Fishermen are lucky. When wintertime arrives in Florida, all that’s usually necessary is a light coat to keep away the cold. However, cold-blooded fish species like seatrout, redfish (red drum), black drum and sheepshead, are not so lucky. They’re cold-blooded, and as water temperatures fall into the 50s, they seek the warmth of deep creeks, especially those with dark bottoms or oyster bars. There, they can huddle up to sun-warmed spots and wait out the cold–and even snag a mullet or mud minnow that swims into their reach.
The best time to fish our coastal creeks is on the coldest of days, as the tide rises. However, remember that wintertime low tides are the lowest of the year, and that you must plan your trip accordingly. A long winter night is not the time to be trapped “up the creek”!
Here are a few suggestions regarding some coastal creeks in the Fish Natural North Florida region:
John’s Creek runs northeast from the mouth of the old Barge Canal, south of Yankeetown
Vassey Creek and Turtle Creek flow into Waccasassa Bay south of the Waccasassa River
Dennis Creek parallels the road to Shell Mound, northwest of Cedar Key
Barnett and Moccasin Creek flow into the Gulf of Mexico south of Suwannee
Dan May Creek flows into East Pass of the Suwannee River
Shired, Johnson and Sanders Creeks all offer excellent wintertime fishing. They’re located between the Suwannee River and Horseshoe Beach
Cow, Rocky, and Porpoise Creeks are north of Horseshoe Beach, between the Pepperfish Keys and Steinhatchee
Dallus Creek is a “famous” and crowded wintertime trout spot, located between Steinhatchee and Keaton Beach.
Clay Creek is just north of Dallus Creek, near Fisherman’s Rest
Spring Warrior and Big Spring creeks, north of Keaton Beach, can be hard to enter, but worth the effort on cold winter days!
Be careful leaving the Aucilla River boat ramp (bad rocks!) and once in the Gulf, head north to the mouths of Pinhook and Sulphur creeks.
There are numerous (and fishy!) creeks to the east of the mouth of the St. Marks River, but a local favorite is Spring Creek, to the west, near Panacea.