Mullet Jump! St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon

A mullet jumps in the St Lucie River off North River Shores. (Photo Todd Thurlow, 10-10-15.)
A mullet jumps in the St Lucie River off North River Shores. (Photo Todd Thurlow, 10-10-15.)

Mullet are famous for being excellent jumpers. In fact, Florida Fish and Wildlife states “it’s often easy to identify their locations by simply watching for jumping fish.” Me? When I see a mullet jump, I have a tendency to personify thinking, “now there’s a happy fish!”

This beautiful jumping mullet-sunset photo was taken by my brother, Todd Thurlow, this past Saturday evening, October 10th, 2015  just off of North River Shores.

Former Stuart News editor and river advocate Ernest Lyons wrote about mullet jumping in his essay ” Never a River Like the St Lucie Back Then.”

There was never a river to compare to Florida’s St Lucie I when I was young….the river fed us. You could get all the big fat mullet you wanted with a castnet or a spear. If you were real lazy, you could leave a lantern burning in a tethered rowboat overnight and a half-dozen mullet would jump in, ready to be picked off the boat bottom next morning….at the headwaters of the south fork of the St Lucie….the waters were clear as crystal… (Ernest Lyons 1915-1990)

Today, the water of St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon are anything but clear, but “hail to the mullet that are still jumping!”

Sunset over the St Lucie, Todd Thurlow, 10-10-15.
Sunset over the St Lucie, Todd Thurlow, 10-10-15.

Mullet: Florida Fish and Wildlife: (

Ernest Lyons, Stuart News editor, writer and award winning conservationist: (

Todd Thurlow: (

SFWMD’s St Lucie River history (

Florida Sportsman, by Larry Larsen, Fishing Mullet Schools: (

Why Mullet Jump, by Terrie Gibson/Visit Florida: (

Stop by the Stuart Heritage Museum to purchase Ernest Lyons’ books with writings about the St Lucie River:(

8 thoughts on “Mullet Jump! St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon

  1. Mullet eat the algie that grows on shells and breaks off. There will be lots of mullet this year. It is exciting to know it can all be brought back to the way it used to be.

  2. Hi Jacqui…nice to see our main foraging fish getting some love. It’s hard sometimes to appreciate the importance of these and other baitfish. No baitfish, no game fish. We mention this on our kayak tours and, oh, we know many of the jumping stories. too. Several organizations promote foraging fish awareness. Here’s one that we support and are active with: Cameron Jaggard is the contact.

      1. Beautiful pictures…..also a beautiful picture of you, it brings memories of your beautiful Grandmother Thurlow.

  3. Billy — The main food that 4 of these bait fish eat is the algie that grows on calcium shells and sand. Pin fish and grunts eat the “red” worms that feed around these calcium shells. There is also a direct relation of where I put my calcium sand and where people catch shrimp. I am certain if you put the calcium back in the lagoon like it was a hundred years ago you will see shrimp like has never been seen by this generation. Many years ago the water had a beutifull glow at night from all the phosphorus. This glow is starting to come back here. Maby soon you can have night time kyack tours.

Leave a Reply