Flounder season closes for 6 weeks while snook, tarpon fishing stays hot

There is a distinct feeling of fall in the air. It's not quite as muggy as it usually is. Sometimes the wind blows out of the north. The days are getting sorter and the tides are higher.

The fish are telling us, too, if you listen. Snook are moving into their winter spots and trying to fatten up on what little bait is leftover. Tarpon are biting in the lagoon and the big ones are off the beaches before they begin moving south. Pompano have begun to cruise along the beaches and sand bars on their way south as well.

And the flounder are coming in from the deep. That's why the FWC is closing the season Oct. 15 to protect them when they spawn in our inlets.

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Robert Laughlin of Port St. Lucie caught & released this spotted seatrout while wade fishing Oct. 11, 2022 with a topwater plug in the Indian River Lagoon with Jayson Arman of Thats R Man fishing.
Robert Laughlin of Port St. Lucie caught & released this spotted seatrout while wade fishing Oct. 11, 2022 with a topwater plug in the Indian River Lagoon with Jayson Arman of Thats R Man fishing.

Closures & regulations changes in effect: Anglers are reminded about these fishery harvest closures currently underway and ones about to begin and end.

  • Flounder: Harvest closed from Oct. 15 through Nov. 30. Harvest re-opens Dec. 1.

  • Hogfish: Harvest of hogfish closed from Oct. 31 to April 30, 2023 in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida.

  • Redfish: Harvest of redfish is banned in the Indian River Lagoon and Mosquito Lagoon beginning Sept. 1.

  • Alligator: Hunt season open Aug. 15-Nov. 1. Permits required.

  • Snook: Season opens statewide Sept. 1.

  • Lobster: Regular season opened Aug. 6.

  • Dolphin: New fishing regulations began May 1 for state waters. Bag limit is now 5 fish per day per angler; Vessel limit is now 30 fish per day. Captain & crew may not be included in limit.

  • Grouper: Shallow water grouper season is open May 1 through Dec. 31. That includes gag grouper, red grouper, scamp and six other lesser species.

  • Tilefish: A commercial fishing closure is in place beginning July 6 until Dec. 31, 2022.

  • Bass: Bass at Headwaters Lake will soon become all catch and release.

For complete fishing regulations in Florida go to

Indian River Lagoon

Offshore: There were some cobia caught on the reefs where mangrove snapper and mutton snapper were biting, in 70 to 90 feet of water. Kingfish have also been around. With the winds increasing this week, anglers can expect it to get sporty in the Gulf Stream, but staying closer to shore may be more comfortable.

Inshore: High tides are affecting spots around and south of Vero Beach. Snook and redfish can be caught along the mangroves with jigs or live shrimp. Sebastian Inlet is a good place to focus efforts. A front coming may make conditions hairy for a few hours, but snook, redfish, tarpon, jacks and snapper are biting on live bait. Use greenies or Gotcha plugs for Spanish mackerel and bluefish from north jetty. Remember flounder season is closed for harvest Oct. 15 to Nov. 30.

Freshwater: Headwaters Lake and Stick Marsh are high but fishing is good. Cooler water is helping the fishing get better. Caution operating a boat along the edges.

St. Lucie County

Offshore: Snapper fishing is being affected by the stronger tides this week. Some kingfish and cobia are biting though. On days when seas allow, the dolphin, blackfin tuna and wahoo are on the southern migration for the next couple of months.

Inshore: Jayson Arman of That's R Man land-based fishing charters out of Billy Bones Bait and Tackle guided Robert Laughlin to some beautiful seatrout catches along the east shoreline north of the power plant in the India River Lagoon using a topwater plug around schools of mullet. Arman said the grassflats are coming back in some areas because the lack of rainfall and the few manatees around.

Surf: Paul Sperco of Capt. Paul's Surf Fishing Charters said the beaches of Hutchinson Island have been hit and miss for good fishing conditions. Some beaches have had dirty water. Other beaches have had seaweed. Others have had both. But there are whiting and pompano coming. On a day or tide when conditions clear up, that's the time to strike, he said. Use Fishbites EZ Flea or clam strips to find the bite.

Martin County

Offshore: Capt. V.J. Bell of Stuart Big Game Fishing charters out of Hutchinson Island Marriott Marina recently took the Alderdice family from Kentucky fishing. Harrison, Bennett, Clayton and Erin Alderdice reeled in mahi mahi, vermilion snapper and a mutton snapper (taken by a shark). Tuna and wahoo are also running the currents.

Inshore: Capt. Jim Walden of Night Stalker charters in Jensen Beach has been steering clients to catches of snook, tarpon and Goliath grouper in the Indian River Lagoon using chunked dead mullet, live finger mullet and bunker. Walden is fishing the area from the Stuart Causeway to the Power Plant when winds allow.

Lake Okeechobee

The level of the lake is still rising while the lake continues to receive water from the Kissimmee River valley. It's at 14.79 feet above sea level, but Corps officials don't think it will climb high enough to have to release water downstream. Bass are taking advantage moving to their usual fall spots to feed in 2-3 feet of water along Observation Shoal, Point of the Reef and in Sportsman's Channel.

Ed Killer is TCPalm's outdoors writer. Sign up for his and other weekly newsletters at Friend Ed on Facebook at Ed Killer, follow him on Twitter @tcpalmekiller or email him at

This article originally appeared on Treasure Coast Newspapers: Flounder season closed; Tarpon, snook fishing good, pompano hit & miss