Polk, Hardee, Desoto, Charlotte counties
This scenic river runs south for over 100 miles from Lake Hancock, north of Bartow to Charlotte Harbor. Popular with canoeists, the Peace River offers excellent fishing for largemouth bass, bream, and catfish. Snook weighing over 30 pounds migrate from Charlotte Harbor and are caught year round as far north as Fort Meade. Bass, snook, and catfish prefer deep holes around tree snags where flow is strong. Tarpon are also caught in the lower Peace River. Commission maintained boat ramps are located near Fort Ogden at Deep Creek off CR 769 (Kings Highway) in Desoto County, and near Wauchula on CR 652 in Hardee County. Depending on water levels and other conditions, additional limited-access points are sometimes available. Locations follow: US 98 east of Ft. Meade; west of US 17 at Gardner; west of US 17 at Brownville; west of Arcadia off SR 70; and at Lettuce Lake south of CR 761. Bank fishing opportunities are available near Gardner.
The Peace River offers a great opportunity to experience Old Florida. Aside from the wildlife and occasional canoer, you may have stretches of river all to yourself. With such little pressure compared to the popular lakes in the region, you can expect to encounter some feisty fish. Water levels have finally come down and should make for some fun trips. Snook are in the lower river this time of year (check current season closures). Fish with live finger mullet or golden shiners around bridges, docks, and the many snags (fallen trees), or try using larger artificial baits such as the DOA Baitbuster and MirrOLures for some great action. Largemouth bass and panfish (bluegill, redear sunfish, and spotted sunfish) should be found in deeper holes in and around the snags, and the catfish won’t be too far away. Small spinners and flies should produce some good panfish action, while spinnerbaits and plastic worms should produce some bass!