Lower St. Johns River and Lakes
Brevard, Flagler, Lake, Orange, Putnam, Seminole, St. Johns & Volusia counties
Lower St. Johns River and Lakes: This one-hundred forty mile stretch of the St. Johns River flows north through, or is connected to, more than a half dozen natural lakes ranging from 380 acres to 40,000 acres in size (Little Lake George, Lake George, Lake Dexter, Stagger Mud Lake, Lake Beresford, Lake Monroe, Lake Jesup, Lake Harney, and Puzzle Lake). Habitats are very varied. The stretch between Puzzle Lake and Lake Harney is shallow with ample sandbars and wide, flat expanses of floodplain. Lake Harney to Monroe is deeper with some small side channels and braiding as the river approaches Lake Monroe. The reach between Lake Monroe and Lake George has been channelized in some areas and lacks the sandbars. It has numerous oxbows branching off the river. The stretch above Lake George is more tidally influenced and has more marine species, with deeper waters and steeper shoreline drop-offs.
High temperatures and the possibility of algal blooms throughout the summer will make fishing a bit of a challenge. Schools of threadfin shad should begin forming and moving through the river. Largemouth bass should continue to be caught following the schools of baitfish present in the river. Anglers should plan on being out early as recreational boating reaches its peak during this time of year making many areas of the river difficult to fish even in the late evening. Striped bass and sunshine bass seek cool water in the summer and should be congregating near the mouth of Blue Springs, the Wekiva River, the Croaker Hole in Little Lake George, and at other thermal refuges in the river. Grass shrimp, small shad and eels (when available) are the preferred baits for these fish.
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 St. Johns River system:
Lunker Club (8 – 9.9 pounds): 405
Trophy Club (10 - 12.9 pounds): 75