best bass lakes in florida

The lake is big, so most people don’t brave it alone; they hire a charter. Some of the best-known bass waters in Florida, which include lakes Okeechobee and George and the Kissimmee chain, are also among the state's largest. Bass-friendly habitat includes expansive native grass communities (maidencane and knotgrass), lily pads, bulrush, cattail and hydrilla beds. This inundation plus severe wind damage decimated emergent vegetation, while turbidity blocked sunlight long enough to kill most of the submerged plants. St. Johns River, Florida 8. It has been a legend for longer than most people can imagine. Overall, Kingsley claims 169 TrophyCatches (also including 75 Lunker Clubs and 80 Trophy Clubs). However, because of the differences in the lakes and the geographic location of Florida, the pre-spawning season can stretch right through to the beginning of summer, if you’re in the northern areas of the state.February, March and April tend to be some of the best months for bass fishing in Florida. And he’s since won $2 Million dollars as one of the most decorated anglers in the history of the largemouth-rich Sunshine State. Lake Eufaula, Alabama/Georgia 6. Children under 16 and Florida residents over the age of 65 do not require a fishing license. A 100-yard wide rim canal circling the lake, along with several secondary canals and cuts yield hundreds of miles of fishable water. Description: Located south of Palatka, this 9,500-acre reservoir was formed in 1968 when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers built an earthen dam with a four-gate spillway across the Ocklawaha River. “Because we have fertile soil, Lake Kissimmee produces a lot of food from zooplankton, insects to forage fish. Winter bass fishing in Florida is tough. Fortunately, extreme drought conditions in 2006 and 2007 exposed vast areas of lake bottom and allowed new vegetation to take root. Its world-famous bass fishing makes it a popular lake for fishing tournaments. About 65 miles north of Orlando and about 30 minutes east of Ocala, Lake George is on the eastern edge of the Ocala National Forest. Sailing, motor boating, and water skiing are popular too. Florida is the go-to state for bass fishermen, especially when big fish are the goal. Florida’s subtropical climate means that the opportunities for fishing are just about non-stop. Amazingly, he doesn’t have a lure sponsor. Lake Toho is one of Florida’s largest lakes and is renowned as one of the best fishing places in Florida for catching trophy bass. In the fall, when bass gorge on shad, Elite pro and Palatka resident pro Terry Scroggins will throw a shallow diving jerkbait onto main channel flats and work the bait over the edge for fish holding on the break and looking up for food, Local contact: Gary’s Tackle Box (352-372-1791), TrophyCatch Stats: 329 (262 Lunker Clubs, 67 Trophy Clubs). Florida can offer some great bass fishing and the warm climate means you can potentially fish all year round, with little in the way of seasonal changes. LAKE KISSIMMEE The southernmost link in the Kissimmee Chain, Lake Kissimmee is a 34,948-acre lake located 40 miles... 2. Best Wintertime Lures For Florida Bass Fishing Bass anglers should consider two key factors when picking out lures for wintertime fishing in Florida. When big rains returned in 2008, the new plant growth exploded. It’s best known for its largemouth, striped bass, and sunfish, and it has an average depth of approximately eight feet.. Pay particular attention to river channel turns, as these are natural bass magnets. And, of course, a live shiner fished under a popping cork is a can’t-miss for big bass. Lake George is one of the many natural lakes on the St. Johns River. “If there was one lake that I had to pick to catch a 10-pounder or bigger in the spring time, it would be Lake Istokpoga,” said Bassmaster Elite Series pro and Lakeland native Bobby Lane. Covering 27,692 acres with an average depth of about 6 feet, Istokpoga offers an array of shallow vegetation including hydrilla, spatterdock, bulrush, cattails, pepper grass, eel grass, and Kissimmee grass; along with two islands (Big and Bumblebee), three major creeks (Arbuckle, Josephine, and Istokpoga) and several docks. It also features a canal that links the lake to both the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. Temperatures will usually start to cool down during the fall, which can mean bass start actively feeding again in preparation for winter. This citizen-science program rewards anglers for documenting and releasing trophy bass of 8 pounds or larger. If you are looking for a trophy-sized bass all year long, Lake Toho is your destination. Lake Walk In Water is nationally known for largemouth bass and its great … Frogs, vibrating jigs and flipping jigs also produce in and around the mats. List of all of Florida lakes in freshwater for large-mouth bass and peacock bass statewide in Florida. Bassmaster Magazine ranks the top 100 Best Bass Lakes each year, split by region. Seminole is a 38,000 acre lake located on the state’s northern border near Chattahoochee. So have fun and let us know how your Florida bass fishing trip goes. Best Florida Lakes To Target Winter Trophy Bass If you wish to catch that once-in-a-lifetime trophy bass this winter, you need to visit one of Florida’s renowned bass fisheries. The following list of Top Spots for Black Bass aims to help anglers find a quality