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Top Fishing Charters in Indian River

Fishing in Indian River

If you’re looking to experience some of the best inshore and backcountry fishing on the planet, we have three words for you: Indian River fishing. Redfish, Snook, Tarpon, and Spotted Seatrout rule over the lagoon fishing capital of the world – experience the thrilling action for yourself!

What To Catch

Arguably the most popular target when fishing the Indian River is Redfish. The bite is great year-round and can offer anglers diverse action, depending on the time of year. You can go after schools of small Redfish in the northern part of the river. Bull Redfish live closer to the south end. Spotted Seatrout is another staple of Indian River fishing – it’s great for novices and kids, and there are Gator Trout for seasoned anglers to hook into. Snook and Tarpon are also great targets, though they’re not as available as the abovementioned fish. You can still land a trophy-sized Silver King or Snook though, especially in Snook country, south of Sebastian Inlet.

The target list doesn’t stop here. There’s a wide range of species that stalk these waters like Jack Crevalle, Pompano, Black Drum, Tripletail, Groupers and Snappers, many different Sharks, and more. Check out the local captains’ Indian River fishing report to get the latest scoop on what’s biting. While you’re angling for these feisty fish you can also enjoy the great sights of nature that’ll surround you. The Indian River Lagoon is one of the most biodiverse regions in the world and there’s plenty of photo-worthy wildlife milling about.

Where To Fish

The Indian River starts at Ponce Inlet in New Smyrna Beach and stretches out to the Port St. Lucie inlet. It passes through well-known fishing hotspots like Titusville, Port Canaveral, Fort Pierce, and many others!

Grass Flats

The average depth of the Indian River Lagoon is about 4’ which means it’s prime real estate for underwater grasses. Crabs, shrimp, other crustaceans, and mullet love living on the flats – in turn, that attracts predators. The flats go wild in summer as mullet starts to spawn. Snook, Redfish, Tarpon, and Seatrout fishing is incredible during this time, so be sure to get in on the action.

Mangrove Forests

The beautiful mangrove trees lining the coastline from Ponce Inlet to the south of Florida hold a wide range of critters in their roots. Mangrove Snapper, Redfish, Spotted Seatrout, Tarpon, Snook, and many other predatory fish stalk around these underwater structures. The mangroves hold vast quantities of crustaceans and baitfish, being even more productive than the grass flats. When the weather cools down you can find large fish warming up in the roots – the perfect place to aim your next cast at.

Salt Marshes

This is the place where small gamefish grow large and large gamefish forage for food. The salt marshes are even more shallow than the grass flats so most large gamefish can’t even swim there – instead, they stalk the edges. Areas near an inlet are subject to tides, which is perfect for the trophy-chasing angler. Baitfish will follow the retreating tide into deeper waters where the large gamefish stand ready, as well as the anglers. Winter fly fishing for Redfish around the marshes is an experience you shouldn’t miss out on!

Need To Know

The Indian River is generally very shallow and there are plenty of underwater structures with dredging happening only on the Intracoastal Waterway. If you’re taking your own boat make sure you’re slow and steady – you can easily damage your hull. Kayaking or poling around are the methods of choice for a lot of local captains.

Regulations

Anglers aged 16-64 need a fishing license unless they’re fishing with a licensed captain or guide. Check out our guide on the Florida fishing license for more details. Many species have slot and bag limits, it’s best to check with local anglers to be up-to-speed with regulations.

Getting There

U.S. Route 1 runs along the Indian River and is your best bet if traveling by car. There are numerous airports along the West Coast of the Sunshine State, as well as a large airport in Orlando. If you’re traveling via boat you can take the Intracoastal Waterway to reach the Indian River.

Budget

Anglers looking to spend 4 hours fishing the inshore waters of the Indian River should set aside between $300-$400, depending on the size of the boat. Full day trips going for Redfish, Snook, and other prime species will set you back between $400 and $600. The captains normally provide everything you need for a good day on the water like safety gear, tackle, and bottled water.

Whether you’re a novice weekend angler looking to sink your hook into a fish or a seasoned veteran chasing the next personal best, the Indian River has something to offer you! Record-breaking Redfish, Snook, Seatrout, and Tarpon are regularly caught in this locale – this year could be your year to shine.
 

Indian River
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Indian River Fishing Seasons

The cold weather will be warmed up by explosive topwater action with Spotted Seatrout! You can also go after Pompano, Black Drum, and Sheepshead around ports. Snook cannot be harvested.

Cool nights and windy days may keep tourists indoors, but not the dedicated angler! Spotted Seatrout are hot around Fort Pierce. Monster Reds can be found around mangroves and shallow flats.

As the sun warms the water up fish start feeding quite a bit in the shallows. Trout continues to be one of the main targets, usually found deeper grass flats. Snook can be found around piers and structures.

Sheepshead, Jacks, Bluefish, and Snook action continues around bridges and piers. In the shallows, Redfish and Seatrout action is still red-hot on the flats. 

The winds die down in May and the calm summer weather sets in. Redfish are the main targets in May, followed closely by Snook. Tarpon start appearing around St. Lucie River.

Snook harvesting is forbidden from June 1st until the end of August. Kingfish start moving in closer to shore in the Atlantic. Tripletail, Jack Crevalle, and Shark fisheries are red-hot in June and Tarpon are getting better.

Coastal action is where it’s all at in July. Tarpon, Kingfish, Blacktip Shark, Jack Crevalle, and Snook all bite well. Redfish, Seatrout, and large Tarpon can be found in inlets.

This is the month to go sight fishing the lagoons! You can spot Redfish, Seatrout, and Tarpon in the calm morning water of the shallows from far away. Baitfish are plentiful and the fishing is amazing, both inshore and nearshore.

You can harvest Snook again, starting from September 1st. A mixed bag of Ladyfish, Tarpon, and Jacks stalk the edges of grass flats. The best action happens at low light with live bait – make sure to prepare ahead of time.

The fall mullet run is in full swing in October and the Redfish, Seatrout, and other species bite like crazy. Fishing with live bait is a must. Night fishing for Snook is a great way to test your angling skills.

The mainstay of Indian River fishing in November is Redfish, Spotted Seatrout, Snook, and Black Drum. Live bait works extremely well as the fish are feeding ahead of winter.

Snook harvesting is closed from December 15th until the end of January. The weather may not cooperate but when it’s calm expect crystal-clear waters and amazing sight fishing on the flats for Redfish and Spotted Seatrout.

Indian River Fishing Calendar

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What People Are Saying About Indian River

"Great Day"

Daniel O. fished with Reel World Sportfishing – Offshore on March 10, 2019

Take sunscreen and drink plenty of water.

"Half day trip with Capt. Caleb McDaniel"

Daniel B. fished with Southern Waters Guide Service on March 7, 2019

Yes, but try mid-summer when the temps have stabilized.

"Half day trip with Captain Tony"

Marta R. fished with Patriot Charters on March 3, 2019

I would recommend they call and find out what fish is in season at the time.

"Full Day Trip"

Brian W. fished with Patriot Charters on March 1, 2019

If you want to send fish home check into it way before you go fishing so you can enjoy your catch back at your home also if you want to eat your catch for lunch that day go just down the road to Grill's Restaurant and they cook it up for you we did wow it was delicious.

Top Targeted Species in Indian River

Snook

Redfish

King Mackerel (Kingfish)

Tarpon

Top Indian River Destinations