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Boating and Angling Guide to Flagler and St. Johns Counties

Boating and Angling Guide to Flagler and St. Johns Counties

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This guide includes maps of coastal waters for St. Johns and Flagler counties that depict aquatic grasses, artificial reefs, parks and preserves, fishing piers, marinas, and boat ramps open to the public. Also featured is information on habitats and animals, popular sport fish, boating safety and protocol,
and a resource directory.
This guide includes maps of coastal waters for St. Johns and Flagler counties that depict aquatic grasses, artificial reefs, parks and preserves, fishing piers, marinas, and boat ramps open to the public. Also featured is information on habitats and animals, popular sport fish, boating safety and protocol,
and a resource directory.

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St. Augustineand St.AugustineInletfromtheInternational SpaceStatuon,
A Boating And Angling Guide To
lagler and 
ohns Counties 
Castillo deSan Marcos,St. Augustine
About This Guide
This guide includes maps of coastal waters for St. Johns andFlagler counties that depict aquatic grasses, artificial reefs,parks and preserves, fishing piers, marinas, and boat rampsopen to the public. Also featured is information on habitatsand animals, popular sport fish, boating safety and protocol,and a resource directory.The
Boating and Angling Guide to Flagler and St. JohnsCounties
 was produced by the Florida Fish & WildlifeConservation Commission (FWC). Please address any comments to:
Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission
Fish and Wildlife Research Institute100 Eighth Avenue S.E.St. Petersburg, FL 33701http://research.MyFWC.com/boating_guidesboating_guides@MyFWC.com
Maps designed and produced by Chris Anderson, Christy Fagundez, Kathleen O’Keife, and Henry Norris, of FWC’sFish and Wildlife Research Institute. Maia McGuire of Florida Sea Grant provided additional text and reviewedthe guide. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Federal Aidin Sport Fish Restoration provided partial funding for thisguide. The Sport Fish Restoration Program collects money from taxes on fishing equipment and boat fuel and thendistributes those funds to projects that improve fishing andboating opportunities. Additional funding was obtained froma Discover Florida’s Oceans license tag grant through the Wildlife Foundation of Florida. The Florida Fish and WildlifeConservation Commission is not responsible for omissions,misrepresentations, or factual errors. Additional copies of this publication can be obtained from thethe Fish and Wildlife Research Institute. Contact informationcan be found in the Resource Directory of this guide. All photographs courtesy of FWC, unless otherwise specified.
YourPurchase ofFishingEquipmentand MotorboatFuelsSupportsSportFish Restorationand Boating AccessFacilities
Resource Directory
Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC)FWC Law Enforcement Hotline 1-888-404-FWCC (3922)Cell Phones *FWCFWC Law Enforcement (Ocala) 352-732-1225
To report oil spill, marine violations, boating accidents, and marine mammal injuries orstrandings. Information also available on fishing and shellfish harvesting.
Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (St. Petersburg) 727-896-8626
For information about resources and research around Florida
Marine Fish Kill Hotline 1-800-636-0511
To report a fish kill or red tide event in your area
U.S. Coast GuardSearch and Rescue Station (24 hr. emergency service) VHF channel 16Marine Safety Office 905-564-7500National Response Center 1-800-424-8802
To report oil spills and maritime emergencies
Boat U.S. Foundation Hotline 1-800-336-BOAT
For information on boating skills and safety courses offered locally
(336-2628)NOAA Weather Service Broadcast 904-741-4370
Jacksonville 162.555 Mhz/VHF radioPalatka 162.425 Mhz/VHF radioDaytona Beach 162.400 Mhz/VHF radio
State ParksAnastasia State Park 904-461-2033Faver-Dykes State Park 904-794-0997Washington Oaks Garden State Park 386-446-6780Bulow Creek State Park 386-676-4050North Peninsula State Park 386-517-2086Tomoka State Park 386-676-4050Bulow Plantation Ruins Historic State Park 386-517-2084Haw Creek Preserve State Park 386-676-4050
For more information about Florida’s state parks
Aquatic Preserves (Guana River Marsh Aquatic Preserve, 904-823-4500Guana Tolomato Matanzas NERR, Pellicer Creek Aquatic Preserve)
For more information about Florida’s protected coastal waters
Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, 904-471-0116Fort Matanzas National Monument
For information about National Monuments in St. Johns County
NOAA FisheriesSoutheast Region Office 727-824-5301
For information about marine fisheries in federal waters
Florida Sea GrantSt. Johns and Flagler counties 386-437-7464
For information about dune restoration/replanting, marine summer camps, and the CleanMarina Program.
