You Catch
Let’s break it down a little more and talk about each species you can expect to find when you charter a boat on Lake Erie. It’s known as the “Walleye Capital of the World” for a reason. You’ll find dozens of crazy stories around anglers bragging over their walleye “catch of a lifetime.” Even if you’ve never fished for walleye before, as long as you get there during the right time (which we’ll talk about), you can expect to fill your well with plenty of fish.
The lake is broken up into three sections. You’ve got:
- The Deep Eastern Basin
- Flat-Bottom Central Basin
- Shallow Western Basin
Each of these basins contains its own unique challenges, conditions, and characteristics, so you’ll want to understand each before requesting a charter in any of these three sections.
The shallow western basin houses the smallmouth bass population. These feisty little fish put up quite a fight, and you can expect to find them along drop-offs and ledges in the shallow waters.
The deeper eastern basin is where you’ll find most of the walleye. Some of the best walleye fishing in the country happens here. Walleye travel a large distance every year, so you’ll have to play the lake by season. During the summer months, expect to find them in the east in New York. In the winter/fall, you can find them a bit further south.
Lake Erie: By Season
It’s crucial to understand the seasons and how they impact the fishing on Lake Erie. Taking a look at each of these will help you learn what you can catch to decide when you’d like to charter a boat.
Springtime is a hit or miss when it comes to temperature. Sometimes it’s frigid and cold, and most of the water is still frozen, and other times, the water doesn’t freeze at all. Lake Erie is more shallow than the other Great Lakes, so it tends to freeze over faster.
Fishing in the spring is great for perch, smallmouth, and rock bass, while fishing for walleye is a bit slow this time of year.
One interesting opportunity is shore fishing for walleye at night. It seems like local anglers know that the fingerling population comes out at night during the spring and the walleye chase them along the shore. This factor creates an interesting opportunity for the angler who understands what they’re doing.
Summer is when fishing on Lake Erie heats up, and this is when most anglers will charter a boat. It’s prime walleye season from July to September, and most of the best fishing for walleye happens as far to the east or west as possible.
After September, the lake loses some of its lusters, but there are still plenty of great fishing opportunities, especially when chartering a boat. Boat charters allow you to get to places other anglers can’t, and schools of walleye are still mulling around the waters through October.
Best Lake Erie Fishing Charters
Now that you understand what to expect when fishing the lake, now let’s take a look at the best Lake Erie fishing charters, so you know who to call when it’s time to plan that trip. These charters are the most recommended by locals and online authorities, so be sure to take these recommendations.
Mark Rose offers an exceptional fishing experience on Lake Erie for smallmouth bass. He recommends doing so between the months of May and October if you plan on getting the most out of your trip.
One thing that seems a little different about Mark than some of the other charters is his guiding seems a bit more intimate where it’s done on a one-on-one basis. Mark will guide you through fishing on Lake Erie and really stick by you to help ensure you understand how to catch smallies and so you’ll have the best time possible.
If you’re looking to take your Lake Erie fishing to a whole new level of enjoyment, comfort, and style, iOutdoor Adventures offers a great experience. Captain Tom Goodrich is a U.S Coast Guard Certified Boat Master Captain and has over 20 years of experience fishing these waters.
The team is professional, courteous, and helpful when working with children and anglers of all skill levels. Their goal is to keep you safe and ensure you have a great experience. Expect to catch walleye, steelhead, lake trout, and perch when fishing with iOutdoor Adventures.
One thing we like most about this charter is that the package you purchase is generally targeted to a specific species of fish. For example, you can do a four-hour trip specifically for Walleye for $399.99 You can also do a “mix bag,” which can be anything for six hours.
Oak Harbor, Ohio
Captain Jim Mitchell leads the team at Erie Angler LLC in Ohio. They provide a great charter experience for both kids and adults. The charter has a 30-foot Baha Cruiser capable of taking six people out on the water, and the boat comes with full safety features, navigational equipment, fishfinder, and more.
You always want to look for a charter with a fish finder because that will give you the edge and ensure you have a great experience.
The Captain says you can expect to catch walleye, yellow perch, and smallmouth bass, which is right up our alley. They provide all high-quality equipment, including Berkley, Daiwa, Okuma, and Pflueger brands. You need to have an active license to cast from the boat.
Pacific time Sportfishing operates a large assortment of fishing charters across the country. It’s no wonder they included Lake Erie on their list. Captain Todd Pavilk encourages anglers of all ages and skill levels to come aboard a charter to not only learn more about fishing but to have a great time as well.
