Rivers and Fishing

Fisherman's Dream - Space Coast Fishing

Much of Brevard’s identity is based on the large rivers and tributaries that flow through its county lines.  When people think of the Space Coast, it’s the ocean that often dominates the idea of water based recreation and economics, but it’s the rivers of Brevard County that bring just as much fun and finances to the area.

Commercial and recreational activities in the local rivers of Brevard account for several hundred millions of dollars in the local economy.  These rivers are beautiful; cascaded with saltmarshes, seagrass beds, mangrove swamps, tidal flats, oyster bars, and spoil islands and have all the elements that enable a diverse collection of marine species within its habitat.  Part of the larger Indian River Lagoon estuary, it has the highest species diversity in all of North America with over 4,300 different species of plants and marine life.

The river system in Brevard is a fisherman’s dream.  Hundreds of square miles of many different types of water terrain make the fishing here some of the best in the state of Florida. Many types of trophy fish swim the waters of Brevard’s rivers.  A flurry of large schools of Tarpon, Drumfish, Snook, Sheepshead, Flounders, Grunts, Jacks, Mackerels, Mullets, Pompanos, and Snappers can all be found in the rivers of the Space Coast.

Indian River – The largest of the river systems in Brevard County, this river starts just northeast of Scottsmoor where Turnbull and Coot Creek converge.  It runs, in length, about 100 miles down to the city of Stuart spanning four counties. At its widest point at Dummit Cove in Brevard it spans about six miles.  Titusville, Cocoa, Rockledge, Merritt Island, Melbourne, and Satellite Beach all rest on or within a couple miles of its shoreline.   The Indian River is also a part of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway that runs from Norfolk, Virginia all the way to Florida’s southernmost point and maintains a minimum depth of twelve feet for boats of varying sizes to travel through its waters.  Its collective tributaries within Brevard County include Crane Creek, the Eau Gallie River, and Turkey Creek.


Banana River – This river is a lagoon that begins just north of Cape Canaveral and extends approximately 30 miles down just south of Patrick Air Force Base where it merges with the Indian River.  Its one opening to the Atlantic Ocean is through the deep water port of Port Canaveral via a channel lock. This river is the only existing river in the Indian Lagoon Estuary that is not part of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway as it is offset from it just to the east if the Indian River which hosts the AIW through Brevard.  Because of this, depths in the river are not regulated by the government which has left the river’s floor relatively untouched and more natural.


Mosquito Lagoon – This lagoon spans the Indian River form Bethune Beach of New Smyrna all the way to Titusville, This lagoon provides a few hundred thousand acres of some of the best salt water fishing in Florida.  The lagoon’s underwater landscapes consist of oyster bars, grass flats, and mangroves and are the perfect grounds for many trophy striking fish. Tarpon and Snook are among many species of fish that feed in fast water flowing areas, but the lagoon’s most well known as the best Red fishing area in the state.  The lagoon’s vast slow moving current areas make breeding and feeding grounds for enormous Redfish, many as long as 40 inches!


Lake Washington – Brevard County’s largest natural lake, with a surface area of 4,362 acres, Lake Washington is best known for being the city of Melbourne and surrounding area’s largest fresh water resource.  The lake is a part of the St. John’s river system.  It inflows and indirectly outflows into the St. John’s river.  There are boating ramps for recreation and leisure activities like wakeboarding and swimming.  Its average depths range from 10-15 feet.


Stick Marsh – This man-made lake was dug in 1987 and is host to some of the state’s best trophy Bass fishing.  Located just west of Vero Beach, this 6,500 acre reservoir has exceeded high expectations for trophy bass and is predicted to continue through years to come.  According to local fishing guides, the fishing for trophy Bass, Bluegill, Shellfish, and Crappie is unparalleled anywhere else in the U,S, and is believed to be arguable the best fishing hole in the country!