seasons for fly fishing the Florida Keys and Key West

Florida Keys Fly Fishing Seasons


We are blessed to have incredible fly fishing in the keys all year long. This is a breakdown of what you can expect to encounter on the flats month by month. Water temperatures play a critical role in flats fishing so any species can be found on any given day year round. If the water temperatures are above 70 degrees.  Here are the Florida Keys fly fishing seasons in a nutshell.


 Spring Fly Fishing in The Florida Keys


In the Southernmost part of the United States our Spring starts In February, and sometimes January. That first initial warm up brings fly fishing magic to the Florida Keys. The permit, tarpon and bonefish come out of the woodwork. It’s difficult to time but it can be the best fishing of the year. The fish are everywhere and they are kind of dumb. They eat with gusto all day long. March is usually on the best months for permit. It is typically our windiest month and it allows us to get close without spooking them. Bonefish are also plentiful in the backcountry. The first Migratory tarpon start to show up in the basins and strip banks this time of year. The early season tarpon bite in the Marquesas can be epic as well as Everglades National Park. April marks the unofficial start of fly fishing for tarpon in the Florida Keys. By now the backcountry is full of fish and they will be transitioning to the beach. Night time fly fishing for tarpon can be absurdly good.


Summer Fly fishing In The Florida Keys


May is when things go crazy in the Florida Keys. Trains of tarpon start pushing down the beach and anglers show up in force for the show. On certain days thousands of tarpon will come by the skiff and the action is fast. Most years the weather is stable, but it can be windy at times. Bring your A game and I will bring mine. If you want to see gobs of tarpon May is the month to fly fish the keys. Some permit will be off spawning, but there are plenty around in May. This can be great because everyone else is targeting tarpon. June is very solid for tarpon still and the permit are coming back from spawn. Most years the weather tends to calm and we settle into our summer pattern. Once this happens my favorite permit fishing of the year begins. Slick calm mornings and quiet evenings make permit tail in a big way. You can see them a mile away and the cat and mouse game is one. After June the migratory tarpon start to thin and we shift focus to our resident tarpon. Bonefishing remains solid all summer.


Fall Fly Fishing In The Florida Keys


September brings warm water and calm conditions. September is one of the best months for Florida Keys fly fishing. All 3 glamour species are great and will get better as water temps start to cool with longer nights. I always enjoy fall fishing and very few people are on the water. We get big schools of bait on the oceanside flats and our resident tarpon go nuts! This is something not many know about and the action is incredible. It’s a great time to visit the Marquesas due to the lack of people and great weather. The redfish and snook action in Everglades National Park is great by now too. Fall is generally the best time to catch bonefish in the Florida Keys. They go on the feed and stay that way all day long by Mid October. This is the time to be in the Keys for fly fishing. Shhhh don’t tell anyone.


 Winter Fly Fishing In The Florida Keys



Barracuda are one of my favorite fish of all time. They scream drag, jump and are usually willing to play. Don’t be mistaken though, our big barracuda are not push overs. They have incredible eyesight, instincts and can run at you faster than you can blink. December and January bring the cold fronts they like. The humidity is gone and we have bluebird conditions most days. If you have a long cast and don’t mind stripping like a banshee, then fly fishing for barracuda is a riot. We also get big jacks on the channel edges that will put their permit cousins to shame. Jacks are incredible fighters that are fun to catch. Tarpon, permit and bonefish are all still available as long as the water temps are in the low 70’s. Some of the biggest permit of the year are caught in the winter.


Visit the Florida Keys and Key West travel information website for lodging information.