Florida fishing: Mutton snapper biting; Snook season harvest ends June 1
Florida fishing regulations and fishing season opening and closing dates:
- Snook: Harvest closes June 1. Reopens Sept. 1. One fish bag limit, 28-32 inches, snook stamp required.
- Red snapper: July 14-July 15. One fish per angler per day. No minimum or maximum size limits.
- Lobster: Season closed April 1. Two-day sport season (mini-season) opens July 26-27. Regular season opens Aug. 6.
- Grouper: Harvest opened May 1. Includes gag grouper, red grouper, black grouper, scamp, yellowfin grouper, yellowmouth, coney, graysby, red hind and rock hind. Harvest closes Jan. 1, 2024.
- Hogfish: Harvest opened May 1. Harvest closes from Nov. 1, 2023, to April 30, 2024.
- Cobia: New bag and size limits for state waters. Bag limit: Two fish per vessel. Size limit: 36 inches fork length.
- Spotted seatrout: Harvest opened Jan. 1 in Volusia, Brevard, Indian River, St. Lucie, Martin and Palm Beach counties. Harvest closes November and
- December 2023.
- Redfish: Harvest of redfish is banned in the Indian River Lagoon and Mosquito Lagoon beginning Sept. 1. FWC will re-evaluate later in the year.
- Alligator: Hunt season opens Aug. 15-Nov. 1. Permits required.
- Dolphin: Bag limit is five fish per day per angler. Vessel limit is 30 fish per day. Captain and crew may not be included in limit. These fishing regulations began May 1, 2022, for state waters.
- Tilefish: Harvest opened Jan. 1.
- Bass: Bass at Headwaters Lake will soon become all catch-and-release.
Indian River County
Inshore: Spotted seatrout, snook, tarpon and jacks can be caught between the mangrove shorelines and the spoil islands on both sides of the lagoon. Use topwater plugs or suspending lures to get bites in 2-4 feet of water.
Freshwater: Rising water temperature is slowing the action in the western lakes. Expect bass to be a little more difficult to get a bite out of. Bluegill and shellcracker will bite a little better. Use live crickets.
St. Lucie County
Inshore: Snook continue to be the top catch in the Indian River Lagoon. Wade fishing the end of the docks along Indian River Dr. with topwater plugs has been productive for customers fishing with Jayson Arman of That's R Man land-based fishing charters. Trout, tarpon and jacks can bite, too.
Surf: Grass has been hit and miss. If heading to the beach, watch the lightning. On days or beaches with little or no seaweed, croaker, whiting and pompano can be caught. On other days, the grass is simply too much.
Inshore: Snook fishing is dominating this region. Live bait has been the key for successful anglers, but lures and flies are working in the right places. Try fishing the bridge pilings of the Ernie Lyons Bridge for sheepshead, drum and croaker.
Three things important to know here: First, the lake is at about 13 feet 8 inches. Ok, but could be better meaning it could be lower. Second, the algae bloom is being tracked by satellite imagery it's so big. Can you still fish despite the algae? Yes. Should you eat the fish? That's your call. I say probably not. Bass will hit spinnerbaits, 10-inch worms and stick worms. Bluegill and shellcracker will take live crickets. DOH Martin County issued an algae alert for Port Mayaca advising not to come in contact with the water, so there's that.