place to catch either good numbers of bass or to catch a trophy bass. Local contact: Fast Break Bait & Tackle 863-763-0973. Well deserving of its Seminole name, which means “big water,” Okeechobee averages only 9 feet deep, but boasts more than 150,000 acres of productive vegetation that includes Kissimmee grass, bulrush, cattails, hydrilla, hyacinth and lily pads. How to Fish It: Flipping Texas-rigged worms or pitching craws and beavers is hard to beat, but keep a frog, spinnerbait and swim jig on your deck. Lake George is part of the St. Johns River System and is only an average of 8 feet deep. The mouth of Shingle Creek, St. Get the Top Stories from Florida Sportsman Delivered to Your Inbox Every Week, These are some of the best florida bass lakes to fish. "All through 2013, even in the summer months, it was taking 30 to 35-pounds of bass in a five fish limit to win those little weekly club tournaments out of Camp Mack," says veteran guide Reno Alley of … Lane is a Sunshine State native. As well as being a great place for saltwater fishing, the Sunshine State is also known for its big bass. The lake is incredibly shallow and very brackish for a lake in this area of the state. Though far out of the top-5 in terms of quantity, Kingsley Lake in North Central Florida easily claims the quality title. Lake Murray, South Carolina 3. Florida statewide regulations allow you to take no more than five black bass, which includes largemouth, spotted and Suwannee bass. Review of Fish Orlando Trophy Bass Guide Service. Lake Istokpoga, Florida 5. Lake Kissimmee has good soil. The Florida largemouth bass is a larger species than the northern largemouth bass. During the spring spawn season largemouth bass are found … RODMAN RESERVOIR TrophyCatch Stats: 348 (285 Lunker, 61 Trophy Clubs, 2 Hall of … This 35 square mile lake is jammed packed with family bass fishing action like no other! Top Five Florida Bass Lakes 1. It’s around an hour’s drive south of Kissimmee and the theme parks and there is boating access at Lake Kissimmee State Park (you can download  a park map here) on the western edge of the lake. These include the Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center, Chekika Lake, Royal Palm Visitor Center area, Shark Valley Tram Road and the first 3 miles of Main Park Road.The water in the Everglades is only around 4 to 5 feet deep on average, which can mean kayaks, canoes and airboats can often be good options for getting around. Just about everybody knows that Florida’s summers are hot, which can make being outside pretty uncomfortable. 2) Lakeland Lakes: While lots of large Florida lakes get notable publicity for giving up bass, it’s likely more lunker largemouths are caught by more people from small, virtually unknown waters. Click here for more information about this Florida fish camp. However, if you’re fishing in the Suwannee River areas, the bag limit for striped bass is only three but with a minimum size of 18 inches in length.Currently, due to a temporary suspension, you are not allowed to catch and keep shoal bass from the Chipola River, including its tributaries, but you can catch them if they are immediately released. The lakes surrounding Eustis are some of the largest in the state, including the namesake of the chain, Lake Harris. While many bass will be hiding out in the deeper areas of lakes during this hot season, which can often stretch on for six months, a lot of Florida’s lakes are pretty shallow, which could make finding them a little easier. Of that total, the 2,000-acre Kingsley has produced the two heaviest TrophyCatch entries: Seth Chapman’s 15-pound, 11-ouncer and Len Andrews’ 15-9 — both caught in March 2015. The Everglades National Park covers 1.5 million acres of wilderness in Southern Florida and is probably best known for its swamps and alligators. Furthermore, most anglers release trophy fish so they remain in the system for additional opportunities and reproduction. How to Fish It: During summer months, most of the bass seek cooler temperatures in the deeper waters of the river channel, although early mornings and late afternoon may find them roaming shallow flats. I have fished with Justen for the last 5 years used other guides before him. There’s also a public boat ramp at Joe Overstreet’s Landing on the eastern side. Lake Okeechobee is the largest freshwater lake in Florida and one of the largest in the United States, covering around 730 square miles with an average depth of around 10 to 12 feet.This famous lake, which is known for its excellent year round bass fishing, sits around 100 miles south of Orlando and around 100 miles north of Miami. Because many Florida lakes have little or no bottom contour changes, the key to finding fish here often lies in interpreting weedlines and bottom composition. Crescent Lake in northeastern Florida stretches over 15,960 acres and is best known for its beautiful scenery and clean water. Florida has more than 7,700 named lakes greater than 10 acres, but only a select few make the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's (FWC) Top Ten Bass Lakes list. Throughout Florida’s mild winters, heavyweight largemouth bass lurk in the shallows and become easier to catch. Florida’s Department of Environmental Regulation has recognized Windermere’s lakes as “Outstanding Florida Waters” for their high water quality and animal habitats.Isleworth, Lake Sheen, Lake Tibet, Pocket Lake, Wauseon Bay, and