Columbia, Hamilton, Madison, Lafayette, Gilchrist, Alachua, Suwannee, Levy and Dixie counties

Suwannee RiverThe Suwannee drains from the Okeefenokee Swamp through limestone shoals stretches to become a large flood plain river in the lower reaches. Drastic water level fluctuations characterize the river and keep the fishery dynamic. The Santa Fe is the major tributary, heavily influenced by springs and unlike the Suwannee, has vast areas of submerged vegetation in the middle and upper reaches. These areas harbor abundant freshwater shrimp, waterscuds and aquatic insects, thus producing excellent growth rates for fish, particularly abundant redbreast sunfish and pugnacious spotted sunfish (stumpknockers). The upper Suwannee has only tree roots and rocky shelves for fish structure. The lower Suwannee has a band of waterlilies and eventually in the tidal portion, numerous wooded and marsh-lined feeder creeks. High tide fishing is always slow with best fishing during lower tides. It is also helpful to remember that the outer bends are always deeper, sand bars are on inside curves and lilies on outer bend means the current has left the bank and panfish like to spawn here. Both Suwannee and largemouth bass occur. Large fish are not the rule and remember that all bass in the river, especially Suwannees, prefer to feed on crawfish, so crawfish-colored lures prevail.

Local upper Suwannee contacts: Suwannee River State Park 386-362-2746, Canoe Outpost 1-800-428-4147, Spirit of Suwannee Park 386-364-1683.

Local middle Suwannee and Santa Fe contacts: Sandy Point Marina 386-935-0615.

Local lower Suwannee contacts: Sid's Treasure Camp at Fowler's Bluff 352-493-2950.

The enacted "No Wake" zones from Dowling Park downstream to the upper estuary have been lifted.

Note: Boaters should be extremely cautious on both rivers, as low water has made clearance over sand bars and other underwater hazards less certain.  Use low water periods to develop better understanding of what exposed areas look like under normal river levels.  Also available are current water levels throughout Florida on the Internet at www.usgs.gov. External Website

 

Popular species:

Popular fish species

Fish graphics by Duane Raver, Jr.

 

TrophyCatchTrophyCatch Tracker

TrophyCatch External link is FWC's citizen-science program that rewards anglers for documenting and releasing trophy bass 8 pounds or larger. The following TrophyCatch bass have been submitted from the Suwannee and Santa Fe Rivers:

Lunker Club (8 – 9.9 pounds): 13

Trophy Club (10 – 12.9 pounds): 3

 

 Current Forecast:

Water levels are up and fishing has been slow. Expect fishing to begin to pick up with water levels coming down (barring any major storms) and temperatures cooling off. When water levels pass through the cypress root edge the best fishing occurs. This available cover is utilized by all types of fish. Catfish are biting and will move to these shallower areas after dark. Target catfish with cutbaits or stinkbaits here or at on the bottom of deep pools. If fishing from the bank use enough weight to get your bait down. The current will drag your baited hook downstream. Suwannee and Largemouth Bass will hit crayfish colored crankbaits fished close to drop-offs and woody snags. In the Suwannee River, target eddies behind large cypress trees and feeder creek mouths with plastic imitations for bass as well. The winter months are when the lower tidal creeks of the Suwannee hold larger spotted sunfish. Fish for these on a falling tide. Keep an eye on rainfall as heavy storms can cause rapidly-rising water levels and poor fishing in short order.



FWC Facts:
American eels are considered to be catadromous, which means they live in fresh water and go to the sea to spawn.

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