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Central Florida Fishing Forecast

Current Forecasts: 


Lake Monroe:  28.8440° N, 81.2629° W

Largemouth bass fishing has been improving in this lake over the years. The shoreline near Enterprise should provide good habitat and some deeper water bulrush patches for largemouth bass, black crappie (speckled perch), bream and occasionally striped bass. Anglers should begin to see Sunshine bass more regularly as stocked fish continue to enter the fishery. Eelgrass patches should be holding bass, while black crappie should be moving closer to shore, especially during the full moons of February and March.

      
 

Lower Saint Johns River:

Bass anglers can expect to find bass hiding in shoreline vegetation, eelgrass, and around docks and pilings. Anglers can also target edges of submerged vegetation along banks, sharp bends and drop offs near shallow bars. Traditional methods for taking bass will work. Swimming plastic worms/jerk baits and twitching shallow running minnow imitations are the choice among many top bass fisherman. Fish deep in colder waters for bass and panfish.

Cooling water temperatures should turn on striper movement and the striper bite. The Osteen bridge, deep bends near Lake Mullet, and the Wekiva River should all be good producers. Sunshine bass should be becoming more common as that stocking program has resumed.

Crappie anglers should take fair numbers of fish by slowing trolling artificials (small jigs and beetle spins) or by drifting with live minnows in the deeper open water areas of the river and in lakes Monroe, Jesup, Harney, Woodruff, Dexter and Beresford early in the season, and moving closer to shore as the crappie begin to spawn.

American shad should provide new opportunities for anglers as spring approaches. Slow trolling or casting with shad darts and flies should be as productive, with shad being caught from Leon Bluff to Mullet Lake near Osteen, in Shad Alley upstream of Lake Jesup and near Puzzle Lakes.


          


Lake Tohopekaliga:  28.2037° N, 81.3949° W

Bass anglers will rejoice during the period as the sweltering heat of summer will give way to the much more comfortable conditions of the fall season. This transitional weather period will give bass anglers better conditions to enjoy the resource, and with the increased chances of cloud cover and rainfall stemming from frontal activity, flowing water conditions at canals and tributaries of the lake will be possible. Historically, the mouth of the Shingle Creek, St. Cloud canal (C-31), Partin's Ditch or near the water control structure (S-61) located at the south end of the lake have been good locations to find bass during the flow conditions. Both live and artificial baits should be very effective utilized within these areas.

           

Starke Lake: 28.5727° N, 81.5413° W

The once prevalent submersed vegetation that was eradicated by the winter 2012 hydrilla treatment has recovered almost completely. However, problems with blue-green algae have kept the bass fishing from recovering to historic levels. The north end of lake has better water quality so it would be wise to concentrate fishing efforts there. The largemouth bass should be moving into the grass areas to spawn. Try flipping soft plastic craws inside areas that have cattails (tall flat stemmed grasses that can grow 6 feet or higher). Also try casting u-vibe speed worms Texas-rigged on 1/8 oz weights in the pads and grass. A lipless or shallow running crankbait fished so that it hits the tops of the submerged vegetation is a good method to check for active fish. If lipless crankbaits don't work switch to flukes, Carolina-rigged plastic baits or try a wacky rigged finesse worm or trick worm.

Turkey Lake: 
28.9343° N, 81.3793° W

Like Starke Lake, largemouth bass should be in spawning mode. Topwaters or soft plastic jerk baits cast back into the emergent grass pockets are usually productive. If bites do not come with an active retrieve, try "dead sticking" i.e. leaving the lure sit motionless for a minute or two at a time. A Seinko rigged weedless is also another good lure to try if the bite is slow. The area where the two lobes of the lake come together in a bottleneck is often a good spot. If a cold front sweeps through, fishing can be tough, but occasionally probing the dredge areas in the lake using crankbaits and Carolina-rigged plastic worms can save a trip. The dredge areas are listed on a topographical map, which can be obtained by emailing or calling the Fish Orlando office (see contact information above).

Black crappie (Speck) fishing is usually good this quarter and minnows is one of the best ways to catch these good eating fish. Try drifting and/or trolling minnows or jig/minnow combinations at different depths and speeds in the south lobe of the lake, or in the north lobe straight out from the fixed fishing pier towards the boat concession area.

Lake Underhill: 28.5388° N, 81.3370° W

Hydrilla was treated in the south lobe in August and the north lobe in December, but thanks to conservative practices, there still should be plenty to fish. Try a fluke, seinko or wacky rigged bait on the inside edges of the hydrilla. You can also try flipping both the shoreline and lakeward edges of the topped out vegetation around these dredge holes when the sun is high. If the shallow bite is not on, use your depth finder to find where the deeper open water hydrilla fades to a clean bottom i.e. a breakline. Try crankbaits, Carolina-rigs and a Texas-rigged paddle-tail worm along this deep breakline. When they are active try spinnerbaits and hard jerk baits.

Lake Ivanhoe:
28.5615° N, 81.3805° W

With the majority of bass in spawn mode, fishing should begin to be productive up close to the bank. Try the edges of the submersed vegetation with finesse plastic worms or soft jerk baits. If this is unproductive try fishing around the emergent vegetation (i.e. pads, bulrush and cattails). If the fish are not active try rigging the baits "wacky" style or fishing them in a dead stick manner.

Clear Lake:
28.5283° N, 81.4155° W

Hybrid striped bass fishing is at its peak this quarter. However, no fish were stocked in April 2015 due to personnel transitions at the hatchery. What this means is that primarily only one year old fish (i.e. 8-10 inches) will be available. Try fishing the deep holes with crappie minnows or a small domestic shiner fished at different depths on a slip-bobber rig. Concentrate on the holes where bait is marked on the depth finder. The bite is usually better when a cold front is coming in from the north with overcast skies and a little rain. The deeper areas are listed on a topographical map, which can be obtained by emailing or calling the Fish Orlando office (see contact information above).

Urban Ponds (Barnett Park Frog Pond, Bear Creek, Lake Island Park, and Santiago): 


Because the URBAN PONDS have been primarily put-and-take channel catfish fisheries, and channel catfish are a warm water species, this quarter can often be a bust. However, thanks to new technology, Richloam hatchery is now able to stock a 6-10 inch bass in the fall providing an alternative to the catfish. Research in 2015 showed these fish last about 2 months before they are eaten by predators or caught by anglers. Barnett was stocked with these bass in November 2016, so there should be some available to catch in January 2017. The bass easily succumb to small lures such as 1/32 oz twister tail jigs or a worm fished under a bobber. If the weather warms during this quarter try for catfish using chicken liver rigged on a #6 or # 8 hook around the "Baited Fishing Area" signs. MLK Park and Santiago are probably the best bets for catfish since in 2015, both received stockings of larger catfish that most likely avoided cormorant predation in fall 2015.





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