A Boating and Angling Guide to Charlotte Harbor A Boating and Angling Guide to Charlotte Harbor
Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Logo Sport Fish Restoration Logo Charlotte County Logo West Coast Inland Navigation District Logo
Florida Sea Grant Logo UF IFAS Logo
About This Guide
Catch and Release Information
Popular Sport Fish
Fishing Regulations
Fishing Piers
Artificial Reefs
Natural Resources
Managed Areas
Resource Directory
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Florida Fish and Wildlife
Conservation Commission

Fish and Wildlife
Research Institute
100 Eighth Avenue SE
St. Petersburg, Florida 33701

Charlotte County
UF/IFAS Extension
Florida Sea Grant

25550 Harbor View Rd #3
Port Charlotte, Florida 33980

Funding for this project was obtained through grants from the West Coast Inland Navigation District and Charlotte County.

Additional funding for this project was obtained through the Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Fund.
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Fish images © Diane Rome Peebles. Illustration provided for viewing purposes only.

Below is a small list of the popular sport fish caught in the Charlotte Harbor estuary.

Fish Identification: Identifying sport fish that look similar may be difficult for some anglers. Because the regulations may be different for each species, the sheets below were developed and contain simple tips that will help anglers identify similar species. These sheets can be printed using a desktop printer and taken out on the next fishing trip.
Know Your Florida Fish: Greater Amberjack and Banded Rudderfish (PDF, 1.07 MB)
Know Your Florida Fish: Black Grouper, Gag, and Red Grouper (PDF, 1.1 MB)
Know Your Florida Fish: King Mackerel and Spanish Mackerel (PDF, 813 KB)
Know Your Florida Fish: Florida Pompano and Permit (PDF, 1.04 MB)

Gulf Flounder Flounder: Inshore on sandy or mud bottoms, often ranging into tidal creeks, occassionlly caught nearshore rocky reefs.
Red Drum Red Drum (Redfish): Inshore species until approximately 30 inches in length, where they migrate to join the nearshore population; spawning occurs from August to November in nearshore waters.
Snook Snook: found from central Florida south, usually inshore in coastal and brackish waters; common along mangrove shorelines, seawalls, and bridges; also on reefs and around pilings nearshore.
Spotted Seatrout Spotted Seatrout (Speckled Seatrout): Inshore over grass beds, sand, and sandy/mud bottoms; deeper water during warmest and coolest months.
Tarpon Tarpon: Commonly found, mostly inshore near bridges, pilings, rock walls, harbors, around structures, and on flats. Also found offshore along beaches and in passes.
Spanish Mackerel Spanish Mackerel: Inshore, nearshore, and offshore over grass beds and reefs.
King Mackerel King Mackerel (Kingfish): Nearshore and offshore; occasionally taken from piers running into deep water.
Red Grouper Red Grouper: Bottom dwelling fish associated with hardbottom; juveniles offshore along with adults greater than six years old; nearshore reefs.
Black Grouper Black Grouper: Offshore species; adults associated with rocky bottoms, reef, and drop-off walls in water over 60 feet deep; young may occur inshore in shallow water.
Gag Grouper Gag (Gag Grouper): Adults offshore over rocks and reefs; juveniles occur in seagrass beds inshore.
Cobia Cobia: Both inshore and nearshore inhabiting inlets, bays and among mangroves; frequently seen around buoys, pilings, and wrecks.
Crevalle Jack Crevalle Jack (Jack Crevalle): Common to both inshore waters and the open sea.
Florida Pompano Florida Pompano: Inshore and nearshore waters, especially along sandy beaches, along oyster bars, and over grassbeds, often in turbid water; may be found in water as deep as 130 feet.
Mangrove Snapper Gray (Mangrove) Snapper: Juveniles inshore in tidal creeks, mangroves, and grass beds; adults generally nearshore or offshore on coral or rocky reefs.
Sheepshead Sheepshead: Inshore around oyster bars, seawalls, and in tidal creeks; moves nearshore in late winter and early spring for spawning, gathering over rocks, artificial reefs, and around navigation markers.

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