Fishing Environments of the Indian River Lagoon

The Indian River Lagoon is the most biodiverse estuary in North America. Featuring about 454 species of fish, the lagoon is one of the premier fishing locations on the continent. But it’s not just the variety of fish residing in the lagoon that makes it special. It’s also the different sections of the lagoon that attract the different species of fish. These are some of the areas that you may find as ideal fishing locations in the lagoon.


The most popular fishing on the Space Coast is what is known as “flats fishing.” Typically done in the shallow waters of the flats, flats fishing is a combination of fishing and hunting. The most popular types of fish that will be found in the flats are seatrout and redfish. Due to the shallow water, it is advised to remain quiet if you find yourself fishing in the flats as fish can be scared away quite easy if they feel exposed or as if they might be targeted. In this case, they will most likely quit feeding and flee the area.

Another type of fishing that occurs in the flats is “sight fishing.” If the sun is out, it is recommended that you use polarizing sunglasses as the glare of the sun off the water could make it very difficult to see down to the bottom of the water. When searching for the flat-residing fish, redfish might be seen moving through the grasses looking for their prey. Conversely, big trout and snook will likely be seen motionless in the same seagrasses. These fish hide in the seagrasses waiting to pounce on their prey. This makes them very difficult to see. If you are practicing sight fishing, you will want to lead the fish by about six to eight feed in the direction they are swimming as not to scare them away.


In the lagoon, potholes are open sandy areas that exists in the grass flats. A popular fish that takes up residence in these potholes are seatrout that take up residence during days when the weather’s warm waiting to pounce on prey. These fish typically stay around the edges of the potholes and wait for their prey to wander over the open water. Following a cold night, more fish will venture over the potholes because the sandy bottom creates warmer waters. These fish will sit directly over the pothole making them sitting prey to fish for.


The canals of the Indian River Lagoon can be great places to fish, especially if the canal is deeper than the adjacent lagoon waters. It also helps if the canal is lined by mangrove trees which make for ideal residence for several different species of fish. The fish will set up position along the mangrove roots and wait for prey so they can pounce on their food. Schools of trout can be found in the canals during colder weather. Also during these colder spells, fish may be a little slow to bite requiring a certain amount of patience.

Spoil Islands

In the 1950s, the Army Corps of Engineers dredged a channel creating the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway which begins in Texas and stretches around the Florida peninsula and up toward New Jersey. The sand that was dredged to deepen this channel was dumped next to the channel which formed a series of islands, called spoil islands. Most of these islands are close to deep waters which make them great for fishing. As time has gone on since their creation, sandbars, flats, coves, and other structures have been created that attract a variety of fish. Some of these islands have been submerged by water with only the trees sticking out allowing boaters to recognize them. Whether the trees, sandbars, flats, or coves, several aspects of these islands create great locations for fishing.

Neglected Docks

Various docks located along the Indian River Lagoon have been abandoned or neglected and have fallen into disrepair. While they are no longer used by boaters, they are now residences by fish such as seatrout and snook using them to hide from predators. If you are looking to attempt to catch fish in these areas, slowly drift into the area as to not scare away the fish.

One of best fishing spots in North America, the Indian River Lagoon offers a vast variety of fish that reside in several different types of environments. These different environments offer various benefits to fishing in those areas. If you are looking to experience fishing opportunities in the Indian River Lagoon, join 321 Boat Club.