Recreational Fishing

Cast Netting Child on Beach

When Ponce de Leon discovered the islands of the Dry Tortugas he noted the abundant marine life including the sea turtles, and thus named these islands "Las Tortugas". Today you will still find the Dry Tortugas filled with abundant marine life, making Dry Tortugas National Park an excellent fishing destination.

Garden Key Map of where recreational fishing is allowed.

Things you need to know before fishing in Dry Tortugas National Park.

  • Private boaters are required to file a boat permit at Garden Key before fishing within the park.
  • Dry Tortugas National Park is in Monroe County, Florida State waters.
  • Dry Tortugas National Park is almost exclusively in Gulf of Mexico waters.
  • Collecting of lobsters is prohibited
  • Spearfishing is prohibited.
  • Fishing in the Research Natural Area is prohibited.
  • Large yellow buoys mark the Historic Use Area.
  • Fishing is also permitted outside the Research Natural Area.
  • Florida Saltwater fishing license is required, unless you are under the age of 16 or a Florida resident senior over the age of 65.
  • For a complete list of current rules of regulations please see the FWC site. Valuable catch and release information can be found on the Florida Sea Grant site.

Fishing on Garden Key is permitted from the following locations:

  • South of the North Coaling Ruins to the beginning of the land bridge.
  • The seaplane beach east of the main dock, when the seaplane is not present.
  • Main dock, when the Yankee Freedom is not present.
  • Two westernmost finger piers, when they are unoccupied.
  • Either dinghy beach provided that fishing does not occur within 50 feet of the concrete wall of the historic docs and ruins previously used for loading coal.

All other areas of Garden Key are closed to fishing. Fishing from a boat is permitted within the one mile Historic Use Area of Garden Key.

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

40001 SR-9336
Homestead, FL 33034


(305) 242-7700
This is the phone number for the Dry Tortugas.

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