Salt Water Fishing
Some of the best backwater fishing areas in the state, is Southwest Florida. For the uninitiated, backwater fishing, or backcountry fishing, is angling in the extensive network of bays, mangrove islands and tidal creeks that permeate the region. An abundance of saltwater fish are attracted by Florida's thousands of miles of shoreline, limitless oyster bars and acres of seagrass beds. The snook, redfish, spotted seatrout, and tarpon are roaming these waters which are four of the state's most sought after gamefish. Thousands of anglers come to southwest Florida each year for the chance at a grand slam, catching one individual of each species in one day.
Perhaps the most significant factor contributing to the region's excellent fishing reputation are the huge tracks of fresh and saltwater wetlands protected by state and/or federal laws. The Charlotte Harbor - Pine Island Sound area, one of the largest estuaries in Florida, has comparatively neat water that supports extensive grass beds and stands of mangroves. Several huge sections of this estuarine complex are designated as state aquatic preserves and there's strict regulations that protect the water quality and marine life in the method Rookery Bay, between Naples and Marco Island, and the waters from Marco Island in to the upper part of the Ten Thousand Islands are also Aquatic Preserves. The upper part of the Ten Thousand Islands is slated to become a National Wildlife Refuge while the lower portion has been an element of Everglades National Park for lots of years.
Fresh Water Fishing
Southwest Florida, at first glance, doesn't sound like a fresh-water angler's paradise. The region only has a handful of natural lakes and one, Lake Trafford in the farming community of Immokalee is available to the public. There's lots of other lakes in the region but, they are all made-made rock pits or water retention areas for the numerous housing and golf work developments. Most of them are stocked and offer some excellent bass, catfish and panfish fishing. But, because they can be found on private property, fishing is usually restricted to residents and their guests. If in doubt, assume the lake is private and ask for permission before wetting your line. Don't construe the shortage of natural lakes and the restricted use manmade lakes with a lack of places to fresh-water fish. Southwest Florida has hundreds of miles of drainage canals containing tons of fish. There region has six major canal systems: Lehigh Acres, Cape Coral and Golden Gate. Sure parts of each method are locally famous for lovely bass and panfish fishing. Each method has a few boat ramps, some bridges to fish from and lots of areas where you can fish from the banks.
Driving around the region you will also notice that there's drainage canals along lots of of the major roads. Don't overlook these as feasible fishing spots. If there is a safe place to pull off the road, cease and give it a try. You will notice people doing this every day and they usually are catching fish. This part of the state has year-round largemouth bass and panfish fishing. Most of the bigger bass are caught in the work of the cooler months when the fish are more actively feeding and at their peak bedding time. Panfish, including bluegills and redear sunfish will always bite a worm, cricket or tiny minnow. Black crappie, preferring colder waters, are not as prevalent in this part of the state. Lake Trafford has the best crappie fishing in the region with the winter month being best. Oscars, exotic fish that are working their way in to southwest Florida from the Miami area, can be plentiful in the freshwater canals, along the US 41 canal in eastern Collier County. Catfish, mudfish and several species of gar are also common freshwater residents.