Citrus, Marion, Sumter, Levy, Hernando counties
This 157-mile stream originates in Green Swamp in Hernando County and flows north to the Gulf at Yankeetown. The stream has many limerock areas and associated swamps. Water levels fluctuate except in Lake Rousseau and the area just above the influence of Rainbow River. Water color is dark during the rainy season and clear during low water. Public ramps are located at S.R. 44 in Rutland, C.R. 470 north of Lake Panasofkee, the Outlet River west of Lake Panasofkee on C.R. 470 in Sumter County, C.R. 39 north of SR 200 in Citrus County, U.S. Highway 41 at Dunnellon and SR 40 at Yankeetown.
Local contacts: Anglers Resort Dunnellon 352-489-2397.
Water levels in the river can fluctuate with seasonal conditions. Anglers can stay up to date on river levels by visiting Southwest Florida Water Management District’s web page. Live shiners are a great option for targeting largemouth bass. Fish them around edges of vegetation and around hard structures. Recent reports have panfish being very active throughout the river. Crickets are the common bait, but worms and small pieces of shrimp have worked well too. As the days get hot and water temperatures increase, anglers should try fishing up the Rainbow River. This spring-fed river will remain cool when the surrounding waters are hot. Anglers fishing this river should heed all posted signage. Anglers targeting catfish should find submersed structures to fish around. Drop a stink bait upriver of a submersed log to draw out hungry catfish. There are a number of bait shops in the area prospective anglers can contact for up to date fishing information.
TrophyCatch is FWC's citizen-science program that rewards anglers for documenting and releasing trophy bass 8 pounds or larger. The following TrophyCatch bass have been submitted from the Withlacoochee River:
Lunker Club (8 – 9.9 pounds): 39
Trophy Club (10 - 12.9 pounds): 5