Freshwater Fishing

Santa Fe River – Try bank fishing at Ira Bea Oasis Road off CR 138 and in Ginnie Springs. Both Suwannee bass and largemouth bass offer excellent fishing opportunities. A large population of redbreast sunfish provides the best fishing the river has to offer. Try fishing for this species near fallen trees or stumps.

Suwannee River – Largemouth and Suwannee bass are abundant and both species can be caught along the shoreline near fallen tress or stumps. Redbreast sunfish and spotted sunfish are the most abundant game fish in the river and are easily caught near shoreline brush and stumps. The peak season is May through September.

Wildlife Watching:

Fanning Springs State Park – Animals typically observed in the mixed forest community include white-tailed deer, gray squirrel, red-shouldered hawk, pileated woodpecker, barred owl and a variety of snakes. The less densely wooded festival area provides open spaces for several gopher tortoises. Manatees may enter the spring run during cooler weather.

Hart Springs County Park – Many migratory and local bird species abound, such as the great blue heron, snowy egret, white ibis, king fisher and even a flock of wild turkeys. The red-shoulder hawks use this park each spring to nest and raise its young. Sightings of the Florida panther, white-tailed deer, bobcat and manatees have been documented.

Santa Fe River / Suwannee River / Springs – It’s easy to spot several varieties of turtles in these waters. Put on a mask and snorkel and watch schools of gar, bream, mullet and bass move through the clear spring water, and beavers work in this area. Typical bird species found in these habitats include Mississippi and swallow-tailed kites, broad-winged hawks, Acadian flycatchers, summer tanagers, and prothonotary and hooded warblers. Owls, pileated woodpeckers and red-shouldered hawks may be seen year-round. Many species of reptiles and amphibians are present also.

Otter Springs – Otter Springs is teeming with wildlife activity! Early in the morning, otters, raccoons and birds can be spotted near the spring and along the spring run. While strolling through the park, deer, gopher tortoises and turkeys are commonly seen along the trails and the park drive. Interested in birding? Many great species including the Swallow-tailed Kites and Red-Shouldered Hawks soar in the expansive sky over the park. Other animals that have been seen at Otter Springs include Manatee, Gray Squirrels, bobcats, a variety of fish and snakes, alligators, owls and Pileated Woodpeckers, just to name a few. Only in a natural Florida setting, such as Otter Springs, do you have the opportunity to experience such wonders.