River and Freshwater Reports



River and freshwater reports for 2/25/2018  Record breaking temperatures have the water in our area rivers quite warm.  This has resulted in an early end to the river fishing season as many of the fish have moved out of the rivers and into Sarasota Bay, Tampa Bay, and Charlotte Harbor.  Spring has arrived early this year, for sure!  Recent trips produced a few snook and redfish, including one VERY nice snook caught on a Firetiger Jointed BX Minnow.  However, the bite was fairly slow, so unless it cools off, this may be my last report for a while.

Sarasota fishing report




River fishing has been good this year, with clients catching a variety of species.  I have been working the Braden and Manatee Rivers for a coupe of reasons.  They offer more variety and they are closer to the saltwaters of Tampa Bay.  Also, access on the Myakka is just tough, due to the ramp situation at Snook Haven.  Snook, jack crevelle, largemouth bass, juvenile tarpon, snapper, ladyfish, and redfish have all been hooked on charters of late.  Rapala X-Raps and Gulp! jerk baits were the most productive lures.  It is warming up a bit, but the river bite should continue until early April.

Sarasota fishing report




It looks like we are actually going to have a "winter" here in Sarasota this year, after two very mild years.  Water temperatures dropped down into the mid-50's, pushing snook and other species up into the area creeks and rivers.  Anglers casting Rapala X-Raps and BX Minnow plugs did well on average sized snook along with jack crevelle, redfish, and largemouth bass.  I have been mostly fishing the Manatee River, which is brackish and affers clients a chance at both freshwater and saltwater species, while the Braden River is a better choice for jacks and snook.  This action should continue until early April.

Sarasota fishing report




A recent warm snap slowed the bite a tad in the local rivers.  Anglers worked hard to fool largemouth bass, snook, redfish, and jack crevelle while casting Rapala plugs.  My last trip to the Braden River was very productive, with jack crevelle being plentiful and providing good action, with snook and redfish also being fooled.  Some cooler weather will help this bite be more consistent and should continue for the next couple of months.

Sarasota fishing report




Did a little River fishing this afternoon on the Braden River in Bradenton, Fl with long-time client Bill Kish.  We started in the early afternoon and I did not know what to expect considering that a fairly strong front had moved through the day before.  But, it was a beautiful afternoon, if just a tad breezy.  We were drifting along casting Rapala BX Minnow plugs, and to say we had a good day was an understatement!  We caught a couple small snook, but the stars of the day were jack crevelle, several pushing ten pounds!  They were everywhere and at one point Bill actually said he did not think he could reel in another fish.  This action should continue all winter until it gets warm again in the spring.

Sarasota fishing report




I did a little river fishing this week, one a Sarasota fishing charter and another a "scouting" trip.  We have had a couple of strong fronts move through, which should get the fish moving.  The water temperatutre was 67 degrees on Wednesday.  Snook, largemouth bass, and jack crevelle hit shallow diving plugs in the Manatee River.  I am going to concentrate more on the Manatee and Braden Rivers this season, due to the fact that access is much better and both rivers are fairly short, making the fish easier to locate.  Also, those rivers tend to produce more in terms of numbers and variety on days when the snook are a tad fussy.

Manatee River fishing report



I did a little scouting on the Manatee River the other day, to find decent action despite it being a bit early in the season.  Snook to 22", bass to 2 lbs, sunshine bass, bream, and ladyfish hit spinnerbaits and Rapalas.  The bite will improve as the water cools off!

Fishing report for Sarasota



Several anglers have commented on the lack of a recent river report.  The reason is simple, I really don't have one.  It has so unseasonably warm that the fish have not moved up into the area creeks and rivers, so I have only run a couple of trips, with fair results at best.  The forecast for the next 2 weeks continues to be warm and mild, so this "season" may not really happen at all.




It was an odd year on the Myakka River this season.  Unseasonably warm temperatures delayed the migration of snook up the river.  THen, El Nino rains had the river at flood stage for most of January.  Then, it warmed up quickly in March.  I ran a couple of charters this weeek, with anglers catching bass and small snook on fly and using Rapala X-Raps.


