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Top Fishing Charters in Everglades

Fishing in Everglades

You can spend your time in the Everglades fishing Florida’s final vestige of true wilderness—and believe us, you don’t want to miss out. Stretching from the southern Ten Thousand Islands down to the Keys, the pristine nature of Everglades National Park is rife with game fish and dozens of endangered wildlife species. Casting lines here will bring you face-to-face with Redfish, Snook, Tarpon, and Bass, along with the likes of Manatees, Alligators, Crocodiles, Eagles, and much more.

Known For

The ‘Glades are known for their enchanting atmosphere, where visitors journey through an endless maze of mangrove islands and waterways. This World Heritage Site offers many special opportunities, including the chance to get a glimpse of the elusive Florida Panther. Among anglers, the Everglades are known for some of the best light tackle and fly fishing in the country.

With 1.5 million acres of marshes and wetlands at your disposal, it’s hard to know where to start! Rest assured that local guides are here to show you everything this magnificent wilderness has to offer, including the hottest fishing spots. Take your pick of Everglades fishing charters and let the experts lead you to their secret honeyholes and your next trophy fish.

Everglades Fishing Spots

The Ten Thousand Islands

Everglades National Park encompasses the southern portion of Florida’s Ten Thousand Islands. Anglers have easy access to the channels and bays of this backcountry from Everglades City and Chokoloskee Island. Many of them fish Chokoloskee Bay and the surrounding area for Snook, Redfish, and Speckled Trout. In early summer, Tarpon make their way here.

You’ll also encounter Sheepshead in the channels and Spanish Mackerel near the islands scattered around the front of the bay. Two popular fishing spots are Rabbit Key and Pavilion Key, south of Chokoloskee. Here you can fish the shorelines for Snook, or seek out Redfish and Speckled Trout along the grass flats and oyster bars. Some guides may also take you to nearshore wrecks and reefs in the Gulf of Mexico where you can catch Snook, Cobia, and Permit.

Florida Bay

At the opposite end of the ‘Glades lies Florida Bay, stretching from the southernmost tip of the mainland out to the Keys. To avoid the intricate waterways of the Park’s interior, many anglers in Flamingo and the upper Keys head here instead.

The waters of Florida Bay are exceptionally shallow, rarely running deeper than 5 feet.  Fringed with flats and smattered with hundreds of mangrove islands, these fishing grounds—known as “the backcountry” by locals—are the perfect haven for local game fish.

High tide brings fish to the flats where they feast on Shrimp and Crabs, while low tide pushes them back into the deeper water of the channels. Bigger fish like Redfish, Speckled Trout, Snook, Tarpon, Jack Crevalle, and Mangrove Snapper like to wait at the channel entrances, knowing that low tide will carry small fish straight through. Naturally, anglers have figured out that this is exactly the place to cast lines!

Snake Bight

Redfish and Snook like cruising the flats and mangrove shorelines of various islands in Florida Bay. One of the most productive spots for these species is Snake Bight, just east of Flamingo. For the most part, the flats in this area are only open to boats powered by push poles and electric trolling motors, but the compromise is well worthwhile if you want to access fantastic fishing. As it happens, many anglers are in on this secret and the Bight is often crowded on weekends.

Whitewater Bay

You might also spend your time in the lower portion of the Everglades fishing Whitewater Bay, one of the largest bodies of water in this neck of the woods. You’ll find Snook, Jacks, Redfish, Speckled Trout, and Tarpon biting vigorously here. Though the fish are often smaller than those in Florida Bay, the action is excellent and you’ll be protected from 15-20 mph winds.

Other Local Hot Spots

Carved into the shoreline between Snake Bight and Whitewater Bay is a series of lakes. Two notable destinations here are West Lake and Bear Lake. Their waters are reserved for non-motorized boats only, which discourages some from fishing here altogether. For those who are willing to put in a little elbow grease to kayak or row their way through, stellar fishing awaits. You’ll avoid the crowds at Snake Bight and will be rewarded with Snook, Redfish, Speckled Trout, Snapper, Black Drum, Jacks, and Baby Tarpon.

Numerous rivers in this part of the Everglades also host Redfish, Snook, and Tarpon, usually right at the river mouths. The Shark, Lostmans, Chatham, and Lopez Rivers are a few choice locations. 

Freshwater Fishing

For even more variety, try dabbling in some Everglades Bass fishing. Largemouth Bass are the most popular catch in local lakes and canals, accompanied by Peacock Bass in some locations. The Largemouth here typically weigh less than 10 lbs, but you can snag a few trophy-sized fish here and there.

Many local Bass fishing guides head out of Holiday Park, which gives you access to the L67A canal—one of the best Bass fishing spots around. This canal runs all the way to the Tamiami Trail (U.S. Highway 41), where you’ll find waters with less fishing pressure. The canals on either side of Interstate 75 are also productive. Bass fishing in the Everglades is best in late winter and spring, when these fish flood the canals and anglers manage to catch hundreds of them on any lure.

