Indian River County

Farm 13 Stick MarshThe St. Johns Water Management Area (SJWMA), known to most anglers as the Farm 13/Stick Marsh, is a 6,500-acre impoundment located along the east coast of central Florida in northwest Indian River County. Water depths range from 4 to 8 feet. Boaters unfamiliar with the SJWMA are advised to navigate to fishing locations with extreme caution due to the number of man-made and natural hazards present. Facilities include a double lane concrete boat ramp, air boat launch site, restroom and paved parking lot. Closest towns/cities are Melbourne, Palm Bay, Vero Beach, Sebastian and Fellsmere. No gas, food or bait available on site. Popular sportfish include largemouth bass, bluegill, redear sunfish, black crappie and several catfish species. This water body is noted for its excellent bass fishing due to the special no harvest regulation on largemouth bass. The SJWMA is one of the top 10 trophy bass spots in the state.

Anglers are reminded to exercise caution when boating due to submerged and floating timber in the Stick Marsh/Farm13 impoundment and that they are legally obligated to adhere to catch-and-release regulations for largemouth bass.

For more information on daily fishing forecasts and lake conditions for Stick Marsh/Farm 13, call Stick Marsh Bait & Tackle Shop at (772) 571-9855.

Fishhound External link also offers a fishing forecast for Farm 13 / Stick Marsh External link.

 

Popular species:

Popular fish species

 

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 Farm 13/Stick Marsh:

Lunker Club (8 – 9.9 pounds): 87

Trophy Club (10 – 12.9 pounds): 7

 

Current Forecast:

The water level is lower than it has been in recent years. The vegetation in the southern portion of Farm 13 is still the go-to location for the biggest concentrations of bass. Coming out of the spawning season it is also worthwhile to look for the submerged levees and ditches that attract fish. Without the buffering effect of submerged vegetation, wind-driven waves can still stir up sediments, causing dirty water conditions during and after wind events. Anglers should take this into consideration deciding when and where to fish on this impoundment. Early on during the quarter there should still be concentrations of bass in the timber at the south end of Farm 13 and the western half of the Stick Marsh. As spring becomes summer, look for bass to disperse throughout the reservoir closer to deeper water near Ditch 7, Ditch 13 and along the many secondary drainage ditches that crisscross the Farm13 pool. Historically, bass will often school up on threadfin shad in the central region of both pools this time of the year, so keep an eye out for feeding activity on the surface.

The long term weather forecast is for continued drier than average conditions. The water should remain low. Moving water near the flow structures is often a good place to look for feeding activity. However, absent any substantial rain there will not be much moving water. There may be some movement of water through S-96D on the south end of Farm 13 in April and May as a low water management plan calls for the movement of water from the Blue Cypress Water Management Area (which includes Garcia) into Stickmarsh/Farm13 under certain conditions. This will be weather dependent. Keep an eye on the St. Johns River Water Management District hydrologic information page External link for any activity that might get the fish moving. Water conditions will dictate lure selection. Golden shiners are the live bait of choice of many guides for trophy bass, followed by plastic worms (Texas or Carolina rigged) in June-bug, pumpkinseed, watermelon, tequila sunrise, and red shad), spinner baits (light colored), top water poppers and crank baits. In recent years crank baits fished along the shallow edges of drainage ditches proved to be an effective technique especially as water temperatures get up in the 80’s.

Black crappie fishing can be good this time of year for those anglers willing to search for them. Winter reports of crappie catches were better than in the previous couple of years and there should still be some nice ones around. Fish will be holding along the edges the ditches and other submerged edges. Most anglers fish with live minnows but small jigs (1/32 and 1/8 ounce) with twister-tail and tube style tails fished traditionally or vertically with jig poles will also catch fish. Bluegill and redear sunfish activity really picks up this time of the year as these panfish move into the shallow drop offs along levees and on top of the many submerged canal berms to spawn. Live crickets, cut shrimp, beetle spins, and small jigs are all effective baits for the various panfish species.

Anglers are reminded to exercise caution when boating due to submerged and floating timber in the Stick Marsh/Farm13 impoundment and that they are legally obligated to adhere to catch-and-release regulations for largemouth bass.

 



FWC Facts:
Groupers are very slow-growing fish, taking anywhere from 4-8 years to reach sexual maturity.

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