Crystal River Fishing Charters & Guides

2 Guests
Charters Near Crystal River
True Florida Adventures - 22ft
Crystal River, FL
Reel Time Outfitters
Crystal River, FL
(4.9, 83 Reviews)
Stars & Stripes Charters
Crystal River, FL
(5.0, 16 Reviews)
U-hook-um Charters, LLC
Crystal River, FL
Mermaidtales Charter Fishing
Crystal River, FL
(5.0, 1 Review)
About Fishing in Crystal River

Crystal River, FL

You can’t blame first time fishing visitors to the Crystal River in western Florida if they have a hard time concentrating on fishing. Once you’ve been there, the reason is clear. Crystal clear. Just like the water. The Crystal River is in Citrus County and only flows for seven miles from near the city of the same name right out into the Gulf of Mexico. It’s not huge, but it is one of the most beautiful and unique waterways in the state. It is located about 90 minutes northwest of Orlando or about 60 minutes north of Tampa. As the river nears the Gulf, it joins in with Kings Bay to form a literal fishing mecca. First of all, the clear water makes the river almost mesmerizing to look at. It’s fed by almost 30 springs. The springs pump an estimated 300 million gallons into the river every single day. One of the most popular springs for visitors who don’t even fish is the Three Sisters Spring. If you make a run through the entire river, you pass through the spring water, then a mix of salt and fresh water out into a maze of mangrove stands. All along the way, you see plenty of action in the river before you even start fishing, especially in the winter. That’s because it is a huge manatee gathering place which serves as a refuge for the giant creatures.

Fishing The Crystal River

But there are fish to be caught. Saltwater species like redfish, speckled trout (spotted sea trout) and snook are popular as are shark, cobia, grouper and Spanish mackerel as you enter the Gulf. There are even tarpon. Tarpon are not as big a recreational fish for anglers who take their own trips, but the anglers using charter boats flock to this area for the tarpon fishing. Best lures for tarpon are live bait like pinfish and the ever-present blue crabs. This area is tough to fish for newcomers and most fishermen use guides to stay on the fish, especially until they learn the area and techniques used to catch fish here. One of the easiest to catch is the spotted sea trout, or speckled trout. There are numerous soft plastic baits and even crank baits that will land the sea trout, but the healthy populations of natural bait make it hard to fool the fish many times. The native pinfish provide one of the best baits for trout. Most anglers float them over seagrass beds or along the edges of points and cuts where the fish can lie in wait. The good news about sea trout is that the fishing is good all year long. In the winter, they stay closer to the shore, often looking for rocky areas which hold the sun’s warmth better. In the summer, they move off into deeper water and can be a bit hard to find. One easy trick for fishermen is to watch for birds. Birds often hang around above schools of trout trying to munch on injured baitfish left when the trout go on feeding binges. Next up for anglers is the hard-fighting redfish. The Crystal River has a hard, rocky bottom and lots of islands. The redfish will hang close to that structure and wait for baitfish to come by. Natural bait is good for redfish, like cut shrimp. But the fish will also hit large silver or gold spoons and some topwater lures when the bite is really on. One tip for anglers here: If you are fishing alone or with a guide, always remember to hold down the noise. These fish are feeding shallow and a loud noise can shut things down. One fish that surprises anglers who come here is the snook. Surprisingly, this area has a large population of snook, even though the types of habitat that snook like normally aren’t present as often as some areas. Most experts feel like the same warm water that attracts manatees also attracts snook. And there is a water discharge canal from a local power plant that adds even more warm water to the fishery. Snook can be caught and released anytime, but there are strict regulations on when anglers can keep snook. Make sure you are aware of those regulations before chasing these aggressive, had fighting fish.

Visiting The Crystal River

If the fish aren’t biting or you just want a break from the angling options here, there are plenty of things to keep you busy. Fort Island Gulf Beach is a top destination which features golden sands that are very unusual. You can visit the Crystal River Preserve Park to hike and see wildlife along an interpretive trail in undisturbed beauty. There’s also the Churchhouse Hammock Trail which meanders through a sawgrass marsh. The Archaeological State park is located on the edge of the marsh and is an excellent bird watching destination. And finally, while there are many areas to enjoy small boats like canoes and kayaks, none are more popular than the “Chazz” River, which includes plenty of stops along the way.

Book A Crystal River Fishing Charter

Anytime you’re in town is a good day to fish the Crystal River. A local guide is geared up and ready to show you this bountiful fishery. Reserve your trip today with a 10% deposit and you could be fishing in no time! Find a Crystal River charter today and get the adventure started!

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