Farm 13/Stick Marsh
Indian River County
(Note that a new boat ramp was recently opened on the adjacent Fellsmere Reservoir, also known as Headwaters Lake. For more information on that separate location see the Fellsmere Fishing Forecast page.)
The St. Johns Water Management Area (SJWMA), known to most anglers as the Farm 13/Stick Marsh, is a 6,500-acre impoundment located along the east coast of central Florida in northwest Indian River County. Water depths range from 4 to 8 feet. Boaters unfamiliar with the SJWMA are advised to navigate to fishing locations with extreme caution due to the number of man-made and natural hazards present. Facilities include a double lane concrete boat ramp, air boat launch site, restroom and paved parking lot. Closest towns/cities are Melbourne, Palm Bay, Vero Beach, Sebastian and Fellsmere. No gas, food or bait available on site. Popular sportfish include largemouth bass, bluegill, redear sunfish, black crappie and several catfish species. This water body is noted for its excellent bass fishing due to the special no harvest regulation on largemouth bass. The SJWMA is one of the top 10 trophy bass spots in the state.
Anglers are reminded to exercise caution when boating due to submerged and floating timber in the Stick Marsh/Farm13 impoundment and that they are legally obligated to adhere to catch-and-release regulations for largemouth bass.
For more information on daily fishing forecasts and lake conditions for Stick Marsh/Farm 13, call Stick Marsh Bait & Tackle Shop at (772) 571-9855.
Water levels in Farm 13/Stick Marsh have returned to normal operating levels following the Spring draw-down of 2023. FWC and SJRWMD planted bulrush and spatterdock across a shallow flat in the southern end of the reservoir to reduce the effects of wind-related turbidity and facilitate growth of submersed aquatic vegetation in that area.
With cooler winter water temperatures, bass can be found in the shallows for the spawn and become more active throughout the reservoir. Flowing water at the water control structures on the north and south end of the reservoir are also great places to fish and can produce good numbers all day. Look to target bass in shallow water near shorelines and submerged humps. Golden shiners are a popular bait, along with soft plastics (especially senkos), rattletraps, spinner-baits, and top-water lures.
Fair numbers of black crappie can be found in the submerged ditches during this quarter. Best baits are minnows and/or small jigs (1/32 – 1/8 oz.) with a twister tail or tube. Bream anglers should target the abundance of submerged woody structure, fish attractors, and emergent vegetation near the internal levees. Worms are the best bait, but beetle-spins and small jigs with soft plastics will also work.
Shore fisherman may have luck fishing for bluegill and redear sunfish from exposed dikes near the boat ramp.
Anglers are reminded that Stick Marsh/Farm13 is catch-and-release for largemouth bass.
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 Farm 13/Stick Marsh:
Lunker Club (8 – 9.9 pounds): 137
Trophy Club (10 - 12.9 pounds): 28
Hall of Fame (13+ pounds): 1