Wade Fly Fishing The Upper St. Johns River Basin (Florida) for American Shad
This is a guide to wade fly fishing the upper St. Johns River basin in East Central Florida for American shad. This is essentially winter fishing in the upper St. Johns River, comprised between Lake Monroe at Sanford and Lake Poinsett at Cocoa, and in the Econlockhatchee River, from Oviedo to the mouth.
If you are not a bass fisher you may not be familiar with the St. Johns River. You will discover a hidden treasure. And yes, the St. Johns and Econlockhatchee Rivers can be waded relatively safely at certain times and at certain locations. This guide book will take you to these precise locations with detailed maps and instructions. The book also covers some spots that are not practically accessible by wading only but can be accessed with a kayak, canoe or light boat.
American shad may also be new to you. This book covers the basic biology and behavior of the fish during its spawning run in the upper St. Johns River basin, from an angler’s point of view. True to its title, the book covers this great fishery from the fly-fishing angle. Anglers using spin-casting tackle will make good use of this book as well.
While this book focuses on shad, largemouth bass and black crappie are also common targets in the upper St. Johns River. Sunshine bass, blue tilapia, channel catfish, bowfin and gar will occasionally knock at your door, providing great action on the same light fishing gear. The book contains a brief description of these species, their most likely locations and the fishing techniques.
This book is intended for both the experienced and the occasional shad angler. While it focuses on fly-fishing, anglers using spin-casting tackle will make good use of this book as well. The book also focuses on wading and foot access. Still, some spots shown in the book must be reached by navigating, either a carry-on craft or a light boat. Navigating to a wading spot is an excellent way to fish for American shad.
Basic geology and geography of the rivers, including a detailed coverage of the upper basin of the St. Johns River between Sanford and Cocoa and of the Econ River from the confluence to Oviedo. Basic biology of American shad and, with lesser details, a summary of the other species present in the river during the shad run: largemouth bass, sunshine bass, black crappie, sunfish, bluegill, channel catfish, armored catfish, blue tilapia, bowfin and gar. Fishing techniques and equipment, including what not to buy if you are just an occasional shad fly fisher. On the other hand, the choice of flies is serious business and several patterns are shown in the book. When and how to pursue American shad, including the timing of the run, the water levels and some facts and fiction on the infamous Florida alligators. Finally, 54 of the 109-page book are devoted to the million-dollar question (in this case $9.95 or $19.95): Where to go? The book covers the entire length of the shad spawning territory of both the St. Johns and the Econ Rivers, which are divided in ten general areas. Each area is subdivided based on the access points and the foot path from parking to fishing. Detailed large-scale maps show the precise spots in the rivers where shad are known to congregate and how to walk—or not—to these spots.