Jackson, Gadsden, Calhoun, Gulf, Liberty, and Franklin counties
The Apalachicola River runs from Lake Seminole, on the Florida-Georgia border at Chattahoochee, 106 miles south through the Panhandle to the Gulf of Mexico, at the town of Apalachicola. In terms of volume of water discharged, it is Florida's largest river. While there are many areas of good fishing along the Apalachicola River, the best areas are the upper river, which is influenced by discharge from Lake Seminole, and the lower river, which is influenced by Apalachicola Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. Bag and size limits follow those for Northwest Florida, which include a 12-inch minimum size limit for largemouth bass (bag limit of five) and an 18-inch minimum size limit for striped bass (bag limit of three).
The upper Apalachicola River has good shore access from Jim Woodruff Dam to Race Shoal (0.9 miles) on the east bank, and from the dam to Hwy. 90 (0.6 miles) on the west bank. Access above Hwy 90 is on Corps of Engineers (COE) property and includes a fishing catwalk adjacent to the powerhouse at the dam. Boat landings are also located at Chattahoochee, Sneads, Aspalaga (Navigation Mile 98.9), and Ocheesee (NM93.9).
Upper Apalachicola River Forecast:
Fish densities in the upper river are often dependent on discharge from Lake Seminole through Jim Woodruff Dam. If normal rainfall continues through January and February, Striped Bass and Hybrid Striped Bass fishing in the river should be fantastic, with the peak to fish beginning in mid-March. Striped Bass and Hybrid Striped Bass that were discharged into the river during the fall will be roaming the river and feeding voraciously, and will aggregate in the current below Jim Woodruff Dam and along the sand and gravel bars downstream. Use a Carolina Rig with a ½ to 1 ounce weight (use a heavier weight during times with heavy current) with Shad or Herring. Downstream, both species should school along the deeper sandbars, especially during early morning hours or at dusk. White Bass will begin moving up the Apalachicola River to spawn by late February. Fish the sand and gravel bars using grass shrimp, small crayfish, or small jigs. The bag limit for Stripers, Hybrids, and White Bass is 20 fish per day, aggregate, but only three may be striped bass and must be a minimum of 18 inches total length. The river bream (Redbreast Sunfish) population has continued to rebound, and hand-sized fish, and larger, are becoming abundant again.
The lower Apalachicola River consists of the main river channel and the distributaries which form the delta: the St. Marks River, Little St. Marks River, and East River. Shoreline access is available only from the public docks on the waterfront in Apalachicola and at the City Dock (Ten-foot Hole) under the Hwy. 98 Bridge. Public boating access include the City Dock, Gardner Landing on East River, Cash Creek off of Hwy. 65, Magnolia Bluff on the east end of the Hwy 98 Bridge in East Point, and at the end of Bluff Road within Box-R WMA. Private launching facilities can be found at several marinas in Apalachicola, in East Point, and Howard's Creek off the Brother's River, and on Searcy Creek (Intracoastal Waterway) in White City. FWC and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service annually stock striped bass and sunshine bass in the lower river.
For more information contact Riverview Bait & Tackle (850-663-2462) in Chattahoochee, Bay City Marina (850-653-9294) or Scipio Creek Marina (850-653-8030) in Apalachicola, and Fisherman's Choice (850-670-8808) in Eastpoint.
Lower Apalachicola River Forecast:
Winter is a great time to fish for Spotted Seatrout, Redfish, and Sheepshead in the lower Apalachicola River because these species will move up into the river during the coldest part of the winter. Try using live shrimp or artificial shrimp baits around deep bends in creeks and bayous that are near the mouth of the river. Make sure to fish slow and try to find the warmest water because this is where the fish will be. Spring can also be a good time for Largemouth Bass fishing in the lower river. Dipping live shrimp along the steeper, grass-lined banks of the St. Marks and East rivers and the smaller sloughs, such as Montgomery Slough and Saltwater Creek, is one of the more popular methods. Spinnerbaits fished along the banks and weed lines of the larger channels and in Lake Wimico are also productive. As the water warms during the months February and March, move to warm back water areas and try fishing with plastic stick baits, light Texas-rigged worms, and topwater frogs.