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Hillsborough Bay

Hillsborough County, Florida.

Hillsborough Bay ends in Tampa, Florida.

52497539.78 miles (84486626.80 sq kilometers)

About The Hillsborough Bay

About Hillsborough Bay, Fl

Hillsborough Bay is located in Hillsborough County, Florida. Along with McKay Bay, Middle Tampa Bay, Old Tampa Bay, and Lower Tampa Bay, they comprise Tampa Bay in Florida. These bays connect and form a larger waterbody that connects Western Center Florida to the Gulf of Mexico. Hillsborough Bay is located East of Old Tampa Bay, Southwest of McKay Bay, and Northeast of Middle and Lower Tampa Bay. The Bay is also the entry point of freshwater into the other areas of Tampa Bay through the Hillsborough River. This river is the largest source of freshwater flow in the Bay while also housing a State Park as well. Hillsborough Bay is also called Hillsboro Bay and Ensenada de Aguirre. 

The rapid expansion and industrialization of the Tampa Bay area during the 20th century caused severe damage to both the bay’s water and ecosystem. During the 1980s, the bay was seriously polluted, which caused a massive decline in sea life and recreational activities in the area. Because of this, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection has listed Hillsborough Bay as an impaired body of water. Fortunately, conservation efforts have been made in the bay, and it has begun a slow recovery. Anglers will be pleased to know that it is safe once more to continue catching fish in Hillsborough Bay and its surrounding bodies of water again. Avoiding littering is still recommended when visiting the area. 

Hillsborough Bay Fishing Description

All About Fishing In Hillsborough Bay

Of course, being a part of Tampa Bay makes Hillsborough Bay a prime fishing destination. Its waters are teeming with saltwater gamefish such as blue marlin, red snapper, flounder, tripletail, blackfin tuna, and many more. So whether you’re looking at scoring a big catch offshore, or you just want to relax and enjoy fishing close to the shore, Hillsborough Bay’s waters have something to offer. The bay’s artificial reefs and seagrass are the perfect places to cast your line on, as fish tend to stay there. If you’re looking for freshwater gamefish, then the Hillsborough River is just north of the bay. 

Popular fishing spots in Hillsborough Bay include Bullfrog Creek, Hillsborough Channel, Big Bend Channel, and Upper Tampa Bay Conservation Park. These areas provide plenty of opportunities for anglers to catch red grouper, red snappers, snooks, and flounders. Big Bend Channel, in particular, is the perfect spot to do trolling and flyfishing. And speaking of fishing techniques, the popular ones in Hillsborough Bay are light tackle, heavy tackle, trolling, fly fishing, and bottom fishing. If you’re looking for a challenge, you can hire a boat or bring one yourself and go offshore fishing near the Gulf. Kayak fishing is also popular here if you don’t want to go out in deeper waters. 

If you’re a first-time visitor in the area, or if you just want to know more about Hillsborough Bay, there are plenty of fishing charters operating in the area. These charters can guide you on which spots are best to cast your line on if you’re looking for a particular fish. This is particularly important if you want to go fishing offshore in the Gulf, as looking for a spot to fish on could take an entire day. 

Hillsborough Bay Seasonal & Other Description

Fishing Seasonality

As one could guess, fishing in Hillsborough Bay occurs throughout the year. Gamefish abound in the bay’s waters, so you can visit the area at any time and expect to land a catch. The best months to go to Hillsborough Bay are during the summer months of June to September. Do note that there are gamefish that are prohibited from being caught during certain months in the area, such as the red snapper, red grouper, and gag grouper. If you want to catch these species, you need to visit the area from October to January for the red grouper, June to July for the red snapper, and August to September for the gag grouper. During winter, snook, red grouper, and black grouper await you in the area. 

Hillsborough Bay Fishing Charters & Fishing Guides

address

Clearwater, FL

24ft - 6 guests

Starting as low as

$400

address

Saint Petersburg, FL

24ft - 4 guests

Starting as low as

$500

Temperature and Optimal Seasons

Fishing Seasonality

As one could guess, fishing in Hillsborough Bay occurs throughout the year. Gamefish abound in the bay’s waters, so you can visit the area at any time and expect to land a catch. The best months to go to Hillsborough Bay are during the summer months of June to September. Do note that there are gamefish that are prohibited from being caught during certain months in the area, such as the red snapper, red grouper, and gag grouper. If you want to catch these species, you need to visit the area from October to January for the red grouper, June to July for the red snapper, and August to September for the gag grouper. During winter, snook, red grouper, and black grouper await you in the area. 

Hillsborough Bay Weather Forecast

Mon

89°F

Clouds

Highs

89

Feels 102

Winds

3mph

Humidity