Scalloping Crystal River & Homosassa FL

Crystal River Scallops
Are you looking for a fun and adventurous activity for the family or you and a few friends this summer? Head down the Gulf Coast of Florida to Homosassa and Crystal River to try your hands at the unique experience of scalloping for Bay Scallops. This activity is easy to do and loads of fun. Homosassa and Crystal River are two of the hottest spots to go scalloping because of the great abundance in their waters. You do not need any experience and hardly any gear, so what are you waiting for!

What Are Bay Scallops

When they think of scallops, most people think of the big, sweet round delicious Sea Scallop in the iconic fluted scalloped shell. What people are not as familiar with is the Bay Scallop. These are smaller, but they are sweeter, more tender, and just as delicious because of their smaller size. Homosassa and Crystal River are two of the best places in Florida to find them. The Bay Scallops in Homosassa and Crystal River live in the shallow water of the seagrass beds. The water is usually only 4 to 10 feet deep, and most of the time, you will be scalloping in 3 ft to 6 ft of water. Because it is so shallow, the whole family can take part in picking these delicious treats.

What Are Bay Scallops

License And Bag Limits

You can scallop in Homosassa and Crystal river from July 1 through Sept. 24, 2022, so you could plan a trip down the coast for the Fourth of July or Labor Day. If you are going it alone, you MUST have a saltwater fishing license. If you decide to make it easier on yourself, go with a professional Bay Scallop charter service. In that case, the license will be included in your charter fees.

For both cities, there are bag limits that MUST be followed. Each person can harvest up to 2 gallons or a ½ gallon of sweet tender meat if shucked. This is individual, and the maximum limit for a charter boat is 10 gallons, so if you have six on a charter, you will not be able to max out one each of your limits.

How To Harvest Bay Scallops

So how do you get the scallops? It is actually an easy process. You first need to get to the scallop grounds and then get in the water.

Gear

Once in the water, you will need:

Technique

If it is shallow, you can just walk around and feel or look for the blue eyes or the scallop-shaped shell if the eyes are closed. Then just stick your head under, pick it up, and place it in your mesh bag. Simple and fun. If the water is a little deeper, usually ten ft. at the maximum, you will have to dive down to the bottom, but it is not a deep dive, about as deep as an in-ground pool.

Crystal River - is the most popular of all of the sites for scalloping. Visitors and locals alike come to be brought to the scallop grounds. Here the scallops are in great numbers, and the water is clear so that you can see them easily. In Crystal River, along with the fun of scalloping, you may also find yourself swimming with sea turtles, manatees and even dolphins. If the water is a little deeper, usually ten ft. at the maximum, you will have to dive down to the bottom, but it is not a deep dive, about as deep as an in-ground pool.

Homosassa - is almost as famous for its scalloping and is close to the scallop grounds as well. If the water is a little deeper, usually ten ft. at the maximum, you will have to dive down to the bottom, but it is not a deep dive, about as deep as an in-ground pool.

Book A Local Guide

There are lots of professional charters in both spots with local guides that have been scalloping in these waters most of their lives. This is the best way to fill the bag to your limit as they know where to go. This is an event that all locals flock to. Bay Scallops are only in season for a short time, and they are so delicious and a great treat in your favorite casserole or stew.

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