Escambia River

Escambia River FishingThe Escambia River is a 92-mile river, of which 54 miles long in Florida. The river has its headwaters in southern Alabama. It is called the Conecuh in that state, changing names as it comes into Florida as it drains into Pensacola Bay.

About Escambia River

The Escambia is the fourth largest river in Florida. It harbors the wealthiest assemblage of native North American freshwater fish of any Florida river with 85 native freshwater species.

Numerous access points are available along the Escambia River. Three fish camps are located along Highway 90 between Pensacola and Pace. From there, the lower river and delta marshes may be accessed directly. A boat ramp is also located just below the river’s mouth on the northeast shore of Escambia Bay, just south of Pace.

Fishing Pier

A trendy public fishing pier has been built along Highway 90 (Simpson River) just west of Pace. Quintette Landing, north of Pace off Highway 184, is a good point for reaching choice fishing spots of both the upper and lower river, including backwater areas. Other boat landings along the upper river include Molino, Webb Lake, McDavid, Cotton Lake, Bluff Springs, Kyser Landing, Sandy Landing (Closed Jan 1st to Feb 15th), Fisher Landing (Century), and Oil Plant (North of Jay).

Type of Fish in Escambia River

The Escambia River has a plethora of freshwater fish, more than any river in Florida. Including numerous sportfish species, shadow bass, warmouth, bluegill, longear sunfish, redear sunfish, spotted sunfish, spotted bass, largemouth bass, black crappie, chain pickerel, blue catfish, channel catfish, flathead catfish, sunshine bass but no bullhead catfish have been reported

In addition to the typical sunfish and bass species, the Escambia River also harbors other sportfish. The spotted bass, longear sunfish, warmouth, spotted sunfish, shadow bass, and black crappie. While all these species can be caught from the mainstem river, large tributaries should not be neglected. Big Escambia Creek and Pine Barren Creek have excellent spotted bass populations that are rarely exploited. 

Escambia River Fishing

Fishing is GREAT! Customers are still reporting excellent bluegill and some Bass and Catfish action in the “Lake.” Our Bayou has been known by many for over 50 years as the best fishing spot in Northwest Florida. Bank fishing is good in this area as well by boat; it’s really the anglers preference. 

Lower Escambia river

The lower Escambia River and Bayou level is good but always subject to change and should still be considered in your outing to this area. The lower region doesn’t have the upper river’s low water problems because we’re closer to Escambia Bay and receive some tidal influx.

The lower river is also an excellent place to fish for a mixed bag of saltwater fishes such as spotted seatrout, redfish, and sheepshead. The Spotted Seatrout bite has heated up in the past weeks. Several anglers report catching more than 50 seatrouts in one trip fishing where the Escambia River crosses under the Highway 90 bridge. Anglers were trolling jerk baits, medium-running crankbaits, and double jig “speck rigs.” Most of the seatrout run smaller in this area, but several larger fish have been caught. 

Fishing live bull minnows on the bottom in deep holes are a regular producer of bigger seatrout. When fishing for redfish, you should use live shrimp and bull minnows along shallow flats north and south of the Highway 90 bridge. Sheepshead tends to bite better during the winter months than most saltwater fish. Try small to medium size shrimp on a jig head or below a sliding egg-sinker rig. Sheephead tends to feed on barnacles and other invertebrates around structures such as bridge pilings, which can provide excellent fishing opportunities for both bank and boat fishermen alike.


Fishing should be useful throughout the winter and early spring in the lower tidal reaches of the river; however, fishing success in the upper river depends largely upon water levels. High water conditions exist during winter and early spring (January through April). Elevated water levels and flooding sometimes make the upper river more challenging to fish.

Sunshine bass fishing is excellent in late summer, primarily in the delta area. Live shrimp, jigs, and spoons produce the best results. Speckled perch can be caught in the river near treetops and sloughs in January and February using live minnows. All black bass less than 13 inches in length must be immediately released unharmed.

Opportunity for bluegill and shellcracker fishing is best in the spring near the delta area using earthworms. Many anglers also catch great strings of bream in the spring by fly fishing. Bass fishing is exceptional on the Escambia River during spring and fall. The best consistent bait is a crankbait, but live shrimp produce great catches, especially in late summer. So get up and find the best fishing spot near you and bring your lucky bait of choice!

Anglers easily reach the river. A map below is available from Blackwater Fisheries Research and Development Center, 8384 Fish Hatchery Rd., Holt, FL, 32564; (850)-957-6175.