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Freshwater Snorkeling in Northern Florida

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#1 jhodge

  • NANFA Guest
  • Mississippi

Posted 27 May 2022 - 11:02 PM

I will be traveling to northern Florida the third week of June. It will be a little bit of a roving trip with one to four nights spent in various places. The most nights will be near Blue Springs State Park, but I will also have nights in Gainesville, St. Augustine, and one additional night that I have not committed somewhere as I work back northwest from BSSP towards Pensacola.


Can anyone offer suggestions on great freshwater snorkeling locations north of Orlando? I also wouldn't mind a saltwater suggestion or two, but mostly interested in freshwater.

#2 swampfish

  • NANFA Member

Posted 16 June 2022 - 11:45 AM

I dip-netted a site in September 2016 that might be appropriate. It is site 95 in the Florida Collecting Guide (29.2133, -81.6547) north of Eustis and east of Ocala at a  bridge over Juniper Creek on State Route 19. It is a slow-moving creek over sand with very clear water. There is a side road with parking and a canoe launch ramp. The west half of the creek has a firm sand bottom, but the middle of the creek is very soft sand. The east half is more vegetated with organic debris. I did not go to the east side because I got scared of the soft sand in the middle and left. There were numerous Pteronotropis colei, and the Guide lists several other species. I have photos I can email.


Phil Nixon


#3 jhodge

  • NANFA Guest
  • Mississippi

Posted 27 June 2022 - 07:08 PM

Thank you, Phil! I did not see your response until after I returned, but unbelievably I actually stopped at this exact spot. I'm still learning IDs, but there were many cichlids and sunfish, as well as schools of Gambusia and some shiner, probably the P. colei.

#4 Doug_Dame

  • NANFA Member

Posted 15 August 2022 - 12:55 AM

Pt colei never got described as expected, so those are metallicus if they're colorful, and probably coastals if they're not.


Somewhat unexpectedly, that spot also has Lucania parva, the rainwater killifish. They hang out in the quieter parts, generally near tufts of vegetation if I recall correctly. Very easy to miss, if you don't know to look for them. (Info for your return visit.)

Doug Dame

Floridian now back in Florida

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