The Captain has a 30-foot Pursuit offshore boat powered by twin 265HP Crusader engines, and the boat accommodates up to five guests with plenty of room.
Walleye, yellow perch, and steelhead are the fish of choice here, and trolling is the method that the Captain uses most frequently. All equipment is included in your price, but you’re required to supply your own fishing license.
Rod-bending walleye is the promise of Erie Doghouse Charters in Pennsylvania. This team has a Carolina Classic 25-foot boat designed to handle the ocean-like conditions of rocky Lake Erie. Expect to find the gamut of species, including walleye, lake trout, perch, and steelhead with Captain Tony.
As with all fishing charters in Pennsylvania, you need to possess a license to fish, and you can get a one day pass if you’re just in the area for the charter. You’re able to keep up to six walleye, 30 perch, and three steelheads per person, and the first mate will clean your fish for you.
If you’re looking for something a little different, you can travel to downtown Cleveland and hit the lake’s western basin. Captain Daniel McDonnell offers exceptional walleye fishing and 25 years of experience tracking them down.
He recommends that you book a spring walleye fishing trip because that’s when they migrate back to the western basin, and you’ll be able to find them near Port Clinton and Oak Harbor. The shallow water is where you can expect to find them, and jigging around the reefs will yield a great result.
Lake Erie has something for everyone, a true outdoor adventure that has to be experienced to truly experience the thrill!
What brings people to Fellsmere Florida? It’s not white sand beaches or vibrant nightlife. Yeah, none of that. Fishing in Fellsmere has now become a large commodity for many, and you may feel the same way? Whether you venture to the Indian River or explore the Space Coast for Redfish, you’ll find a fishing culture throughout the lands.
As a smaller city in Indian River County, Fellsmere has proven itself to be one of the best places to visit for outdoor activities! Fellsmere is an oasis for nature lovers and fishing enthusiasts alike. With lots of prime fishing locations available, anglers are sure to not go home disappointed. Try a cast on one of the many beautiful freshwater lakes without disappointment. Fish for trophy bass in one of the local reservoirs, its a lot more wind and weatherproof than the saltwater seas on the coast, and with little to no chance of seasickness.
It’s a place to bring the entire family for fun in the sun and possibly a vacation they will not forget any time soon. Let the kids get lost in the outdoors with a “Set the Hook”, show them the waters, wildlife and how to enjoy outdoor activities again. Teach them to catch a fish, they will fish the rest of there lives! There is certainly something for everyone in Fellsmere. And the comfort of home is closer than you think in Palm Bay, Sebastian, and Vero beach only miles away. Fellsmere Fl is the Anglers get-a-way!
What Can You Catch in Fellsmere Fl?
If you’re unfamiliar with fishing in Fellsmere, you might be unsure of what to expect when you throw your line out or even where to go. You’ll be happy to know that Fellsmere is full of amazing fishing. Just as Fellsmere’s culture is bustling with diverse things to do, the waters are much of the same. There is no shortage of great places when fishing Fellsmere, so let’s talk about specifics. When you visit, where are you going? Let’s check out the top fishing spots of Fellsmere Florida.
Fellsmere Reservoir (New)
NEW to the area and a one of a kind location, while there really is no way to describe it completely. It is a Reservoir that should be experienced by anyone that loves the outdoors. With a modest 10,000 acres and over 7,500 of that designed for fishing. A group of Florida aquatic biologists puts together a masterpiece for trophy Florida bass fishing in Fellsmere. Because of the location, the size, the design, and aquatic vegetation. Many are saying, there is no other opportunity like this anywhere in the world.
A concept that begins in a conversation in the early 2oth century, now the current lake is a reservoir and partnership of government management groups. While the fishery is clearly part of Florida’s bigger water management program, the fishery is also surrounded by natural beauty for outdoor sportsmen.
Now with 21st-century lake management ideas implemented, the fishing opportunities have come to fruition. Now it’s nearly unbelievable to every angler that visits. Millions of dollars were invested to create a reservoir, it’s living up to the hype. It’s performing at extreme levels and has an important function, at the same time providing a local tourism boost. Can the FWC keep out politics and manage this property for the future? Who knows, but at this point, we recommend one and all to come experience this place while it’s on top!
It’s big and a navigation hazard as most good fisheries are, we recommend chartering a boat and recruiting the help of local experts if this is your plan because they know the best fishing spots in Fellsmere Reservoir.
Created in 1987, the Stick Marsh or also known as Farm 13 is also a Reservoir. Only known as a true trophy bass lake, it has seen its up and downs. While if measuring performance, the Stick Marsh is on a real comeback and producing quality bass again and with some luck will be a real contender for trophy bass fishing. This 6,500 acre Fellsmere reservoir is in Fellsmere Fl, only down the street from the new Fellsmere Reservoir.
