Citrus, Marion, Sumter, Levy, Hernando counties
This 157-mile stream originates in Green Swamp in Hernando County and flows north to the Gulf at Yankeetown. The stream has many limerock areas and associated swamps. Water levels fluctuate except in Lake Rousseau and the area just above the influence of Rainbow River. Water color is dark during the rainy season and clear during low water. Public ramps are located at S.R. 44 in Rutland, C.R. 470 north of Lake Panasofkee, the Outlet River west of Lake Panasofkee on C.R. 470 in Sumter County, C.R. 39 north of SR 200 in Citrus County, U.S. Highway 41 at Dunnellon and SR 40 at Yankeetown.
Local contacts: The Art of Fishing (Fly-Fishing Specialist) Hernando 352-637-3316; Anglers Resort Dunnellon 352-489-2397.
This time of year water levels can fluctuate with seasonal conditions. Be sure to check with local contacts for area conditions or check out the Southwest Florida Water Management District’s web page at www.swfwmd.state.fl.us for real-time water levels. FWC biologists electro-fished sections of the upper river (CR 39, Bonnet and Nelson Lake Areas) this spring and found harvestable-sized largemouth bass, bluegill and redbreast sunfish; so diligent effort could produce some enjoyable fishing. However, downstream areas from Rt. 44 to Rainbow River will provide higher catch rates. Focus your fishing effort on hard structure such as cypress trees with small spinners for largemouth bass and panfish. Backwater areas will have more heavy vegetation so use plastic lizards or frog topwater baits for bass. Crickets below floats at the edge of vegetation are always enticing for bluegill and redear sunfish. Avoid silty bottom backwaters.