Fishing Basics to Follow in the Everglades

fishingDid you know that one third of the Everglades is covered by water? It’s true! This makes it an ideal place for visitors and anglers to go fishing. There are many species of fish found in the waterways of the Everglades, but snapper, sea trout, redfish, bass, and bluegill are known to be abundant in this area.

There are thousands of acres of shallow water flats, channels, and mangrove keys for people to fish. However, fishing from the shore is very limited.

When fishing, removing/collecting plants and marine life from the water is prohibited. For example, please do not take orchids, seahorses, starfish, coral, sea shells, driftwood, sponges, tropical fish, etc., out of the water.

When fishing in the Everglades, both freshwater and saltwater fishing requires separate Florida fishing licenses. It’s important for you to be aware and follow these rules/regulations so you do not get in trouble for fishing illegally. Visitors fishing in the park need to be aware of bag limits for individual species. The bag limit for many species is less than 10 fish. Licensed anglers are limited to possession of 20 fish/person at any time, but may possess no more than 10 fish of any one species. There is no possession limit for non-native species.

People are not allowed to fish with nets, seines, spears, firearms, and lobster snares. Dip nets, cast nets, and landing nets that are 10’ or smaller are allowed.

People are allowed four (4) fillets per person for immediate consumption at designated campsites or on-board vessels equipped with cooking facilities. All other fish must remain whole while in park waters.

Freshwater and saltwater fishing licenses are required for park visitors 16 years old and older. Digging for bait inside the park is prohibited.

For more rules and specifics regarding saltwater and freshwater fishing in the Everglades, visit: For more  information on licensing and fishing regulations visit www. or

If fishing isn’t your thing but you like being on the water, come enjoy the Everglades on an airboat tour. You may catch a glimpse of many fish species without being on a fishing trip! Click here or call 800-368-0065 to book an airboat tour with Captain Mitch’s Airboat Tours in the Everglades today.

Fun Things to Do in the Everglades

evegladesThe Everglades are vast, so if you’re planning a visit…where do you begin? What do you do? There are seemingly endless fun things to do in the Everglades, so it can be a bit overwhelming to decide what you will do and see. For this article, we wanted to share with you a few things to do that we think are great fun, and will give you a great glimpse into this majestic wetland.

Anhinga Amble – Daily at 10:30 a.m. there are 50-minute ranger-led tours on the Anhinga Trail. On this tour, you may get the opportunity to see alligators, wading birds, and other wildlife.

Nike Missile Base – Daily through March 31 at 2 p.m., visitors can have a tour of the historic Cold War U.S. Army Nike Missile Site HM-69. Reservations are not required.

Shark Valley – Shark Valley is a great area to take a tram or bike the 15-mile loop. Visitors can see birds and alligators along the path. Bike rentals are available.

Wet Walks –  A Wet Walk is a free, 2-hour strenuous wade through the River of Grass into a cypress dome. Visitors should wear long pants, lace up shoes and socks (all that can get wet and muddy).

Airboat Tour – Last, but certainly not least, is an airboat tour. An airboat tour can bring you to parts of the Everglades you cannot see by foot on a trail. You’ll have the opportunity to see different and more kinds of wildlife. On an airboat ride with Captain Mitch, adults cost $40 and children cost $20 for the one-hour ride. The ride is 8 to 10 miles.  For a discount, click here. If you’re looking to book an airboat trip, call Captain Mitch’s Airboat tours at 800-368-0065 or click here. Airboat tours are a once-in-a-lifetime experience that you will surely not forget.!




February Everglades Events and Activities

eventsThe Everglades isn’t just full of wildlife and plant life, it’s also full of educational and fun programs and activities for visitors to enjoy. For this article, we wanted to share with you some of the upcoming events and programs that will be happening in the month of February.

A Beginner’s Guide to Saltwater Fishing
1:30 to 3:30 p.m.
February 3
Gulf Coast Visitor Center
Learn how to identify fish and how to cast and how to throw a cast net.

