The Chassahowitzka River has two distinct characters. The first half of the six mile run to the Gulf of Mexico is primarily dominated by tributary creeks, each originating from very different springs environments. The western half of the river is known for tidal creeks, Oyster bars, Mangrove-populated keys and of course, vast Saltmarsh. The entire river is very shallow (1 to 4 feet deep in the channel) and generally prohibitive to larger vessels. Once in the Gulf, a good rule of thumb is that the water deepens by one foot for every mile traveled to the west. You can literally be five miles from any shore and able to stand in five feet of sea water. This particular characteristic set means that the "Chaz" remains generally unspoiled and fishing is outstanding. The eastern three miles is surrounded by State-owned Wilderness and the Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge. Most of the surrounding hardwood hammock jungle-type forest looks like the picture above. Because it is fed by multiple spring-fed tributaries, it is a favorite of casual and hardcore kayakers, spring swimmers, photographers, wildlife enthusiasts and anyone else who just loves natural Florida. In this part of the river you are likely to catch freshwater fish and some crossover species such as Largemouth Bass, Bluegill, Mangrove Snapper, and Sheepshead. Other animals likely to be seen are Egrets, Herons, Wood Storks, Red Shouldered Hawks, Manatee in the winter, Dolphins, Otters, Feral Pigs, and Buzzards. Views are generally limited in distance but beautiful and one tends to get the sense of being lost in a deep, bio-rich, jungle-like environment full of clear blue holes and river grass. The forests are dominated by Cedars, Palms, Cypress and other wetland trees like Red Maples, Hickories and Bays.The western half of the River is more open with expansive views and fluctuating tides. Some small Hardwood Hammocks sparsely accentuate vistas over Saltmarsh, big skies, and blending horizons. Oyster bars and Mangroves support a variety of birds and land animals which like the fresh water just as well. Here you will find more saltwater fishing to be done and the predominant quarry will be the magnificent Redfish or Red Drum with a handful of inshore Drum and Snapper species, as well as Snook, for the catching.More serious fisher persons generally find their way to the Gulf of Mexico where one will find not only the aforementioned saltwater fish but also Tarpon, Sharks, Cobia, Spanish Mackerel, Pompano, Spotted Sea Trout, and Jack Crevalle, among others cruising the "flats". In Summertime another favorite pastime here is snorkeling for Scallops, easy to catch, clean and oh! so tasty on the grill. Although not as entrancing as reefs in more southern climes, the sea floor is fascinating and you make find a Starfish, Ray, coral and Seagrass beds that go on forever.People who come to the Chassahowitzka River generally pronounce it one of their favorite Florida rivers and can't wait to return!
Chassahowitzka River Campground8600 W Miss Maggie DriveChassahowitzka, Fl 34448Phone 352-382-2200