Indian River Lagoon Fishing Forecast – March 2022

From the magnificent blooms of the azaleas and camellias to the sweet fragrance of orange blossoms conveyed across the Lagoon on the shoulders of a west wind, the signs of spring and great fishing are upon us. This past winter was a cold one, so I’m even more excited about what spring has in store for us on the Indian River Lagoon system and our nearshore waters of the Atlantic.

As the ocean begins to warm up, 67 to 68 degrees, the baits schools (Atlantic menhaden, threadfin and silver mullet) start returning from warmer waters into the nearshore waters with the cobia and other predators following them. The warmer waters also draw manta rays into the shallows shadowed by pods of cobia. As the bait pods move in, large jack crevalle, large redfish, tarpon and sharks can be found following bait schools.

On the lagoon, rising water levels will draw the slot size redfish schools up onto the shallow flats, with the larger breeder redfish schools holding along the deeper edges and sand bars. On the cooler days, focus your attention on sandbars or potholes, and once the afternoon sun warms the water, look for tailing fish on the shallow flats. Also, April signals the return of silver mullet to the estuary and the beginning of early morning top water sea trout and redfish action.

On the St Johns River, look for schooling bass and the resurgence of sunshine bass feeding on schools of small shad at first light in the bends of the river and the mouths of the big lakes. Remember to match the hatch by fishing artificial baits that mimic small menhaden shad.