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Mosquito Lagoon offers fishermen a superb Redfish and Trout habitat. Bottom contour and habitat variations in the Lagoon, like Tiger Shoals in the middle of the lagoon or the Whale Tail Shoal in the southern part of the lagoon, offer forage for fish. Mangrove shorelines and saltwater marshes combined with crystal clear water and grass flats are the norm.
The Mosquito Lagoon may be one of the more popular Redfish Flats areas in the nation and receives serious fishing pressure nearly all year. Weekend fishermen should understand the fragile environment of the lagoon, the no-motor zones, and permitting. All this info from various sources is included on this page. The best bet for good Mosquito Lagoon fishing is to wait until the late fall, winter, and spring.
Mosquito Lagoon is filled with redfish and trout throughout her waterways, islands, sandbars, oyster bars, creeks, troughs, and holes. Keeping things simple is, most times, the best way to catch fish in the Mosquito Lagoon. Many anglers caught up in the sight fishing craze have forgotten how fun more traditional methods or modified versions are. Methods such as live bait and casting topwaters or jigs work well in the Mosquito Lagoon.
New Smyrna Inlet feeds the Mosquito Lagoon from the North end. The inlet is tidal and the tide and current changes are noticeable; fish react to the tide changes on the northern Mosquito Lagoon. Fish react differently at different tide phases and fishermen will need to adapt. That being said, these tactics apply throughout the Lagoon as a baseline fishing guide.
Incoming tides can produce good-sized seatrout and schools of redfish can be seen tailing and feeding along oyster bars and drop-offs.
Falling tides send lagoon fish deeper and further away from the bars and land toward channels and holes in the lagoon. Try using jerk baits, GULPS, or the like. if you fish topwater baits, try topwaters around drop-offs and holes during falling tides. (see more on baits below)
Many old-school lagoon guides fish live bait and cut baits around holes by chumming with greenies or baiting up with finger mullet when low light conditions shut down the sight fishing. Most times, these old methods will prevail on any given day.
Early morning, try topwater plugs for big trout around schools of mullet and near deeper water (two to three feet). When the trout bites slows (about 9 a.m.), the sun is high enough to see well into the water. At that time, make your switch to soft-plastics rigged with Daiichi Butt Dragger or other weedless rigs (see below about tackle) and set your target on redfish.
Look for Mosquito Lagoon Redfish to be scattered throughout the pole-and-troll zones in numerous pods. In years past, the late summer “word” was that the pods would be made up of “onesies and twosies” because the schools had been busted up over and over again throughout the day. This year we should find bigger pods of fish, from a dozen to as many as 50 fish, now that they are not getting run over and chased all day long. Approach them cautiously and from a distance, and try to pluck fish off the edges of the school. If they hump up and move off, don’t chase them—if you do, they’ll keep running. Sit still, right where you were when you spooked them, and they will likely come back in short order.
Most Redfish pods are made up of redfish in the 25- to 28-inch (6 to 8 pounds.) However, there are a couple of pods of reds that go 20 or 30 pounds. Should you be so fortunate to locate one of these pods (likely along the edge of the zone near the deeper water), try a piece of cut mullet on a circle hook. Cast ahead of their general direction of movement and wait for them to move over the bait.
Lightweight, preferably graphite or composite. 8 to 12-pound class rods will work great in most cases. Cork handle. Fuji or equivalent guide with ceramic inserts for casting long distances with light rigging.
2000 or 3000 size. Smooth drag is a must. Quiet bail action if possible.
Power Pro brand or equivalent. 12 to 15-pound test, up to 20-pound test. Preferably Green or Red in color. Leader - Fluorocarbon in 10-15 pound Test.
Circle Hook. 3/0 - 5/0 in size. Non-offset.
Finger mullet (live or cut pieces for redfish). Small croaker (alive for mainly trout). Shrimp (live or dead/cut for redfish and trout). Small crabs.
