FAB FIVE - Clear Lake

Size: 313 Acres

Species focus: Hybrid striped bass

Partner: City of Orlando

Target constituency: Neighborhood residents

Amenities: George Barker Park (northeast corner of the lake) has a nice two-lane boat ramp, and 2 fishing piers one of which is equipped with fish feeders.  Clear Lake Park (southeast corner of the lake) also has a fishing pier and is located next to a popular hybrid striped bass fishing spot.  Three fish attractors and transplanted eelgrass and bulrush aquatic plants complete the list of angler amenities.  For more information on George Barker and Clear Lake Parks call the City of Orlando Parks at 407-246-2283.

Fishery: Located in the heart of downtown Orlando, Clear Lake's fishery is about catching, and keeping, hybrid striped bass.  Clear lake's green water and abundant shad are perfect for the fast-growing hybrid striper. Raised in the FWC's Richloam hatchery, the hybrid striped bass is a cross between the striped bass and white bass and usually does not reproduce in the wild.

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In most cases, the cross stocked is what FWC biologists call a reciprocal cross (i.e. white bass female; striped bass male).  The "street" name for the reciprocal cross is the "sunshine bass".  The "street" name for the original cross (striped bass female; white bass male) is the "palmetto bass".  Patterned after Medard reservoir in Hillsborough County, Clear Lake has been stocked at rates of 50 - 100 hybrid striped bass fingerlings/acre since April 1999.

Most of the "hybrids" caught are one (8 - 11 inches) and two-year old (12 - 18 inches) fish.  Occasionally, however, a larger 3-6 lb fish is hooked (usually age 3 - 5).  The majority of Clear Lake's hybrid stripers do not live past age three because the proper summertime refuges do not exist for longevity of this cool water species.

While the hybrid striped bass may be the FWC's management focus for Clear Lake, the lake is also stocked with channel catfish.  Other fish that are caught include largemouth bass, black crappie (speck), bluegill, redear sunfish (shellcracker), warmouth, white catfish (they are not actually white but have large heads and cream-colored barbells) and brown bullhead catfish.

General Fishing Tips: The majority of good fishing for the "hybrids" is in the cooler months (November - March).  To be consistently successful at catching hybrid striped bass on Clear Lake, pay close attention to the depth finder.  Look for dredge holes, drops and baitfish and use crappie minnows or small domestic shiners at varying depths until you find what works.

Regulations: Hybrid striper bag limit of 20 of which only 6 may be 24 inches or longer in total length; 14 inch minimum size on largemouth bass, 5 fish bag, only 1 greater than or equal to 22 inches; 25 black crappie, no size limit; 50 panfish, no size limit; possession of cast nets is prohibited.  For convenience, all the regulations have been posted in informational kiosks at two locations (George Barker Park boat ramp and Clear Lake Park).



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