Located just west of Sabastian Fl an equal distance from Palm Bay and Vero Beach. Stick Marsh is still one of the hottest bass lakes in the country for almost a decade. Stick Marsh opened to the public in 1991, as a joint effort by the St. Johns River Water Management District and FWC to filter the farmland runoff before it entered the St. Johns River. Today is has a great boat ramp facility and restrooms which has created an additionally needed tourism attraction to the area.
Blue Cypress Lake
This rural wonderland of Fellsmere Florida offers a surprising number of eco-friendly and unique fishing experiences. And one of those is Blue Cypress Lake, one of the world’s largest osprey nesting sites, and boasts one of the top fishing spots in the world for crappie.
Blue Cypress Lake is located in Indian River County, Fl. Blue Cypress Lake is the largest lake on the Treasure Coast. Again like the others above, it is the origin of the St. John’s River and gets its name from the cypress trees. They appear blue from the water’s reflection in the morning sun. The lake is picturesque, the birds, water, and cypress trees paint a picture unlike anywhere else in Florida.
Lake Garcia is also a Reservoir, it is a 3,149-acre section of the Blue Cypress Water Management Area which is backed up to Stick Marsh, Blue Cypress Lake, and Fellsmere Reservoir. Like the others, it sits along the east coast of central Florida in north Indian River County. Water depths range from 1.5 to 6 feet on this impoundment, fluctuating seasonally.
This impoundment is noted for good numbers of largemouth bass with great action and produces its share of trophy bass each year. Largemouth, bluegill, and black crappie are the sportfish most often targeted by anglers. If you decided to head down to Lake Garcia Reservoir in Fellsmere. We recommend fishing the South end, as it is easiest to navigate but completely provides everything a bass angler would be looking for in a day of fishing.
Traveling a few extra miles to Lake Garcia brings upon new challenges. Anglers on the internet draw hundreds if not thousands of people to Fellsmere each year to take on one of these great fishing challenges, it’s almost unimaginable what the are would do without it.
Top Things to do in Fellsmere Fl
There is no shortage of great things to do when fishing Fellsmere, so let’s talk about specifics. When you visit, where are you going?
Fellsmere Trailhead Preserve & Welcome Center
Where else to start than the Fellsmere Trailhead Preserve & Welcome Center which is conveniently located off Interstate I95.Visitors interested in getting a unique overview of the area and its attractions, they’re the perfect places to start.
Like many, this welcome center includes historical exhibits and lots of travel maps, brochures, and magazines that are free for the taking. Many of them include valuable coupons on things like dining and lodging.
The preserve section of the facility includes nearly 90 acres of natural land crisscrossed by well-marked trails that are open to bikers and hikers if you find the need to stretch your legs. Additionally, primitive campsites are available as well.
Fellsmere Frog Leg Festival
While many in today’s society visit places for uniquely different reasons, legless frogs may not be looked at as the trendy thing to do. It’s hard to explain to many, but visitors flock in droves to the annual Fellsmere Frog Leg Festival, which takes place in January. Truckloads of frog legs are the stars of the show, but there are lots of other unique culinary treats available as well.
The festival includes live entertainment, small carnival-style rides, and is very family-friendly. It’s spread over four days when the majority of the time Florida’s weather a blessing to many. Tickets are inexpensive, and many visitors make an annual pilgrimage. During the festival, area hotels fill up quickly, so plan accordingly.
Fellsmere has been proclaimed Frog Leg Capital of the World and the Frog Leg Festival holds two Guinness Book World Records, for the most frog legs served in the course of one business day and the largest frog leg festival in the world.
ShrimpFest & Craft Brew Hullabaloo
Few things go together as well as draft beer and fresh shrimp. For lovers of either or both, the annual Shrimpfest & Craft Brew Hullabaloo should be a top priority. It all takes place over three days in mid-March and includes mountains of succulent seafood prepared in a variety of ways. The perfect addition to your winter fishing trip.
Tons of live entertainment and family-oriented activities are staples too, and a significant portion of the proceeds are donated to local charities dedicated to preventing child abuse. The event is held in Sebastian’s Riverview Park and coincides with the city’s annual St. Patrick’s Day celebration, so consider wearing green tights or a derby hat.
Similar The St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park offers 60 miles of picturesque, untouched nature. The park protects the West Indian manatee, red-cockaded woodpecker, and Florida scrub jay. Music lovers will enjoy some of the best bluegrass bands in the state hosted at Marsh Landing Restaurant, an iconic landmark in its own right.