Top Dog. She Dog. GULP (all colors). MirrOlure. Hakala Gator Spoon. MorrOdine Lures. Plastic Screwtail Jigs (Variety of colors or styles). Plastic Jerk Baits rigged on Daiichi Butt-Dragger Weedless weighted Hooks.
All Florida fishing regulations apply, even though Mosquito Lagoon belongs to the U.S. government. The following special regulations apply to anglers fishing Mosquito Lagoon:
Anglers must possess a current signed Refuge Sports Fishing Permit at all times while fishing in refuge portions of Mosquito Lagoon. The permit is self-issuing and assures you have read and understand Merritt Island NWR fishing regulations.
You may fish at night from a boat in Mosquito Lagoon, but you may not wade or fish from the bank after dark. You may launch a boat at night from the following boat ramps within the refuge: Bairs Cove, Bio Lab, and Beacon 42. All other refuge boat ramps are closed to night launching.
You may not use air thrust boats, hovercraft, or personal watercraft in Mosquito Lagoon. Anglers must attend their lines.
Commercial fishermen and fishing guides are required to obtain an annual Special Use Permit.
Camping and/or overnight parking, firearms, and open fires are prohibited. Pets must remain on a leash or in your vessel.
To improve fishing and protect grass flats, two pole and troll zones have been established in Mosquito Lagoon. The zones are delineated with buoys. Within the zones, internal combustion engines must be shut off (except in posted channels), and vessels drafting more than 12 inches at rest must not enter. Vessels may be propelled by a non-motorized power source such as drifting, push poles, or paddles. Electric trolling may be used through the zones. Boats may operate internal combustion engines only in the posted channels within the pole and troll zones.
Lighten up by eliminating excess tackle and gear you carry aboard your boat. If you are not going to use it, don’t bring it. If you have not done so, purchase a graphite pole instead of using a fiberglass pole. Make sure trolling motor batteries are fully charged.
Consider using a canoe or kayak. They are relatively inexpensive and very light. Launch sites are quite close to the zones. Another tactic is to use your present boat as a mother-ship to haul a kayak or two to the vicinity of where you will be fishing before making your final approach via kayak.
Learn to use the wind to your advantage. With very little tidal flow in the lagoon, the wind can assist in moving you in the direction you want to go. Also, be sure to bring a rain jacket. Afternoon squalls come up quickly, and moving out of the zones might take longer than you have come to expect.
Florida Marine Guide
Coastal Conservation Association
Scalloping is best described as an adult easter egg hunt underwater. All it requires is snorkel gear and a small mesh bag. Florida’s West Coast, particularly north of Tampa, offers crystal clear shallow water and grass flats where these yummy pearls are found.
Never scalloped before—don’t worry! There’s nothing to it. No secret spot. Just head west from the shore between HernandoBeach and Steinhatchee and look for grass flats.
Before long, you will be an expert scalloper. The Gulf will not disappoint as you take in the vast marine life while snorkeling.
Consider some of the following locations for your next trip!
Its name is misleading since you won’t find a beach, but it does offer affordable waterfront rental with dock access for your boat, and only 10-15 minutes from the scalloping grounds.
If you want to skip a day on the water, check out the Weeki Wachee Preserve, an 11,206-acre nature area with cycling and walking trails, as well as places to launch a kayak.
Or, go to the Weeki Wachee State Park, where you can see a mermaid show. That’s right, we said mermaid!
This is a must-go city. A simple Google search will return countless reviews, YouTube stories, and tourist attractions. And, it's for good reason.
The river offers beautiful spring-clear water with abundant freshwater and saltwater marine life.
It’s a fisherman’s dream where they can catch abrim, largemouth bass, redfish, and snook in the same location.
With too many recommendations we recommend you visit Discover Crystal River Florida for more information.
With all the development in Florida, are you missing that place with Ole’Florida charm? Well then, we recommend Steinhatchee.
This small town is situated in the Big Bend area of Florida with quietness that may just make you fall in love with this place.
Enjoy a slow cruise along the Steinhatchee River to the Gulf, where you be greeted with miles of untouched Florida shoreline and vast scalloping grounds. For more information, visit their website.