St. Johns Wildlife Care 904-829-8291HAWKE
For assistance with injured and orphaned wildlife
Welcome To
Flagler and St. Johns Counties are sandwiched betweenthe Atlantic Ocean to the east and the St. Johns Riveror its tributaries to the west. Both counties have well-developed barrier islands which are separated from themainland by lagoons and rivers. is intracoastal regionin both counties contains fringing mangroves (primarily black mangroves that only grow along the shoreline), butthese give way to extensive salt marshes, especially on the western side of the waterway. ese estuarine habitats provide an important refuge for many juvenile and adultsportsh and invertebrates like white shrimp and bluecrabs. is two-county region is home to the GuanaTolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve(NERR), the nation’s 25th NERR, which was designatedin 1999. e name comes from the three main rivers thatdrain the area.St. Johns County’s two inlets are quite dierent fromeach other—the St Augustine Inlet was dredged in 1940,resulting in the subsequent formation of Conch Island tothe south of the inlet. Conch Island is now home to muchof Anastasia State Park. e Matanzas Inlet is one of only a few undredged inlets in the state. It is very shallow, andonly small vessels with experienced captainscan navigate this inlet. Both inlets have shiing sandbars which require boaters to stay alert inthe area. Flagler County has no inlets throughthe barrier island—boaters must travel north toSt. Augustine or south to Ponce de Leon Inlet toget out to the ocean. ere are some areas along the Intracoastal Waterway in St. Johns County  which are classied as shellsh harvesting areasand many people travel from nearby counties tocollect hard clams or oysters in these waters.e region has a rich maritime history.Coquina rock formations, which can still beseen as outcroppings along the barrier islandsin southern St. Johns County and northernFlagler County, were used to build many historicbuildings, including the Castillo de San Marcosin St Augustine. e coquina rock actually became stronger when hit by cannon re, as theso limestone rock simply absorbed the energy of the cannonballs, becoming more dense in the process.
lagler and 
ohns Counties 
 Aquatic Grasses
 Aquatic grasses are flowering underwater plantsfound at shallow depths in the St. Johns River. As anursery environment, aquatic grasses support smallfish, shrimp and crabs that hide among the bladesand feast on decaying leaves. Aquatic grasses also helpstabilize shifting sands on the bottom of the bay andimprove water clarity by trapping fine sediments andparticles.
Oyster Bars
Oysters are immobile shellfish that filter water as they feed. Their gray-white shells are irregular in shape.Live oysters and dead oyster shells form in moundsand ridges on the bay floor, creating bars or reefs.More prevalent near river mouths and in sections of the bay that receive a steady supply of fresh water,oyster bars attract adult sheepshead and red drum,making these structures popular fishing spots.
Native Habitats
The coastal waters of St. Johns and Flagler counties are a richmosaic of fish and wildlife habitats that form life-sustaininglinks in an ecosystem as biologically productive as some of the world’s most celebrated rain forests. From river grassesto coastal marshes, from the St. Johns River to the AtlanticOcean, each interdependent habitat plays a vital role in this“estuarine machine.”Marshes and aquatic grasses contribute significantly to adynamic food chain that draws nutrients from the estuary floor. As aquatic grasses and saltmarsh leaves decay, they provide foodfor small creatures that are ultimately consumed by fish andlarger predators in an endless circle of life.
Marshes and Mud Flats
Marshes provide food and cover for a vast array of small fishand wildlife. These marshes, which periodically becomesubmerged, nourish and protect many fish and birds. Marshareas also buffer upland areas from storms and help filterpollutants from water that runs off the land.Mud flats may be completely exposed at low tide. Althoughthese flats are barren of vegetation, they are teeming with life.Small crabs, clams, and worms, which burrow in the mud,supply a feast for birds wading at low tide.
