NCBS Intern Report by: Will Wolfson, Intern with UF IFAS Nature Coast Biological Station and the Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge
Creating Self-Guided Paddle Guides for Fishing in the Nature Coast
In the summer of 2017, I was hired by the University of Florida’s Nature Coast Biological Station to work as their self-guided paddle fishing intern. My duties during this internship were to prepare a series of six paddle guides. Paddle guides include narratives and maps showing paddlers how to navigate the waters around Cedar Key, find fish within these areas, look out for hazards (warnings), and understand the best times of the tide to catch fish.
The goal of my internship was to inspire paddlers and other outdoor enthusiasts to visit the Nature Coast and to enjoy the many fishing opportunities that this region has to offer. Everything prepared in this project was my own doing. I worked independently throughout this project and enjoyed every minute of my time spent working on the water. Currently, the Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge is in the process of converting my maps and paddle guide directions into printed pamphlets that can be distributed throughout the Big Bend and Cedar Key regions. The Refuge is also in the process of converting these paddle guides into an online format that users will be able to access from their smart-phones. In preparing the custom maps for these paddle guides, I utilized a combination of tools from Google Earth and G.I.S. mapping software to construct the maps. The paddle guide directions that accompany the maps provide explicit detail for where to fish, what baits to use and any significant historical information of the areas. All of the information included in these guides was gathered from my own experiences on the water this summer and only the best spots were selected for use in these paddle guides. I feel extremely fortunate to have been selected for this internship position this summer and I would like to thank the entire Nature Coast Biological Station as well as the Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge staff for providing me with this great experience of doing what I love, while also helping to promote the many natural resources and fishing opportunities the Cedar Key area has to offer.
Get your copy of the paddle guides!
Paddle 1 – Atsena Otie Preliminary Guide (docx), Paddle 2 – McCormick Creek Preliminary Guide (docx), Paddle 3 – Shell Mound Preliminary Guide (docx), Paddle 4 – Suwannee River Preliminary Guide (docx), Paddle 5 – Shired Island Preliminary Guide (docx), Paddle 6 – Cedar Key Airport Preliminary Guide (docx).