Are you planning a fishing outing in Florida? Our gorgeous state is the perfect playground for fishermen and can make for a fun trip with some of your best friends. In this blog, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about fishing in Gainesville and why you should make it your No. 1 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.
Here’s All You Need to Know About Fishing in Gainesville
What Do you Need to Fish in Florida?
Before you make your fishing trip to Gainesville a reality, there are a few things you need to think about:
- You need a Florida fishing license: They are available as one-day permits, seven-day permits, and one to five-year permits. 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 are not allowed to 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 Can You Go Fishing in Gainsville?
Now that you know more about the logistics of your trip, it’s time to find out where you will be fishing. Gainesville is surrounded by gorgeous nature reserves and state parks, two of which are our absolute favorite fishing spots!
Newnans Lake Forest
Our favorite place to fish in Gainesville is Newnans Lake. It’s stunning and only a seven–minute drive from Sweetwater Branch Inn. Picture a 6,000-acre pond, lush trees surrounding you, chirping birds in the trees, and a stillness that will help you reconnect with nature and yourself. In addition to offering prime fishing spots, Newnans Lake Forest also has a variety of hiking trails you can explore during the day.
Lake Alice is also a wonderful place to go fishing in Gainesville. It’s located on the campus of the University of Florida and offers stunning views as well as diverse wildlife. There, 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 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!
Lake Santa Fe
This spring-fed lake is one of the best places to go bass fishing in Gainesville, FL. The average bass size is 2-4 pounds, but 6-8 pounders have also been caught here! You can also find black crappie, bluegill, and redear. 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.
Get Your Gear at Gary’s Tackle Box
If you’re looking for a place to get your gear for fishing in Gainesville, FL, visit Gary’s Tackle Box. Not only does this store have everything you need for a day out on the water, 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 will find everything from rods and reels to tackle. There’s nothing Gary won’t have!
Celebrate Your Catch of the Day at Sweetwater Branch Inn
After spending the day at one of these gorgeous Gainesville lakes and catching fish, 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 some of the top restaurants and attractions. Enjoy a quiet and comfy stay in our accommodations, either in our high-end rooms or cottages, depending on how many people are in your party. Crack open a bottle of beer while watching your favorite games on TV, take a hot shower, and sleep like a baby in our luxurious sheets.