Indian River Florida Fishing the Shallow Water Flats
The Indian River Lagoon is a TRUE lagoon and is spectacular for inshore fishing charters. Over the years the lagoon has changed from a commercially harvested waterway to a protected inland paradise for recreation and enjoyment. As a Florida Saltwater Fishing Guide, I take anglers out in search of large inshore redfish, black drum, tarpon and snook. Once known as the Sea “Trout Capital of the World”, the IRL still holds on to its roots as a viable angling destination.
Indian River Florida Fishing The Intracoastal Waterway
During the last century, the IRL has become a mecca for recreational and sports fishing enthusiast. Many adventurous anglers from all over the world travel to this renowned fishing destination for favorite saltwater gamefish species. Much different than from the sixties and seventies with local watering holes like Tingley’s Fish Camp, now-a-day sports fishing has created a foundation for a multi-billion dollar industry in Florida with boat manufacturers, outdoors and
Indian River Lagoon Information
The Indian River Lagoon fringes Florida’s Atlantic east coast from Ponce De Leon Inlet and southward approximately 150 miles toward Hobe Sound. It’s natural and manmade inlets provide tidal movement and flushing that is crucial to the health and well being of aquatic marine and estuary life. Three distinct interconnecting bodies of water make up the Indian River lagoon system, starting in the north Mosquito Lagoon Florida connects directly west via the human-made Haulover Canal is the official northern Indian River Lagoon near the cities of Scottsmore, Mims, Titusville and the historical Dummett Cove. Traveling southward the Lagoon is split by Merritt Island where the island’s eastern side host the Banana River Lagoon while it’s western shore maintains the Indian River Lagoon name for the next one hundred miles or so until it reaches the town of Hobe Sound and Jupiter Inlet.
The Indian River Lagoon is part of the 3000 miles Intracoastal Waterway that borders most of the eastern seaboard of the United States and the Gulf of Mexico. The Intracoastal Waterway or ICW is a mostly natural protected waterway that has been enhanced with manmade canals and dredging to promote commerce and safe and protected passage for commercial and recreational vessels without the hazards of the open ocean and rough seas. The ICW was commissioned by Congress in 1919 and loosely maintained by the United States Army Corps of Engineers. While the USACE is responsible for investigating, developing and maintaining the nation’s water and related environmental resources, many environmental concerns and requirements have prevented the USACE from rigorously maintaining the ICW, and it’s waterways.
A lagoon is a body of comparatively shallow salt or brackish water separated from the deeper sea by a shallow or exposed sandbank, coral reef, or similar feature. In the case of the IRL, it is separated from the Atlantic Ocean by a thin barrier island with small breaks or “openings” called inlets. Almost the entire eastern seaboard of Florida is a barrier island, and Brevard County has a well-known city on its barrier island called Cocoa Beach, and it also hosts the Canaveral National Seashore and northward to Ponce Inlet.
The Indian River Lagoon is a TRUE lagoon; there are no headwaters or freshwater springs feeding the bay as indicated by its name “Indian River.” The small turbulent inlets including Sebastian Inlet, New Smyrna Inlet, Fort Pierce Inlet, St. Lucie Inlet and Jupiter Inlet in the far south are just a few spigots that feed into the IRL with clean saltwater from the Atlantic Ocean. There is a minimal freshwater intrusion from natural sources other than small creeks and rivers like the Sebastian River, Turkey Creek, and Crane Creek. There as several man-made canals coming from the center of the state that controls water levels during rainy seasons, unfortunately, they often contain agricultural runoff and petroleum products from roadways and developed areas. However, these spillways can also be meccas for gamefish like snook for keen anglers.
Lagoons In Peril?
Some would argue, depending on what part of the 200-mile long lagoon they are actively involved in that the IRL is pristine. At first glance, many anglers are mesmerized by the sheer beauty of our saltwater lagoon estuary. The northern end of the IRL, known as the Mosquito Lagoon is a 20-mile stretch that borders the Kennedy Space Center and its Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge. Since the mid-1980’s this has become a mecca for anglers, and it’s sight fishing opportunities. While many of the younger generations look at this as an unspoiled watershed, old timers like Captain Richard Bradley, beg to differ and remember when the Mosquito Lagoon was a healthier, cleaner habitat.
Fortunately, in 1992, the voters of the State of Florida amended the Florida Constitution to Ban inshore entanglement nets and limit commercial fishing within three miles of shore. While this has helped and possibly saved the fish populations, the next assault that needs confronting will be protecting our lagoon from over-development and the problems of stormwater runoff.
Our lagoons are still beautiful, but only thru diligence and constant conservation can we keep our inlets healthy for wildlife populations and Indian River fishing to continue.
Brevard Indian River Lagoon Coalition
Our vision is an Indian River Lagoon of clear waters, alive with lush
We are citizens, organizations, & businesses allied in one demand: That our government take necessary and continuing actions to clean and restore the Indian River Lagoon. The lagoon is, by all objective accounts, the economic and environmental lifeblood of its bordering communities, cities, and counties