Trying to plan a fishing trip while on vacation can be challenging. From knowing which types of fish are in which bodies of water to knowing which bait to use and where you can get it, it’s hard to know where to start when you want to plan a day of Cape Coral fishing.
Cape Coral is a popular fishing destination known for its vast selection of fishing areas. Whether you’re looking to fish right at your vacation home or you want to fish in canals, lakes, from the shore, and even from a chartered boat, there’s a place for fishermen or “anglers” of all skill levels to have their perfect day of Cape Coral fishing.
Is the Fishing Good in Cape Coral?
Known as the “Waterfront Wonderland” because of the 400+ miles of canals, Cape Coral offers a fishing experience that draws in anglers from all over the country. Located between the Caloosahatchee River and the Gulf of Mexico, Cape Coral provides the perfect combination of freshwater and saltwater fishing opportunities that allow more fish types to be catchable during your fishing trip.
While fishing is a year-round activity in Cape Coral, some species of fish are only allowed to be caught in their respective seasons or are the most bountiful when caught at specific times during the year. There may also be some additional rules and regulations on any given type of fish. Be sure to check out the Lee County Tax Collectors office or the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for the most up-to-date fishing information.
Where Can I Fish in Cape Coral?
There are many different areas that anglers can fish from in Cape Coral, all of which will provide you with a fun-filled and successful day of Cape Coral fishing.
There are over 400 miles of canals that are perfect for fishing both on land and in a boat. Depending on the canal, you will either have freshwater or saltwater fish available. The BMX Boat Ramp at SW 7th Court allows access to the freshwater canal system. Any canal that connects to the Caloosahatchee River offers saltwater fishing opportunities.
Yes, you can fish in the canals in Cape Coral; you can also fish off of the bridges that cross the canals. Please, just make sure you obey any posted signage and keep off of private property when fishing on land.
The Caloosahatchee River is the main river that flows right next to the city of Cape Coral and connects to the Gulf of Mexico. It offers numerous saltwater fishing opportunities along its shores and further out if you’re on a boat. It is also an outflow of Lake Okeechobee and provides anglers a great spot to fish for Bass.
There are many parks in Cape Coral that are perfect for fishing. The two best ones are Bernice Braden Park and Sirenia Vista. These 10 and 8-acre parks, respectively, offer plenty of space to spend the day fishing.
4. Boat Rentals
If fishing on land isn’t really your style, there are numerous boat rentals in the Cape Coral and Southwest Florida areas. Everything from pontoon boats to Boston Whalers is available for you to rent during your stay. Renting a boat allows you to get out on the open water and provides you with more opportunities to catch as many fish as your heart desires.
5. Charter Boats
Another way to fish out on the open water is by booking a charter boat. Charter boats are usually focused on catching a specific type of fish in a specific location. They can be limiting if you’re looking to spend a whole day on the water. Charter boats take some of the stress off of planning a fishing trip and may provide you with better fishing tips and tricks. Many boat charters will also take care of your fishing license for you.
Do You Need a License to Fish in Cape Coral?
Now, before you get too deep into planning your day of Cape Coral fishing, it is important to note that anyone 16 years old or older needs to have a Florida fishing license. Even if you’re just planning on baiting hooks for your fishing buddies, you’re supposed to have a license.
There are also two different types of fishing licenses that you may need depending on what and where you plan to fish. A freshwater license if you’re planning on only fishing in the freshwater areas of Cape Coral or a saltwater license if you’re planning on only fishing in the saltwater areas. If you’re planning on fishing in both fresh and saltwater or if you’re unsure which you’ll be fishing in, there is a fresh and saltwater combo license available as well.
You can purchase your license through the Lee County Tax Collectors office, both in person (although an appointment might be necessary) or online via their website. You can also purchase your fishing license at many of the local bait and tackle shops.
What Kind of Fish are in the Canals in Cape Coral, FL?
