WITHLACOOCHEE/RAINBOW RIVERS/LAKE ROUSSEAU — Captain Bob Jewett out of Angler’s Resort in Dunnellon reports bass are doing well up the Withlacoochee on wild and domestic shiners. Crappie are strong at the locks and up river in the grass mats. Bluegill are really good on the Rainbow, hitting on wiggler worms and crickets. There are nice bass in Lake Rousseau biting on wild shiners.
LAKE ROUSSEAU — Bill Burgess of Lake Rousseau RV and Fishing said bluegill are hitting on crickets and wiggler worms, but they’ve gone deeper due to the cold weather. Early in the week, there were really good crappie in decent size, being caught while trolling a jig tipped with a minnow with a bobber. Bass fishing has slowed considerably due to the cold.
WITHLACOOCHEE — Captain Zack Lewis of Reputation Charters (352-302-7928), via Hook, Line and Sinker Bait and Tackle, said, "The redfish bite has been great up the creeks and mouth of the creeks, as well as some decent trout being caught before this cold front. I know it is only going to get better. Right before any front is always going to be great fishing. After a good cold front like this you might have to wait a day or so and let them warm up.
"I like to use a lot more shrimp in the wintertime because you don’t catch that many catfish. I still like to use my mud minnows. I never leave the dock without mud minnows. I fish several different ways in the creeks, but a good way is to use popping corks with shrimp or mud minnows under the popping cork. Hope this helps on your next outing."
CRYSTAL RIVER/BARGE CANAL — Ed’s Tackle Shop reports redfish in the back creeks and canals are being caught using live shrimp or cut mullet. Trout are in the holes of the creeks, hitting on live shrimp or D.O.A. Lil Johns in glow.
KING’S BAY — Captain Louie Argiro of Florida Fishing Adventures (352-601-1963, www.floridafishingadventures.com), based out of Pete’s Pier in Crystal River, said, "The redfish have shown up in numbers in the creeks around the many holes that litter the Ozello area. With an incoming tide these fish can be targeted with shrimp on a jig head by casting around the rocky shorelines and deeper depressions.
"The big talk this time of year is going to be the sheepshead fishing. Bouncing from rock to rock in the Foul Area is where you are going to find these fish feeding. Throwing shrimp on a jig head around the many rocks is going to yield some nice sheepshead. Wait for a good tap on that shrimp and when it starts swimming away a good set of the hook will keep him on your line. Let me know if you would like to get out there."
SALT RIVER — Twin Rivers Marina in Crystal River reports redfish, Spanish mackerel and trout are biting on shrimp and artificial lures. Check out water conditions by visiting www.twinriversmarina.com to view a live video feed
Captain William Toney (352-422-4141) said, "Going to need your big jacket on the Big Bend this week. Cold weather has settled into our area and that will drive fish up into the spring-fed rivers. The warm waters help cold, susceptible fish like snook survive and redfish, black drum, trout and mangrove snapper make anglers happy in the protected waters. In the upper reaches of the spring-fed rivers with MirrOlure MirrOdines will bend the rod with ladyfish and small snook. Down river in the deep pockets near the channel along rocky points and docks will be a few degrees warmer with the outgoing tide pulling the spring waters throughout the river. Use live shrimp on the bottom to catch redfish, black drum, trout and sheepshead.
"On the near-shore rocks if the winds permit there are sheepshead starting at 10 feet. Live shrimp is the best bait. High incoming tide is late afternoon this weekend."