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.
Summer is a great time to fish Stick Marsh/Farm 13 with much less angling pressure than winter months. The internal ditches, ditch edges, intersections are good places to target Crappie, Bream, and Bass. With the rainy season heating up, expect a lot of water movement through the system. Areas near the structures typically offer great fishing for all species. If you try the water control structures for more than 30 minutes without a bite, it’s best to move on. Sometimes the dissolved oxygen in the water coming through the gates can be low and the fish will move out. Habitat in the south end of the farm is best and where most anglers start. Eeelgrass, Coontail, and Hydrilla exist amongst all of the stumps creating a great place for all species. Many trophies come out of the Stick Marsh this time of year. Spinnerbaits, chug bugs, buzzbaits, rattletraps, and zoom speed worms all produce. Often times, fishing slow is the ticket. A senko style lure fished slow is a great way to get a summertime bite. Junebug is a local favorite color for worms. Wild golden shiners are another great option for those wanting to try live bait. Carolina rigs fished along the ditch edges and shell beds can produce big bites. Anglers are reminded that all largemouth bass caught must be released immediately under the special no harvest regulation.
Black crappie should be concentrated during this quarter in Ditch 7, Ditch 13, the north flow-way, and in other submerged secondary canals. Deep water is the name of the game for summertime specks. Anglers targeting these tasty panfish are using minnows and/or small jigs (1/32-1/8 oz.) in twister tail or tube styles. Jigs in green, pink, brown, salt and pepper, or chartreuse seem to be hot colors to try. Bluegill catches are heating up this time of year but one can expect fair numbers to be caught by crappie anglers. There are also very impressive numbers of good size shell crackers in this impoundment. Crickets, red worms, and small jigs on the humps and shell beds around the perimeter of the Stick Marsh should produce a nice cooler of panfish.
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): 126
Trophy Club (10 - 12.9 pounds): 20
Hall of Fame (13+ pounds): 1