Little Fish Lake) and each has excellent freshwater fishing. What Size Kayak Do I Need? One of the reasons that the fishing is unlike anywhere else here is simply because Florida is literally unlike anywhere else. When runoff from heavy rains send voluminous flow through the lake, current at the canals and tributaries can spark a hot bass bite. The FWC and its environmental partners drew down Istokpoga’s water level and removed over 1,300 acres of muck to allow native vegetation to germinate and flourish. For most of Florida, it rarely gets cold. Great Bass-Fishing Lakes in Florida 1. With hundreds of publicly-accessible lakes and river fisheries, the Sunshine State offers tremendous opportunities to stretch a line with big largemouth bass. Lake Seminole is too big of a player in the largemouth bass game to even be contained in one state, as Florida shares this lake with Georgia. There are thousands of lakes in Florida where you can cast your line for bass, with many of them within easy reach of cities and metro areas.Remember to get your fishing license before you head out and make sure you know the local regulations for the specific body of water where you plan to fish. Yes, everyone over the age of 16 will need a Florida fishing license in order to fish for bass, whether you’re carrying the gear, casting a line or catching and releasing a fish. The Basics on Lake George, FL. Falls Lake, North Carolina 7. And with all the nature and wildlife around, you could almost forget you’re just a few minutes from the theme parks. How to Fish It: Mann’s a big fan of topwater action, particularly a noisy buzzbait fitted with a trailer hook. Description: Translated, its Seminole name refers to ancestors who died on the lake when fierce winds roiled its vast expanses of relatively shallow waters. Here we go, the 7 best Florida bass lures. Look at the Top 25 Best Bass Lakes of 2019 for the Central, Western, Southeastern and … Based on data from the past four years, the following lakes made the cut. This was the first of two planned projects intended to facilitate navigation along the Cross Florida Barge Canal (construction halted in 1971 due to environmental concerns). Ditto for deep stumps. Martin Mann has spent 15 of his 25 years as a FWC fisheries Biologist studying the Kissimmee Chain. Most Popular Lakes in Florida top 10 rated by angler popularity and success, not by size, fish size or demographics. Fished with Justen Dec. 14-16 with my best friend. Lake George Lake George continues to live up to its reputation as a “big fish” lake, with catch rates of .56 fish per... 3. Lake Okeechobee That three of the biggest bass tours in the U.S. will make 2012 stops on Lake Okeechobee says volumes... 2. It’s known as the fishing capital of the world and for good reason. Do You Need A Florida Fishing License For Bass Fishing? Weed mats provide another warm-season option, so Schultz punches a heavily-weighted Yamamoto Fat Baby Craw (junebug or black/blue) through the hyacinth or hydrilla. “You’re not just going to get one or two good bites a day; you’re going to get 10-15 quality bites a day about any time of the year.”. This allows bass to grow fast and increase survivorship. Locating Florida bass -- Jay Yelas, 2002 Bassmaster Classic Champion, 2007 FLW Angler of the Year. March and October are prime months for cooler weather and lots of bass, but January through April can be lights-out with fish spawning in bulrush, cattail and other vegetation over sandy bottom. The home of a few of the world’s greatest competitions (Bassmaster Elite Series, FLW Tour), Okeechobee is nearly 450,000 acres (730 square miles) of bass fishing paradise. Rattling lures (silver, gold, and Tennessee shad) tempt bass during summer and fall as baitfish school in open water areas along the north end of the lake. Lake Tohopekaliga or Lake Toho for short is one of the BEST bass fisheries in the state of Florida. At 15,087 acres, this flagship lake offers amazing opportunities for fishing. Camp Mack's provides access to Lake Kissimmee, Hatchineha, and Cyprus Lake, for a wide variety of Florida freshwater fish. Of your five bass, only one can be longer than 16 inches. South, Central, North Florida and Panhandle Florida. Local contact: Henderson’s Fish Camp at (863-465-2101), TrophyCatch Stats: 234 (195 Lunker Clubs, 39 Trophy Clubs). It is the second largest lake in the state (46,000 acres) and is 18 miles northwest of Deland and 29 miles east of Ocala. This may not happen quite the same in Florida as it does in other parts of the country, and you may still find bass in deeper water at this time of the year.However, for the most part, you can usually find bass in the shallower areas of lakes and rivers. