This fishing report focuses on Florida arctic fishing, specifically targeting three spring-fed rivers in Citrus County: Crystal River, Homosassa River, and Chassahowitzka River. Live shrimp is the best bait, and bank fishing spots down Ozello Trail, Ft. Island Trail, and the Barge Canal offer a comfortable, outdoor experience. Incoming tides provide opportunities for focusing efforts.
Inshore Winter Fishing Report with William Toney
This fishing report is intended for the tough anglers out there who want to get out in some real Florida arctic. It may be better weather for duck hunting, but with family coming in from out of state there is opportunity to go fishing on the Big Bend without drilling through ice.
The hot spots will be the three spring fed rivers in Citrus County, the Crystal River, Homosassa River and Chassahowitzka River. These rivers keep consistent 70 degree water flowing from the springs as the cold Gulf of Mexico water will push game fish up our rivers for refuge. The tree lined banks protect from north winds. Looking for areas with wind protection adjacent to deep water will be the places to target.
An easy bait to use if the Bait House have them is live shrimp. Shrimp is the absolute best. I use a 1/8th oz. jig head for my hook and I pinch the tail of the shrimp off, then thread it on tail first. Our rivers are very rocky so it's best to let the bait settle on the bottom, then take the slack out of the line. A fish will take off with it so you will feel the bite. In contrast, if you slowly reel your bait across the bottom, plan on losing some tackle.
Without getting in a boat there are a few bank fishing spots down Ozello Trail, Ft. Island Trail and the Barge Canal. Live shrimp is the best bait here, as well. The good thing about these bank fishing spots is that when you get cold, a brisk walk to the heated vehicle is nice. Sometimes the fishing is good and sometimes its not, but the cool thing is that you're fishing and spending time outdoors. Incoming tide will be a good time to focus your efforts.
Check out my instructional fishing videos here:
William ToneyCaptain William Toney In The Spread, Instructor