Located in the Florida panhandle, the Apalachicola River begins its 107- mile run south at Lake Seminole’s Woodruff lock and dam. When taking total water discharge into consideration, this is Florida’s largest river. The river separates the Eastern and Central Time Zones and empties into the Gulf of Mexico to the south. Water levels are generally higher during the January-March wet season and lower in summer months.
After looking at the current Florida records, there is no doubt that some of Florida’s best fishing can be found in this long and winding river system. The river claims records for Flathead Catfish, Spotted Bass, White Bass, Common Carp, Redeye Bass, and Striped Bass. Some very nice largemouth bass are caught from this river and its tributaries as well.
Baits for catching bass? Open that tackle box, and tie something on and start casting. The options are limitless. Many anglers use a variety of plastics, jigs, and crankbaits, but during the warmer months topwater baits also produce very well. Colors: Plastics, dark colors like black, black grape, red shad, and junebug. Crankbaits, crawdad and shad imitators. Jigs, black and blue. Topwater, buzzbaits and bang-o-lures. Structure includes wood, rock, and man-made in the north, and wood, vegetation, and man-made in the south.
You are allowed a possession limit of 5 largemouth/spotted bass measuring a minimum of 12 inches in length. Only one of these bass may be more than 22 inches in length.
Bait and Tackle Shops in the Area:
Riverview Bait & Tackle
617 West Washington Street
Chattahoochee, Florida 32324
Brooks Bait and Tackle, Owner: Kyle Brooks
6910 East Highway 22, Panama City, Florida 32404
Florida Bass Federation Sponsor
Federation/Consolidated Bassmasters Member
Big Bend Sporting Goods
18290-Main Street North
Blountstown, FL 32424
North End of the River:
On the north end of the river, you will find the town of Chattahoochee, Florida on its eastern shoreline and the newly dedicated Millard F. Hampton landing in Clyde Hopkins Park below the Woodruff dam. Two miles west is the town of Sneads, Florida on State Highway 90. This end of the river is easily accessible from Interstate 10. Lodging in the area includes Seminole Lodge, Chattahoochee RV Park, and the Admiral Benbow Motel. Various places to dine in the area, and I recommend asking the locals.
Located approximately twenty miles south, this is the next stop on the river. Blountstown sits amid the intersections of State Routes 20, 69, and 71. Lodging can be attained at the Airport and Cherokee Motels and you can launch your boat at Neal Landing on the southeast side of town. Three miles east of Blountstown is the town of Bristol, Florida in Liberty County. Parramore Restaurant in Bristol is recommended for dining (try the catfish).
Located approximately forty-five miles south, this is the next stop on the river. The Chipola River enters and exits Dead Lakes here and is a major tributary on the Apalachicola River. Wewahitchka sits amid the intersection of State Route 71 (connects I-10 to the north and Port St Joe in the south) and County Road 22 (connect Panama City and Wewahitchka). The local launch site is known as End of the Road because it is literally the end of County Road 22a, which is also known as Lakegrove Road. It dead ends at the river launch. Places to stay in Wewahitchka include Lakeside Lodge and Sportsman’s Lodge. Dining can be found at the local Subway or by driving south to Port St Joe or west to Panama City.
Located approximately fifty-two miles south on the Chipola River, this is the next major launch site. Exit highway 71 eastbound on County Road 381 and follow signs to the launch.
Howard’s Creek Landing:
Located approximately fifty-seven miles south and three miles east on the Brother’s River, this is the next major launch site on the Apalachicola River. Exit highway 71 eastbound on Howard’s Creek Road, watch for the sign. The Brother’s River is another major tributary on the Apalachicola River flowing in from the west.
Located approximately sixty miles south, White City’s launch site sits on the north side of the Intercoastal Waterway and underneath the SR-71 bridge. The Intercoastal Waterway connects Panama City, Lake Wimico, and the town of Apalachicola. This is the major tournament launch location for bass tournaments on the river. To gain access to the river via boat from here, you must travel through the intercoastal waterway and Lake Wimico (a 12-13 mile run). Places to stay in the area (5-10 miles) include the El Governor and Dixie Bell Motels on Mexico Beach and Mainstay Suites in Port St Joe. Many dining options are available; seafood is the specialty, of course.
Located at the mouth of the Apalachicola River on the Gulf of Mexico, this is the last major launch location on the river. The recommended launch here is at a place called Old Woman’s Bluff. You will be turning north off US-98 at the school on the northwest side of town and following this road to the river; you will be turning left off this road near the end. This launch is open to the public.