Sarasota fishing




This has been an unusual river season so far.  It was VERY warm up until Christmas, too warm, then cold with a lot of rain in January.  Right now the river is high, cold, and fast as we have had so much rain.  But, the cold should have pushed a bunch of fish up the river, and once the water level drops, fishing should be good.  Bass and snook hit Rapalas and flies, though the action has been quite sporadic.

Fishing reports




The unseasonably cool weather continues, slowing the migration of snook up into the rivers.  Still, most trips are producing several snnok and bass.  I had several fly fishing charters on the Myakka River that were productive.  A couple of good cold fronts should improve the fishing.





Unseasonably warm weather has delayed the river fishing, but in the last two weeks fishing both the Manatee River and Myakka River has been fairly productive.  As is the norm, the Manatee provides variety, with clients jumping juvenile tarpon, landing snook (mostly small), largemouth bass, gar, and snapper.  The Myakka River generally produces larger snook, and we landed fish to 30" in the last couple of weeks.  Rapala X-Raps in Firetiger, gold, and white fooled the fish.  Water temperatures are still in the low 70's, but several cold fronts are forecast and this should trigger a migration of fish up into the rivers.Sarasota fishing report



This is a bit out of the norm, but I just returned from a trip up to Maine.  My girlfriend and I did some fly fishing and whale watching, along with much eating, drinking, and sight seeing.  At Moosehead we stayed in a cabin at Wilsons on Moosehead Lake, http://www.wilsonsonmooseheadlake.com/ and booked a fly fishing charter on the east outlet of the Kennebec River, as well as a Moose safari.  On both trips our guide was Scott, owner of the operation.  The cabins are rustic, but very comfortable with everything you need to enjoy a relaxing vacation.  Fishing was decent, although it was maybe a bit warm.  We caught land-locked salmon and native brook trout on fly, mostly small, with both of us missing a couple larger fish.  Swinging flies, nymphs under an indicator, and retrieving streamers all produced fish.  I also missed a few on surface patterns, I am just too slow!  Beth had never fly fished before, but Scott had her casting well enough and she landed several fish on her own.

We went on a moose safari the next afternoon; Beth was determined to see one.  Right at the start of the trip we came across one in the dirt road!  It was as startled as we were and took off on a run.  Those big old things are FAST!  We saw some awesome scenery, but no more moose, though I think I saw a bear.


We also stayed a couple nights in Bar Harbor.  We enjoyed some good seafood and did a little shopping, but the whale watching tour was the highlight.  We used Bar Harbor Whale Watch Co. http://www.barharborwhales.com/ and thoroughly enjoyed the trip.  The boat was comfortable and fast (a large catamaran) and the staff enthusiastic and friendly.  We saw dolphins, tuna, and a dozen or so fin whales.  The seas were a bit choppy at first but laid down and the afternoon was gorgeous.


Bar Harbor also hosts Acadia National Park, one of the prettiest places that I have ever visited.  The scenery is awesome and quite different from what I am used to in Florida.



This has been a good season for snook fishing in the Myakka River, with some VERY nice fish being landed!  Recent record high temperatures along with the full moon seems to have resulted in a push of the larger snook moving down river towards Charlotte Harbor.  Charters are producing more bass and gar, a sure sign that the snook fishing is winding down.



This has been a good "season" so far, with most charters producing at least a 26" snook, with quite a few larger fish, up to 20 pounds.  #10 gold Rapala X-Raps and gold and Firetiger Jointed BX Minnow plugs have been the most reliable baits.  On a recent trip, fly angler Mark Gillihan, an accomplished angler from Michigan, caught several small snook and bass and finished up the trip with a nice 27" snook; a great fish on fly!



Snook fishing continues to be productive in the Myakka River, with decent numbers of fish in the 22" to 28" range being landed, along with the occasional lunker.  As always Rapala plugs continue to fool the wily snook.  The two top producers have been the #10 gold X-Rap Slashbait and the Firetiger Jointed BX Minnow.  One day they preferred the X-rap, the next the BX Minnow; toss them both!  Bass numbers are diminishing from earlier in the season.



