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Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge

Mosquito Lagoon and Indian River

Monday July 16, 2018

Notably one of Florida's most pristine and beautiful fishing areas, the mosquito lagoon and Indian River adjacent to North Merritt Island and Kennedy Space Center. These two waterways are interconnected by the man made Haulover canal allowing the travel of commercial and recreational interest on the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) along the eastern seaboard of the United States.

The Eastern and most northern part of the water way west of the Canaveral National Seashore and east of the Haulover Canal is a shallow body of crystal clear water named the Mosquito Lagoon. Surely the original western settlers felt the name was appropriate and the reputation still stands today. Bring plenty of repellent and make sure DEET is a main ingredient, because the others just don't work.

Mosquito Lagoon has made a reputation amongst sports fisherman for it's abundance of redfish, often referred to as puppy drum, channel bass or simply red drum. So proliferate are the redfish that it's not uncommon to see large schools or red fish marauding the shallow grass flats in search of food. Red fish feed on shrimp, crustaceans and bait fish such as mullet or menhaden and are often caught on live or dead versions of each or with an assortment of artificial lures imitations.

By far the most preferred way to fish for redfish is to look or "sightfish" for these predators while pushing a small skiff or "flats boat" along in shallow water until a fish is spotted an presenting an accurate cast with either a fly pattern imitation, artificial lures or live/dead baits accordingly.

A flats boat is a light vessel usually 20 feet or shorter with a small raised platform for the guide or angler to stand on so that they can spot their quarry from a distance and stalk that fish without being detected. It's the guides job to put the angler within casting distance without spooking the red fish and allowing the angler the best position to see and cast on the fish. This is usually done by poling upwind of the target fish and if possible with the sun at the anglers back, giving the angler the advantage of visibility and putting the sun's glare in the fish's eyes rather than the anglers.

Northern Mosquito Lagoon host the towns of Edgewater and Oakhill and is mottled with small islands and tributaries, while the southern part of the lagoon is bordered by the refuge and Kennedy Space Center. fishing access is not limited to boats as wading and kayaking is popular. Several boat ramps are accessible, most notably the Haulover Canal boat ramp or Bears Cove.

Traveling west from Mosquito Lagoon thru the Haulover Canal you enter the most northern part of the Indian River Lagoon in Brevard County, Central Florida or the Space Coast. The end of the lagoon is isolated and shallow with a tint of freshwater flowing from small feeder creeks and rain. There is a coffee or tannic hue to the clear waters the further north you proceed and the fishing is excellent in almost every area, again most notably the redfish but also including world class spotted sea trout.

Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge Entrance

Canaveral National Seashore and Beaches

Anglers wanting to sit on the beach and enjoy the fishing can catch pompano, bluefish, whiting, shark, redfish and any assortment of coastal fish that roams the surf and shoreline. It's a potluck of fishing and many anglers enjoy the solitude of fishing on the lawn chair and sipping on their favorite beverages while watching rod tips for the bite.

Be aware that nude sunbathing is practiced routinely at both beaches and is tolerated by law enforcement and local authorities. If you bring the family you might want to stay away from the northern part of Playlinda and the Southern part of Apollo beaches.

Boat fishing is accessible from Playalinda Beach and to the north as Homeland Security issues from 9/11 have closed all boat traffic from entering within 3 miles of the beach off the Canaveral National Seashore and southward to Port Canaveral.  Traditionally this area is excellent fishing and we are hoping and praying for this closure to be terminated soon.

If you are interested in fishing near the Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge, please fill out the form above and a Lagooner Fishing Guided will answer you shortly.

Fishing Charters and Trips on the Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge including the Canaveral National Seashore and Mosquito Lagoon.

Published by: Captain of Lagooner Fishing Guides©

Author Captain Richard Bradley

Captain Richard Bradley is the author and contributor for many of the articles written on the Lagooner website. Richard is a professional fishing guide, taking anglers in his native waters near the Banana and Mosquito Lagoons on Florida's central east coast almost three hundred trips seasonally. When not charter fishing, Captain Richard enjoys time with his family surfing, fishing, camping and various other outdoor activities.

Captain Gina Displaying the Lagooner Form
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Request information about a fishing trip with a Lagooner Fishing Guide by filling out and submitting this form or simply calling (321) 868-4953

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