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). Information regarding canoe, kayak, and tube float trips on the Chipola River can be obtained from Bear Paw Adventures (850-482-4948). Bear Paw Outfitters is closed during the winter but will reopen March 1st.
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.
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. The Chipola River is the best river in Florida to target Shoal Bass and sampling results indicate good number of larger individuals. For those anglers targeting shoal bass try fishing the deep holes below shoal areas between Magnolia Bridge and Johnny Boy landing. The best baits for shoal bass are artificial baits that mimic crayfish, like small crankbaits and plastic creature baits. Catch-and-release is recommended for this unique fish species even though shoal bass are managed with the same regulation as largemouth bass. A few Black Crappie (i.e., 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 Bluegill and Largemouth Bass should pick up in March in the early morning or late afternoonChipola River should be low during the fall and the fish should be very active.