Our gorgeous state is the perfect playground for anglers and can make for a fun-filled fishing trip with some of your most cherished friends. We’ll tell you everything you need to know about fishing in Gainesville, FL, and why you should make it your top fishing destination! Read on to discover what species you can catch here, the local regulations, and our favorite fishing spots!
Learn more about the best things to do in Gainesville in our exclusive, free Vacation Guide. Inside, you’ll find top recommendations for local restaurants, events, shops, museums, outdoor activities, and more!
Everything You Need To Know About Fishing in Gainesville, FL
What Do You Need To Fish in Florida?
Before you make you cast a line in Gainesville, there are a few things you need to be aware of:
- You need a Florida fishing license (not required for children under 16 years of age). They are available as one-day permits, seven-day permits, and one to five-year licenses. We recommend getting the seven-day permit if you plan to fish for more than one day.
- You’re only allowed to take game fish with a pole-and-line or a rod-and-reel.
- You cannot sell or transport any freshwater game fish outside of Florida unless permitted by the FWC.
- You may not use more than one slat basket or one wire trap.
Where Are the Best Places for Fishing in Gainesville, FL?
Lake Alice is a top-notch place to go fishing in Gainesville. It’s located on the University of Florida campus and offers stunning views and diverse wildlife. You can catch largemouth bass, cutthroat trout, rainbow trout, and brook trout. We highly recommend you go there in the middle of the morning – it’s known to be the best time for catching fish!
Palm Point Nature Park
If you’re looking for some of the best scenic fishing in Gainesville, FL, come to Palm Point Nature Park. During the spring and summer, the park is filled with brilliant pops of color from all the wildflowers in bloom. It is a popular spot for hiking, birding, and of course, fishing. Cast your line from the bank for some of the best fishing in the area!
Cedar Key is an unspoiled, small town located a little over an hour away from our inn. The area is home to a vast collection of canal networks and vast grass flats, giving it the nickname “The Other Keys.” the most popular fish species caught here include redfish, tarpon, cobia, snook, and more.
Positioned in Alachua County, Orange Lake the largest lake in North Central Florida. The lake’s maximum depth is 12 feet, and the water levels fluctuate an average of two feet annually. Fishing by boat is popular on the lake, but there is also a fishing dock for your convenience.
Lake Santa Fe
This spring-fed lake is one of the most popular spots for bass fishing in Gainesville. The average bass size is 2-4 pounds, but 6-8 pounders have also been caught here! You can also reel in black crappie, bluegill, and redear sunfish. One of the best spots to cast a line is the small waterway between Lake Santa Fe and Little Lake Santa Fe. If you’re planning on fishing here, we recommend going in the early morning or late at night.
What Are the Best Fishing Charters in Gainesville, FL?
Allens Family Guide Service
Head to the beautiful St. Johns River and catch some magnificent trophy bass. The experienced captain with Allens Family Guide Service will provide you will all the gear you need for the ultimate day out on the water.
Southern Fried Charters
Do you want to sign up for a day of saltwater fun? Embark on a fishing charter with Southern Fried Charters. Their GPS and fishfinder will determine the best places to lure in a big catch.
Get Your Gear at Gary’s Tackle Box
If you’re looking for a place to get your fishing gear in Gainesville, visit Gary’s Tackle Box. Not only does this store have everything you need for a day out on the water, but they are also incredibly knowledgeable about the area. Stop by to pick up some bait and ask Gary and his team for some fishing tips. Here, you’ll find rods, reels, tackle, and more. There’s nothing Gary won’t have!
Celebrate Your Catch of the Day at Sweetwater Branch Inn
After spending the day out on the water, it’s time you come home to relax and rest. Sweetwater Branch Inn is one of the top B&Bs in town and gives you easy access to the top restaurants and attractions. Enjoy a quiet, comfortable stay in our accommodations, either in our high-end rooms or cottages. Enjoy a nightcap here by cracking open a bottle of cold beer, relaxing on your porch, taking a hot shower, and sleeping like a baby in our luxurious sheets.