Thousands of visitors make their way to our charming area in Citrus County, Florida each summer with one goal in mind: scalloping. Hotels fill up, restaurants are busier than usual and tons of boats get launched into the Crystal River and Homosassa River to head out to the Gulf of Mexico. The scallops harvested in our waters create an exciting summer vacation for many visiting tourists, families and even fun for the locals.
Citrus County Scallop Season
Popularly, referred to as an underwater Easter egg hunt, scallop season begins July 1st and ends on September 24th. There are many options to ensure a great experience on the water when it comes time to planning your scalloping trip.
Some visitors opt to bring their own boat and navigate their way to known scalloping grounds about 2-3 miles from shore in the Gulf of Mexico. They can be found pretty much everywhere Eelgrass is located. Some community boat ramps charge a fee while others are free. Others opt to hire a local guide to take them out for the day for a guaranteed day of fun finding scallops.
Know Before You Go: Rules & Regulations
Before you take off on the water, you’ll want to make sure you have a few essential pieces of gear for scalloping. Additionally, you need to understand the rules and regulations from the FWC. First, be sure to have your saltwater fishing license on hand if you’re between ages 16 and 65. Next, inform yourself of all of the local navigation rules, speed laws and safety equipment laws from the FWC website. Also, make sure to display a dive flag whenever swimmers are in the water. Lastly, its recommended you pack a snorkel mask, fins and mesh bag to store your scallops in as you’re diving down to grab more.
Time to Call it a Day
Another important factor you must consider is limits. Each person is allowed to keep 2 gallons of whole scallops or 10 gallons per boat (whichever is the lesser amount). Otherwise, it is one pint of bay scallop meat per person if de-shelling before coming back in.
Cleaning, Cooking Scallops
Once you come in from a great day on the water, it’s time to eat! You’ll need to clean your scallops first. The best tool is an oyster knife to pry open the shell and pull out the meat. Some locals offer a scallop cleaning service at the boat ramps for a small fee.
If you hire a fishing guide, the captain may do it for you as part of their services. Additionally, if you are too tired to cook your catch, bring them into many of the local restaurants where the staff will cook them up for you for an extra charge.
Citrus County Scallop Season Rentals & Hotels
If you plan on renting a place for your vacation, be sure to book months ahead of time. Availability of places to stay is limited during the ever-growing popular scallop season. You have many options depending on what suits your vacation needs. From RV parks to charming bed & breakfasts, to hotels, motels and even vacation home rentals. Additionally, call local marinas ahead of time if you plan on renting a boat or hiring a guide.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Regulations can be found here:
Make the Move
After a visit to our charming area, you’ll certainly want to come back. There is something for everyone when you are at your leisure in Citrus County Florida. Whether you’re seeking a vacation rental home, winter home or a permanent residence, contact the professionals at Coldwell Banker Next Generation Realty to help.
If being on the water is one of your passions and a beautiful, well built, waterfront home is in your future, you cannot do better than to make your home in this natural paradise. Please contact us today for information on waterfront homes or lots for sale on the Homosassa River, Crystal River or on Florida’s Nature Coast.