Tamiami Trail “Try” Athlon
9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
February 4
Park Entrance fee required
Reservations required
Gulf Coast Visitor Center
This is a ranger-led all day trip through the Tamiami Trail.

Hands on History
1:30 to 3:30 p.m.
February 10
Gulf Coast Visitor Center
See first-hand what techniques the native Calusa used to survive and flourish.

Just Around the River Bend
9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
February 24
Reservations required
Gulf Coast Visitor Center
Join a ranger to explores the rivers that flow into the Ten Thousand Islands and get a chance to see wildlife and mangroves while learning about the Park’s natural and cultural history.

Timeless Travel Canoe Trips
9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in February
Reservations required
Gulf Coast Visitor Center
Strenuous paddling skills and the ability to swim on your own are required.

Nature Talk
4 to 4:30 p.m.
Every Tuesday and Thursday in February
Gulf Coast Visitor Center
This is a talk about plants and animals in the area while going on a little walk.

Citizen Science Bird Count Tour
9 to 11 a.m.
Every Friday in February
Gulf Coast Visitor Center
Visitors help conduct research by identifying and counting birds and other animals while learning about the mangrove estuary.

Want to explore and experience this beautiful ecosystem in another way? Come out on the water for an airboat ride with Captain Mitch’s Airboat Tours. You’ll experience the Everglades like never before. To book a airboat tour ride, click here or call 800-368-0065.

Wildlife Viewing in the Everglades

wildlifeIt’s that time of year again! Wildlife view season in the Everglades. Sure, you can see birds and animals in the Park year-round, but more species migrate to the area during this winter, dry season. Unlike other areas of the country, the Everglades remains warm and since it is the dry season, there are also low water levels, which creates the ideal environment for many species to spend there time in…and even breed.

If you’re looking for an alligator, birds, or freshwater wildlife, your best bet is to head to Shark Valley, the Anhinga Trail (at Royal Palm) and Eco Pond. If you love birdwatching, Snake Bight (near Flamingo) and Chokoloskee Bay (Gulf Coast) are great spots to see water birds feeding.

The Everglades is a fragile habitat. From natural weather disasters to human development, the wetland has been stressed to be a healthy ecosystem. As humans, we are a guest in the Everglades; these animals and birds call this area home, so we need to respect them. They are wildlife, not pets, so it’s important to be respectful of all living creatures in the park, along with the Park itself. Bothering the animals could potentially stress them out or make them fearful or agitated. You do not want an animal angry with you, but also you do not want to upset an animal, because it could migrate or breed elsewhere (or not at all).

For this post, we wanted to share with you some wildlife viewing rules and tips while in Everglades National Park. Although some of these rules seem like no-brainers, it’s always good to refresh your memory. These rules come straight from the National Park Service.

  • Keep a good distance away from all wildlife.
  • Use binoculars or spotting scopes to get a berry view of any creature.
  • Never chase or corner an animal.
  • If an animal/bird seems agitated, back away, and even leave the area if it does not calm down.
  • Stay on the trails. You don’t want to disturb nests and dens.
  • Do not need wildlife.
  • If you find a sick or hurt animal or bird, leave it alone. If you’re concerned, fine a Park ranger or employee.
  • Do not bring your dogs onto the trails; they are not allowed.
  • Respect the environment if you do choose to go off the trails.

You can either view wildlife by foot or by airboat! Come do some wildlife viewing by airboat on a ride with Captain Mitch. Captain Mitch’s Airboat Tours give you a glimpse of the Everglades like no other. To book an airboat ride, click here or call 800-368-0065.

Everglades Mammals Profile: The Least Shrew

least shrewWhat’s a shrew? A shrew is a small mouse-like mammal with a long, pointed snout and tiny eyes. The Everglades happens to be home to a few different families of shrews. For this article, we wanted to focus on sharing some facts about the North American Least Shrew.

