Mosquito Lagoon Fishing: A Complete Guide
Sep 30, 2020 | 9 minute read
Reading Time: 9 minutes

Ah, Florida. Home to Disney World, sun-drenched beach resorts, and vibrant cityscapes such as Orlando and Miami. With so much on-land activity, it can be easy to forget that the Sunshine State also boasts some of the most stunning untouched scenery around. Need a reminder? Just head over to the east coast. Here, you can experience the natural beauty of the Indian River Lagoon System on a Mosquito Lagoon fishing trip!

A view of Mosquito Lagoon from Turtle Mound on a sunny day, with greenery and the water in the distance

The Indian River Lagoon System stretches across 156 miles from Ponce de Leon Inlet to Jupiter Inlet, with Mosquito Lagoon covering 21 of these miles. At its northern end, there are grassy flats, mangrove shorelines, a scattering of islands, and a maze of backcountry waters. Continue south, and the lagoon becomes wider and clearer. No matter where you go, one thing’s for sure – all 21 miles of this waterway make for an angler’s paradise.

It’s not just the picturesque scenery and combination of unique fishing grounds that make this lagoon a must-visit, though. There’s also the fish! It’s not called the “Redfish Capital of the World” for nothing. And this isn’t the only species you’ll find inhabiting these waters. Our beloved Reds are joined by a whole host of inshore game fishing favorites.

Before you grab your rods and reels and set off on your Mosquito Lagoon fishing adventure, take a look at the tips and tricks we’ve gathered for you below. Then you’ll be perfectly equipped to cast your line in this wondrous waterway!

Our Favorite Catches in Mosquito Lagoon

Infographic showing possible catches in Mosquito Lagoon, such as Tarpon, Redfish, Spotted Seatrout, Jack Crevalle, and Snook

Redfish

Come on, you know that Redfish had to be at the top of our list! We mentioned above that Mosquito Lagoon’s often called the “Redfish Capital of the World,” thanks to its year-round population of Reds. It’s one of the most unique – and plentiful! – places to find ’em. Why? Well, the lagoon’s grass flats have a big part to play in it.  They’re home to shrimp, crabs, clams, and a variety of other bait fish that keep the Reds chomping all year long.

Head to the lagoon in the winter or spring, and the water is low, cool, and clear. Perfect for a Redfish chase! Planning your trip during summertime, instead? On sunny days, Reds move out to the lagoon’s shallow flats, seeking warmer waters. Either way, you’ll experience prime sight fishing opportunities. As local anglers will be keen to tell you, there’s nothing quite like spotting the golden-red scales of your fish before it bites.

A man holds a large Redfish while siting on a boat on Mosquito Lagoon, with the waters behind him

If it’s a trophy catch you’re after, plan your trip around the months of July and August. It’s common to hook Reds weighing 20+ pounds. When it comes to technique, Mosquito Lagoon’s local fishermen rely on two methods – spin casting with light tackle, or fishing on the fly. Redfish are known and loved in this area for the hard fight they put up, which means some previous angling experience is key to helping you reel ’em in!

Don’t feel disheartened if you’re a newer angler or want to introduce your kids to the magic of fishing Mosquito Lagoon, though. The next fish on our list is the perfect opponent…

Spotted Seatrout

Yep, it’s that firm family favorite, Spotted Seatrout! This species is beloved by anglers of all ages and skill levels, thanks to their tasty meat and the fun they provide at the end of a line. And, like the mighty Redfish, they inhabit Mosquito Lagoon all year round. They’re so popular here that local anglers even have a common saying – in order to experience a Seatrout bonanza, you just need to pick the right spot and let ’em come to you.

A man wearing sunglasses holds a large Spotted Seatrout up to the camera and smiles with Mosquito Lagoon in the background

If you’re looking to reel in huge “Gator” Trout, which weigh over 5 or 6 pounds, then the “right spot” is at first light, during Mosquito Lagoon’s long, hot summer days. Summertime is when these fish spawn and get seriously chunky. Fishing in the early morning will ensure that they haven’t had time to retreat to the deeper waters of the lagoon. Sight fishing on the fly is popular, too, as Gator Trout are easily spooked!

