Farm 13/Stick Marsh
Indian River County
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.
Largemouth Bass will be in a typical summer pattern but fishing will be good for anglers that adapt to the conditions. The best bite should be during the morning or evening, especially a calm cool evening after the day’s thunderstorms have dissipated. Look for bass to be distributed more widely throughout the reservoir, oriented to the shallow tops of underwater berms and woody structure in close proximity to deeper water. The intersections of the submerged north-south drainage canals in Farm 13 should be holding good numbers of bass. The water was pretty low until early June but a good rain has it back up to normal and water should move at the structures whenever we get good rain. During this quarter anglers should look for a strong bite at the water control structure outflows and narrow cuts which generate current when water is moving through the system. Bass often school up in these areas to feed on bait fish. If the water is not moving, bass anglers can always try out the open water fish attractors located along the eastern side of the Stick Marsh pool. Water conditions will dictate lure selection. This time of year, the diet of largemouth bass typically consists of threadfin and gizzard shad. Artificial lures that imitate shad, including top-water, shallow-running, and deep-diving crankbaits should be anglers’ best bets followed by plastic worms and swimbaits.
Black Crappie (speckled perch) fishing will be slow this time of the year for those anglers willing to seek them out. During this quarter angler should look for them in and around deep-water structure, such as in Ditch 7, Ditch 13, along the drop-offs of numerous secondary submerge drainage ditches and around the fish attractors. Small jigs (1/32 and 1/8 ounce) with twister-tail or tube style tails and minnows should be effective.
Bluegill and Redear Sunfish (shellcracker) will be found feeding and spawning along the perimeter levees throughout the reservoir and along the open-water drainage ditches in Farm 13. Biologists have been impressed by the number of Redear Sunfish that they have seen in the course of sampling for Largemouth Bass, both along the underwater humps and the fish attractors in Stick Marsh. Live crickets, worms, and grass shrimp will be the baits of choice, followed by beetle spins, and small jigs. Catfishing on this reservoir should be quite good, with traditional baits and methods all being productive.
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): 119
Trophy Club (10 - 12.9 pounds): 16