  • This shrew is one of the smallest mammals, growing up to only 3 inches in length.
  • It has dense, grayish-brown (or reddish-brown) fur with a white stomach.
  • Its fur is lighter in the summer and darker in the winter.
  • It is a member of the Soricomorpha family.
  • Its ears are completely hidden by its fur.
  • This shrew has very small eyes.
  • Although mostly active at night, this shrew is active all day long, as well.
  • This shrew digs through loose soil and leaf litter to find food.
  • It hunts its prey by smell and touch.
  • This shrew feeds on caterpillars, beetle larvae, earthworms, centipedes, slugs, and sow bugs.
  • It will sometimes eat fruit or seeds.
  • They often share their food with other shrews, and can eat more than its body weight each day.
  • You can find this shrew in burrows or shallow runways under flat stones or logs.
  • The least shrew is a social creature.
  • This shrew’s breeding season is from March to November.
  • A shrew usually only lives for about a year.
  • Along with the Everglades, you can find the least shrew in Canada and Mexico and throughout much of the eastern United States.
  • Owls, foxes, raccoons, hawks, skunks, and snakes eat shrews.
  • To defend itself, the least shrew has a venomous saliva. It will aim for its enemy’s legs and try to cripple it.
  • This shrew is only considered dangerous in the state of Connecticut, due to coastal habitat development.

The Everglades is full of mammals for you to catch a glimpse! Come explore the Everglades on an airboat ride with Captain Mitch. Captain Mitch’s Airboat Tours bring you around the Everglades in a way you can’t experience by foot. To book an airboat ride, click here or call 800-368-0065.

Everglades Animal Profile: Seminole Bat

seminole bateThe Everglades is full of creatures including the Seminole bat. This bat is considered to be a “medium” -sized bat weighing in at only 8 to 15 grams with an 11 to 13-inch wingspan. This bat is a deep mahogany in color that is frosted at the tips. Males and females are similar in color. This bat has fur from the tip of its tail to its arms and wrists and shoulders.

These bats are considered their own distinct species (Lasiurus seminolus) in the family Vespertilionidae.

In the springtime, the female Seminole bats give birth to usually one baby bat (pup), which means they mate in late fall or early winter. These baby bats stay close to their mother and begin to fly about 3 to 6 weeks after they’re born. After 2 to 3 months after birth, the baby bats can fly and search for food on their own.

Seminole bats are commonly found in pine trees, oak trees, hickory trees, and Spanish moss; they prefer to live in forests. They have also been spotted in lowland cypress stands, river swamps, islands and prairie edges. They can be spotted in the early evening when the temperatures are about 70 degrees. Not only is this bat found in the Everglades, it can be found in many regions of the United States, including: Louisiana, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas, Tennessee, Arkansas, and North Carolina.

These bats like to eat flies, beetles, bees, ants, wasps, moths, and leafhoppers. They eat primarily insects.

These bats do not hibernate or undergo large migrations.

These bats have been found by professional moss gatherers inside clumps of Spanish moss. It is believed that moss gathering may threaten these bats (because it’s their habitat), but there has been no studies done on this, as of yet.

If you’re a fan of bats, you’ll want to visit the Everglades closer to the evening to spot them. If you don’t like bats, there are plenty of other animals and birds for you to spot on a trip through the Everglades. Come explore the Everglades by airboat on a ride with Captain Mitch. Captain Mitch’s Airboat Tours give you a glimpse of the Everglades like no other. To book an airboat ride, click here or call 800-368-0065.

 Photo courtesy:

Wildlife Viewing in the Everglades

wildlifeIt’s officially the dry season in the Everglades and Florida, which is the best time to head down to the area to view an array of different wildlife species. During this time of year, the good weather combined with low water levels creates the perfect conditions and environment for animals and birds to congregate near bodies of water.

Great spots in the Everglades to view wildlife include: Shark Valley, the Anhinga Trail (Royal Palm), Eco Pond (a mile past the Flamingo Visitor Center), Snake Bight (near Flamingo), and Chokoloskee Bay (Gulf Coast).

Visitors to the Park have the opportunity to see alligators, wading birds, freshwater wildlife, and a few other land creatures. Since the animals are in their natural habitat, they are wild and visitors should be respectful to both the animals and the environment in which they call home.

