Doctors Lake Inlet
Doctors Lake has easy access to the St John’s River and is a short boat ride to downtown Jacksonville. This area can lead to various fish because of the proximity to saltwater vs. Freshwater in Jacksonville.
Access is at Lakeshore Boat Ramp located off SR17; take Doctors Inlet Rd to Lakeshore Dr to the boat ramp.
Both the inlet and the challenging sand bottom areas in this stretch of St. Johns (south of I-295) support healthy stands of eelgrass and excellent fishing for largemouth bass and redear sunfish. Schooling bass is present all year with mild currents, and redear are caught in spring, summer, and fall. If you enjoy Wade fishing, this is an excellent stretch of river to get out and give a try.
Nearby Doctors Lake is Black Creek, which has an excellent vegetated shoreline. It is a good water body for black crappie year-round and all panfish species (especially redbreast and bluegill sunfish) during spring, summer, and fall. Striped bass utilizes Black Creek as a cool weather refuge in summer and is present here and around St. Johns River bridge pilings, commonly during winter months.
Doctors Lake Fishing Tips
Doctors Lake during the spring months is some of the best if you want to fish for striped bass in the St. Johns River. Many bridge pilings around the Jacksonville area and farther south to Green Cove Springs provide excellent cover, attracting stripers. Fishing live bait or jigs in deep water seems to be the best way to catch this species. Shallow running plugs can also be effective when working along pilings using a stop-and-start retrieve.
Black bass and bream will still feed and can be caught on live bait or artificial lures. If you are fishing in the Doctors Lake area around Black Creek during the winter, you will want to target the creek mouths, small holes, and the vegetated regions where the fish tend to congregate. These areas may hold some large estuary fish, such as snook and redfish, looking for warmer water during winter. Be prepared for some unexpected catches because you never know what might bite. This section of the St. Johns River is tidally influenced, so fish tend to move where cover is optimal for feeding.
What to Target
Look for the structure that allows fish to rest in the current while feeding on passing items carried by the rising or falling tides. When the tide moves, work artificially in the direction the current is flowing. Black Creek is another great spot to fish for bass and bream. The spatterdock edges lining Black Creek provide excellent cover and attract fish to the shallower areas. Standard artificial baits are great for pulling in bass on Doctors Lake and live bait, such as worms and crickets, which is very effective for bream, especially red-breast sunfish.
Doctors Lake area holds some large estuarine fish looking for warmer water during winter. Be prepared for some unexpected catches because you never know what might bite. This section of the St. Johns River is tidally influenced, so fish tend to move where cover is optimal for feeding. Look for a structure that potentially holds fish to rest in the current while feeding on passing items being carried by the rising or falling tides. When the tide is moving, work artificially in the direction the current is moving.