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Blackwater River

I’m fairly new to the area. I’ve been partly into blackwater bay but never up the river. Is it navigable in a 22’ pathfinder (approx 15” draft) during low tide? Any navigation tips would be appreciated.



  • nobleonenobleone Posts: 108 Deckhand
    Depends on how far up the river you want to go.  Definitely not all the way to the landing at Collier Seminole.  It has gotten more sketchy over the years.  I surely wouldn't travel very far up it out of the bay on a low tide in a 22' boat.

    "If it's not one thing, it's an alternator"

  • MarcoBobMarcoBob Posts: 50 Deckhand
    Thanks for the reply. I was thinking of going about 1.5 miles up river from the mouth (up to the sharp bend). Is that doable on a low tide? If not, would it be any trouble when the tide is up a foot or so from mean low?
  • 10kman10kman Posts: 999 Officer
      New area to fish,always go up that stretch at dead low tide.Then
    you see all the hazards and know where they are as the water rises.
  • polliwogpolliwog Posts: 355 Deckhand
    As 10K man said go at low tide,BUT if you are 15 in floating you have to add another 10+inches for the motor shaft.  I assume you don't pole.  I can get into 7 or 8 inches because I have a poling platform,but I don't like doing that at my advanced age.LOL.  If you get stuck you will have to wait out the tide change.Not fun.
  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 4,909 Captain
    A very good idea as well to
    idle down and move very slowly when moving into areas that might have nasty surprises - while watching your depth finder like a hawk... As long as I have three feet of water under me I’m fairly relaxed, less than that,  I keep moving slowly with my motor still down in running position.. The moment I’m starting to see any mud (prop near or touching bottom),  I turn around, raise my motor and idle back out into deeper waters... All of this is done only on a rising tide.  I don’t do any exploring on a falling tide.  Far too easy to get caught in a falling tide, then spending hours aground waiting for the tide to come back in...

    The advice to go into new areas at dead low tide (so you can see things that are hidden at higher water stages) are very good indeed...
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • MarcoBobMarcoBob Posts: 50 Deckhand
    Thanks for all of the advise. I’ve been doing a lot of backwater exploring and I’ve learned to do it as described above. My first week with the boat and I had to get out and push twice :/ . That was pretty nerve wracking to say the least.

    So has anyone actually run up that river on a low tide in a bay boat?
  • JW_YakAnglerJW_YakAngler Posts: 301 Deckhand
    Not in a bay boat, but I ran from Collier Seminole State Park down into Blackwater Bay and back several times about 5 years ago in a 16 foot tri hull. The section you are talking about is passable in your boat as long as you follow the advice above. I wouldn't go much further up the river than that bend. 
    My YouTube channel: JakeW KayakFishing
  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 4,909 Captain
    and if you go... post up how it went - both from the navigation and the fishing points of view.. Stay at homes will be looking forward to hearing - if you go... 

    Aren't boats fun?
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • MarcoBobMarcoBob Posts: 50 Deckhand
    Thanks again for the responses and advise. I plan on going out next week and I’ll let you know how it goes.
  • Turner River TerrorTurner River Terror Posts: 12,248 AG
    edited April 2020 #11
    The River it's self is plenty deep..getting across the Bay is a challenge. Two ways to do from the Eastern side and one on the Western side.
    Low tide ..Forget it.
    I use to run across the Bay at a half outgoing and then spend my time fishing until half Incoming.
    Lot's of small Snook where the river meets Mud Bay..
    The river is small  jewfish heaven.

    Killin and Grillin :grin
  • nobleonenobleone Posts: 108 Deckhand
    I used to run an 18' Sailfish flats boat out of Collier Seminole all the time, didn't matter what tide.  Had to wait on the tide to put the boat on the trailer once or twice, the ramp there isn't the best.  I had a jackplate and knew EXACTLY where the channel was because I started years before in a johnboat.  The last time I went all the way to the basin was on a rising tide, in an 18' MasterAngler but that was 5 years ago.  I was up that way last year but chickened out even before I got to the creeks that run over to Mud Bay.  I was in a 19' Pathfinder with a jackplate and still got spooked.  That whole passage has changed a lot over the past few years with all the storms we've had, especially since Irma.  Good luck, let us know how you do.  And watch out for kayaks, for some reason they always want to paddle in the middle of  the channel....

    "If it's not one thing, it's an alternator"

  • 10kman10kman Posts: 999 Officer
      The difficult part of entering Mud Bay from the
    Palm River area is you will hit a rock hard clay 
    bottom as you come into Mud Bay.You can
    only get thru at near high tide.And you better
    be watching tide chart so you are able to
    return.That clay bottom is 20-30 yds.wide.
  • MarcoBobMarcoBob Posts: 50 Deckhand
    Thanks for the info. I’ll probably put this trip off for a bit and try the outside beaches next week. After scouring the net for fishing reports, it sounds like that’s where the snook are starting to show up. This is my first spring here and I don’t know the patterns yet.  Lots to learn.
  • Go up to Mud Bay on a hard falling tide and stay at the river mouth area as it falls.
    At the end of the last Island to your right is the deepest cut thru that will take you across the Bay. Hard Right.
    Mud bay will almost completely dry out on a hard fall and all the fish gang up in that little cut thru.
    You can catch a bunch then..but your not going home till the tide gets half way in..
    I've stranded myself up there a bunch of times on purpose just for the fishing..
    Killin and Grillin :grin
  • MarcoBobMarcoBob Posts: 50 Deckhand
    Hey Terror, are you talking about the river feeding Palm Bay or Blackwater Bay?
  • River feeding Palm Bay.
    Mud bay is the next Bay North..That,s where it all begins.
    You cross Palm , up the river to Mud , Across Mud ( good luck ) and follow that small creek right to just about the Headwaters of the Blackwater.
    You'll come out and see Channel Markers .
    Park is about 3 /Miles North.
    It's a Loop you can start at the Blackwater Bay end or thru Palm.
    Kayakers do it a lot in Winter.
    Killin and Grillin :grin
  • MarcoBobMarcoBob Posts: 50 Deckhand
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