Are you planning a trip to Florida for the opportunity to catch a trophy largemouth bass? This is a dream many fishermen have. The lakes and rivers of Florida are famous for bass in excess of 10 pounds, but let’s face it, not all lakes are created equally. To improve your chances of catching that once in a lifetime bass, you need to shift the odds into your favor.
The first step is to decide where to go. I divide Florida into three sections; north, central, and south Florida. I’ll give you my picks as the most productive lakes in each region.
In the north there is Lake George. It is a section of the St. John’s river 14 miles long and 4 miles wide equaling about 46,000 acres near Crescent City. Lake George is the second largest lake in Florida. Of special note is this lake has a substantial salt content and some salt water fish and plant species thrive in its water.
Central Florida has the most to offer for family getaways and big bass fishing. With Busch Gardens, Disney, Universal Studios, and SeaWorld in close proximity, the family can be enjoying themselves while your out catching that trophy to hang over the fireplace.
Lake Harris in Traveres, Fl is one of nine lakes making the Harris chain. Big Lake Harris and Little Lake Harris total 15,500 acres. Bassmasters and FLW will hold their Florida tournaments here in Jan. 2012.
Lake Tohopekaliga (Lake Toho) has its north end in the town of Kissimmee. It is 13 miles long and 4 miles wide. This lake has produced more bass over 10 lbs. than any lake in the world. This is my favorite lake to fish all year round.
Lake Kissimmee is located about 18 miles east of Lake Wales. At 34,945 acres, it is my second favorite lake. It has a lot of vegetation and produces a lot of trophy bass over 10 lbs. It isn’t as popular as Toho, but I believe it’s every bit as good.
Lake Istokpoga in Highlands county is a very shallow lake covering 27,690 acres. The average depth is 4 feet with a maximum depth of 10 feet. With such shallowness, this lake is extremely dangerous for boaters during high winds, as the waves get quite high. This lake has the highest catch rate in the state, probably due to the special regulations imposed. It has a slot limit requiring that all bass between 15 and 24 inches in length must be immediately released back into the lake. The daily bag limit is three fish per day. Only one of the three fish may be greater than 24 inches. This means you may keep three bass less than 15 inches, or two bass less than 15 inches and one bass greater than 24 inches.
South Florida has numerous places to fish, but we’re talking big bass and that narrows it down to just one.
When you think of bass and Florida, the Big “O” automatically comes to mind. At 730 square miles, it is the largest lake in Florida. It is also the largest lake entirely enclosed within the USA. This is the most famous of all Florida lakes with good reason. It produces a lot of big largemouth bass.
After you decide where to go, contact and hire a guide. At least for the first day, don’t waste time trying to learn the lake on your own. If you want to fish on your own, take what you learned from the guide and apply it to the rest of your trip.
I hope you found this helpful and you’ll have a very successful experience on our fantastic lakes.