Minnows Swarm on the St. Johns River
I can’t think of a better name so I’ll call it the minnow swarm. It is an annual phenomenon on the St Johns River that has repeated itself for thousands of years. It kicks off a bounty for bass, bream, crappie and other predators and a unique fishing opportunity for anglers.
The stretch of St Johns that borders the Space Coast is a narrow river that winds through broad flat pastures. Water levels rise during the persistent rains of summer until the St Johns breaches its banks and floods into the surrounding meadows. Acres of newly formed shallows provide the optimum breeding grounds for gambusia minnows and the population explodes.
Water levels drop during the winter dry season. The river eventually falls back within its banks, flushing all those minnows into the main river channels. Crappie, bass, bream, catfish and more line up to feast on this bounty. Feeding frenzies ensue along with fantastic fishing for anglers who time it right.
When does it happen? It varies year to year, but it is happening right now. I saw it first hand last weekend. Gamefish were blasting fry minnows all over the river, even right next to the launch ramp. If you like to target nothing but trophy fish then you might want to go elsewhere, but if you like to bust out the light tackle and fly gear and enjoy almost non-stop action then this is for you.