Lake Monroe & St. Johns River Fishing Forecast – December 2021

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Big largemouth bass, speckled perch (crappie), and American shad are the three fish species that come to mind when thinking about fishing on the St Johns River in December. The spawn is on! Rains have slowed and the fast river current has too. Water levels are normal; depths are plenty for navigating the mouths of the lakes, even the south end of Harney. With the cooler water temperatures, the larger female bass will begin moving out of the main river into their shallow spawning areas. Target lily pad fields and backwater areas off of the main river and fish large wild shiners under a cork or a Texas rigged large plastic worm very slowly to entice one of these trophies. Also remember handle and release these large females with care.

Crappie spawn before bass, now is the time to go speck fishing. As the water temperatures cool, crappie females will begin staging along the deeper edges adjacent to shallow spawning areas as the males prep the beds. When the moon is full and the water temperatures are right, 55-65 degrees, the specks will move up into the creeks and shallows and spawn. Try slow trolling small jigs tipped with a live minnow or drift fishing with minnows under a cork for best results. Lastly, look for the American shad to begin showing up around Christmas, with their spawning run lasts through February into March.

Be sure to sign up for the 13th Annual Central Florida Shad and Crappie Derby presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors. The four month derby is a FREE online catch-photo-release fishing tournament. Visit https://coastalanglermag.com/orlando/ for complete information and to upload your tournament catches! Note: January 8th Hook’d on Fishing Lake Monroe – Captain Meeting January 7th at Celery City Beer Garden in Sanford – FREE 3rd annual tournament and seafood festival – block party at West End Trading Sanford, FL.

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