This river is home to the unique shoal bass. When fishing for shoal bass, follow the same bag and minimum size regulations as those listed for other black bass such as largemouth bass. The Chipola River is accessible in Marianna off CR 280 (Magnolia Rd), Peacock Bridge Rd (located north of Sink Creek), SR 274 west of Altha on Hamilton Spring Rd, and SR 20 at Clarksville. This very scenic, spring-fed coldwater river stretches about 95 miles starting just north of Marianna and running south through the Dead Lake and into the Apalachicola River. The Chipola River has fast water shoals and provides excellent sunfish (redbreast, redear and bluegill) fishing in the spring depending on the water level. Boat operators should be cautious of these shallow limestone shoals while running your boat in this river during low water.
Local information on these rivers and their fishes may be obtained from the Division of Freshwater Fisheries Management, Northwest Regional Office (850-265-3676).
Anglers should always be mindful of the rocky limestone shoals and snags in the river. The river is still low and travel upstream through shallow, swift shoals may be impossible so anglers should plan accordingly. View daily river levels and flow.
Anglers should always be mindful of the rocky shoals and snags in the river. Bream fishing (redear, bluegill, redbreast, and spotted sunfish) should be fair to good throughout the winter and early spring. Try fishing deep water “holes” in midwinter and the shallows around snags and stumps in early March. Recommended baits for bream are beetle-spins, worms, and crickets. Largemouth bass and shoal bass fishing will slow through January and should pick up between mid-February and early March. In the winter, try fishing deep areas of the river and backwaters with diving crankbaits worked slowly. Recommended baits for largemouth bass fishing include artificial lizards, dark worms, spinner baits, and lures and artificials that mimic crayfish. Shoal bass can be caught above Highway 20 (between Magnolia Bridge and Johnny Boy landing) in shoal areas (as well as in pool areas containing limestone rock just above and below the shoals) using the same tackle used to target largemouth bass. The newly certified state record shoal bass
was caught in the Chipola River using a Z-man Chatterbait with a Paca-Craw trailer on December 6, 2014. A few black crappie (speckled perch) can be caught in deep holes around snags during the winter and spring with crappie minnows. Catch-and-release is recommended for this unique fish species. Fly-fishing for bream and bass should pick up in March in the early morning or late afternoon.