The following Lakes and rivers were selected by Florida's
freshwater fisheries biologists as being the most likely to be highly productive
for Striped Bass.
Apalachicola River / Lake Seminole System
Apalachicola River / Lake Seminole System is where the largest Stripers in Florida are found.
Flordia state record striped bass (42.25 pounds), Hybrid bass (16.31
pounds), and white bass (4.69 pounds) were all caught in the
Apalachicola River / Lake Seminole system.
Striped bass fingerlings (200,000 or six per acre) are stocked into
Lake Seminole annually. Hybrid bass stocking has been suspended to
eliminate any competition with stocked striped bass, but hybrids are
still stocked into reservoirs upstream on the Chattahoochee and Flint
Rivers. During high-water events, Hybrid bass are also discharged from
upstream reservoirs into Lake Seminole. Lake Seminole, a 35,000-acre
reservoir located on the Florida-Georgia border in Gadsden and Jackson
Counties, is the headwater of the Apalachicola River. Here, striped bass
and Hybrid bass congregate along the old river channels and the lower
lake near the dam during fall and winter, and migrate up the
Chattahoochee and Flint Rivers during the spring. Larger fish move to
cool water springs, which are closed to fishing during the summer.
Fish are discharged downstream from Lake Seminole through the Jim
Woodruff Dam into the Apalachicola River during high-water periods.
Striped bass greater than 20 pounds and Hybrid bass weighing from
seven to ten pounds are common. Striped bass in the 40 - to 60 - pound
range have also been caught or collected from the Apalachicola /
Chattahoochee / Flint river system.
Stripers and Hybrid move throughout the Apalachicola river system
during the fall and winter, and can be caught from the dam to the coast.
Larger fish migrate up the river and congregate below the dam during
spring. Bucktail jigs and crankbaits that resemble shad are popular
lures around bridge pilings and along deep channels and drop-offs. Live
shrimp are very productive in the lower river. Live Shad are most
productive below the dam.
Lake Talquin/ Ochlockonee River System
Striped bass are stocked (10-20 per acre) annually into
Lake Talquin and many are discharged downstream through the dam during
high water. Striped bass in the 10 to 20-pound range are common, and
fish up to 30 pounds are possible. Live shad, spoons and jigs are
favorite baits of local anglers. White bass were introduced here during
the 1980s, but this species has been negatively impacted by drought
conditions during recent years. Historically, three to five-pound white
bass have been common, and this fishery may rebound when more typical
periods of rainfall and high water during the winter and spring return.
Striped bass can be found throughout the reservoir during the fall and
winter, particularly along the old river and creek channels. They
migrate up the Ochlockonee River during spring and congregate in creeks
with coldwater discharge during summer. Fish discharged into the lower
Ochlockonee River through Jackson Bluff Dam travel throughout the system
during fall and winter, and then migrate upstream to congregate below
the dam during spring.
St. Johns River
Striped bass are stocked each year and fish in the 8 to
12-pound range are common, although stripers over 20 pounds are rare.
Striped bass move throughout the system during fall and winter.
Important areas include the jetties and the bombing ranges in Lake
George, the lower Oklawaha River, Buffalo Bluff, Memorial Bridge (Hwy.
17) in Palatka, Shands Bridge (I-95) in Green Cove Springs, and Buckman
(I-295) and other bridges in Jacksonville. Larger fish congregate in
creeks with coldwater discharge and in large springs, such as the
Croaker Hole, during summer. Live shad and shiners, jigs and
shad-imitating crankbaits are productive.
Striped bass fingerlings are stocked into the Blackwater
and Yellow rivers annually. The major fishery is in the upper Blackwater
Bay (in Santa Rosa County) near the mouths of the rivers during fall and
winter. Similar to other Striper fisheries in Flordia, fishing success
is sometimes best at night. Striped bass migrate upstream during spring.
Fish in the 10 to 20-pound range are common and stripers in the 20 to
30-pound range are occurring more frequently. The lower stretches of
this river provide some of the best fishing. Live mullet, menhaden and
shrimp are favorite baits, along with shad-imitating lures.
Striped bass or Hybrid bass are stocked annually. The
main fishery is in the lower portion of the river, between State Road 20
and Choctawhatchee Bay in Walton and Washington counties, and occurs
during fall and winter. Live finger mullet, shad and menhaden are
locally favorite baits. During cold weather, anglers cast shad-imitating
lures to surface-feeding schools. When summer arrives, striped bass
congregate in and around tributaries contributing coldwater discharge.
Escambia River and Bay, in Escambia and Santa Rosa
counties, are stocked annually with Hybrid bass and striped bass in
alternating years. Fish in the 10 to 12-pound range are caught here.
Striped bass and sunshine bass are found in the lower 10 miles of the river and upper bay during the fall and winter.
Hybrid will make a
small run up river during the spring. Striped bass also make a spring
run upriver as the result of stocking efforts. Dawn and dusk are prime
times for striper fishing, and anglers should try to catch a falling
tide for best results. In the lower, tidal section of the river, points
of land extending into the river are very productive. Live mullet and
menhaden are popular baits, along with shad- or mullet-imitating lures.
Live shrimp or twister-tail type jigs are also popular.
St. Mary's / Nassau Rivers
Striped bass are the principle sport fish in the St.
Mary's and Nassau Rivers, which are interconnected via the Amelia and
South Amelia Rivers (Intra-Coastal Waterway). The St. Mary's / Nassau
system also connects to the St. Johns River through Sister Creek
(Intra-Coastal Waterway). Stripers are stocked into both rivers,
although migration from the St. Johns River or natural reproduction is
the main source of fish.
Striped bass tend to overwinter in the lower portions of the system, and
move upstream above U. S. Hwy. 17 during spring. On the St. Mary's
River, look for stripers between I-95 and the town of St. Mary's near
the mouths of larger tributaries, along the deeper banks, and the I-95
bridge pilings. On the Nassau River, stripers are most commonly found
from the confluence with Thomas Creek to below U.S. Hwy. 17 in the
vicinity of Pearson Island. In both rivers, striped bass congregate in
or near tributaries with coldwater discharge during summer.
Trolling along or casting to steep banks with Bucktail jigs or
shad-imitating lures is productive, and fishing with live shrimp is also