Here are a few of the best fly fishing spots in Florida.
Looking for some fly fishing opportunities in the Sunshine State? With oceans, rivers, swamps, and inland lakes, Florida has plenty to offer in terms of attractive fishing spots, and we’ve compiled a list of eight places where you easily can land a fish or two with a fly.
Floridians, let us know what we missed in the comments!
View the slideshow to reveal our eight top choices for best fly fishing spots in Florida.
1. Florida Keys
The Keys regularly make lists of the most stunning fishing spots in the United States, and there’s good reason for that. The fishing here is good year round – just ask the tourists who visit here to grab a charter and go in search of oceanic trophies – but for fly anglers, late winter or early spring is arguably the best time to visit.
After a mild winter (which, let’s be honest, is most winters in the Sunshine State), the Florida Keys become a hub for many prime fly fishing species, including tarpon and bonefish. Most of them won’t stick around for long, but if you need a spring break getaway in February or March, there’s a chance that your trip will coincide with the best fly fishing that the Florida Keys ever have to offer.
2. Lake Okeechobee
While it’s frequently regarded as one of the most illustrious fishing destinations in the United States – Bassmaster ranked it at number eight on their 2013 list of the nation’s best bass lakes, for instance – it’s still not known for fly fishing. We’re working to change that fact.
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Take a fly rod to Lake Okeechobee and you may feel out of place for a few moments. Heck, you might even catch a few alarmed stares for anglers with more traditional rod and reel set-ups. Don’t doubt yourself though, because once you start casting, the number of bass and bluegill bites you get will be enough to have onlooking anglers doubting themselves instead.
3. Lizard Flats
If you are planning to take a Florida vacation with family, you are going to want to find the spots that are conveniently located in relation to big cities and tourist centers. The Lizard Flats fit that qualification.
Situated on the St. Petersburg side of Tampa Bay (the west side), just north of the Gandy Blvd Bridge, the Lizard Flats are an expansive saltwater flats fishing spot that ranks with the best-kept secrets in Florida. The water is mucky, but if you are willing to brave it, you’ll be rewarded with redfish, seatrout, and more.
4. The Everglades
In 2004, ESPN ranked the Everglades as the world’s number one saltwater fly fishing destination. If we were really worried about ranking the items on this list, we might be inclined to agree. The Everglades National Park is a vast area, and it’s the home to plentiful fly fishing opportunities.
The biggest draw is probably the trout found on the flats, but if you are willing to move about a bit, you can catch bass, tarpon, redfish, and more. Find a guide to point you in the right direction for what you are hoping to catch, or simply wade into the shallows and start casting. Chances are pretty good you’ll find success either way.
5. The Little Econ River
Speaking of fishing destinations situated near major tourist hubs, the Little Econ River is arguably the best fly fishing spot in the Orlando area.
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The Little Econ River – where “Econ” is short for “Econlockhatchee” – is not only a scenic escape from the bustle of Orlando and all of its nearby theme parks, but it’s also a great place to catch bass and other fish on a fly.
Find the parking area near Highway 50, then head down to the water, wade in, and use the currents to help add movement and life to your flies. You’ll be able to catch fish all day with little to no interruption.
6. Lake Kissimmee
As one of the most dependable producers of fish in all of Florida, Lake Kissimmee should be on your list if you are only in the state for a short time and want to make sure that you get a few catches under your belt while you’re here.
This lake always yields good bass populations, and most anglers find that they can catch more fish in less time when on Lake Kissimmee than they can virtually anywhere else in the state. With public docks and boat launches, as well as plenty of easy-access wading spots, Kissimmee is perfect for both traditional baitcasting or fly fishing, with the latter pursuit being especially fruitful in peak spring and summer months.
If bass isn’t what you’re after, Lake Kissimmee also plays host to bluegill and black crappie, among other species.
7. Rodman Reservoir
The second highest ranked Florida body of water on Bassmaster’s 2013 best bass lakes, Rodman Reservoir is yet another place not traditionally known for fly fishing.
However, given its mostly shallow depths and plentiful fish species, this particular reservoir is absolutely worth checking out if you’re more into the fly fishing side of things. The reservoir is known largely for trophy largemouths, but you can find speckled perch and other species here as well.
8. Lake Tarpon
As its name implies, Lake Tarpon is a great place to catch tarpon of many sizes by using a fly rod in the shallows. It’s also renowned as a great bass fishing lake, making it a body of water that will draw anglers of virtually all tastes and aspirations.
The lake is small, shallow, and quiet, making it the perfect place to disappear to if you don’t feel like braving more crowded destinations like Lake Okeechobee or the Keys.