Please remember to check with the local Fish and Wildlife department to ensure the stream is open to the public. Although Québec’s diverse range of fish is a renewable natural resource, its balance is nevertheless fragile.
As a result, there are a number of rules that you must follow before fishing, to ensure the sustainability of this collective wealth. If you fail to comply with any of the rules governing fishing, you may be liable to a fine that will vary according to the type of offense you commit.
Rules may also differ from those of the zone in certain specific territories (Zeus, outfitters, wildlife reserves, etc.). Make sure you have the landowner’s permission if you must cross privately-owned land to access the site at which you would like to fish.
Some freshwater fish species are of more interest to anglers, because of their combativeness or tasty flesh. See our fact sheets on the main species fished in Québec for details of their principal characteristics, and to learn how to recognize them.
Whitefish, rainbow smelt, turbot, mollusks and crustaceans: Particular types of fishing are authorized for these species, in very specific situations. An initial management plan was tabled in 2011, and since then length limits have been introduced to protect the yellow walleye from overfishing.
Recreational fishing for saltwater species such as captain, cod and so on, is managed by Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Close a body of water in order to avoid overfishing of a particular species; change catch limits based on a salmon run; open local water bodies to winter fishing ; change fishing practices in a given sector following an agreement with an Aboriginal nation or band council.
Before planning your fishing activity, we invite you to consult our Latest News page for information on these changes. If you are new to fishing, we have worked with our partners to create a unique Web platform containing a host of information that will guide you through the discovery of your new hobby.
What flows backward at 0.3 miles per hour, contains crystal-clear waters, Blackwater streams, and over 3,000 lakes, and has earned itself the nickname “the liquid chameleon”? Beginning at Vero Beach, the St. Johns River then winds through 12 central Florida counties before eventually emptying out into the Atlantic.
Well, with both freshwater and saltwater species capable of thriving here, a St. Johns River fishing adventure offers something for every visitor. You can forget all about your typical smooth-flowing, grassy-banked waterways, often flocked by famous landmarks and strolling pedestrians.
Running a whopping 310 miles, it’s so imposing that it’s actually categorized into three “basins.” They all offer some unique angling opportunities. As it winds its way towards Titusville, where the Upper Basin ends, the river widens and becomes extremely fishable.
It’s a lot more navigable than the Upper Basin and offers access to Lakes Harvey, Monroe, and Jesus. It generally includes the area just before Lake George and runs north through Jacksonville until it meets the mighty Atlantic Ocean.
The purer freshwater fisheries of the Upper and Middle Basins are generally the most productive, though. Although the main “stem” of the river offers up plenty of Bass action, here’s an insider tip for you: The shallow lakes of these basins offer up a veritable Bass buffet, with the Upper Basin’s Lake Poinsettia being a “must-visit” for freshwater fanatics.
For anglers who are more inclined towards saltwater species, or simply want to experience the thrill of hooking a fish that provides plenty of fight at the end of the line, a Striped Bass battle cannot be missed. At one time, this much-loved game fish was underappreciated in the St. Johns River, and viewed as an unworthy match for the more popular Large mouth Bass.
However, recent re-stocks have seen feisty Striker reaching sizes of 20 inches and more, with anglers flocking to the river’s brackish waters to battle ‘em. Although Striker usually cannot survive in warmer brackish waters, the unique nature of the St. Johns River really works in its favor.
First, there’s plenty of Pan fish to be found, such as Bluegill, Perch, and the nation’s favorite, Crappie. Also known as “Specks” in this part of Florida, this species can be found throughout the river’s freshwater fishing grounds.
The St. Johns River is the perfect place to introduce your little ones to the magic of hooking this tasty fish, thanks to its calm waters and bustling, year-round Crappie population. Continuing on with the freshwater action, Shad is a popular target for local anglers, especially plentiful during Florida ’s winter months as they travel up the river to spawn.
Experienced fishermen recommend that visitors familiar with using ultra-light tackle, as well as fly-fishing fanatics, target this species. That famous trio of Redfish, Flounder, and Spotted Trout can be found throughout the river, as well as in Lakes Monroe and Harvey.
Head further north, where the river meets the Atlantic, and chances are you’ll come across hard-fighting Shook, Tarpon, and even Shark species. This is the most popular way to fish the St. Johns River, due to its size and calm waters.
As the Upper Basin of the river is mainly marshes, wetlands, and narrow, shallow waterways, it only becomes navigable from Lake Hell N Blazes, and for small vessels only. When it comes to larger boats, the river generally only becomes navigable in its Middle Basin near Lake Monroe and remains this way for the rest of its journey towards the Atlantic.
Luckily, thanks to the sheer size of the river and the number of towns, cities, and counties it passes through, you’ll have plenty of options to choose from! The river’s size is also a big bonus when it comes to anglers who prefer to cast a line while standing on solid ground.
No matter what species you’d like to target, chances are you’ll be able to find a good access point to explore the river from. Anglers in need of a freshwater fishing fix, however, will find plenty of lucrative spots around the river’s many lakes.
Lake Monroe is an especially popular bank fishing locale, with miles of on-foot access to be found from the nearby town of Sanford. This method of fishing allows anglers to reach hotspots that are technically inaccessible for larger vessels, as well as on foot.
In addition to this, kayak fishing is the perfect way to experience the peace and tranquility that this slow-moving river is capable of providing. You’ll be able to explore some of the Upper Basin’s narrowest, shallowest waters for your target species.
The Atlantic on one side, St. Johns River on the other, a plethora of fishing charters, and a bustling cityscape to explore when on land…what’s not to love? Some of our favorite spots are around the May port Jetties, Mill Cove, and the George Crazy Bridge Fishing Pier.
The good news is that if you choose to fish alongside a local charter operator, your saltwater license will be covered, meaning you just need to grab a freshwater one. When it comes to keeping the fish you catch, the general rule of thumb is to follow Florida ’s state-wide regulations.
For a body of water that contains so many multitudes, the reason why the St. Johns River has stood the test of time as a top fishery is actually pretty simple. It pumps life into the area, connects diverse communities, and brings people together.