It’s a good year for scallops

It’s a good year for scallops

From the Gainesville Sun:

Following a couple of weeks of open bay scallop season in the Steinhatchee area, it’s clear that the shellfish stocks there are healthy.

Guiding out of Steinhatchee, Capt. Bobbi Cannon confirms that it’s a good year for scallops — in some ways, better than last year. “The scallop meats are running from 5 to 6 pounds per 10-gallons of scallops in the shell. That’s definitely better than early in the season last year.” She added, “More people are asking to mix hook-and-line fishing with shellfishing. The other day, the Gunn family from Fleming Island caught 3 trout, 2 flounder, and a redfish to go with ten gallons of scallops...and we were back at the dock at 12:30.”

Dale Melms also had an interesting mixed bag. The High Springs angler visited us at the shop late Wednesday after spending the day out of Steinhatchee. Fishing alone, he started the morning casting a DOA shrimp just north of the river and was surprised to hook a nice sized snook along with a slew of ladyfish. After releasing the 24-inch fish, he ran north — all the way past Keaton Beach. Visually scouting for scallops while easing along in the shallows, he stopped to cast a sandy spot. Here, his DOA lure produced four redfish, a few smallish trout, and two odd, seldom-seen ‘lookdown’ fish. A little while later, Melms found a spot well-populated with scallops and picked up a gallon bucket full. “I really didn’t want to clean more than that”, he said.

The pressure on the Steinhatchee-area shallows might ease up a bit starting Sunday, when bay scallop season opens in the rest of our Big Bend waters on July 1. Crystal River and Homosassa are especially-popular scalloping destinations, and if scallops turn out to be as abundant there as they are in the Steinhatchee stretch of coast, shellfishing fans will gain many more good miles of snorkeling water.

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Photo by: Art of the Sky

Photo by: Art of the Sky

Take It Outside Planner: Fishing village of Steinhatchee (w/video), paddle Weeki Wachee, catch barracuda | Tampa Bay Times


Looking for Old Florida at its best? Head to Steinhatchee, a town of fewer than 2,000, located about three hours north of Tampa. One of Florida's first settlements, Spanish explorer Hernando De Soto and President Andrew Jackson both passed through here at one time, but today, the tiny fishing village caters to the outdoors crowd. The first thing you learn when you visit is how to say the name. Locals pronounce the "Stein" in Steinhatchee as "Steen," similar to "steam." The name is American Indian in origin. "Esteen hatchee" means river (hatchee) of man (esteen). The town has long been known for its scallops, but now that the season is closed, local fishing guides entertain tourists who come to fish the rich grass beds for trout, redfish, sheepshead, black sea bass and mangrove snapper. But the Big Bend region has more to offer than just scallops, crabs and fish. Head upstream and the Steinhatchee River provides great paddling opportunities. Be sure to pack a picnic lunch and check out Steinhatchee Falls. The spot was a historic crossing point for American Indians and other settlers. In terms of lodging, the laid-back luxury of Steinhatchee Landing Resort, a village of quaint rental cottages, is worth the trip. Complete with its own dock, pool, playground and neighborhood goats, you will find it an excellent base for any adventure.

Great Scalloping article in Gainesville Sun

Matt Stamey/The Gainesville Sun   In this June 28, 2014 file photo, Heather Hamilton, then 11, carries a handful of scallops back to her boat after picking them from the grassy bottoms during the first day of scallop season ioff the coast of Steinhatchee.

Matt Stamey/The Gainesville Sun

In this June 28, 2014 file photo, Heather Hamilton, then 11, carries a handful of scallops back to her boat after picking them from the grassy bottoms during the first day of scallop season ioff the coast of Steinhatchee.

Here is a very informative article from the Gainesville Sun about 9 must haves for Scallop Season.

Going scalloping? 9 must-haves

I’m “going scalloping” is about to become a familiar refrain for those who are aficionados of the tasty mollusks and love to snorkel in shallow bay waters.

This year’s season runs from June 27 to Sept. 24.

The bay scallop zone is from the Pasco-Hernando County line to the west bank of the Mexico Beach Canal in Bay County. The best scalloping spots in our area typically include Crystal River, Homosassa, Cedar Key and Steinhatchee.

Here’s what you need to participate in the annual fun event that some refer to as an underwater Easter egg hunt:

1) A salt water fishing license. Fees range from $17 for one year up to lifetime options. Go to

2) A boat. Scalloping is done near shore, but you still need a vessel to get out to the seagrass beds. Buy one, borrow one or rent one, at, for example,

3) Diver down flag. This is not an option; it’s the law.

4) Snorkel/mask and fins. You become one with the giant aquarium this way.

5) Mesh bag. As you swim, you need a way to collect the scallops you find, which remain alive in the open fabric.

6) Dipper net. This is for people with a short reach or who might not want to touch the seagrass.

7) Spoon/knife/quart container. Choose a thin knife (curve the blade a bit) for separating the scallop from one shell; use the spoon to scoop the meat off the other shell; put the meat in the quart container.

8) Ice. Scallops are seafood collected in the sun and heat; keep them cold!

9) Food/beverages and sunscreen. You’ll work up an appetite and a thirst while scalloping — and the sun is merciless.

There are limits to how many scallops a person can harvest, and other rules as well. For the official scoop, go to You can learn even more at
— By Susan Smiley-Height