Trips start at $100.00
Trips start at $200.00
Max guests: 6
Trips start at $250.00
Max guests: 5
Upper Keys, FL
Trips start at $1100.00
Max guests: 6
Upper Keys, FL
Trips start at $450.00
Max guests: 3
Trips start at $400.00
Max guests: 4
Originating north and east of Tampa and west of Orlando in the Green Swamp, the Peace River stretches more than 100 miles to pour into Gasparilla Sound-Charlotte Harbor on the west side of Florida. That’s a lot of water to explore and fish in.
As the Peace River winds south, it gets broader and the fishing opportunities increase. The river starts in the swamp which has miles of hiking trails and plenty of nature to experience. You can see rare birds, animals and plants on the walks. In parts of the swamp, you can get in a canoe to explore and catch swamp fish. For a family looking for a back-to-nature vacation, this is the place to be.
If fishing is part of your ideal getaway, FishAnywhere has the guides who can put you on the honey holes in the river.
Fishing starts in the swamp area parts of which are a state wildlife management areas (WMA). In addition to a fishing license, a WMA stamp is needed to fish the WMA portions of the area. Also, fishing regulations are different for saltwater and freshwater.
Tannins in the swamp water (this is natural and harmless) mean bream and bass are hard to find. Swamp fish that do not mind the tannins are fliers, redfin pike and chain pickerel (jacks). Small spinnerbaits and tiny jerkbaits are used for all these fish. Jacks are crazy. If you throw a topwater lure under a low-hanging bush, jacks may jump into the bush to attack your lure from above.
Down the river as the tannins thin out, bass, panfish and catfish begin to show up. Bass are commonly caught on spinnerbaits, artificial worms, swimbaits and crankbaits. Live shad, often called shiners or roaches, are the best way to get the biggest bass to bite. If you want the big bass, you need medium-heavy freshwater rods and 12- to 20-pound test line.
Panfish fall victim to tiny spinnerbaits and live bait like crickets, worms and minnows. Get a cane pole with eight- to 10-pound test line, No. 8 hooks, bait and a cork and you are ready to spend some quality time on the Peace River catching supper.
An old sport that has recently caught fire is bowfishing. Carp and gar are the primary targets, but in recent times Florida bow fishermen are going after the tasty tilapia, stingrays and mullet. Bowfishing is a good way to keep your hunting skills in tune during the offseason. Be aware, gar eggs are poisonous while the meat is delicious.
Where the salt and fresh waters mix, it turns brackish. Several kinds of fish can tolerate this mix. Bass, reds, gar, flounder, mullet and bull sharks can be caught in these waters often in the same place but with different techniques.
Mullet are the hardest to catch with conventional fishing gear, which is why many people stalk them with a bow.
Bass, reds and trout fall victim to live and cut bait under a popping cork. Many people use the new generation of shrimp imitators under the popping cork. When the reds are schooling in the shallows, they will also hit gold spoons and jerkbaits. Trout and reds will hit crankbaits and swimbaits. If the bass are ignoring your offerings or won’t take the hook, switch to a Carolina rigged worm.
Bull sharks, of all the shark species, can actually live in fresh water. Some sharks will also venture into the brackish water. If you are in a boat, you can chum them. Chumming from the beach is generally not allowed. Check the new regulations if you want to chase sharks.
Specks, reds and flounder abound at the mouth of the river. You can add snook and tarpon to the mix here.
Tarpon are a schooling species and are often seen in big groups. The best way to catch a silver king is with live pinfish or blue crab. Cast ahead of the fish and bring your offering into their path. Fly fishermen need to throw big flies in shrimp, streamer and crab patterns. Your reel needs to hold at least 200 yards of backing.
Snook gather in channels and canals. Charlotte Park on the south side of the river’s mouth has plenty of these. Snook are also a bit particular about when they feed. If the current is not moving, they are tough to entice. If the tide has the water moving, they are feeding. Live bait, like fingerling mullet, is the best. If you are throwing artificial lures, then match your lure to the water depth and clarity.
From swamp to inshore fishing, the Peace River has something for everyone who likes to wet a hook. You’ll need to come back many times to experience everything this river has to offer. FishAnywhere can connect you with local Peace River guides who will make sure your trip is the best possible.