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



Big fish are looking for lucky anglers! The 15th Annual Shad and Crappie Derby begins November 1 – it only takes one fish to win…more than $5,000 in prizes to be awarded! Shad show up around Christmas, so it’s crappie time now!

Don’t miss the kick-off meeting at Celery City Craft Beer Garden in Sanford on Thursday October 26th from 6:30 to 8:00 pm. This is the first opportunity to register. All anglers receive the official Derby Photo Token and Derby Ruler. On-hand will be local crappie experts to help with last minute tackle tips and rigging techniques. The only way to enter this FREE tournament is to visit one of the Derby sign-up locations. Visit for complete details.

October is the month we experience the highest water levels in the St. Johns River system. Love bugs and the first cold front bring in the Fall season. The river mullet have migrated north past Central Florida and the black crappie bite has turned on. Bass will readily take spinner baits, rattling crankbaits, topwater chuggers, and soft plastic worms and swimbaits. With high water levels, look for feeding largemouth bass in shallow, two feet or less. Crappies in the early season are found in the lakes, they move into the deep river bends after the second major cold front.

To catch crappie, simply tie a small jig on 8 lb. test monofilament and tip with a minnow. Take that minnow-tipped jig to the up wind side of the lake and slow troll it behind the boat fishing with the wind at about 1.2 mph. The more rods you can deploy, the better. When you catch a fish, mark the spot on your GPS. When you get to the other side of the lake, go back and repeat making sure to troll over your newly found crappie spots. Crappies will congregate in the same area with up to 50 fish or more schooled up for the spawn. Good luck catching!

See you at the Derby Kick-Off Meeting October 26th…Charlie.