St. Marys and Nassau Rivers
This 125-mile river starts in the acid swamps of Okeefenokee and becomes a tidal river below US 17 north of Jacksonville. Upstream is redbreast sunfish and small largemouth bass territory. The salt marsh zone is famous for striped bass (the same is true for nearby Nassau River).
Both of these coastal rivers give anglers the opportunity to catch a variety of freshwater species. When fishing the Saint Mary’s River, be sure to keep current on both Florida and Georgia regulations as rules change depending on your location. In the upper reaches of these rivers in lower salinity areas, largemouth bass, panfish, and catfish can all be taken. Panfish should remain active throughout the summer months. The Saint Mary’s River is known for its healthy populations of bluegill and redbreast sunfish. The shallower, vegetated banks are the most productive panfish fish habitats in these rivers. Woody snags or downed trees should be targeted as well. Live baits such as worms, grass shrimp, and crickets are great choices for panfish in these waters. Artificial flies like poppers and rubber spiders as well as small spinners and jigs can be productive. Largemouth bass fishing is likely to slow down during the hot summer months. In the lower stretches of these rivers, anglers can target saltwater species including drum, seatrout, and flounder. Live bait is an effective way of taking these species, with mud-minnows, shrimp, and crabs being popular choices. Fish imitating soft plastics and plugs are also effective ways to target these fish. Areas to target include current breaks, woody structure, and areas of hard bottom. Anglers looking to tangle with powerful striped bass should concentrate their efforts in the lower stretches of the St. Mary’s River, between I-95 and the town of St. Mary’s. Trolling plugs and casting shad-imitating jigs in deeper holes should produce fish.
TrophyCatch is FWC's citizen-science program that rewards anglers for documenting and releasing trophy bass 8 pounds or larger.
Lunker Club (8 – 9.9 pounds): 1
Trophy Club (10 - 12.9 pounds): 1