Everglades Bass fishing might also take you to Lake Okeechobee, where you can catch Crappie and Bluegill along with more Largemouth Bass. 

How Much Does it Cost?

Whether you plan on casting lines in the Ten Thousand Islands or along the flats of Florida Bay, you’ll find plenty of Everglades fishing charters that don’t strain your budget.

If you’re heading to the upper Everglades and the Ten Thousand Islands, look for a trip out of Everglades City or Chokoloskee. Half day charters in this area typically range from $300-$400, while ¾ day and full day charters might cost anywhere between $550 and $700.

You can access Florida Bay and the lower Everglades from the Keys and Flamingo. Half day trips around here cost $450-$500. Three-quarter day and full day charters range from $500-$650.

Everglades Bass fishing trips tend to be more personalized and are typically designed for 1-2 anglers. Many guides prefer to quote their prices over the phone after learning more about your interests, but you can expect to pay $250-$300 per person.

Types of Fishing

Backcountry Fishing

Anglers can hook into almost any species in the backcountry of the Everglades using light tackle or fly fishing gear. A spinning rod with 8-20 lb test line or an 8-weight fly rod will get the job done.

Look for Speckled Trout along the grass beds and float live Shrimp under a popping cork. This fish will also bite flies and jigs. Snook and Tarpon take to flies, and topwater plugs, as well as live Pilchard, Shrimp, and Mullet. While there are many ways to catch Redfish, anglers get a thrill out of stalking them while they’re tailing on the flats. Reds take to weedless spoons, jigs, or live Shrimp and Mullet.

Bass Fishing

You’re likely to use a wide variety of techniques while targeting Largemouth Bass in the Everglades. Fly fishermen have great success with poppers, gurglers, and other topwater flies. You might need a 25-30 lb bite tippet to help pull your catch through lily pads and other foliage along the canals.

You can also catch Bass on light tackle, working topwater frogs and senkos, slow trolling Shiners, or flipping plastic worms and crawdads in the vegetation.

Need to Know

All licensed fishing charters in the Everglades provide a saltwater fishing license for their customers. If you plan on fishing the lakes and canals for Bass and other freshwater fish, you need to bring your own Florida freshwater fishing license, available online.

Everglades
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Everglades Fishing Seasons

The start of the year is perfect for fishing deep in the backcountry of the Everglades. Look for Snook, Redfish, and even the occasional Tarpon in Whitewater Bay and the channels.

Winter fishing continues, with plenty of sheltered waters and game fish to be had along the inner waterways of the Everglades. Tarpon may grow bolder and leave the channels after a few days of warm weather.

As the weather heats up, you’ll see more Tarpon emerging. This is a great time to fish Florida Bay. If the season allows, you might have a chance to fish a few wrecks on the coastline outside the Everglades.

Once spring is in full swing, you can expect to find a much wider variety of fish in these waters. Head to the canals for Bass fishing or fish the bays for Redfish, Speckled Trout, and Snook.

May marks the height of Tarpon season in the Everglades. When you’re not chasing the Silver King you’ll find great Redfish, Snook, Jack Crevalle, and much more in the bays.

Tarpon season continues here in the Everglades. You’ll see anglers tossing topwater plugs left and right for Snook, Speckled Trout, and much more. Average temperatures range from 73-91°F. 

Anglers like to head out early and beat the heat in July. This is a great time to fish the bays or to venture into the Gulf for some Permit, Grouper, and other delicious catches near the wrecks. 

The summer heat wave continues, with average temperatures ranging from 77-92°F. Head offshore to cool down or see if you can’t entice a few Tarpon that are still hanging around the Everglades.

Fishing for Snook, Redfish, and Tarpon can be spectacular in autumn. On cool days, the temperature in Florida Bay will be perfect—for the game fish and the people out to catch them!

You can enjoy more great fishing in October, with ideal temperatures between 73-86°F. You’ll have your choice of Redfish, Speckled Trout, Snook, Tarpon, Cobia, and more in the Everglades.

Weather can start to limit your options as winter approaches. Anglers will return to the inner waterways of the Everglades, fishing for Redfish and Snook. You’ll still find Cobia cruising around here, too.

As average temperatures fluctuate between 62-79°F, most anglers are seeking sheltered waters in the backcountry, along with Redfish, Snook, and Speckled Trout. The canals will be bustling with Largemouth Bass.

Everglades Fishing Calendar

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What People Are Saying About Everglades

"3/4 of a day of fishing with Captain Dan"

Thomas Bourque fished with Everglades Fishing Adventures on August 12, 2017

Book A good Captain that knows the waters. We went in August and it was very hot. However, we are from Florida so we knew what to expect. If you are not used to the heat and humidity then you should pick a cooler time of year. If you can endure the heat August is the slow season and you won't have to fight the crowds.

Top Fishing Techniques in Everglades

  1. Fly Fishing

Top Targeted Species in Everglades

Snook

Tarpon

Redfish

Nearby Fishing Destinations