Perhaps the most remarkable feature of the Crystal River in the heart of North Central Florida is the variety of wildlife that calls the river home. The river’s many underground springs pump freshwater into the river that leads out to the Gulf of Mexico. This creates brackish water, allowing both salt and freshwater species to thrive in the same location.
There are redfish, snook, and tarpon roaming the waters, but the river also contains a healthy population of largemouth bass. Although the number of bass to be caught certainly stands out, there is no shortage of sizable bass. Bass upwards of ten pounds can be seen roaming the crystal clear waters.
There is a fantastic opportunity to fish here, but caution must be a prerogative as well. Boaters need to be especially conscious of the manatees which seek sanctuary in the warm waters. The river remains at approximately 72 degrees year round because the water emerging from the springs is regulated by geothermal heat.
The consistent water temperatures make it an ideal spot for tournament fisherman during the winter months. The winter cold fronts, which can create dramatic water temperature swings in many lakes, do not impact the Crystal River as much.
The clear waters demand a finesse presentation from anglers. A quiet, stealthy approach and lighter tackle are required to prevent anglers from spooking fish. In such clear water, even spawning fish can be frightened from their beds. Luckily, after some time passes, the fish will return to the bed and can be caught if the angler is cautious in their approach.
The Crystal River, with its beautiful scenery and plethora of wildlife, provides a unique, enjoyable experience for salt and freshwater fisherman alike.