It's official now...time to head to the river!
Any time we have two cold fronts within a few days of each other the fish head for the rivers. Water temps in our area even have the clam farmers shivering (the ultimate indicator). Another indicator is when Captain Bill Roberts wears long pants! He is one tough bird, and when he wears long britches it's cold out!
"What river?" you say.
Well, the answer used to be Steinhatchee, but that river has become so crowded the trout have not gone upriver in a dozen years. Some blame the logging and development upriver. Who knows, but the run doesn't happen anymore.
The Suwannee river has had a good run of redfish this winter and a fair run of trout. The Suwannee is a good choice.
The Waccasassa river has good numbers of trout but can be hit-and-miss at best.
Crystal River has had a better than average run of trout this year and a bonus of keeper sized mangrove snapper, making it a good choice.
What techniques work best? Each river has its own personality, but a few things work for all. Trolling verrrry slowly with minnow-imitating lures can produce excellent results.
But go slooooow. Slower than you think, trolling against the tide. And, here's the kicker - don't jerk it. Just let it swim along with whatever action it has.
I know, you watch TV shows and they always twitch the lure. And that is true when the water temperature is 78. But not when its 58. Live shrimp is always fashionable for winter river fish either free-lined or weighted just enough to sink. If you use live bait please use a circle hook to decrease the deep-hooked death penalty of j-hooks.
Good luck, fish slow, and most of all, be polite to your fellow anglers. It gets crowded in the good spots.