The Florida manatee’syear-round range istypically restrictedto Florida watersincluding both freshand salt water. In warmer months somemanatees may ventureas far north as New England and as far west as Texas. The Florida manatee has a large, spindle-shapedbody with a round, paddle-shaped tail and relatively short frontflippers. As adults, they grow to an average length of 10 feetand 1,200 pounds.Collisions with watercraft are a critical source of manateeinjury and are the single greatest known cause of mortality. Animportant FWC conservation objective is to reduce human-caused annual manatee mortality by minimizing human relatedthreats.
• Observe and follow all speed zone signs.• Slow down. Reducing speed allows boaters to avoid
• Use marked channels whenever possible. Channel depth
reduces the likelihood of pinning or crushing manatees.
• Wear polarized glasses. Polarized lenses make it much easier
to see objects beneath the surface and the “swirling” thatoccurs when a manatee dives.
• Designate a person on board to look out for wildlife, other
boaters, swimmers, or obstructions when the vessel isunderway.
• Stow trash and properly discard monofilament fishing line.
Manatees may swallow or become trapped in lines and otherplastic debris.
• Obey state and federal laws that make it illegal to harass,
capture, hunt, or kill a manatee. To report violations,manatee injuries, or deaths, call FWC Law Enforcement at1-888-404-FWCC (404-3922).
Sea Turtles
Nesting season, which stretches from May to theend of October, brings sea turtles ashore on Atlanticbeaches, where people and predators may pose athreat. Although three species (loggerhead, greenturtle, and the leatherback) commonly nest alongFlorida’s coastline, most nests found on our beachesbelong to loggerheads.
• Never approach sea turtles coming ashore or disturb
nesting sea turtles or hatchlings. Do not cast fishingline toward a swimming sea turtle because it couldbecome entangled.
• Preserve nesting beaches by leaving the beach as you
found it.
• Beachfront property owners should turn off orredirect exterior lights. Bright lights discourage
nesting sea turtles from coming ashore and may disorient hatchlings. Turtles produce many eggs,but only a few hatchlings survive the difficult journey back to sea.
• Support public and private efforts to protect sea
turtles and their habitats.
Matthew Godfrey 
Show You Care About theMarine Environment
Residents and visitors alike share the waters of the FirstCoast with a magnificent array of birds and marine animals,
including species that are threatened or endangered. Boaters
should be on the lookout for these creatures and take specialcare to protect them and to preserve their habitats. Always stow trash carefully fordisposal on shore, and makeit a policy to pick up plasticsand other marine debrisencountered while underway.Carelessly discarded trash cantrap and kill birds, fish, andother marine animals. When fueling boats, be especially careful not to ‘top off’ thetank, allowing gas to spill. Small toxic spills add up quickly.Sewage from holding tanks should be discarded only atapproved pump-out stations and marinas.
The Monofilament Recovery and Recycling Program (MRRP)
is a statewide effort toeducate the public on the problems caused by monofilament line left in the environment, toencourage recycling through a network of line-recycling bins and drop-off locations, and toconduct volunteer monofilament line cleanupevents.Outdoor recycling bins constructed of PVC aremounted at many piers, boat ramps, and marinasthroughout the state. Indoor recycling bins arehosted by tackle shops and department stores.To locate fishing line recycling bins in your area,please visit www.fishinglinerecycling.org.
Stop the Release andSpread of NonnativeSpecies
Many nonnative aquatic species are finding their way into Florida’s waters. When new animals andplants are introduced into an area, they often cannotsurvive there and die. However, if they can survive inthe new area, they can begin to compete with nativespecies and may end up displacing native plants andanimals. This can result in major changes to theenvironment.If you have unwanted aquarium plants or animals,try to find them a new home. Some pet stores may accept them, or they can be turned in at FWCNonnative Pet Amnesty Day events. Unwantedaquarium plants can also be placed in plastic bagsand disposed of into garbage bins.For more information about nonnative species,please visit www.MyFWC.com/nonnatives/ or visithttp://nas.er.usgs.gov/.Plecostomus (top) and brown hoplo( bottom).