Some unusually moderate weather over the Christmas holiday resulted in water temperatures climbing a bit too high.  But, recent cold fronts resulted in the temps dropping into the low 60's, which is about right for winter snook fishing.  Trophy fish continue to be landed on Rapala plugs.  Largemouth bass in the pound and a half range are also being caught.  The water level is low this time of year, so higher tide stages are best



Snook fishing in the Myakka River continues to be a bit hit-or-miss, though we had one great afternoon where clients landed several bass and snook, with one going 27" and the other pushing 20 pounds!  Rapala X-Raps in gold and Firetiger Jointed BX Minnows were the top producers.  It is looking like this is going to be a better season for bass, we are hooking several on each trip, perhaps it is the cooler weather?  The specks are still biting at Lake Manatee, though they are much more scattered out as they move to the banks to spawn.



Snook fishing continues to improve in the Myakka River with each passing cold front.  There are decent numbers of snook in the 18" to 24" range from the I-75 Bridge upriver to the dam.  Larger fish should move in as it cools off.  Largemouth bass are also being caught on most trips.  Rapala X-Raps continue to be productive.



The crappie (speckled perch) also continues in Lake Manatee from the state park to the SR 64 bridge.  Small jigs, Beetlespins, Roadrunners, and live minnows are all productive.  The best bite is from first light to mid-morning.



Snook are beginning to migrate up into the Myakka and Manatee rivers as the first real cold fronts move through.  Recent charters produced snook to 25" on Rapala X-Raps ( #10 gold) and Jointed BX Minnows in Firetiger.  More fish will move up, including the larger specimens, as the water temperature in Charlotte Harbor drops.  The speckled perch bite continues to be good in Lake Manatte between the SR 64 bridge and the state park.  Road Runners and jigs are producing best in water between 10 and 22 feet deep.



Summer is over and it is time to get back to some freshwater and river fishing!  We did have a LOT of rain in September, and the Myakka was at flood stage for several weeks.  The water is receding, however it is still high and fast; not really fishable.  I have spent some time on both Upper Myakka Lake and Lake Manatee this week.  Upper Myakka Lake produced a few bream and tilapia, but Lake Manatee was better, giving up some nice bream, small bass, and the big news; the speckled perch (crappie to out northern friends) bite is heating up!  Specks are schooled up on the channel edges in 8' to 15' of water and are hitting small brightly colored jigs, Beetle Spins, Road Runners, and of course, live minnows.  The fish should move up shallow as it cools off.  We actually caught a 22" snook in the lake on a topwater plug!  The largemouth bite has been a bit slow but should improve with cooling water temperatures.  Snook will start to show up in both rivers shortly.

Sarasota speckled perch


With Spring Break and the tourist season in full swing, I stay very busy with my saltwater charters and don't get to do much freshwater fishing.  I did have a bass charter this morning, and since they were staying in St Petersburg, I met them at Lake Manatee.  Action was steady, they landed a dozen bass, 2 went close to 5 pounds, along with a nice channel cat.  Rapala Skitterprops and white spinnerbaits caught most of the fish.

Lake Manatee bass


Snook fishing continues to be decent in the Myakka River, although rising water temperatures may get the fish moving towards Charlotte Harbor.  The numbers are down, but quality fish are still being caught and I am seeing an increase in the number of largemouth bass being landed.  As always, Rapala plugs produce the most fish, though anglers targeting bass will do well using soft plastic baits.

nice Sarasota bass


A recent cold snap dropped water temperatures significantly in the area.  This seems to have resulted in decent numbers of snook migrating up the area rivers.  As of today, the temperature was in the low 60's, which is perfect!  Largemouth bass and snook bit well, hitting Rapala plugs cast toward the shoreline.

Doc with a big Myakka River snook

   The water level is low in the Myakka in the state park.  Tilapia are thick and hitting live worms.  Some are fairly large, up to 4 pounds.  Som bream are mixed in.

Myakka River video; http://www.youtube.com/user/captjimusfl?blend=1&ob=5

Myakka River Fishing is a site dedicated to fishing the magical Myakka River in Sarasota, Florida. The Myakka is the state’s only “Florida Wild and Scenic River”. It flows some 70 miles from it’s headwaters in Hardee and Manatee Counties all the way down to Charlotte Harbor. The last 20 miles or so of the Myakka River are tidal and brackish. There is very little development along the entire river, it still retains a charm and feeling of serenity. This truly is the real Florida!