The following list of Top 10 Bass Lakes aims to help anglers find a quality place to catch trophy bass.
Florida is globally acclaimed as one of the best fishing spots, this is because of it exceptional saltwater fishing, though this exceptional freshwater fishing hasn’t captured the attention of the same number of visitors. Inhabitants of this state are in on the secret, the following are some of the best fishing spots so far.
1. LAKE GEORGE
Lake George is considered one of the premier bass fishing lakes in central Florida. 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.
Hot spots on the lake include Juniper, Salt and Silver Glen spring runs on the eastern shoreline. In winter and early spring, look for bass to congregate at the jetties on the south end of the lake. Additionally, casting deep diving crankbaits is productive near old dock structures along the northeast shore and off Drayton Island.
2. STICK MARSH/FARM 13 RESERVOIR
Created in 1987, the Stick Marsh/Farm 13 Reservoir is synonymous with trophy bass fishing. This 6,500-acre reservoir near Fellsmere, west of Vero Beach, became one of the hottest bass lakes in the country during the past decade. FWC biologists predict a continuation of excellent bass fishing in the upcoming years.
3. WEST LAKE TOHOPEKALIGA
Bordering the city of Kissimmee to the south, the 18,810-acre West Lake Tohopekaliga has long been a popular bass fishing lake for both recreational and tournament anglers. In recent years, both Bass Anglers Sportsmen Society (B.A.S.S.) and Forrest L. Wood (FLW) bass tournaments have been held out of the Kissimmee lakefront park. Winning weights are routinely in the 18-to 25- pound range. To date, the largest bass documented from the lake weighed 17.10 pounds.
4. THE RODMAN RESERVOIR
The Rodman Reservoir, located east of the Gainesville and in the south of Palatka, covers an area of about 9,500 acres of prime largemouth bass ground. Since it was established in 1968, Rodman Reservoir has been known for the trophy largemouth bass. The state’s largest bass of 2000, 15 pounds and 17 pounds, came from the reservoir during March. Much of the largemouth bass fishery’s success is due to abundant habitat in the form of stumps and aquatic vegetation and periodic drawdowns.
5. LAKE TARPON
Lake Tarpon is a 2,500-acre lake near Tampa/St. Petersburg in Pinellas County. This lake has consistently produced high quality bass for years. Most fish range from 12 to 16 inches long however, quality and trophy fish are also present in good numbers. Biologists have observed anglers catching upwards of 20 fish with an occasional 10-pounder.
6. LAKE WEOHYAKAPKA
Lake Weohyakapka, commonly known as Lake Walk -in-Water, is a 7,532-acre lake, off S.R. 60 south of Orlando, east of Lake Wales. The lake has a nationalwide reputation as an outstanding location to catch largemouth bass. Anglers regularly catch upto 25 bass everyday with several ranging from 4 to 8 pounds. Weohyakapka also produces many trophy bass above 10 pounds annually. Last year, Walk-in-Water anglers entered 130 bass with a qualifying weight of eight pounds in the FWC’s Big Catch Program. A 15- to 24inch slot limit regulation with a three-bass daily bag limit is in place to help maintain good bass fishing. Anglers can keep three bass a day, either under or over the protected slot range, of which only one bass bigger than or same as 24 inches is permittedd.
7. LAKE ISTOKPOGA
Bass anglers who fish the Kissimmee Chain of lakes to the north and Lake Okeechobee to the south often overlook 28,000-acre Lake Istokpoga. Situated in Highlands County between U.S. 27 and U.S. 98 south of Sebring, Istokpoga is rated the 5th largest natural lake in the state of Florida. Anglers frequently catch bass up to eight pounds, with some between 10 and 13 pounds. An angler caught a 16-pound bass in March 1998.
Lake Istokpoga has a 15- to 24-inch lot limit for bass with a three fish daily bag limit, of which only one bass may be 24 inches or longer. All residents between 16 and 65 years of age and all non-residents are required to have a fishing license.
8. EVERGLADES WATER CONSERVATION AREAS 2 AND 3
Everglades Water Conservation Areas are marshlands bordered by canals. Areas 2 has 210 square miles of marsh, and Area 3 contains 730 square miles of marsh., and Area 3 contains 30 square miles of marsh. Originally designed for flood control and water supply, the area provides some of the best bass fishing in the country.
The best fishing usually occurs in the spring when dropping water levels concentrate fish the canals. April is the peak month with angler catch rates as high a 4.1 bass per hour in the L-67A Canal.
9. LAKE OKEECHOBEE
Lake Okeechobee is consistently one of Florida’s top producing bass lakes and is considered one of the best lakes in the country for bass fishing. Situated in south central Florida, the “Big O” covers 730 square miles and is easily accessible from Florida’s east and west coast. FWC biologists are expecting a tremendous year class for this lake this year.
The lake increased to 16 feet, early in 2003, due to above average rainfall in the upper lakes. Due to the drought in 2001, the lake has experienced positive changes in vegetation.
Lake Okeechobee has a 13- to 18-inch slot limit on bass, meaning all bass between 13 and 18 inches must be released unharmed.
10. CRESCENT LAKE
This 15,725 acre lake borders the east side of Crescent City on the Putnam/Flagler county line. Crescent Lake flows into the St. Johns River via Dunns Creek on its north end. Past electrofishing samples for largemouth bass revealed one of the highest catch-per-unit-efforts recorded for areas on the St. John’s River. Largemouth bass up to twenty inches long were well represented in the sample and good numbers of larger fish (8 lb +) were collected.
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