Island Activities - Fishing

Citrus County has a wonderful fishing community and is home of Paradise Found Island Retreat. The fish residing in our waters are both diverse plentiful, with record hauls of Redfish being made everyday! Fishing is amazing from the island and even better aboard one of the free kayaks/canoes or you may even make arrangements for an afternoon/full day with one of the many seasoned fishing guides from the area.

By booking through Paradise Found Island, you ensure your vacation is complete with a personal captain, boat and bait for $450.00 half day or $550.00 for a full day, based on 2 people. Advance notice is highly recommended, so mention fishing guides when you make your reservations for Paradise Found Island. Remember, you don't have to be guests on the island to reserve a seasoned fishing guide complete with boat, tackle and license to reel in the "big one" !!

Crystal River Catfish  Crystal River Fishing
Homosassa Fishing  Homosassa Springs Fishing

These photos were taken on Paradise Found Island. World-class
anglers consider the Crystal River area one of the most active fishing
areas in the world. Bait shops are close by for basic fishing needs
and some advice from the locals.

Florida Fishing Chart
Captain's Quarters
To some inexperienced anglers, rivers are supposed to be strictly for bass, catfish and bluegills. Freshwater fish stick to freshwater, and saltwater species stay where they're supposed to - in the briny deep. Or, in the case of flats species, the briny shallow. But from November through March in many coastal rivers, anglers are just as likely to see snook, redfish, trout or
mangrove snapper as they are shell crackers. The flats species invade the rivers, and often move miles inland, into water that's completely fresh.
The migration is thought to be triggered by dropping temperatures. In theory, the black water of the rivers soaks up more of the sun's heat than the clear water on the flats, so it stays warmer throughout the winter. Spring seeps, with temperatures between 68 and 72, also help keep the rivers considerably warmer than the flats when cold fronts pass. And for species such as snook, which begin having a hard time surviving when the water temperature drops below 60, these waters provide a sort of spa, a safe refuge all winter.
Experienced anglers are well aware of the migration. And he's also aware that, though there are plenty of fish in the rivers at this time of year, finding and catching them can be a challenge, just like when they're scattered across the flats in the summer. I've found that the fish usually wait just off that current, along the edges or in little bayous to the side, rather than fighting the main flow.
As long as sardines remain available, use them. They're netted on the flats and can survive a mile or two up most coastal rivers, anywhere the water is not completely fresh. Jennings uses some of the baits as chum, and just as on the flats, a few "free" ones can turn on a bite when nothing else is happening.
Live shrimp are equally effective, but again, they can't survive water that's completely fresh. The shrimp are particularly good for snapper and for the sheepshead that also invade some rivers. Some anglers chop a half-dozen shrimp in tiny pieces and use this to chum each spot they try. It's effective, though it sometimes lures more catfish than gamefish.
When it comes to artificials, most river fans prefer topwaters early and late along the shorelines, where snook are most likely to prowl, and an assortment of jigs and plastic shrimp deeper during mid-day. (On rivers with lighted docks, these are often worth visiting at night; they attract plenty of small snook, and sometimes trout.)
Some anglers do well by slow-trolling, large diving plugs around deep holes in the rivers. This is the tactic that usually produces the largest snook. Some also catch lunker linesiders by free-lining live tilapia or freshwater shiners around the deeper holes.
Most rivers that lead to saltwater have at least some fish in winter, and the colder the winter, the more fish. Rivers in prime trout areas such as the Suwannee, Steinhatchee, Crystal, Homosassa, Anclote and Pithlachascotee are likely to have good winter trout runs. Those that don't feed directly into grass flat areas have fewer trout, but might make up for it with plenty of reds and, in the south, more snook.
Among the good snook waters are the Alafia, Little Manatee and Manatee feeding into Tampa Bay. The lower Hillsborough is also a pretty good location for snook and some reds in winter. At Charlotte Harbor, the Peace and Myakka are great winter snook spots, and farther south the Caloosahatchee attracts plenty of snook. Snook are usually easiest to catch at creek mouths dropping into the main rivers, particularly on falling tides. Reds, snapper and sheepshead tend to like shell bottom areas close to the mangroves, and trout are often in the deepest holes, very close to bottom. Artificials are best fished very slow during the colder days of winter, when the fish seem to become lethargic. On warmer days, they usually attack the same action they'll hit in spring or summer. River fishing typically is at a peak in November and December. After that, the fish are somewhat picked over, but some will remain inside until the first of April."
The State of Florida Requires those who would like to fish to purchase a fishing license. This issue may be handled over the telephone and the fee can be charged to your credit card. The number is: 1-888-FISH-FLORIDA (347-4356) Paradise Found suggest to all guest to check the current State of Florida fishing regulations before fishing. These regulations may be viewed at www.floridaconservation.org/fishing/