The Indian River – Fishing and Manatees

manatee just beneath the water

In October some friends came to visit and we went fishing on the Indian River. The water was exceptionally clear that day and we could easily see manatees near the boat.

We all enjoyed the beautiful weather and the fishing was pretty good.

Where is the Indian River?

I often write about being out on the Indian River. So, where is the Indian River? It is part of the ICW (Intracoastal Waterway) that runs up the eastern side of Florida. In my (central east coast Florida) area it is named the Indian River. A bit further south, part of the river branches out by Merritt Island and the Space Center and that part is named the Banana River. Here is a good map of the area.

The river is salt water, or brackish, which is a mix of salt and fresh. We only live about two miles from the local boat ramps. This is the main area we go when we travel by boat. Our part of the Indian River is actually designated as “north” and is part of the Mosquito Lagoon area. The Indian River is also referred to as a lagoon: Indian River Lagoon.

The area is known for it’s abundance of fish and sea life specifically bottlenose dolphin and manatees. We see lots of dolphin while boating, but only see manatee when the water is warm.

This area of the river can be a nursery for fish until they grow and migrate offshore. Whenever we fish in the river, our catches are usually small in size, and are released back into the water. However, some fish hang out in the river once they have become large. We’ve caught good size Redfish, Jack Crevalle, and trout. The Snapper is usually very small as they move offshore to grow large. Offshore fisherman catch some really nice snapper. An old friend of ours runs a fishing charter business out of Jupiter if you like offshore fishing.

The only parts of the river and lagoon that are deep are the dredged parts which allow for large boats to travel it like a highway. This can make for some very big waves at times! Well, big if you are in a small boat like ours.

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