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Visiting from the North

Hi everyone. I have a couple of questions I’m hoping someone can answer. I’ll be coming down from Minnesota with my family in December to spend some time with my wife’s grandparents near Orlando, and I’m toying with the idea of bringing down my boat and trying to fish. I’ve fished for redfish and snook around Sanibel island once before but otherwise my experience is concentrated in the Midwest, Canada and western mountain states. I’ve read some about the Indian river lagoon system, and the species that can be found there. Sounds interesting but also extremely large. I’m not looking for anyone to give any favorite spots or anything specific really, but would love to know if this time of year I should be looking for certain depths, or structure types, etc. and any help narrowing down where might be a good place to launch from, or if there are other bodies of water that anyone would be willing to suggest it would be greatly appreciated. Also any general information on technique (live bait, artificials, flies, etc.) FYI I would be catch and release fishing only, just wanting to get out and explore a new area of the country and catch some fish with my kids. I’m also not looking to catch any specific species in particular,  but would love to add some new species to the list, so brackish and saltwater are more appealing in that regard. 
Lastly, I’ve read that the water in the Indian river system is shallow in the winter, but haven’t yet seen what exactly that means. Not wanting to get stuck anywhere or damage my boat, so if anyone could expand on that it would be extremely helpful. My boat is 20’ fish/ski runabout with a 150 merc outboard, minimum draft is 15”. Am I likely to get stuck if I don’t know the area, or should I be able to navigate safely this time of year? I do have a Garmin echomap plus that I’ll be using to navigate as well. 

Thanks in advance for any information you’re willing to provide! 


  • SUPER DSUPER D Posts: 737 Officer
    Welcome, first is your trailer galvanized? if not leave boat home. Your fish and ski, is a fresh water boat and would need to be washed and flushed as soon as possible. Get a top spots map. for Indian river. Mosquito lagoon could be hard to  fish, fish are smart, and shallow. some Trout in deeper water, but the bigger Trout are often shallow. But Indian river has many bridges that hold Black drum of all sizes, and some big Reds. Use Shrimp, and cut Blue crab on bottom near pilings, and maybe on deeper flats. Fly fishing can be great if you can sight fish Reds, and big Trout, but you will not do well with a trolling motor. you must be very quit, you can talk, but no bangs, and clunks when you drop a rod you will see if a school of Reds, or trout were (were) near, as they hump the water as they leave. Good luck, and be careful, lots of shallow water. Indian river is mostly low speed West of channel. 
  • duckmanJRduckmanJR Posts: 21,265 AG
    You did not say how long you are staying in FL.... If you are not going to be here more than 2 weeks...I would not trailer a boat just about as far north to south then south to north that you can do in America...all while driving possibly thru snowstorms etc...all the while worrying about bearing failure or tire failure... Now, add to that you just don't know what you are doing or have a bank of spots to go to.... Treat yourself to a top tier full time guide who will get you the fish you are after.... YOLO
    There are many roads to travel
    Many things to do.
    Knots to be unraveled
    'fore the darkness falls on you
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