Florida Fishing in June: 2023 Red Snapper Opener and More!

June is peak fishing season in Florida! Actually, it’s peak everything: tourist season, party season, bikini season, boating season. But does anything feel better than getting out on the water on a center console to chase some fish? We don’t think so!

Florida is the Fishing Capital of the World

From the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Coast, there are plenty of opportunities for anglers. Fishing in Central Florida in June is a particularly special experience, as the waters are teeming with life and the weather is ideal for spending a day on the water. Whether you’re headed to the shallows or out to sea, there’s a fishing adventure to be had. So, what’s biting?

Inshore Fishing

  • Snook: June is a great month for targeting snook, as they are actively feeding near mangroves, docks, and other structures.
  • Redfish: Redfish may be called red drum because of the deep thumping or knocking drum that can sometimes be heard resonating from their swim bladder. They are known for their aggressive strikes and strong fights. Redfish can be caught around shallow flats using both artificial lures and live bait. Try soft plastics, crankbaits, and topwater lures, or if you’re using live bait, shrimp or fresh-caught mullet. 
  • Spotted Seatrout: Trout can be found in grassy areas, channels, and deeper holes. They are usually willing to bite a variety of lures and live baits. Some of the most effective lures include soft plastics and topwater lures. When fishing with live bait, try shrimp or mullet. They can be found around grass flats, oyster bars, and other structures in the water. 
  • Tarpon: June marks the peak of the tarpon season in Southwest Florida. These large, powerful fish can be found inshore, near bridges, passes, and along the beaches.

Offshore Fishing

  • Snapper: Species like red snapper, mangrove snapper, and yellowtail snapper can be targeted near reefs, wrecks, and artificial structures. Red snapper have a season, though, when they are allowed to be fished. (More on red snapper season below.)
  • Grouper: Various species of grouper, including red grouper and gag grouper, are commonly caught offshore. They prefer rocky bottoms and structures.
  • King Mackerel: June is a good month for targeting king mackerel, also known as kingfish, as they migrate along the coast. Trolling with live bait or artificial lures can be productive.
  • Mahi-Mahi: Offshore waters offer opportunities to catch mahi-mahi, also called dolphin fish. They are known for their acrobatic leaps and vibrant colors, and that distinctive facial profile. 

Freshwater Fishing

  • Largemouth bass: Plentiful and active in June, post-spawn bass can be found in many of the lakes and ponds around Central Florida. They can be caught using both artificial lures and live bait, from plastic worms, crankbaits, and spinnerbaits, to shiners and worms. They can be caught around vegetation, docks, and other structures in the water.
  • Red-ear Sunfish: Also known as a shellcracker, redear sunfish are closely related to bluegill and largemouth bass. They’re known to prefer live bait, such as earthworms, crickets, and snails. They tend to feed near the bottom of the water, so using a small hook with a sinker can increase your chances of catching them. They are also active during the day.
  • Bluegill: Sometimes referred to as bream, bluegill are a species of sunfish. They like warm, slow-moving waters (which describes many Floridian bodies of water). They can be caught using live bait such as worms, crickets, and small grasshoppers. They’re often found in shallow parts of the water around structures such as docks or downed trees. They tend to feed throughout the day and can offer a fun challenge for anglers of all skill levels. 
  • Black Crappie: Also known as speckled perch, the black crappie is a popular game fish because of its tasty white meat and its ability to put up a great fight. In Central Florida, black crappies can be found in most of the freshwater lakes and rivers. Lake Okeechobee and the St. Johns River are great destinations. Look for areas with a lot of cover such as vegetation, logs, or rocks. Try using live minnows or jigs, letting it sink slowly then holding it just off the bottom. 

June 2023: Red Snapper Season Opens 

  • Florida red snapper season: June 16 — July 31
  • Fall red snapper season: October and November weekends (Fri, Sat, Sun) 
  • Federal red snapper season: June 1 to August 25. 

You’re in federal waters after you’re nine (9) nautical miles from a state coast. Anglers with a boat capable of going the distance have an advantage here. If your boat has the power, speed, and stability to get you quickly and comfortably out onto federal waters, you’ve got two extra weeks of red snapper fishing time.

Gulf of Mexico Red Snapper Bag Limit

There’s a state quota and an individual one. In Florida, the daily bag limit is 2 fish per person with a minimum length of 16 inches.  The limited fishing season and quotas are part of a NOAA plan to rebuild and conserve red snapper populations in the Gulf of Mexico and the South Atlantic. By fishing for red snapper, you become a part of conservation efforts.

Florida Fishing Licenses

Visit GoOutdoorsFlorida.com for fishing licenses and more. It’s a great resource to track down combo licenses, as well as discounts for seniors, military, and youth.

Where to Fish

Rivers and Lakes

Central Florida is a haven for freshwater anglers, boasting a wide range of lakes and rivers that provide the perfect spot to cast a line. From the St. Johns River to Lake Kissimmee and Lake Okeechobee, Central Florida offers a wealth of fishing opportunities for both novice and experienced anglers. The area is renowned for its abundance of trophy-sized bass, making it a favorite destination for anglers of all skill levels. The Kissimmee Chain of Lakes is located within Osceola County, Florida, and forms the headwaters of Lake Okeechobee, the Everglades and Florida Bay. Anglers reliably reel in catches of largemouth bass, bluegill, shellcracker and black crappie. Fishing and frogging are allowed year round.

Coastal Fishing

For those looking for the ultimate saltwater fishing experience, Florida is the perfect destination. From the Atlantic Coast to the Gulf of Mexico, the region offers a wide range of fishing opportunities. For those looking to stay close to shore, the Indian River Lagoon is an excellent choice. This picturesque estuary is home to a diverse array of fish species, such as redfish, snook, and tarpon. Anglers of all skill levels can enjoy the tranquil waters of the lagoon and its abundant marine life. For more adventurous anglers, offshore fishing charters are available in Clearwater and Tampa Bay. Here, experienced captains can take you out to the deep blue sea in search of big game fish like marlin, tuna, and wahoo. Even a seasoned angler might find the thrill of a deep-sea excursion is hard to resist. 

Get on the Water!

There’s something for everyone in Florida fishing. A day with family and friends on a center console made for fishing is the perfect way to experience it.