Regional Reports-South

Indian River Lagoon system

Since the 1995 amendment to the Florida constitution banning the use of gill nets, the number and size of sea trout in the Indian River Lagoon system have increased substantially. Lying along Florida's east-central coast and consisting of the Indian River, Banana River and Mosquito Lagoon, the system has had a healthy population of small sea trout for years, but many were lost to gill nets as they grew larger. Thanks to the new law, sea trout are surviving longer. Look for large sea trout roaming the shallow grass flats, which provide shelter to fingerling mullet, especially early and late in the day when darkness makes the trout less vulnerable to predators. Soft-plastic baits about five inches long, rigged weedless on an offset worm hook, resemble fingerling mullet and can easily be fished in the grass lying just beneath the water on the flats. And don't discount the potholes, where the sea trout retreat when the sun is overhead. Contact: Florida Game and Fish Commission (850-488-4676).