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.
Fishing this river can be hit or miss. Fish the upper river (from SR 44 south to the county line) can produce very good for panfish. Panfish here have been reported to be numerous and of good size. Worms and small artificial snails fished along the bottom will be best for redear sunfish. Worms, crickets, and grass shrimp will make excellent bait for bluegill and redbreast sunfish. Catfish can be found throughout the river. Find deep holes near permeant structures (bridge pilings, rip-rap, etc.). Fish stinky baits on the bottom, upstream of the structure; let the smell entice the fish out of hiding. Bass fishing can be good anywhere from SR 200 downriver into Lake Rousseau. During cold fronts, try fishing up the Rainbow River. This spring-fed river can provide a warm(er) water refuge during periods of prolonged cold. Obey all posted navigation signs and enjoy fishing around the abundant vegetation. Live shiners and artificial worms fished near submersed grasses and through pads should produce bites. As the weather warms, looks for areas of hard bottom where the current is blocked or slowed by eddies, trees, or other structures. Below the Inglis dam, anglers can have the chance to catch freshwater and saltwater species, including redfish, spotted sea trout, sheepshead, and snook.
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): 41
Trophy Club (10 - 12.9 pounds): 5