Best spots to fish in Florida

When it comes to fishing, the sunshine state of Florida can be said to be the total package.

There are lakes and rivers in addition to the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico.

All these offer any type of fishing that an angler would prefer.

Further, the state is warmer than the rest of the country for most of the year, and therefore you can always access these areas at any time of the year.

On top of that, there are professional guides and captains always on stand-by to guide you as you explore these areas.

This article will point out some of the best fishing spots in Florida, but first things first – why so much fuss about this specific state?

What Makes Florida the ‘Fishing Capital of the World’?

Well, Florida has all the resources that an angler would look for.

To start with, there is a wide variety of fish to choose from as well as the natural habitats that ensure there is an exponential growth of the fish population all through.

The weather too is a contributing factor, and you will find that the State of Florida is always warm even when the rest of the country is at its coldest periods.

This allows for fishing all-year round.

Then, there is the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) that gives you all the tips that you need to maximize your fish trips in the area.

Head over to their website, and you should find everything that you need.

Fishing Licenses


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Before you embark on fishing in Florida, ensure you get a fishing license or permit for either saltwater or freshwater fishing. This applies to non-resides of 16 years and above.

Note that this permit applies to many marine organisms, including plants, fish and lobsters.


One vital thing that many anglers ignore is that not all beaches in Florida allow fishing. To be on the safe side with the law, always check out for fishing signs which are normally conveniently placed at the entrance.

If you intend to go fishing on a county or state-run beach, know that a fishing license is a prerequisite for shore fishing.

Best Fishing Spots in Florida: Top 10 Choices

Let us now check out some of the best fishing spots that the warm state of Florida has to offer.

1. Lake Tohopekaliga

Lake Tohopekaliga

Image Courtesy: Jacksonville District

With over 23000-acres of clear water, this lake is divided into East and West Lake Toho, and due to its proximity to Orlando, this is an excellent place for family vacations.

This is due to the theme parks and other fantastic entertainment spots that are found in Orlando.

The common fish species include black crappie and the trophy-size bass.

Also, between April and June, a lot of spawning of the bluegill species takes place in the lake. Pay close attention to the areas of the lake with sandy bottoms and dense vegetation.

2. Dog Island Reef

Located in North-West, Florida, the Dog Island Reef is famous for its white sandy beaches which attract anglers and vacationers alike.

The typical fish species in the reef include tarpon, Spanish mackerel, cobia, and pompano. The most effective baits that you can use in this area include a pompano jig or a live shrimp bait.

If you feel bold enough, you can also go for the sharks which are quite abundant in this area.

3. Disney World

You may be forgiven to think that the only things Disney World is famous for are the theme parks and other entertainment spots.

The Bay Lake and the Seven Seas Lagoon are full of the largemouth bass, especially in February.

To make things easier for you, there are numerous guides to help you locate the best spots for these fish.

There are also many fishing excursion packages that you can always take advantage of to reduce your overall costs.


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4. The Mangrove Islands

Mangrove Island Florida Fishing Spot

Image Courtesy: WUSF News

Comprising of up to 10000 islands, the common fish species that you can find in this area include mangrove snapper and the snook.

If you want success in getting the snook, always ensure that you use small hooks; big hooks tend to scare them off.

You can fish from the beach or from your vessel in the water, whichever you find convenient.

5. St. Johns River

This slow-moving river flows north, and it features segments of both fresh and saltwater. This unique feature means that it has a wide range of fish species to offer.

The common fish species include bluegills, crappie, bass, warmouth, and trout.

Find the right guide and your trip should be worthwhile.

6. Apalachicola River

“Florida’s forgotten coast” is the largest river in the state and it flows from Lake Seminole to the Gulf of Mexico.

It is a major hot-spot for bass fishing with the best spots being located on the upper and lower rivers.

The major species include Largemouth, Bluegill, Panfish, White bass, Stripped bass, among others.

These fishing areas offer good shore access plus there are even boat landings to ensure that you can also fish from the vessel.

7. Blackwater River

This river is 58-miles long, and it flows from Southern Alabama into Florida through Okaloosa County. It features white beaches and a sandy bottom.

The fish species common in these waters include Largemouth bass, Bluegill, Spotted Sea trout, Stripped bass, among others. To get maximum results, use live bait.

Although it gets crowded at the peak of the canoeing season, you can always enjoy camping provided by the surrounding forest environment.

8. Crescent Lake

This is another popular fishing area in this southern state among anglers and vacationers alike.

It is located in the North-Eastern part of the state, and some of the fish species that you should find in the water body include catfish, the largemouth bass, crappie, and so on.

9. Marco Island

This is one of the best fishing spots in Florida that you can enjoy spending some quality time with your family.

It features the biggest and widest beach in the county and can be accessed from the south and north ends.

The common fish species include Pompano, Flounder, kingfish, Snapper, and so on.

Besides the fishing, you can always enjoy the beautiful sunset, or you can enjoy watching other swimming sea creatures right from the beach.

There are also sufficient hotels and restaurants to ensure you enjoy your trip adequately.

10. Lake Okeechobee

lake okeechobee fishing spot in Florida

Image Courtesy: FAU

At 730 square miles, this is the largest freshwater lake in the State of Florida. So big that it is often referred to as the state’s inland sea.

The fish abundant in these waters include Speckled perch, largemouth bass, catfish, black crappies and bluegills.

Besides fishing, this lake is a huge draw to other vacationers who would just like to chill in their boats and enjoy the sun.

The lake is accessible all year round with charters available up to five days a week.

Useful Tips For Fishing in The Sunshine State

Now that we have mentioned some of the best fishing spots in the subtropical state let us also look at some other aspects that you need to consider before or as you embark on your expedition.


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This should be the top priority on your list. If you want to enjoy your fishing trip fully, you need to pay attention to your safety so that you can come out with your life in one piece.

The basic rule in any wild animal’s wild habitat is to avoid feeding the animals.

This would not only keep the animals safe from artificial foods which may interfere with the feeding pattern, but it should also keep you at a safe distance away from the animals.

Also, due to the raging sunshine, always equip yourself with sunscreen that would protect your skin from sunburns.

Never take off the life jacket and also ensure that the sharp hooks are appropriately stored. Also Read: Fishing Reel Storage Tips.

Lastly, do not head out into the waters while drunk.

The Best Times to head out and Fish in Florida

Although Florida has the perfect fishing conditions for most of the year, you should note that your success rates are likely to vary with specific periods or events.

Let us check them out briefly.

The Lunar Cycle

The different phases of the moon affect the aggressiveness of the fish and also how much they stay in a group. This effect is particularly evident during spawning time.

Try and head out into the waters some three days before and after the full and new moons to increase your chances.

Time of day

Most of the freshwater fish tend to actively feed early in the morning or late in the evening due to the lower temperatures that provide some reprieve from the heat.

Ideally, when the temperatures are high, pay special attention to the shades or deeper areas of the water which tend to be cooler.

Spawning Cycles

The fish’s spawning is affected by their nutrition, the water temperature, and the lunar phase, among others.

The FWC has a chart that you can use to keep track of the best fishing periods as well as the ideal spawning temperatures.

Top Florida Places to Fish – Conclusion

There you have it! Everything that you need to know about the best fishing spots in Florida.

Remember, the state government has put in place regulations that ensure both the anglers’ and the fish’s interests are taken care of.

Anytime you feel like having a fishing expedition with your family, check out the FWC website to make the necessary preparations before heading out to Florida.

Even better is that there is plenty of accommodation for everyone.