Indian River Lagoon Fishing Forecast – January 2024

January is the coldest time of the year, but the flats are still good for fishing. On sunny clear days you can have some of the finest flats fishing even if temperatures are in the 30s. The fish are out in the open trying to soak up the sun and they are hungry. You can have days where you catch 20-30 fish a day or even more. The only drawback is the fish do not fight as well.

A lot of times the trout are in the holes, which means the hole could be three to five feet deep right off a one foot flat. The holes are usually a softer bottom which the fish like. Bouncing jigs really slow off the bottom will typically catch the redfish, trout and black drum. I use 8# braid tied to 20# fluorocarbon leader. The colder it gets, the cleaner the water becomes, so sight fishing is your best bet on sunny days. When it is calm the fish will be out in the open on the flats. On windier days the fish will try to get out of the muddy water and be on the leeward side of an island or point. The Indian River and the Banana River are deeper than Mosquito Lagoon with manmade canals, so the fish go in deeper muddier holes up to 5’-10’ deep and stack up in there. Fish the canals with a jig on the bottom or a Mirrolure that sinks and work it very slowly. Whatever color Mirrolure you like will work. The canals with oyster bars, tree lines or unused docks with holes near them are what you want to look for. Back in the day when I used to scout for my charters and did not know what dock or canal to fish, I would scout on a sunny calm day because the water is cleaner and use a trolling motor or idle in the area looking for fish. They tend to stay in the same area all winter long and I would return another day to fish for them. The bigger trout are more fragile this time of the year and I use lures instead of bait so not to gut hook them.

Troy’s tip of the month: Don’t be afraid to go out on windy, windy days with lots of sun you can still catch a lot of fish. Having lots of sun is the key.