July 2021 Fishing Report for the Indian River Lagoon
It’s Been A Mixed Bag of Black Drum, Redfish and Sea Trout during the cooler parts of the Year in the IRL
Fishing During COVID-19
Last year’s COVID response in the spring of 2020 crippled much of our nation and the ability of people to travel. Every restaurant, eatery, and all lodging were shut down till almost mid-summer in Cocoa Beach and much of the state. This year is a different story, it seems that everyone is coming to Florida for vacation. The dining rooms are open and so are all the bars and attractions. Our daily routines require very little masking unless requested by the business, other than that it’s almost back to normal.
All national parks are requiring their visitors to wear a mask both indoors and outdoors including the Canaveral National Seashore and Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge. The mandate was handed down by President Biden and the Mosquito Lagoon is included in both these areas.
All commercial guide permit holders must follow Presidential Executive Order 13911, issued January 20, 2021, requiring the wearing of masks on all federal lands. To keep visitors and employees safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic, face masks covering the nose and mouth are required on U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service lands, waters and buildings when an individual cannot maintain a physical distance of at least 6 feet other people who are not from the individual’s household.
If visitors are occupying a vessel individually, or only with others from their immediate family, masks may not be required. Also, if visitors are occupying a vessel that is large enough for social distancing of at least 6 feet, a mask may not be required. Masks are required in all other circumstances.
Most of our fishing charters were NOT in the wildlife refuge last year and many of our charters this year have been relocated out of the National Parks area. We have been extremely successful at catching fish elsewhere as the Mosquito Lagoon has appeared to become an unmanaged waterway. Our observations are that Park Rangers and Officers have quarantined themselves from the federal lands as a result of the pandemic. The whole park staff has locked themselves in their respective offices and the visitor center is closed to the public. Presently we hold a guide permit for the Mosquito Lagoon and the Federal Waters nearby.
This season’s Fishing Report is early in the season, we’ve been catching loads of seatrout with a sprinkling of undersized and slot redfish. The black drum has been the party crashers in the flats and holding on to nearby man-made structures. Artificials have been the ticket during coldfronts while live bait has been more productive in the nearby shallows as spring closes in. Look for the tarpon to arrive as the water warms and snook to be active too on the Indian River Lagoon.
As warmer weather starts to evolve over the next few weeks, follow me to the ocean as I pursue larger and more aggressive fish along the beaches and deep water reefs and wrecks. The Indian River Lagoon will still produce some special catches, but the summer will eventually signal in the large breeder redfish that show up in late August and continue into early fall.
Hopefully, this year’s efforts will help improve the environment in the Indian River Lagoon. With the decline of seagrass, the manatee population suffered this winter when nutrition was absent from their normal foraging areas. Next winter and spring or 2021-2022 will determine if we are heading in the right direction. Until then, we will still be here for our anglers and working our hardest to find gamefish each season.
The Indian River Lagoon is National Treasure
With every non-profit group looking to solve and evolve our lagoon back to its former self, our hopes are with them as both Government and private organizations seek to restore the waterway. Efforts are underway to manage development and deter the onset of algae blooms that have devastated the seagrass and destroyed some of the fisheries. Efforts to repopulate clams, oysters, and seagrass have so far fallen short. A decade after the first bloom, we have yet to bring the natural vegetation back.
Join Captain Richard on your next visit to Florida’s Space Coast and the incredible Indian River Lagoon and the Banana River Lagoon.