[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: NFC: St. Augustine

WOW!  If someone can't follow these directions and get some fish, then I
don't know what would help them.  This was fantastic.  I could visualize it
all from this post.  Great job.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Doug Dame" <dameda at shands_ufl.edu>
To: <nfc at actwin_com>
Sent: Thursday, February 01, 2001 7:32 AM
Subject: Re: NFC: St. Augustine

Scott Goett wrote:

>>  Anybody know any places to collect in
>>  St. Augustine or anywhere in between
>>  Gainesville and St. Augustine?

I do !!!  Since I live  way along one of the two routes between Gainesville
and St. Augustine. (The northern route "Putnam Hall" route takes you into
Palatka via SR-100, the southern one ... mine ... gets to Palatka via
Hawthorne and SR-20.)

We've been to the area at Newnan's Lake on SR-20 at the edge of Gainesville
already. Flagfish, mollies, Heterandria formosa, etc.

Ten miles further on (+/-) there's a small city fishing park square in the
middle of Hawthorne on 301, just south of the Sonny's BBQ, that's less than
2 miles off of SR-20 on the way through. Not a lot of easy shoreline to work
right there, but the area right by the fishing dock is well populated with
Lucania goodie (bluefin killies, although these are a lot more red than
blue.) Bring a small-mesh net, these guys are small. Also F. chrysotus,
Heterandria formosa, etc.

Three of four miles further on, perhaps a mile or two past the county line,
on the south side there's a marked road called "Cowpen Lake Rd", or
something like that. Go down the road to the end and then to the left, and
you'll find a now high-and-dry boat ramp and some fishable territory. Good
numbers of chrysotus in the heavy weeds to the left side, some with
melanistic tendencies as I recall. Some Gambusia affinis holbrooki., or
whatever it is they're calling the salt & pepper variety of the eastern
damnbusia these days.

LOTS of various lakes on the side of the road all the way to Palatka, most
of which I haven't worked. Ah the challenge & the mystery !!!

Shout when you go through Interlachen, if I'm home I'll shout back. (Or you
could call first, of course, I think you have my number.)

South of Interlachen is the Orange Creek/Oklawaha River drainage. Looks very
promising on the map, I haven't worked it.

Palatka is a concentration point where roads  cross the St. Johns River, one
of the largest river systems in the state and a great fish place. Presumably
there's lots of fishable places all up and down both sides of the river.
Welaka, the type locality for the spectacular Pternotropis welaka (bluenose
shiner) is a couple of miles south of Palatka on the east side of the river.
The St Johns system population of bluenoses is apparently isolated from the
west fla/alabama/louisiana pops, and documented sighting in this area are
apparently pretty rare, less than once per year in recent times. And this
fish is a Species of Special Concern in Florida, meaning this is not a
catchable/keepable fish. So this info item is just a teaser to torment you !
(One of my personal aspirations is to at least see one.)

Also south of Palatka, about 7 miles down on the western side of the St.
Johns, is a great little collecting place on Rodman Reservoir, just inside
the northern edge of the Ocala National Forest. Take the marked road to the
right (west) immediately at the south end of big bridge over the
CrossFlorida Barge Canal, and a couple of miles down there's a another road
off the right that takes you to a boat ramp and small camping ground. The
boat ramp area has flagfish, L. goodei, mollies, F. chrysotus, and "swamp
darters" (sp. unknown, I don't know diddley about darters) in quantity, and
I think we've also gotten Elassoma (pygmy sunfish) out of there as well.
This is my favorite "local [to me]" place, and easily accessible. Back out
of this little road, if you continue away from the main highway about
another mile you'll get to Rodman Dam, and there's fishing areas right there
too. You will encounter lots of shore-line rod & reel fisherpeople in this
area though. More or less the same kind of fish here, although we've seined
up a few shiners as well.

Slightly further south into the Ocala National Forest is probably worth
checking out too. There's a barely visible from the road lake on the left a
couple of miles down F.R. 75 (I guess that's "Forest Road") that's
absolutely loaded with Fundulus lineolatus, including some monsters, and has
good quans of Elassoma as well. One of my buddies has reportedly gotten the
fairly uncommon F. rubrifons from this particular lake as well, but we did
not find any there when he took me a few months ago.

And I don't personally know of any locations, but there are black-banded
sunfish (Enneacanthus chaetodon) at various locations in the norther parts
of the O.N.F. as well.

Of course, by the time you get to the Intercoastal waterway and St.
Augustine, you going to be getting primarily brackish or saltwater fish. I
can't recall any exact locations, but years ago I got lots of pipefish (sp.
unknown) out of the weeds in the Intercoastal right around Crescent Beach.
The inlet and bridge at "Fort Matanzas" a couple of miles south of Crescent
Beach have some decent salty fish ... there are good amounts of interesting
blennies and sgt. majors in the rocks on the beach side (but catching them
is a challenge), mojarras and lots of juvie unknowns in the surf, etc. One
inch filefish can be caught along the rock face and in the weeds, directly
under the bridge. Salt-water killies (F. heteroclitus for sure and prob.
others) in quantity cruise the sand and oyster-bar stuff on the Intercoastal
side.) This entire area is best fished around low tide, as I recall.

Is that helpful ???

Doug Dame
Interlachen FL