The canals of Cape Coral offer a wide variety of fish all year round, from small Bluegills to the mighty Tarpons. With both saltwater and freshwater canals, there is no shortage of fishing opportunities for individuals who are new to fishing or experienced anglers. As always, please check with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for the most up-to-date fishing information and regulations.
One of the best-known species of freshwater fish is the Bluegill. The Bluegill is a member of the Sunfish family, and they’re omnivores so they eat everything from insects to algae. Best identified by the bluish coloring around their gills and stomach, these fish have an average length of 10 inches but can get as big as 16 inches. Because of their size, Bluegills are pretty easy to catch and clean, making them perfect for teaching kids how to fish, and the best Bluegill fishing is from March until August.
The second of the best-known freshwater fish is the Largemouth Bass, which is also a part of the Sunfish family. This fish is greenish in color and is usually 1 to 3 feet in length. Largemouth Bass get their name because they have a toothless jaw that goes past their eyes and this “big” mouth allows their diet to be made up of fish, small mammals, and insects. Not recommended for people new to fishing as they can put up a fight when they are hooked. But if you’re willing to try it, you’ll find the best Largemouth Bass fishing to be between the months of February and May and between September and December.
The first of the saltwater fish is the Mullet. This fish is one of the most important fish to many aquatic ecosystems because many of the other predators that anglers try to catch feed on Mullets, and because Mullets are vegetarian, they help keep the water clean by feasting on all of the algae and decaying leaves. Mullets are also known as “jumping fish” because they can be seen jumping out of the water from time to time and no one knows why. They usually swim in schools close to the surface of the water, and it is best to catch them from November through January.
The mighty Tarpon, otherwise known as the silver king, is one of the most sought-after game fish for anglers worldwide. Tarpons can grow up to 8 feet in length and weigh over 300 pounds. Adult Tarpons are carnivores and their diet is made up of primarily mullets, shrimp, crabs, and other mid-water fish. These fish are fighters with excellent stamina making catching one a task for a very experienced angler. Tarpon fishing is also strictly regulated, and they are a catch and release only fish unless a special permit is purchased.
Snook is another saltwater fish that thrives in mangroves and the marshy saltwater of the canals. They are silvery in color and have a distinct black line down their sides. Snooks are usually between 5 and 15 pounds. They are carnivorous fish, eating mostly smaller baitfish like pinfish or small mullets. It’s best to catch Snook from April through October; however, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission regulates fishing for them during the summer months to protect its population.
Nicknamed “the convict” because of its black and white stripping, Sheepshead will steal your bait and swim away laughing. Sheepshead will also eat just about anything and their usual diet fluctuates with what is available during the specific seasons with a few staple items like shrimp and mollusks. They also love the colder waters so the best time to catch these bad boys is during the winter and early spring months of December to April.
Rounding out the saltwater fish is the Mangrove Snapper. Red to bronze in color, the Mangrove Snapper is one of the smallest in the Snapper family, coming in at 10-14 inches and only 1-2 pounds. They utilize their excellent eyesight and razor-sharp teeth to maintain their diet of shrimp and other small fish. The Mangrove Snapper lives toward the bottom of the canal, and they are at their peak season from April until November.
What’s the Best Bait for Canal Fishing?
The type of bait you want to use depends on what you’re fishing for. In most cases, with the carnivorous fish listed above, any small native fish will set you up for success. The two most prominent native baits used are Minnows and shrimp, and you can use them either fresh or frozen. They can be found at many of the local bait and tackle shops in Cape Coral.
If live bait isn’t really your style, you can use a bright, vibrant artificial lure or plastic worms to mimic fish movement; just make sure you’re able to see them in the murky water of the canals.
Plan Your Next Fishing Trip with Royal Shell Vacations
Ready for your next vacation with Cape Coral fishing? Whether you want to fish at home or want to spend the day moving from spot to spot, Royal Shell Vacations has many properties right in Cape Coral that will place you in the center of the best fishing spots the area has to offer. Find your very own anglers paradise today!