Introduction to Florida Freshwater Fishing

By: Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission Staff (FWC)

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The only season in Florida is fishing season. All year long, you'll find outstanding freshwater fishing throughout the state.

The freshwater lakes, ponds and rivers of Florida are filled with a wealth of sport fish in all sizes. From the little bluegill that weighs only a few ounces to the blue catfish that can exceed 60 pounds, there is something for everyone.

The hands-down favorite is the Florida largemouth bass, a black bass that is the official freshwater fish of Florida. Some of the best sites for black bass are Lake George, the Suwannee River, Everglades Water Conservation Areas two and three, and the Mosaic Fish Management Area.

There are more of the eight Grand Slam black bass species in Florida than anywhere else, with largemouth, spotted, Suwannee and shoal all swimming our waters. There is nowhere in the United States with more opportunity for quality year-round freshwater fishing than Florida with popular sport fish found throughout the state.

Almost every lake in Florida hosts an abundance of black crappie, bluegill, redear sunfish (also known as shell cracker) and catfish or bullheads.  More specialized fisheries exist for peacock bass, sunshine bass, striped bass and big blue catfish or flatheads. “The Fishing Capital of the World Fishing Guide” has valuable information about Florida fishing, including information about the best spots for freshwater fishing.

Adding to the challenge of freshwater fishing in Florida is the Big Catch Angler Recognition Program that commemorates outstanding catches of 33 freshwater species. Minimum sizes for each species are required to receive a personalized full-color certificate and decal from the FWC. As part of Florida’s ongoing effort to encourage outdoor participation among youth, minimum sizes are reduced by 25% for youngsters under age 16.

As with all recreational fishing, catch-and-release is recommended, so the fish’s total length is all that is required to qualify

Licenses are required for most anglers over the age of 16 and under the age of 65. A number of different license options are available. See Florida Fishing License Information for more information.

Whether an angler prefers hiring an experienced guide, fishing from a pier or simply dropping a line from a bamboo pole into a pond, Florida is the perfect place. In the Sunshine State, the only season is fishing season, with no closed freshwater fishing seasons and year-round fishing weather. It truly is the Fishing Capital of the World.

Handy Links

Fishing Guide

Big Catch Angler Recognition Program

Rules and Regulations


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