Beginning July 1st, travelers flood to the Nature Coast to experience the underwater scavenger hunt we call scallop season. This is a Floridian tradition that many enjoy year after year. This family-friendly festivity is a great way to spend time on the water and enjoy the Florida sunshine.
The scallop is a juicy, edible, mollusk that appear on seafood menus all over the world. Though there are various types of scallops, those being hunted by our locals are Bay Scallops. Bay Scallops are small but pack lots of flavor, making them worth the effort to gather!
Citrus County has a plethora of tour guides to choose from for first timers or tourists. They will teach you everything that you need to know about the sport, including where and how to catch them! Though this activity requires little to no experience, it is recommended to take a guided tour if you are unfamiliar with the waterways.
Bay Scallop Season Info:
Before you embark on a scalloping trip, make sure you are familiar with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) regulations. You must follow the guidelines and stay within limits.
” Levy, Citrus and Hernando counties (including Cedar Key, Crystal River and Homosassa): July 1 through Sept. 24. This region includes all state waters south of Alligator Pass daybeacon #4 near the mouth of the Suwannee River in Levy County and north of the Hernando – Pasco county line.
- Please do not discard scallop shells in inshore waters commonly used for recreational activities such as the Homosassa River or Crystal River. Piles of discarded scallop shells can create hazards for swimmers and damage seagrass habitat. Scallop shells can be discarded in a trash receptacle or in larger bodies of water where they are more likely to disperse “
You will need a Florida saltwater fishing license. FWC patrols the area, and they do check boats and limits. Secondly, understand the speed laws, local navigation rules and safety equipment necessary for your boat in case of emergency. Also, make sure you display a dive flag from your boat whenever swimmers are in the water. Last but not least, don’t forget to pack your snorkel, fins and a mesh bag to stash your scallops in while you’re in the water.
You’ll also need to understand the limits during scallop season. Each person is allowed to keep 2 gallons of whole bay scallops or 1 pint of scallop meat. On the other hand, there is a 10-gallon limit of whole bay scallops or 1/2-gallon scallop meat per boat, whichever is the lesser amount.
When you’re finished scalloping for the day, it’s time to get cooking. Well, technically, you’ll need to clean your scallops first. You can clean the scallops yourself or pay someone else to do it for you. Many locals set up at the boat docks and (for a small fee) clean your catch for you. If you do it yourself, you should use an oyster knife to pry the scallop shell open and pull out the meat. Remember, it’s not safe and highly frowned upon to dispose of scallop shells in swimming areas in Crystal River or Homosassa River. Be sure to toss your shells into a trash bin or larger body of water once shucked.
Once you’re done cleaning your scallops, it’s time to cook them. There are so many great recipes for bay scallops. However, if you’re too tired to cook, the local restaurants in Citrus County will gladly cook up a delicious dish with your scallops for a fee. Scallop season is a great way to get together with friends and family of all ages to make lasting memories. Remember, if you’re visiting from out of town, book your stay at a local hotel, rental or bed and breakfast in advance.
Make the Move to Citrus County, Florida
After a visit to our charming area for scallop season, 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.
Your Citrus County Housing Market Specialists
With homebuyer competition heating up, our agents can help you navigate Citrus County’s HOT real estate market. Contact Next Generation Realty in Sugarmill Woods or Crystal River, Florida. Their real estate experts will help you find the perfect home in Citrus County. Speak with a professional today: Sugarmill Woods (352) 382-2700 or Crystal River (352) 794-6100.