Mid-June Orlando Area and Mosquito Lagoon Fishing Report, June 16, 2017
As we approach the summer equinox here in Central Florida the water conditions on both the Mosquito Lagoon and the St Johns River remain good. After a prolonged period of drought, above average amounts of rainfall have elevated water levels and discharge rates of the creeks and rivers as well as increased water levels in the Indian River Lagoon system. It seems our typical afternoon sea breeze thunderstorms have arrived with a vengeance. I’m not complaining because we need the rain, but the point I’m making is as the heat of the summer kicks in combined with an influx of freshwater, dissolved oxygen levels drop creating stress on the fish.
On the Mosquito Lagoon, elevated water levels are beginning to drop but still remain above the mean, so access to the backwater flats is still good. Additionally and most important, water clarity remains good even with the increased levels of runoff from the rains. Let’s hope the situation remains the same and we avoid the alga blooms experienced in the past few summers.
On the St Johns River and connecting lakes, the elevated rainfall has significantly increased both water levels and volume of flow making the river once again passable through Lake Harney. Again, this can be a blessing in disguise for the same reason as mentioned in my opening paragraph, low oxygen. Nature has a delicate balance, and too much of a good think can create problems in some cases.
Although the fishing was good over the past week, it was the catching that varied. While I have some great charters with excellent anglers, the overall bite was tough. My week started out with Yusaku Kimura and Toshimtsu Araki from Japan. As usual this time of year we began our charter at first light throwing top-water plugs in shallow with little success. It seemed the strikes we received were halfhearted and only a few sea trout were caught. As the day progressed the bite grew worse. Finally after checking some deeper holes with my side imaging sonar I located a group of larger black drum, and each angler managed a very respectable black drum caught on chunked blue crab.
My next charter was with Randy and Aubrie Walker from my hometown of Chuluota, Florida and all they wanted was to learn about fishing in the Mosquito Lagoon and catch a few sea trout. This is typically a no-brainer this time of year, but again the bite was tough. We started early throwing top-water with some success. As the day grew hotter the bite grew worse, and we ended the day catching only three slot size trout and a bunch of dinks. Near the end of the charter we switching to 4” DOA jerk baits which proved to produce the most strikes.
On Wednesday I had the privilege of joining Captain Ron Presley Senior Editor of Catfish Now Magazine for a quest to catch some St Johns River channel catfish. We launched near Deland, Florida and fished the stretch of river near Hoontoon Island State Park, and although the bite was again very slow, we managed three very respectable catfish fishing with fresh shrimp and anise chicken for bait.
Yesterday I again returned to the Mosquito Lagoon joined by Randy and Kelly Milliken from southeast Florida, and again we could not get the fish to eat. Throughout the morning we had tailing and pushing redfish all around us, but they all had lockjaw. It was a gorgeous morning with beautiful tailing fish everywhere, but we returned to the dock stinking to high heavens. Oh, did I mention it was a gorgeous morning.
As always, if you have any question, need information or would like to book a fishing charter, please visit my website or contact me directly.
Good luck and good fishing,
Captain Tom Van Horn