The Citrus County Scallop Season brings thousands of visitors to our area each summer. This year, the Citrus County Scallop Season starts on July 1st and ends September 24th. Families, ages young and old, get together to search the bay for delicious scallops. Many compare the search for scallops to an underwater Easter egg hunt. Generally, the most popular areas are the Crystal River and Homosassa River which lead out to the Gulf of Mexico. Not only do the tourists enjoy coming to our area for hunting scallops, but the locals enjoy it as well.
Boating Options for Citrus County Scallop Season
Many visitors opt to bring their own boat and launch at the many different marinas and public piers. MacRae’s and Riverhaven Marina are popular spots in Homosassa to launch your boat. Only a few minutes away, Crystal River boaters launch at Pete’s Pier, Twin Rivers Marina and other public piers. If you don’t plan on bringing your own boat into town for Citrus County scallop season, there are many options for hiring a guide or renting a boat for the day. Hire a local guide, they can take you out for the day of guaranteed fun finding scallops. Or, if you want to rent a boat, be sure to make reservations ahead of time as the Citrus County Scallop Season is very popular.
Don’t Forget the Essentials
Before you take off for an exciting day of scalloping, 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. 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.
Where to Find Scallops
The scalloping grounds near Citrus County are generally 2-3 miles from shore in the Gulf of Mexico. Basically, anywhere you see Eelgrass, you can find bay scallops during the Citrus County Scallop Season. You will be able to spot scallops atop the grass or any edges of sandy spots when the sun is shining. If the sun is not out, best to have a person dive in and check the bottom before dropping anchor for the day.
Preparing Your Scallops
After a great day on the water collecting scallops, it’s time to cook them and enjoy your bounty. First, you’ll need to clean them from their shell. Many suggest using an oyster knife to pry the shell open and pull out the meat. An easier option, is to hire a local at the boat ramp who will offer to clean your scallops for a small fee. If you hire a guide for the day, they may offer to clean them as part of their services. Also, many local restaurants offer to cook them up for you at an extra charge.
Plan Your Stay
Be sure to book your stay ahead of time for the Citrus County Scallop Season. There are great options for renting short-term vacation home rentals from local real estate companies, such as Coldwell Banker Next Generation Realty. If you prefer, there are many hotels in the area, RV parks, motels and bed and breakfasts. Additionally, make sure you call ahead the local marinas if you do plan to reserve a boat for the day or plan to hire a guide or even dock your boat in a slip for the weekend.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Regulations can be found here:
Make the Move to Citrus County Florida
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.
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