With year-round beautiful weather, bodies of water at every turn and a geographically diverse ecosystem, Daytona Beach offers endless fishing opportunities for first-timers and pros alike. Although you’re likely most familiar with the area’s salty, sparkling blue Atlantic Ocean, there are many freshwater fishing options in the area, as well.
In fact, freshwater marshes make up about a third of Florida's wetland ecosystems. In Volusia County (where Daytona Beach lands on the map), a large part of the landscape is comprised of freshwater marshes — namely in western Volusia County.
From freshwater springs teeming with tropical plants to bold, beautiful rivers full of unique wildlife, there’s no shortage of freshwater finds around here.
Planning a spring getaway to Daytona Beach? Whether you’re coming for a family spring break or specifically seeking a freshwater fishing destination, consider these freshwater fishing tips as you plan your trip.
What You'll Need
1.) Get the right gear.
Before you head off on your fishing excursion, you’ll want to make a pit stop at The Fishin’ Hole. Located in the heart of town on North Beach Street, this local, family-owned bait and tackle store has all you need to gear up for a great adventure.
From soft plastic baits and spinners to sunglasses and apparel, you’ll be able to find everything you need for a fishing expedition. Choose from a wide selection of premium live and frozen bait, get any sun protection you may need, or even have your reel restrung. Looking for a little local insight on the best fishing spots or which bait to use? These hometown experts will point you in the right direction.
2.) Have appropriate fishing licensing.
The type of fishing license you need varies depending on where you fish in the area.
Obtaining a license can be done in several ways:
- Purchase online through the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
- Purchase by calling 1-888-FISH-FLORIDA
- Purchase at area bait and tackle shops, or at local sporting goods stores.
Note that there are several fishing activities in the Daytona Beach area that don’t require a fishing license, including fishing on chartered fishing trips or party boats, and fishing off a licensed pier if you are under the age of 16.
Get more information on license requirements for Florida residents and nonresidents here.
Where to Go
1.) Tomoka River
This beautiful river is considered brackish due to its high salinity, but it is full of saltwater and freshwater species alike. The Tomoka has been sustaining people for centuries — in fact, Native American tribes used to dwell in this area to live off of the fish-filled lagoon. Here, expect to find everything from freshwater bass to redfish, flounder and trout.
You can easily access the river via the Tomoka State Park.
2.) Spruce Creek
Found south of Daytona Beach near the town of Port Orange, Spruce Creek is located entirely within Volusia County and spans an approximate length of six miles. In fact, if you are coming into town from the south via I-95, you’ll likely cross right over Spruce Creek!
Visit Spruce Creek Park, a 1,637-acre park with miles of nature trails and a canoe launch point.
3.) St. Johns River
As the longest river in Florida, the St. Johns River is hailed by bass fishermen across the nation as a top spot for angling and for a good reason. Numerous lakes (such as Lake George) are formed by the river, but as a river its widest point is nearly three miles across — and that means plenty of elbow room to do your fishing!
Enjoy the bounties of the river by boat, or, if that’s not an option, experience the river via Hontoon Island State Park. The island is accessible only by private boat or the park ferry, but it offers places to boat, canoe, fish camp, grill and more. And if you do have a boat, note that overnight boat slip rentals are available here.
4.) Lake Woodruff
Pay a visit to Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge, and you’ll likely come across many endangered species, not just fish! It’s a premier hiking spot, but fishing is permitted on both sides of the walkways located at Lake Woodruff. Expect to find species such as the bluegill, Florida gar, bullhead catfish, largemouth bass and many more.
Who to Call
When you’re in unfamiliar territory, having a local guide can help take your fishing excursion from good to great. Before you embark on your freshwater fishing trip, be sure to check out more Daytona Beach charters here. For starters, review these top charter companies.
Let your guide do the legwork of getting to the right spot so that you can kick back on the open water of the St. Johns River. Enjoy expert instruction, guidance and tips from a local fishing professional — and then reel in a trophy-worthy bass!
LOCATION: Daytona Beach
COST: from $275
Whether you’re an experienced angler or a first-time fisher, trust Captain Ron Hatcher to guide you to a winning spot in the Halifax River and Ponce Inlet waters. You’ll be provided rods, reels and bait — just show up ready to explore!
LOCATION: Ponce Inlet
COST: Inshore charters from $350
Trust Captain Steve for all your freshwater or saltwater fishing guidance needs! He’s available for full-day and half-day trips in the greater Daytona Beach area.
More likely than not, you’ll end your excursion having reeled in a picture-worthy fish. But if nothing else, getting out in the fresh air and soaking in the scenic waters of Daytona Beach is time well spent.