Stick Marsh Bait Tackle Shop
It’s a great little shop, it’s the only bait and tackle in the area that sells live bait. They are right in the middle of town, just east of N Broadway St and Southside of Pennsylvania Ave. The bait usually refers to live minnows, real worms, domestic shiners, and wild shiners. Stick marsh Bait & Tackle established more than 15 years ago, it the closest to Fellsmere reservoir an honest, affordable, and quality bait and tackle. Our expert guides can provide you with the tips, tools, and techniques you need to catch crappie, bluegill, catfish, and of course largemouth bass. Come check out the inventory to see for yourself!
STICK MARSH BAIT AND TACKLE
16 N Oleander St Fellsmere, FL 32948
How to Charter a Boat in Fellsmere Florida
If you haven’t realized it by now, we’ll clear it up for you. Fishing in Fellsmere Reservoir is amazing, and there’s no shortage of other fantastic fishing opportunities for people of all ages. The best way to get the whole experience is through using a guided fishing charter. The local captains will help ensure you get a full taste of what the area has to offer.
Best of all, chartering a boat in Fellsmere isn’t as expensive as you think. You can take your whole family on the water. The guides will take their years of experience fishing these waters and put you on the best fishing spots in Fellsmere Fl surrounding area.
They’ll take you right where the fish are. Hook you up with the necessary gear and tackle, and many even guarantee you catch something before heading back to the dock.
With the diversity of fish, abundant opportunities, and jet blue sky. It’s no wonder why fishing enthusiasts flock to Fellsmere Fl for fishing!!!
Harris Chain of Lakes Fishing Update
The Harris Chain of Lakes is still open for fishing. We are open but are not urging anglers to embark on our fishing trips. We just wanted to share some of the recent catches from our customers. The bass fishing has been fantastic across the whole chain. As we still urge everyone to take precautions, getting in the outdoors can be a good way to keep your sanity. This Harris Chain fishing update can help put a smile on your face!
Utilize this time to learn more about the local lakes and plan your next outdoor adventure when social interactions are allowed again. We hope you enjoy this fishing update with our local experts and professional fishing guides.
Fishing with Captain Gino Losi
One of the most exciting ways to catch bass here in Florida is sight-fishing. Spotting a fish in shallow water and pitching bait to them, watching them eat, and then setting the hook is a thrill you will never forget. Never worry, all fish are handled properly and released quickly after a photo.
“It was awesome to get the chance to explore the Harris Chain of Lakes with Alex and his son. Leesburg, Florida is a wonderful destination to land some giant largemouth bass. Each trip can be so uniquely different as you can get the opportunity to fish a variety of different lakes.
Alex and his son spent their day on the water at Lake Griffin. It has been a productive lake this time of year. We started out fishing in the canals and catching bass on beds. Once the day warmed up, we moved to some offshore structure.
The bass were in both pre and post-spawn patterns. Targeting fish in deep water hydrilla was a blast for these guys. When it comes to fishing offshore grass, catching bass on lipless crankbaits is the most effective pattern. Slow move the bait through the grass and hold on as you rip that bait through the grass.
Alex and his son had an absolute blast catching over 30 largemouth bass on their fishing trip. Breezy and sunny conditions promoted a strong bite they surely capitalized on. Tight lines until next time!”
Second trip of this update:
“The Harris Chain continues to be a great place to catch large numbers of bass all trip long. It was fun to fish with Adam and his good friend. While they were here in North Central Florida, the Harris Chain always intrigued them. It showed them a great time with plenty of action with artificial lures.
Just like the last trip, the fish were pre and post-spawning patterns. We focused mainly on the fish in post-spawn patterns. Adam and his friend enjoyed catching fish on the mouth of the canals on Lake Griffin.
When it comes to fishing these areas, you can target bass either with a slow presentation or moving. Most of the bites came yet again from a lipless crankbait. The Harris Chain is notorious for its offshore structure and we explore it as the day heated up.
It was awesome to see Adam and his good friend double up on several occasions. Most of the fish caught were in the 1-2 pound range with some quality mixed in. They caught over 30 fish on this trip and are looking forward to coming back soon to cash in on some bigger bass!” – Captain Gino Losi
Explore these waters soon!
We hope you stay safe during this time and hope this update puts a smile on your face. When looking to plan your next adventure, we hope you keep us in mind. Fishing is what we love to do and we want to share that with you once we can. I hope to see you on the water soon and you enjoyed this Harris Chain fishing update!