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Edgewater is a small riverfront community on the eastern part of Central Florida, running alongside the Indian River. Its name is derived from the fact that it is located on the edge of the Mosquito Lagoon. It began its life as a city when Dr. John Milton Hawk bought the area and settled in it in the 19th century, wanting to promote it as a “New England Village on the East Coast of Florida”. To this day, traces of this old promotional tactic can be seen in the old historical section of the city.
Today, Edgewater is known as a tranquil and thriving residential spot and a growing manufacturing hotspot. It has ParkTowne Industrial Center, the biggest industrial park in Volusia County, and has been solidifying its reputation as the area of choice for many manufacturing companies and industrial businesses.
The city owes a large part of its popularity to its fantastic location. It is a great home base for travelers exploring Eastern Central Florida. It offers great access not just to the Indian River and the Mosquito Lagoon but to the surrounding points of interest as well. These include Port Canaveral, Kennedy Space Center, Merritt Island National Wildlife Reserve, Daytona Beach, New Smyrna Beach, and Disney World in Orlando.
While Edgewater has plenty to offer travelers, your trip here will be amiss if you don’t at least grab your fishing gear and fish in one of the most biodiverse waters in this part of the US. The Indian River and Mosquito Lagoon are some of the richest water bodies in Florida, after all. So if both are on your bucket list of brackish waters to fish, you should consider booking a trip to Edgewater.
Coming to Edgewater to fish means experiencing some of the most fantastic inshore fishing in all of Florida. The city, after all, conveniently runs alongside the Indian River. The Indian River is part of the majestic Indian River Lagoon System. For the uninitiated, the Indian River Lagoon is considered an “Estuary of National Significance”, an important aquatic reserve, and an Outstanding Florida Waterway. Its favorable location allows it to enjoy both warm temperate climate and subtropical climate, which in turn allows it to nurture one of the richest biodiversities in Florida, if not the entire United States.
The Indian River itself is the longest section of this renowned estuary. Known as much for its rich fishing opportunities and its beautifully pristine backcountry vistas, the Indian River should be your first fishing destination if you’re ever in Edgewater. Here you can target some of the most sought-after game fish species and challenge your angling skills.
One such fish species with which you can challenge yourself in the Indian River is the redfish. The redfish is active in the Indian River waters all year long, but that doesn’t mean they’re just there for the taking. This hard-fighting fish will test your angling skills. During the spring and fall seasons, they love to hunt and swim in shallow grassy waters no matter what time of day it is, as they are known to be voracious feeders. However, in the summer you will have to look for them in the cooler and deeper parts of the river, and in the winter, fishing for them at the later part of the day when the sun has warmed up the shallow flats will be fruitful. Because redfish love the shallows so much, wade fishing for them can be quite an experience, albeit a little limited. Kayak fishing is your next best choice, as it allows you to venture out both in the shallower and the deeper parts of the river.
Another game fish worth seeking in the Indian River is the speckled trout. This particular part of Florida produces some of the biggest speckled trouts, even record-holders. Catching one over 15 pounds is par for the course here, and one of the most popular ways to catch them is with sight fishing. You have to tread very carefully with these game fish, though, as they are easily spooked and are quite clever.
Another part of the Indian River Lagoon System that you can access from Edgewater is the Mosquito Lagoon. As it is not as developed as many regions on the Florida east coast, it has maintained its natural beauty and rich habitats. Some of these supported habitats include mangrove habitats and marshlands, oyster bars, and flats. Because of these unspoiled habitats, Mosquito Lagoon can support a rich population of diverse wildlife. Here you can fly fish or spin cast for bull reds and sight fish for speckled around July and August.
Tarpon and snook are still two more game fish species that you can challenge yourself with in the Mosquito Lagoon. Tarpon are here in the lagoon all year, but if you want a catch of a lifetime, summertime is the way to go. Still, though, no matter what time of year you come, you can target tarpon weighing up to 40 pounds here. Sight fishing with heavy tackle may be the preferred way to catch them here, but if you want a true test of your angling skill, fly fishing for them might be right up your alley. Snook, on the other hand, is best targeted during winter at night, especially if you want to catch yourself some trophies. Watch out for them near structures and holes as that’s where they prefer to hang out.
If you happen to be fishing the Mosquito Lagoon around fall, you should take your chances catching crevalle jack. While they inhabit the waters of the lagoon all year long, they get especially big during fall. If you want a truly exciting time fishing for these fighters, arm yourself with a light tackle.
Other fish species that you can target both in the Indian River and Mosquito Lagoon are tripletail, mangrove snappers, and black drum. Indian River is home to a variety of shark species as well. Many of these fish species love these waters so much that they’re here all year long, so you’re guaranteed a catch no matter what time of the year you come.
Menard-May Park is your choice of public waterfront park if you want to access both the Indian River and Mosquito Lagoon. This park has boat ramps, a mangrove habitat, and fishing piers. Other public parks where you can fish Mosquito Lagoon are Kennedy Point Memorial Park and Veterans Park. Veterans Park has a fishing pier and boat and kayak launches, while Kennedy Point has boat ramps.
As Edgewater is in Florida, you can expect year-round productive fishing here. The healthy habitats plus the unique combination of climates enjoyed by the Indian River Lagoon System make it an attractive area to stay all year long for many species. Redfish, speckled trout, sheepshead, mangrove snappers, and jack crevalle are active in this part of Florida all year round, though of course, they have their peak months. Redfish reach their peak from September to January, while crevalle jack are especially active from April to November.
Tarpon are best targeted here during the summer months, from May to September. Tripletail reach their peak around these months as well. Black drum are another September catch. Around wintertime, catching snook should be your priority. They are especially active from November to December, then reappear around early spring while the waters are still cool.
This unique riverside community deserves a spot in your Florida itinerary, especially if you want a relaxing vacation that allows you to fish to your heart’s content and enjoy the unspoiled beauty of the Sunshine State. And with its great location, you can easily hop on to the nearest cities such as Daytona Beach and Florida if you want a little more action.
Fishing the Indian River can be quite intimidating, so if you’re here for the first time, booking a charter with a guide who knows the water body inside out will be to your benefit.
Peter Wolf Toth is a local Edgewater artist known for his sculptures “Trail of the Whispering Giants”, his homage to Native Americans. He carves these sculptures to honor the natives of regions he visits and gives them to the town for free. At Edgewater, you can see the artist in action in his studio, where he sells his tinier wooden sculptures to fund his future Whispering Giants.
Edgewater is a Florida Paddling Trails Blueway Community member, so paddling enthusiasts will love this small riverside community. Find all the trails of the city at Menard-May Park, where you will find all the launch points of Edgewater’s six paddling trails.