Below, we’ve shared a few rules and tips on viewing the animals in the Park.

  • Keep your space from animals and birds. Remember you’re in their home and shouldn’t disturb them (do not pick up or chase). Binoculars provide a great way to get a closer, detailed look at the wildlife without bothering or spooking them.
  • Back away from animals if you feel they have been disturbed by you and leave the area. Animals and birds may feel threatened and start to act strangely (excessive flapping, pacing, muscle tension, staring, screaming/making frequent noises). Animals, especially when they feel threatened, can be dangerous.
  • Stay away from nesting or den areas. By entering one of these areas, you could potentially drive the parents to leave, which means the offspring will not be able to survive on their own. Stick to the trails to avoid running into one of these breeding grounds.
  • If you see an animal that you think may be sick or abandoned, leave it be; it’s family could be nearby.
  • Pets are not allowed on trails or the wilderness areas of the Park.
  • Refrain from feeding the animals; it’s not a good idea for the animals to become reliant on being fed, unnaturally, by humans.
  • Listen to all safety signs and warning signals in the park.

It is illegal to feed or harass animals in the Everglades. You’re in THEIR home, and the Park asks that you respect them. If you’re looking for a way to see wildlife in the Everglades, an airboat tour is a great way to view animals and birds from afar without worrying about bothering them or putting yourself in a dangerous situation.  To book an airboat tour with Captain Mitch’s Airboat Tours, click here or call 800368-0065.

The Nile Crocodile in the Everglades

Nile CrocodileThe Burmese python is well-known to be an invasive species in the Florida Everglades; however, there seems to be another major invasive reptile in the wetland: The Nile crocodile. Yes, the Everglades are full of crocodiles, but they’re native to America. These Nile crocodiles come from Africa. But, how did these crocs make their way across the Atlantic Ocean? And, how they end up swimming around the Everglades? That is the big question.

A University of Florida herpetologist said he isn’t sure how they got into the wild over here, because they certainly didn’t swim from Africa. Nile crocs have been captured in the Everglades in 2009, 2011, and 2014. After reports from locals about strange looking alligators, this scientist and his colleagues captured and tested the crocs. After some DNA testing was done, it was determined these crocodiles are Nile crocodiles, and the three were probably related to each other. However, they were not matched to any of the Nile crocs in any of Florida’s licensed Florida attractions, including Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

What does this mean? Well, these crocs could have been brought over to the area illegally by an unlicensed reptile collector. The crocs could have escaped or have been let go. The crocs found were believed to have escaped from Predator World, and that no one released them but they escaped, according to officials at the Florida Wildlife Conservation Commission.

The male Nile croc can grow to be more than 16 feet long and weigh more than 1,600 pounds. They have a bronze/brown/yellow coloring. They are much larger and more aggressive than the American crocodile or American alligator. If this crocodile begins to grow in numbers in the Everglades, it will do harm to the area’s ecosystem. The Everglades is a perfect place for this croc to survive in. Since one of the three captured was captured before and escaped, this proved these crocs can live and survive in Florida for many years and they can grow and populate quickly. Cross-breeding between the American crocodile and the Nile crocodile could create larger crocs in the area, which could endanger the smaller breads of crocodiles and the purity of the American breed.

As of right now, Florida Wildlife Conservation Commission officials aren’t worried, and believe they have captured all the Nile crocodiles in the area, since there have been no other confirmed sightings and no unaccounted for captive animals. These officials conduct regular routine inspections and surveys to look out for exotic and invasive species.  The agency also doesn’t believe these crocs mated with any native crocs in their time in the wild, because of dissimilar habitat and behavior.

Explore the Everglades
Despite being home to crocodiles, especially one’s native to the area, the Everglades is a safe place for humans to explore (with caution and regulations in place, of course). A great way to explore the crocodile’s habitat is with an airboat tour. Contact Captain Mitch’s Airboat Tours here or call 800-368-0065 to book a tour today.