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. During morning, or any low-light period, Gainesville’s Bassmaster Elite Series pro Bernie Schultz likes throwing topwaters like the Rapala X-Rap Prop or SkitterWalk around stumps and grass edges in Rodman’s main pool or near breaks in the barge canal. Stretching 19 miles, Rodman holds vast areas of flooded timber (some emergent, some submerged), shallow wood cover, hydrilla and milfoil beds, eel grass and large rafts of water lettuce and hyacinth. We caught 148 bass, with the largest over 8lb, 7lb 10oz and a bunch of 6's and 5's. The lake has multiple RV/camping sites and is home to Big Toho Marina. Here are some tips on lure selection, presentation, and location for landing the elusive winter bass. Generally considered Florida’s oldest and highest lake, Kingsley perches on the eastern slope of Trail Ridge, the first part of Florida’s peninsula to emerge above sea level in the Pleistocene era. Lake Okeechobee – Florida Here we’ve got a 730 square mile lake rich with some of the best lake bass fishing in the country. Cloud canal (C-31), Partin’s Ditch or near the water control structure (S-61) located at Toho’s south end are worth a visit. Located to the west of Florida’s state capital Tallahassee is Lake Talquin, an 8,800-acre reservoir. “We have good food availability, good habitat and good water partly due to mother nature and partly due to FWC management practices that preserve it even though it is under stress from human encroachment.”. I look for places where the hydrilla thins out into patchy, scattered clumps. A reservoir for potable and irrigation water, Okeechobee took a beating during the 2004 hurricane season when three major hurricanes pushed massive amounts of water into the system (briefly as high as 18 feet). Bassmaster releases its rankings of best bass lakes 1. It’s one of our favorite bass fisheries because of the constant action each time we fish this lake. Some fisheries in many states around the country have introduced Florida bass to specific bodies of water in order to boost bass sizes by introducing the larger Florida strain to the gene pool.However, with these fish being native to Florida, you could have a higher chance of catching one since they can be found in waters all across the Florida peninsula, with northern largemouth and hybrid species being prohibited from being stocked in Florida waters. “Also, FWC has managed this lake and the rest of the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes aggressively over the last 50 years,” Mann said. Nevertheless, Florida’s fifth-largest natural lake, located five miles northeast of Lake Placid, has consistently cranked out quality bass since a major restoration effort in the early 2000’s. So where are the best spots and when should you go?To point you in the direction of some of the best places to go bass fishing in Florida we’ve put together a short guide that will hopefully tell you everything you need to know before you go. Lake George is one of the premier bass fishing lakes in central Florida. Noting that he’s chosen to live and work in Central Florida largely because of the quality fisheries, Mann said Kissimmee owes its consistency to a handful of distinct elements. There are also areas where fishing is prohibited. At the lake’s south end is the 3,528-acre Crescent Lake Conservation Area, which provides water storage for the lake and protects wildlife. How to Fish It: Flipping/pitching Texas-rigged plastics or jigs with craw trailers is one of the top techniques on the Big O. Florida is filled with water, including more than 30,000 lakes, a lot of which were created during the drainage of the state to create land for commercial and agricultural purposes, as much of the state was swampland. All Rights Reserved, Entering your valid email address signifies you wish to receive our newsletter and have read the, Florida Sportsman Launches Action Spotter Podcast. Size Matters! In the deep water, you’ll catch them on big Texas-rigged worms, Carolina-rigged lizards and deep diving crankbaits. This disc-shaped lake six miles east of Starke has yielded the most Hall-of-fame catches with 14 out of the 30 reported in four TrophyCatch seasons. Florida has some of the most spectacular fishing that you’ll ever experience from saltwater to trophy largemouth bass. Best Bass Fishing In Florida With its miles of coastline, thousands of miles of rivers and thousands of lakes, Florida is known as the ‘fishing capital of the world’ . This selection of bass fishing lures will cover just about anything that you’ll come across in Florida. Description: Known as “Toho,” this 18,810-acre lake located southeast of Kissimmee is the uppermost of the Kissimmee Chain. Lake Tohopekaliga, Florida 4. Lake Toho is located in Kissimmee, FL. While there is no minimum length for largemouth bass, other black bass species need to be longer than 12 inches in order to be kept.For striped bass, white bass and sunshine bass, the bag limit is 20, with no more than six being longer than 24 inches. Lake Toho is known for its trophy bass and covers 23,000 acres, giving you plenty of space to fish. But it can also be a great place for bass fishing too, with a third of the park being water with plenty of waterways to explore.The Everglades Water Conservation Area 3, just off of Alligator Alley and not far from Fort Lauderdale, can be a good place to fish. There are plenty of boat ramps and access points all around the lake, with bass fishing charters and boat rentals in several locations, including in both Okeechobee City at the northern end of the lake and Clewiston at the southern end. Mann also points to the lake’s good water quality contributes to a healthy bass population. Terry “Big Show” Scroggins won his first bass tournament in Florida at the age of 12. By that criterion, Lake Kissimmee is the hottest bass lake in Florida right now. What About Licenses, Permits And Regulations? For good reason cool down during the spring spawn season largemouth bass are in... Year long, lake Kissimmee produces a lot of food from zooplankton, insects forage! 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