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Saint Johns River

Duval County, Florida.

Saint Johns River midpoint in Daytona Beach, Florida.

Saint Johns River ends in Jacksonville, Florida.

278.68 miles long (448.50 kilometers)

7591357.38 miles (12217109.24 sq kilometers)

About The Saint Johns River

About Saint Johns River, FL

Saint Johns River is Florida’s longest river, being 310 miles long. It runs north and weaves through or borders twelve counties. It has an elevation of less than 30 feet and is considered a ‘lazy river’ due to its low flow rate at 0.3 miles per hour. Its widest point is almost 3 miles across despite the river flowing into or forming several lakes. The river is divided into three major basins and two linked watersheds managed by the St. Johns River Water Management District. 

In the 20th century, the river was modified to make room for agricultural and residential centers. In 2008, the river was on the list of America’s Ten Most Endangered Rivers in sixth place. It was also named as one of the American Heritage Rivers in 1998. Paleo-indians, Mocama, Archaic people, French, Spanish, British colonists, Seminoles, Timucua, and Florida crackers have lived on or near Saint Johns River historically. Today, the river is Florida’s most significant one for commercial and recreational use.

Saint Johns River Fishing Description

All About Fishing in Saint Johns River, FL

From its headwaters in Blue Cypress Lake and source in Saint Johns Marsh to its mouth by the Atlantic Ocean, Saint Johns River has a lot to offer in terms of fishing environments and scenic spots. Many lakes along the river are loaded with fish. Bass fishing is popular in Lake Monroe and Lake George. Lake Monroe, Lake Harney and Lake Jesup are great spots to target crappie. The river and Puzzle Lake attract runs of shad. Mullet, catfish, bluegills, shellcrackers, shiners, redfish, speckled trout, flounder, snook, tarpon and bream can also be found in the river. Certain areas of the river have varying salinity levels which is why it plays host to different types of fish. The river is also stocked annually with striped bass.

The river has miles of access points for boats as well as banks for inshore fishing. Drifting along the river as its flow is relatively slow is a great way to land fish, especially bass. Fishing for shad is popular among fly fishermen as the fish move through the river. Most fish can also be caught using live bait, darts and poppers. Anglers can jig and bottom fish for crappie and other fish that like to hide in deeper pockets. Creeks and cuts all over the river are great spots to fish at as well. Wildlife viewing is also popular at the river as people can spot animals like bald eagles, deer, alligators and occasional dolphins and manatees.

Saint Johns River Seasonal & Other Description

Fishing Seasonality

Bass can be hooked in Saint Johns River all-year round but are best sought after during Florida’s dry season which is during late summer or fall to early spring. Crappie and catfish can also be targeted all-year round. Shad are especially plentiful during the winter months as they migrate to the river to spawn. Mullet are most commonly found during their spring and fall runs. Redfish and speckled trout are abundant during the fall. Other species can easily be found throughout the river and their runs are dependent whether they prefer the fresh waters in the Upper and Middle Basins of the river or where the water is salty at marshes, wetlands, near the ocean and other areas generally northward. Anglers are advised to check local fishing rules as well as look up weather, tide and water conditions before venturing out to fish.

Temperature and Optimal Seasons

Fishing Seasonality

Bass can be hooked in Saint Johns River all-year round but are best sought after during Florida’s dry season which is during late summer or fall to early spring. Crappie and catfish can also be targeted all-year round. Shad are especially plentiful during the winter months as they migrate to the river to spawn. Mullet are most commonly found during their spring and fall runs. Redfish and speckled trout are abundant during the fall. Other species can easily be found throughout the river and their runs are dependent whether they prefer the fresh waters in the Upper and Middle Basins of the river or where the water is salty at marshes, wetlands, near the ocean and other areas generally northward. Anglers are advised to check local fishing rules as well as look up weather, tide and water conditions before venturing out to fish.

Saint Johns River Fish Species

All About Fishing in Saint Johns River, FL

From its headwaters in Blue Cypress Lake and source in Saint Johns Marsh to its mouth by the Atlantic Ocean, Saint Johns River has a lot to offer in terms of fishing environments and scenic spots. Many lakes along the river are loaded with fish. Bass fishing is popular in Lake Monroe and Lake George. Lake Monroe, Lake Harney and Lake Jesup are great spots to target crappie. The river and Puzzle Lake attract runs of shad. Mullet, catfish, bluegills, shellcrackers, shiners, redfish, speckled trout, flounder, snook, tarpon and bream can also be found in the river. Certain areas of the river have varying salinity levels which is why it plays host to different types of fish. The river is also stocked annually with striped bass.

The river has miles of access points for boats as well as banks for inshore fishing. Drifting along the river as its flow is relatively slow is a great way to land fish, especially bass. Fishing for shad is popular among fly fishermen as the fish move through the river. Most fish can also be caught using live bait, darts and poppers. Anglers can jig and bottom fish for crappie and other fish that like to hide in deeper pockets. Creeks and cuts all over the river are great spots to fish at as well. Wildlife viewing is also popular at the river as people can spot animals like bald eagles, deer, alligators and occasional dolphins and manatees.

Flathead Grey Mullet

Habitat: Onshore, River

Weight: 10 - 18 Pounds

Length: 20" - 47"

Largemouth Bass

Habitat: Lake, Pond, Rivers

Weight: 2 - 22 Pounds

Length: 15" - 32"

Shad

Habitat: Lake, River

Weight: 2 - 5 Pounds

Length: 6" - 25"

Crappie

Habitat: River, Lake

Weight: 0 - 5 Pounds

Length: 4" - 19"