The Homosassa River is another of the spring-fed rivers within the Springs Coast Watershed. The headwater springs of the Homosassa River are home to both freshwater and saltwater fish. This phenomenon is possible because the mineral content in the spring water resembles minerals found in salt water. The similar mineral content and some fishes' ability to tolerate broad changes in salinity allows some species of saltwater fish to live in these freshwater habitats. The freshwater fish you'll find in the Homosassa River include bream, largemouth bass and gar. Some of the saltwater species you'll see include jacks, mullet, sheepshead and snook. The area now known as Homosassa Springs State Wildlife Park has been a tourist attraction since the early 1900s. Back then, trains used to stop to let rail passengers rest at the springs while the train was loaded with fish, crabs, cedar and spring water. Today, Homosassa Springs State Wildlife Park is owned by the state and managed by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. The park offers educational programs for kids and adults every day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Because the park serves as a rehabilitation center and refuge for endangered manatees that have been orphaned or injured in the wild, these marine mammals can be seen year-round at Homosassa Springs State Wildlife Park. The park has an underwater observatory that allows visitors to come nose to nose with these manatees. For their protection, the park does not allow swimming with the manatees. These animals would not recover as quickly and might lose their fear of humans, placing them at risk once they are returned to the wild.
The Homosassa River is a comparatively narrow and shallow waterway.The rivers headwaters start and flow from several springs that produce millions of gallons of fresh spring water every hour. Fishing abounds in the Homosassa and Halls rivers and much of the local economy continues to be supported by the fishing industry. Both commercial and recreational fishing is popular in the area and a number of service businesses continue to support the endeavor.
Shrimp boats and crabbers still dock their vessels at several commercial docks in Homosassa and fresh seafood is available from several fish houses.Hell's Gate, a narrow bottleneck in the channel, is a navigation difficulty that only experienced captains in the area care to guide a large boat through.
The nature of the river, with its winding channels and unforgiving oyster bars and rock beds, drives many larger boats to deeper rivers. By following channel markers the adventurous fishermen can navigate the channel with care
The Homosassa River continues to supply some of the best fishing for both salt and fresh water species, especially in winter.
The Homosassa River is 9 miles long.
The nature of the river, with its winding channels and unforgiving oyster bars and rock beds, makes for great fishing.