Canaveral National Seashore | FISHING AND HUNTING

Fishing at Haulover Canal, Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge

Fishing at Haulover Canal, Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge

FISHING AND SHELL FISHING

Fishing (fish, crab, clam, oyster, and shrimp) is permitted within Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge on the Indian River, Banana River, Mosquito Lagoon, Haulover Canal, and mosquito controlled impounds and interior lakes, and within Canaveral National Seashore on the beaches along the Atlantic Ocean. Fishing is prohibited on Kennedy Space Center property, along the Black Point Wildlife Drive (the actual road, not the trails where fishing is permitted), and from or in the immediate vicinity of the Manatee Observation Deck. Crabbing in Mosquito Lagoon within the Playalinda Beach unit of Canaveral National Seashore is no longer permitted due to the presence of alligators.

Sheepshead caught along the Cruickshank Trail, Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge

Sheepshead caught along the Cruickshank Trail, Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge

A Florida State fishing license is required, and if fishing in the waters of Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge—just about anywhere other than on the beaches along the Atlantic Ocean—a Refuge Sport Fishing Permit is required. The permit is on the back of the Merritt Island National Wildlife Boating and Fishing brochure. The permit is free, and all you have to do is sign it and keep it with you. By signing, you are acknowledging that you know about all of the regulations. If stopped for a violation, with the permit you cannot play dumb. Without a permit you are in trouble as well. You can download a PDF copy here: Fishing and Boating Regulations

Surf fishing at Playalinda Beach #12 at Canaveral National Seashore

Surf fishing at Playalinda Beach #12 at Canaveral National Seashore

Night fishing from a boat is allowed on Haulover Canal, Mosquito Lagoon, Indian River, and the Banana River. Bank fishing is not permitted after dark. The beaches are closed at night, so no ocean shore fishing can be done either. If you would like to fish at night, launch your boat from the Bairs Cove Boat Ramp or the Beacon 42 Boat Ramp. All others are closed after dark.

Fishing in the canal at the Biolab Boat Ramp, Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge

Fishing in the canal at the Biolab Boat Ramp, Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge

The Haulover Canal Access Road is located just north of the Manatee Observation Deck on Kennedy Parkway. It runs a half mile along the western half of the canal, and there are plenty of cleared nooks along the road for fishing. Portable toilets have been placed periodically along the road.

Haulover Canal Access Road in Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge

Haulover Canal Access Road in Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge

Fishing along the Haulover Canal from the Haulover Canal Access Road

Fishing along the Haulover Canal from the Haulover Canal Access Road

There is a No-Motor Zone on the Banana River. Boats cannot even have a motor, gas or electric, mounted or in the boat, regardless of whether it is being used. There are also two Pole and Troll Zones in Mosquito Lagoon. In such zones you can use an electric trolling motor, a pole, or paddles to propel your boat. The water is very shallow and boats that require a draft of more than one foot at rest cannot enter. Should you tear up the seagrass with a power motor in a Poll or Troll Zone, you can be fined by the foot of damaged area. For further information, either stop by the Merritt Island NWR Visitor Center or call (321) 861-5601.

There are three fishing piers: one at Parking Lot #7 and one at the Eldora State House (Parking Lot #8) on Eldora Loop Road in the Apollo Beach, and the other at the Eddy Creek Boat Ramp at Playalinda Beach. All of these are within Canaveral National Seashore.

Fishing Pier at Parking Lot #7 on Eldora Loop Road, Canaveral National Seashore

Fishing Pier at Parking Lot #7 on Eldora Loop Road, Canaveral National Seashore

Fishing pier at the Eldora State House in Canaveral National Seashore

Fishing pier at the Eldora State House in Canaveral National Seashore

Fishing pier at the Eddy Creek Boat Ramp at Canaveral National Seashore's Playalinda Beach

Fishing pier at the Eddy Creek Boat Ramp at Canaveral National Seashore’s Playalinda Beach

HUNTING

Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge allows waterfowl hunting in designated areas during the normal Florida state hunting season. Federal, State, and Refuge regulations apply. Big game hunting for deer and feral pigs is also allowed. For more information, see the official Hunting web page for the Refuge.

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Last updated on April 19, 2022
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