A dugout canoe glides silently with barely a ripple on the Withlacoochee River. At the stern, a young Seminole uses a push pole to propel the craft through the Withlacoochee River backwaters. Standing on the bow, an older warrior holds a seven-foot bone-tipped spear. Sharp eyes scan the water ahead and to the sides of the pristine river. A raised hand halts the dugout’s forward momentum. Seconds later, a powerful arm sends the spear flying and it unerringly impales a large blue catfish. The big blue soon joins other fish, several turtles and two four-foot alligators in the bottom of the canoe.
Similarly, a few hundred yards farther along, the hunter in front spots a doe and a fawn. Setting the spear in a notch in the gunnel, he reaches behind him for his bow and arrows. As a consequence, the subtle move startles the deer. Because of that, the deer take a single bound and they disappear into the brush. With grim smiles, the Seminoles exchange a look that says we’ll get them another day. The early hunters start back to their village with the day’s catch. After their long day, they look forward to enjoying fine meal and a well-earned rest in their palmetto thatched chickees.
From its birthplace in the Green Swamp, the River named by the Seminoles, Big Crooked Water now know as the Withlacoochee River, defies the norm. It is one of the few rivers in the world that flows south to north. Its serpentine path brings it to Citrus County and the Nature Coast where it forms the Cove of the Withlacoochee. Within this Cove nestles the Tsala Apopka Chain of Lakes. The Tsala Apopka lakes are a twenty-two mile long string of varying diameter freshwater pearls. They are a magnificent compliment to the serene river that supplies and embraces them.
A Popular Waterway
The Withlacoochee River itself is rightfully designated an ‘Outstanding Florida Water’ by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. It is its unique character and pristine river condition that have accorded it this designation. It is a designation endorsed by all who have boated or paddled its placid waters.
Towering cypresses and immense live oaks draped with Spanish moss line its banks and cast their reflections upon its waters. Its shorelines abound with wildlife, overhead bald eagles and ospreys scan its waters looking for an unwary fish close to the surface. Also lurking above, kingfishers are eyeing the shallows for bream and minnows before plunging in for a meal. Those same shallows are alive with motionless wading birds awaiting an incautious fish. In the undergrowth deer, raccoons, armadillos and opossums scamper about offering fleeting glimpses to those floating by. Partly sunken logs and protruding rocks afford sunning places for a variety of turtles and small alligators. All of who quickly slip into the teeming waters as one nears.
Fishing on the Withlacoochee
Equally important, there are the fish in the pristine river. The Withlacoochee River is nothing less than a freshwater fisherman’s paradise. Within the river, there are large mouth bass in excess of twelve pounds, hiding under lily pads or stalking their prey at other ambush points. Other species abound; chain pickerel, red-eared sunfish, catfish, speckled perch, gar, bowfin and bream to name a few.
The fishing is done as darkness envelops this pristine river of Citrus County and the Nature Coast. We leave it to the hoots of owls, the cries of the night herons and the splash of fish. Finishing off the day, we dine and plan where to fish the next day.
In conclusion, there is something for everyone when you are at your leisure in Citrus County Florida. So if you are looking for an idyllic setting to call home, contact one of our friendly professionals at Coldwell Banker Next Generation Realty of Citrus.