The Indian River Lagoon (IRL) is one of the most productive bodies of water in the world and 685 species of fish have been documented within it. Some of the East Coast’s best saltwater angling is found here! The picturesque area is teaming with spectacular and abundant wildlife. Dolphin, manatee, sea turtles, and many bird species are regularly encountered on trips with Captain Mark. The IRL holds three National Wildlife Refuges and most of it is encompassed by several State Aquatic Preserves. While the area between Sebastian and just south of Ft. Pierce is the most undeveloped stretch, it also contains the largest areas of seagrass flats. The climate is great, the scenery is wonderful, and the fishing can be nothing short of fantastic!
While not really a river or a lagoon, the IRL is actually a 156 mile long estuary stretching from Cape Canaveral south to Jupiter Inlet. With a width of about one to three miles, it is located between mainland Florida and the barrier island. The IRL has five inlets that bring ocean water into it twice a day, keeping the water within it salty. Several rivers and canals bring fresh water into it, creating the “brackish” water that is characteristic of an estuary. The average depth is only three to four feet, with the twelve foot deep intra-coastal waterway running through the center of it. Much of the shoreline is still natural with mangrove trees lining it, and numerous islands are found throughout its length. The IRL is a narrow, sheltered body of water, making for relatively “calm” conditions on most days.
While the IRL has had some publicized environmental stresses in recent years, the area between Vero Beach and just south of Ft. Pierce is the healthiest section. Ft. Pierce inlet is a forty foot deep port that flushes large amounts of clean ocean water in twice a day. The water quality issues from Lake Okeechobee, or north of Sebastian, do not significantly affect our area. The healthiest seagrass areas in the IRL are now found from Vero Beach to just south of Ft. Pierce.