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Below is the latest news related to the Florida Guides Association and other topics related to fishing and boating in the state of Florida.  Check back here often to stay up-to-date with the latest.  You can support us and our mission to protect the Florida fisheries by becoming a member.

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Fishy River, Beautiful Scenery 

It would be hard to find a more beautiful place. The Coosa River and the Tallapoosa River come together near Wetumpka, Alabama to form the Alabama River. It is a meandering river around Prattville in Elmore County Alabama. The river offers plenty of nooks and crannies for serious fishermen to investigate. 

I had the opportunity to visit the area recently. Crappie Now, a free online magazine, hosted a Press Camp for outdoor writers with the expressed intent of show casing the great crappie fishing and tourism possibilities attached to the river. Dan “Crappie Dan” Dannenmueller, Crappie Now Publisher, describes the Alabama River as a nutrient rich river that supports the rapid growth of both white and black crappie. Alicia Jonathan RoadRunner

Ziptailz and Road Runner teamed up to catch this Alabama River Crappie

“The river is formed by a series of locks and dams that form pools,” indicated Dannenmueller. “Depending on current, power generation, river stages and weather, numerous crappie fishing techniques will work on the river. Crappies are caught exceeding 2 pounds and some will weigh over 3 pounds.”

The river itself can have strong current when power is being generated or when the river is being pulled down for flood control purposes. Tributary creeks like Swift Creek and places like Cooter’s Pond give Prattville area anglers easy access to the river and also backwater fishing opportunities. There are numerous residential docks that provide some great dock shooting prospects. 

Local anglers have nothing but praise for the Alabama River fishing. “I like fishing around the Prattville area because that’s where my first childhood memories of crappie fishing started,” said Jonathan Phillips. Jonathan and his wife Alicia Phillips are frequent competitors on the Bass Pro Shops Crappie Masters All American Tournament Trail.   

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Scenic Beauty and Fishy Waters 

Crappie anglers like coming to Lake Greenwood because they catch fish in great numbers and they also catch quality size fish. Greenwood is a beautiful clear water lake and a pretty deep lake, especially up around the dam. It is a long narrow lake with plenty of crappie holding creeks coming into it. 

The lake has some flooded timber in spots that make for excellent crappie fishing.  Most of the creeks have 20 feet of water with some going as deep as 30 feet. The water is deep enough that you don’t have to worry about hitting the stumps and tearing up your boat. The lake is also known for its man-made cover. Anglers have put out a lot of their own crappie attractors to improve fishing success. Slide 1 Billy

There are residential docks where anglers can dock shoot, brush piles where they can one pole, and open water where they can spider rig or long line. Yet, with all those various methods available, Lake Greenwood is known as a long lining lake. That reputation probably comes from the fact that most crappie tournaments on Greenwood have been won by teams that long line troll. 

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It’s Time for Great Spring Catchin’ in Central Florida 

As many of you have heard by now, a brown alga bloom in the inland waters of the Indian River Lagoon system has resulted in a major fish kill in all reaches of the Banana River Lagoon and portions of the Central Indian River Lagoon.  This is sad news for some parts of our east coast estuaries, but if there is a bright side to this story, this event has open the eyes of many who prefer to look the other way when it comes to the health and preservation of our fragile resources.  Another positive note is the fish kill is currently isolated to the central IRL and has not occurred in the portions of the Lagoon system north of SR 405 (NASA Causeway) and the Mosquito Lagoon.  This forecast is based on my past experiences fishing in a healthy lagoon system, so I may be off a little on my predictions this month.

Some highlights for fishing on Florida's east central coast during the spring are: the weather is still cool and enjoyable, the waters warming up and the fish begin to shift into their pre-spawning feeding mood. Some examples of this behavior are the cobia moving north up the Atlantic coast, and the spotted sea trout transitioning into their traditional spawning areas on the inshore flats. Van Horn Trout

Like many saltwater species, the cobia and sea trout spawn in aggregations or groups, not on beds. In the case of the cobia their traditional spawning areas are off of the central east coast of the US, and in the northern Gulf of Mexico. As the fish migrate north, they burn energy and feed heavily along the way, hence the cobia run we experience each spring. 

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Good Water Clarity Present 

Charlotte Harbor is Florida’s second largest estuary encompassing 270 square miles. Over 80% of its shoreline is reserved land. There are more than 15 boat ramps and many kayak access point on the Harbor providing easy access to great fishing. 

April Action: Redfish will be eating flies and lures along mangroves that have oysters and grass close by. You’ll find snook cruising the mangrove points with sandy patches and moving water. Ladyfish and sea trout will be on deeper grass flats. There's been some schools of 10-12 pound jack crevalle cruising the flats - keep a 20# class spinning rod with a top water plug handy or a 10 wt. rigged with a white bait fly. The first of the spring tarpon are now cruising the middle section of the Harbor. There’s not a lot of them yet but by the middle of the month they’ll be here in good numbers! Cobia have been scarce but they will show up soon. Beach Jackrs

Conditions: Water temps will be rising into the high 70s to low 80s with good water clarity throughout the Harbor. The Lake Okeechobee water releases into the Caloosahatchee have been reduced to just above normal flow so the salinity ad clarity continues to improve in Punta Rasa Pass, along the area beaches and in the lower reaches of Pine Island Sound. 

Bait the fish are feeding on: shrimp, crabs, pinfish, ladyfish. Some whitebait in Matlacha Pass, upper Pine Island Sound, Gasparilla sound and on Bokeelia Shoals. 

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