Lake Monroe & St. Johns River Fishing Forecast – April 2023



easy fix, change target species to schooling bass, sunshine bass, big catfish and stringers full of bluegill. We sure could use some April showers for May flowers. The St. Johns River went from the highest in 100 years to very low levels in March. When water levels are low, the fish don’t have the extra places up in the pastures to hide.

Shad schools are moving back into the lakes, and the schooling bass will be feeding heavily on them. Look for raining schools of shad (or minnows) near creek mouths, or where the river enters and exits Monroe, Harney, and Jessup. Dropoffs near river bends will hold schools of bass waiting for the current to push bait up. Rattle Traps and jerk bait soft plastics will work well in deeper water. When you can’t see the shad on top, you can sometimes locate them with your fishfinder in deep holes. Target the dropoff when you find the shad deep. In the lakes, find old bass beds and throw a Carolina rig. Fish will move in on these beds likely for the last time this year around the full and new moons. After these moon phases the bass will be hungry and eating.

Crappie will be taken by jigging near bridge pilings, or around the many sunken trees left from the hurricanes and high water. Catfish – the big cats spawn is triggered by big rains. Two to three days following a heavy rain, you can find them ready to take a piece of peeled fresh shrimp in any deep river bend or near creek mouths. Alas, stripers (sunshine bass here in the St. Johns) are back. Use shad imitations or live shiners along the channel edges between the I-4 Bridge and downtown Sanford for striper fun. Watch for insect hatches on the river then break out the fly rod. Poppers and floating bugs will entice bass and bluegill for sure.