Fish images © Diane Rome Peebles 
                                                     P                                                     U                                                      T                                                     N                                                    A                                                     M                                                      C                                                      O                                                      U                                                      N                                                     T                                                     Y                                                     S                                                      T        .                                                    J                                                      O                                                      H                                                     N                                                     S                                                      C                                                      O                                                      U                                                      N                                                     T                                                     Y
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Lake Disston 
.25 0.25
Crescent Lake Lake Disston 
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Manatee speed zones exist in Duval County waters.Please look out for signs and follow posted instructions.For more information about speed zones in Duval County,please visitMyFWC.com/WILDLIFEHABITATS/manatee_index.htm
FlemingIslandRemingtonPark Green CoveSpringsCrescentCity 
Haw Creek PreserveState Park
(Fish images © Duane Ravers 
)LARGEMOUTH BASS: Prefersclear, nonowing waters withaquatic vegetation where foodand cover are available; lives inbrackish to freshwater habitats,including upper estuaries, rivers,lakes, reservoirs and ponds. Cantolerate a wide range of waterclarities and bottom types,BLACK CRAPPIE: rives inclear, natural lakes and reservoirs with moderate vegetation andlarge slow-moving less turbidrivers. Often travels in schools.BLUEGILL: Prefers quiet, weedy waters where they canhide and feed. ey inhabitlakes and ponds, slow-owingrivers and streams with sand,mud, or gravel bottoms.CHANNEL CATFISH: Mostcommon in big rivers andstreams. Prefers some current,and deep water with sand, gravelor rubble bottoms. Also inhabitslakes, reservoirs and ponds. A shing license is required for freshwater shing. Log on toMyFWC.com/RECREATION/FW_index.htm forup-to-date information about license requirements, size andbag limits, and seasonal closures.
 At 310 miles, the St. Johns River is the longest river in Florida and is oneof only three rivers in the nation that ows north. e St. Johns Riverand its tributaries drain about one sixth of the state of Florida, or about8,700 square miles. From headwaters to mouth, its elevation only drops30 feet, about one inch per mile, making it one of the laziest rivers in the world. As the river ows north, salt water from the Atlantic Ocean mixes with the slow-moving fresh water, turning the river into an estuary over itsnal 120 miles. e St. Johns River is often referred to as a “black waterriver” because it is naturally brown. e water appears brown because itows through organic wetland soilss, which release natural tanninpigments. e process is similar to pouring hot water over tea leaves; asthe tea leaves soak in the water, the natural tannins change the color of the water.e St. Johns River is the region’s most signicant source for shrimp,menhaden, blue crab, and other commercially important species. Itsupports regionally signicant sport sheries such as largemouth bass,crappie, and bream. Shallow coastal waters near the mouth of the riverserve as the only calving grounds for the North Atlantic right whale. elower basin is a nationally important layover and wintering area formigratory waterfowl. e northeast portion of the basin is also home tosome of Florida’s most signicant cultural and historic resources.
More and more anglers are practicing “catch-and-release” to do their partto preserve marine sheries while they enjoy their outdoor shingexperiences. is information oers tips on how you can properly handleand release saltwater sh.
How to Begin
Use tackle heavy enough to land a sh quickly to reduce its exhaustion.
 An exhausted sh is likely to be weak; making it vulnerable to predatorsor likely to die upon release.
Use non-stainless steel hooks as they will dissolve if they remain in a
Use non-offset circle hooks when shing with natural bait to avoid
gut-hooking a sh. Circle hooks tend to hook sh in the jaw, makingthem easy to remove.
Bend barbs down on hooks so they can be removed with less damage to
a sh.
Keep release tools handy.
Handling Your Catch
Handle sh as little as possible and only with wet hands – never with a
If a sh must be lifted from the water, support its weight horizontally.Use a venting tool if necessary to release pressure in a sh taken from
deep water.
Removing the Hook 
Back the hook out the opposite way it went in.If a hook is deep in a sh’s throat or stomach, cut the line as close aspossible to the hook – the hook will eventually dissolve inside the sh.Use a de-hooking device if needed to help remove hooks safely.
e Release
Gently release a sh head rst into the water.If a sh is exhausted, revive it before releasing it by passing water overits gills – move it forward in the water with its mouth open.If a released sh does not swim away, recover it and try to revive it
Pleasure boats share the waters of the St. Johns with commercial bargestransporting petroleum and fuel oil from Jacksonville up river to Palatkaand Sanford. While quite large in terms of the square miles it covers, theriver is, in places, very narrow, which restricts navigation for larger vessels.Barges have a limited ability to maneuver and stop in the narrow connesof the St. Johns River. ey may require a mile or more to come to acomplete stop.