Less bothered about size and more focused on filling the freezer? Simply want to introduce your little ones to some good ol’ fashioned Florida fishing? Then the best time to go Trout fishing in Mosquito Lagoon is…well, anytime, really. Head to the sandy grass beds and follow schools of finger mullet, and you’ll be in for a real feast!

Tarpon

So we all know that “bowing to the Silver King” (or battling a Tarpon, in layman’s terms) is a tried-and-true Florida tradition. Where better to get your fish on against this hard-fighter than on Mosquito Lagoon?

This waterway is home to a year-round population of Tarpon. Varieties weighing between 5–40 pounds can be hooked no matter when you visit. Looking to come face-to-gills with your own personal record? In the summer months, the lagoon becomes a superhighway for huge species weighing 60+ pounds!

A child wearing a yellow t shirt holds a Tarpon up to the camera with Mosquito Lagoon's mangrove trees in the background

When it comes to reeling in your Tarpon, it’s important to know that this species likes to roll. It looks exactly what it sounds like! This means that sight fishing is the preferred technique for battling ’em, as you’ll be able to see them approach the surface. If you want to cast your line using spinning gear, invest in heavy, braided tackle, so there’s no danger of the fish escaping.

More into fishing on the fly? Targeting Tarpon on Mosquito Lagoon with this technique is a challenge, which makes it all the more exciting for experienced anglers. Head to the lagoon’s skinnier, more remote waters, armed with flies that resemble minnows or shrimp. Then get ready for the fight of a lifetime!

Snook

From one hard fighter to another! Snook are another Florida staple, beloved for their quick wit and fast runs. Hooking this species isn’t just about brute strength, either – it requires speed, and always thinking one step ahead. You might think you’ve conquered your target once it’s bitten, but Snook’s finicky natures and love for sharp structure makes the battle all that more compelling.

A man wearing a baseball cap holds a Snook up to the camera, with Mosquito Lagoon in the background

When it comes to fishing for Snook in Mosquito Lagoon, local anglers have two recommendations. Fish during the winter, and fish at night. Once the colder months set, Snooks weighing over 10 pounds can be found inhabiting these waters. It’s common to find them flocking together in double digits, too, so you’ll be in for a real Snook bonanza.

Snook love to hang out around jetties and structure, which means the best place to encounter them is Mosquito Lagoon’s deep holes, creeks, and channels. The lagoon’s waterways around Titusville and New Smyrna Beach are especially plentiful. Local anglers usually stick to either light tackle or fishing on the fly, with plugs and jigs being a firm bait favorite.

Jack Crevalle

Rounding up our list of Mosquito Lagoon’s top fish species is the mighty, hard fighting Jack Crevalle. Sensing a pattern here? This fish packs a serious punch at the end of the line, thanks to its bullish attitude and voracious appetite. Basically, when a Jack hits the end of your line in Mosquito Lagoon, you’ll know about it!

A boy wearing sunglasses and a baseball cap holds a Jack Crevalle with Mosquito Lagoon behind him

You’ll find this species inhabiting the lagoon year-round, but if you’re looking for serious rod-bending action, fall is when you’ll encounter the bigger Jacks. As we mentioned, Jacks have big appetites, but they’re also attracted to fast-moving bait. You don’t want to just drop your line and wait. Make sure you keep your rod moving to attract these creatures!

As with most species in Mosquito Lagoon, sight fishing is the most common way to hunt Jack Crevalle. They school in large numbers and like to “surface attack,” which means you’ll see ’em coming. When they bite is when the real battle begins. They love the thrill of the chase and will be off with your bait before you know it. To really feel the action at the end of your line, bring along your lightest tackle.

How can I fish Mosquito Lagoon?

Charter Fishing

Although Mosquito Lagoon boasts a year-round fishery brimming with world-famous species, hopping aboard a local charter will make sure that you can get your fish on in the most productive way. Your guide will know all of the local honey holes and sweet spots, and will be able to tailor your trip to go after the catch of a lifetime. Less waiting around, and more rod-bending action? We’re in!

