Why you should travel to Florida for fishing.
Fishing is a great activity to try in Florida if you want to experience something new and close to nature. Did you know that Florida is considered the “Fishing Capital of the World”?
Aside from responsible management, the place has a wide array of fishing activities all year round with over 7,500 lakes, diverse habitats, magnificent fishing industry-related infrastructure, superb tourism, and great weather.
In this post, you’ll learn the best places to go freshwater fishing in Florida.
1. The Ichetucknee River
The Ichetucknee River is a pristine, spring-fed river located in North Central Florida when you’re visiting Columbia County. The Three Rivers Estates Property Owners (TREPO) manages the area and the river’s private side that is traveling and flowing into the Santa Fe River.
The Ichetucknee River is Santa Fe River’s tributary that flows into the Suwannee River and empties into the Gulf of Mexico. When fishing, you’ll have a chance to catch bream, largemouth bass, bluegill, alligator gar, catfish, and mullet. During the winter months, West Indian manatees are seen.
2. Lake Okeechobee
Lake Okeechobee is also called The Big “O,” which is Florida’s largest lake and the United States’ second-largest body of freshwater. This lake is in the Everglades, flowing into Collier County that encompasses 730 square miles at 9 feet average depth. A 100-yard wide rim of canal encircles this lake in Florida with 135 miles of shoreline and several secondary channels that provide hundreds of miles of water for freshwater fishing.
Here are the important things you must know about fishing in The Big “O”:
- Common Fish Found: Lake Okeechobee is the home of millions of Largemouth Bass. That’s why it is also popularly called as the “Black Bass Capital of the World.” Aside from Largemouth Bass, you’ll also find Crappie and Bluegill in the lake. Also, Pickerel is less commonly caught.
- Lake Levels: The lowest lake levels occur during dry winter months, and the lake fills rapidly during the wet season of summer.
- Tourist’s Tips: If you’re a tourist and want to fish in The Big “O,” hiring a local tour guide is advisable to ensure a successful trip. There are a lot of fish camps, marinas, and boat ramps around the lake.
3. Lake George
Lake George is also known as a “big fish” lake wherein the catch rate is 0.56 fish per hour. It is the second-largest lake in Florida, offering fishers plenty of water space to explore. The most common fish you can catch on this lake include lake trout, landlocked salmon, black bass, and yellow perch.
Check out these fishing tips in Lake George:
- Lake Trout: This fish likes deep and cold water during the summer months wherein bigger fish lurk in deeper land spots. If you want to catch lake trout, you have to areas wherein the water is around 200 feet deep in Lake George. So, you’ll need to run heavily weighted lines and a lure straight down the side of your boat and jig or drop a spoon as a method used in ice fishing.
- Landlocked Salmon: It’s a hard-fighting freshwater fish to catch, which makes them a popular target. Landlocked salmon chases and eats the same bait as the lake trout and needs to be at about 18 inches deep to keep on Lake George.
- Black Bass: In Lake George, the two varieties of Black Bass include smallmouth (more common) and largemouth.
- Yellow Perch: It is commonly be found in open water or near the shore. If you want to fish for yellow perch in summer, try to catch them using small baitfish and fish in deep, open water.
4. Lake Ocklawaha
Expect to catch a wide variety of fish species in Lake Ocklawaha, including largemouth bass, bluegills, channel catfish, black crappies, redbreast sunfish, and fat spotted sunfish, inhabiting in creeks and rivers.
5. Lake Talquin
Lake Talquin is located outside Tallahassee, which is an 8,800-acre reservoir that provides “capital” bass fishing. You can expect a lot of big fish and an average of 0.58 bass per hour. It is one of the country’s best “bass slam” lakes wherein you can catch largemouth, striper, white bass, and spotted bass.
The best places to go fishing in the “Fishing Capital of the World” include the Ichetucknee River, Lake George, Lake Okeechobee, Lake Talquin, and Lake Ocklawaha. You’ll enjoy catching a wide variety of fish such as black bass, yellow perch, lake trout, and landlocked salmon. The best time to catch bass in Florida is spring when they move into shallow water for spawning. Spawning usually occurs in early January, and the peak months are March and April.