• Stay clear of the main channel when barges are approaching. Views from
the pilot house may be obstructed up to three-fourths of a mile away.
• In case of emergency, use VHF Channel 13 for bridge-to-bridge
communication with barges. Keep transmissions short and simple, andnever tie up the frequency.
• Exercise caution when boating around barges involved in docking or
under way. eir prop-wash can easily capsize small vessels or send theminto the path of oncoming trac.
• Be sure that your boat is visible at night and in poor weather conditions.
Continued on theBoating and Angling Guide to Duval County
Continued on Side B
Data Sources: Saltmarsh - Aids to Navigation - 2002, U. S. CoastGuard; Boat Ramps - 2009, FWC Center for Spatial AnalysisData Sources: Saltmarsh - Aids to Navigation - 2002, U. S. CoastGuard; Boat Ramps - 2009, FWC Center for Spatial Analysis
Spoil AreaDredged Channel0 to 3 feet3 to 6 feet6 to 12 feet12 to 18 feetGreater than30 feetWATER DEPTHFixed Bridge
(Vertical Clearance)
BridgesBascule Bridge
(Vertical ClearanceWhen Closed)
is guide is notintended for navigationaluse. For local navigation,see NOAA Charts 11487,11492, and 11495.
State ParkMANAGED AREASNavigationMarkersBoat RampsFishing Piers
1 Mandarin Park 14780 Mandarin Rd., Mandarin 1/2 Y N Y Y2 Hood Landing 12903 Hood Landing Rd., Jacksonville 1/1 Y N Y Y3 Knight's Boat Ramp US-17 at Black Creek, Green Cove Springs 1/3 Y N Y Yand Marina Facility4 Governor's Creek US-17 at Governor's Creek, Green Cove Springs 1/2 Y N Y Y5 Old Shands Bridge SR-16, north of 1/1 Y N Y NOld Shands Bridge, Green Cove Springs6 Trout Creek Park 6795 Collier Rd., Orangedale 1/1 Y N Y Y7 Palmo Cove CR 13 South of SR 16, Palmo 1/1 Y N Y Y8 Riverdale Park CR 13 South of SR 214, Riverdale 1/1 Y N Y Y9 Palmetto Bluff End of Boat Ramp Rd., Palatka 1/1 Y N N N10 Elgin Grove End of Magnolia Ave., East Palatka 1/1 Y N Y N11 Riverfront Park 300 River St., Palatka 2/4 Y N Y Y12 East Palatka End of Pico Rd., East Palatka 1/1 Y N Y N13 Browns Landing End of Lundy Rd., Palatka 1/2 Y N Y N14 Shell Bluff Off CR 100, Andalusia 1/1 N N Y N15 Crescent Lake End of Central Ave., Crescent City 1/1 Y N Y N16 Bull Creek Campground End of CR 2006 , West Flagler Co. 1/2 Y N* Y Y17 Russell Landing End of CR 2007, Haw Creek Preserve 1/1 Y N Y Y18 Disston Boat Launch End of CR 2009, Lake Disston 1/1 N N N N* - No ramp fee for county residents
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Public AccessBoat Ramps
1 County Dock End of County Dock Rd. Mandarin2 Knight's Boat Ramp and US-17 at Black Creek Green Cove SpringsMarina Facility3 Governor's Creek US-17 at Governor's Creek Green Cove Springs4 Old Shands Bridge-West SR-16, north of Old Shands Bridge Green Cove Springs5 Old Shands Bridge-East End of Shands Pier Rd. Green Cove Springs6 Riverfront Park 300 River St. Palatka7 Palatka - West West end of Palatka Memorial Bridge Palatka8 Palatka - East East end of Palatka Memorial Bridge Palatka9 Crescent Lake End of Central Ave. Crescent City
Fishing Piers

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