As the lagoon is so shallow, you’ll likely be casting off aboard a flats or skiff boat. With sight fishing being so popular, your captain will usually “pole” you across the flats as you keep an eye out for your catch. Don’t worry if you’re planning on traveling with little ones or a larger group, though. Guides here are used to fishing with anglers of all skill levels. You’ll be able to find a shallow water vessel with plenty of room to accommodate you!

Speaking of shallow waters, Mosquito Lagoon is surely a great location for wade fishing, right? Well, yes and no. Although it’s possible to wade fish here, you’ll generally have to hop aboard a charter or a kayak (more on that soon!) to get to the best on-foot spots. Luckily, there are plenty of guides willing to take you out to explore these waters more intimately!

Kayak Fishing

As you may have noticed, fishing in Mosquito Lagoon can require a certain amount of strength – the majority of fish here put up a real fight. Looking to get even more of a workout on your adventure? Grab your rods and reels, climb into a kayak, and see what you’re really made of!

Kayaks resting along the bank of Florida's mangrove waters

Although kayak fishing may conjure up images of peacefully drifting down a slow-moving waterway, in reality it’s a different story. First, you’ll have to either pedal or row your own vessel along the lagoon to the hotspots. Then, you’ll also have to wield a rod and keep an eye out for your target species. If you think you have the determination, though, kayak fishing along Mosquito Lagoon will make for an unforgettable adventure!

Top Fishing Spots in Mosquito Lagoon

Infographic showing top spots in Mosquito Lagoon, including New Smyrna Beach, Mosquito Lagoon Aquatic Preserve, Tiger Shoals, and Eddy Creek

Although Mosquito Lagoon is packed full of prime fishing locations, there are a few that we thought we should pay some special attention to. No matter whether you want to cast off on a charter vessel or a kayak, we’ve got you covered!

  • New Smyrna Beach: The official “starting point” of the lagoon, this is where you’ll find plenty of charters docked and ready to take you out on the water. It provides direct access to Mosquito Lagoon, so you’ll be dropping your line for that Bull Red in no time.
  • Mosquito Lagoon Aquatic Preserve: If you’re after some serious isolation and “get back to nature” vibes, this is the ultimate location. There’s a whole host of parks and ramps with public access opposite the preserve, so it’s the perfect place to cast a line and then relax and take in the stunning scenery, too.
  • Tiger Shoals: Located in prime position, smack-dab in the middle of the lagoon, this spot is a must-visit for Redfish enthusiasts! You’ll be able to sight fish to your heart’s content from either a charter vessel or a kayak here. It’s not just a Redfish hotspot, either – take the kids here from some excellent Spotted Seatrout action.
  • Eddy Creek: With a year-round fishery, sometimes casting a line in Mosquito Lagoon will see you battling the elements. Eddy Creek is the perfect way to fish the lagoon and shelter yourself from the wind at the same time. You’ll find Redfish, Seatrout, and other favorites, as well as a public fishing pier.

Anything Else?

A vintage red and yellow bait and tackle sign against a brick wall

As is the case throughout Florida, you’ll need a valid fishing license in order to cast a line in Mosquito Lagoon. If you’re fishing alongside a local captain or guide, this will be covered for you. Looking to fish alone? You can purchase a license from the FWC.

The FWC also has plenty of information about local regulations when it comes to Mosquito Lagoon’s species. Although this fishery is active year-round, some of the fish you’ll be hooking are subject to bag and seasonality limits. Cast off with a captain, and they’ll fill you in on all the details. Otherwise, you can visit the FWC or check out our handy calendar to make sure you’re fishing within the law!

Mosquito Lagoon: An Angler’s Paradise

If you were convinced that Florida was all about theme parks, villa vacations, and headline-worthy news stories (Florida Man, anyone?!), we hope that we’ve helped you discover a whole new side of the Sunshine State.

A view of a spoil island in the Indian River Lagoon System on a sunny day

And if you already knew that there was plenty of tranquility and old-school charm awaiting you along the east coast, we just have one question – what’s stopping you from embarking on your Mosquito Lagoon angling adventure? Grab your rods and reels, and get ready to experience a real slice of fishing paradise!

Have you ever fished Mosquito Lagoon? Any tips, tricks, or favorite hotspots that we didn’t cover? Let us know in the comments below!

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