Mosquito Lagoon is part of the Indian River Lagoon system and the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway. It extends from Ponce de León Inlet in Volusia County, Florida, to the north end of Merritt Island. It connects to the Indian River via the Haulover Canal. It also runs next to the Canaveral National Seashore on Cape Canaveral and the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. The Kennedy Space Center is located on the lagoon as well. The Mosquito Lagoon stretches for 23 miles withing the boundaries of Florida's Canaveral National Seashore, then stretches off to the north even farther. Although it's not divided as such, it could really be considered two separate bodies of water at the north and south ends, so different are the fisheries. The line separating the two sections extends roughly from the town of Oak Hill east across the lagoon to the boat ramp at Parking Lot 5 at Apollo Beach. To the south of this line, miles of shallow, crystalline waters cover acres and acres of flats covered with lush beds of manatee grass. To the north, much more turbid waters flow around and through intricate mazes of tiny mangrove islands, oyster bars, holes and sloughs. Tactics and techniques for fishing these areas differ radically. As do some of the types of fish found in each.World Famous Mosquito Lagoon and it's amazing Redfish fishing, to the mighty Tarpon and Snook.
Lush beds of manatee grass.
Mangrove islands, oyster bars, holes and sloughs.
First of all, sightfishing in the north end is difficult, with the exception of redfish tailing around oysters. The water is often too dirty to spot fish. The best strategy to use when fishing the lagoon north of Oak Hill is to find locations that are likely to hold fish on any given tide, then work them over well with flies that push water, make noise, or better yet, both. Sometimes you actually can see fish piling into bait. Jack crevalle and bluefish don't have very good manners while eating, and the noise they make can often be heard from quite far away. Besides that , the mullet fleeing in terror sends a clear signal to fly fishermen: toss the feathers over here and get into the action.
Shallow points near deep water access that has moving water will often hold gamefish, regardless of the tidal stage. This type of structure can be found on both sides of the northern lagoon. On the eastern side, the Eastern Channel has many such areas. One of the best known spots is the bar extending west from Turtle Mound. On the western side, many of the spoil islands along the Intracoastal Waterway also have these types of fish attractors.
Oyster bars often attract fish on rising tides. Reds will be found tailing around these bars, a clear enough signal for most of us. Seatrout like the oysters, too. The bars provide shelter for both shrimp and finger mullet, items high on the list of favorite trout foods. Sheepshead are also likely to be found around oysters, cruising for crabs or other crustaceans. Sheepshead take flies only in the rarest circumstances, though. We've also caught flounder around the periphery of these oysters. Evidently they lie camouflaged on the bottom, waiting to ambush passing minnows.
There are many small tidal ponds and creeks in the north end of the lagoon. On falling tides, water must drain from these places. That water carries with it all types of edible goodies, and fish stack up in these outflows waiting for the smorgasbord to wash their way. If the tide is falling, look for these features. Fish them hard.
The Western Side
Along the western side of the lagoon, the Intracoastal Waterway stretches off to the north and south. North of the National Seashore boundary, the western shore is dotted with homes. Many of these homes have docks extending out into the water. These docks provide excellent habitat for snapper, drum, and sheepshead, and more than a few of the docks also harbor some nice trout and snook.
On the lower tide stages, fish have been forced out of the shallow areas into deeper holes. Fishing these holes with sinktip lines and large flies produces. Seatrout, redfish, snapper, drum, sheepshead, bluefish, flounder, jacks, ladyfish, sometimes snook, and rarely tarpon, all can be found in these deep holes.
One of the best features about fishing up in this area is that once you get your boat off the main channels and into some of the backwaters, you could be anywhere you care to imagine yourself. The maze of islands lends an air of remoteness to a fairly well populated area. Several campsites will be found scattered among the islands here for those who would like to stay overnight. A free backcountry permit is available at the Canaveral National Seashore Visitor Center, south of Turtle Mound.
Don't think that the fishing at the north end of the lagoon is limited to those with boats, either. Waders have access to the water at the Visitor Center off A1A, at the Eldora House, at Turtle Mound, and at the boat ramp at Parking Lot 5 at Apollo Beach. This parking area allows access to the extensive grass flats of the southern Mosquito Lagoon.
The Crystal Clear Southern End
Along the west side these are several access points for wading anglers. Along the southwest side of the lagoon is a dyke road. A sign for the NASA Atmospheric Sciences Research Station marks the turnoff off of S.R. 3. North of Haulover Canal off S.R. 3 are some unimproved ramps which also provide wading access. These are marked along the road by small, brown boat ramp signs.