Crystal River Fishing

Crystal River Fishing: Getting Skinny

By December 19, 2020No Comments
a picture of an extremely shallow drafting inshore fishing boat

Crystal River, Florida is well-known for its stellar inshore fishery. It is home to an estuary system that contains vast grass flats, backcountry areas, lively nearshore waters, and is river-fed. This combination makes it an epicenter for great year-round fishing. Some of the species here include redfish, seatrout, snook, and tarpon. There are more, but here in Florida those four species make-up the grand slam of inshore fishing. Among those looking to target these species is extreme shallow water sight fisherman. And, when it comes to extreme shallow water fishing, no area beats Crystal River.

The Season For Extreme Shallow Water Fishing: Winter

Crystal River flats and backcountry areas are tide dependant all year long, but it is during the winter that there are extreme tidal swings. When these tides swing out at this time of year, the water can get so shallow that few vessels have the ability to reach the creek systems where these inshore species reside in the winter. The reason these species go into these areas is due to the fact that the freshwater supply keeps the water temp moderate. In this, for fish looking for warmer water, this is where they go.

Boat Required For Skinny Water

An extremely shallow draft fishing boat is required to reach these areas. In fact, mud boats are considered the only type of boat that can get into these areas. It can literally take a mud crossing to reach these areas. These boats can skim in spit and the tough exterior to deal with the abuse. But, once in there, you’ll find pockets of fish with nowhere to go and looking for food.

Species Of Fish During This Time Of Year

While cooler temps do shutdown the snook and tarpon opportunities, the fish that hold up in these shallow water areas can include:

  • Redfish
  • Seatrout
  • Sheepshead
  • Black Drum

These species are hard fighting, aggressive, and tasty.

a picture of a fisherman holding a large backcountry redfish she caught.

Sight Fishing The Skinnies

The water is so low that sight fishing redfish becomes a picturesque experience. Tails and backs out of the water make for an easy sight fishing experience. Black Drum travel in large schools and you can see dozens of heads pushing wake along these shallow pockets and creeks. Sheepshead is abundant and makes for one of the best-tasting fish in the area. Seatrout are an ever-present aggressive fighter that will help keep the day busy and provide some cooler filling experiences as well.

Eric Bonneman

Eric Bonneman

Just a guy who fishes and writes about his experiences.