Size: 339 acres
Species focus: Largemouth bass and black crappie
Partner: City of Orlando
Target constituency: Greater Orlando area residents and visitors
Amenities: Featured in BASSMASTER magazine, FLORIDA SPORTSMAN magazine and ESPN's "Casting Crew", Turkey Lake is located just minutes from BASS PRO SHOPS Outdoor World and Universal Studios. Thanks to cooperation between the FWC, City of Orlando and BASS PRO SHOPS, fishermen can rent a Grizzly aluminum bass boat at the City of Orlando's Bill Frederick Park at Turkey Lake, for just $32 boat/day.
The boats are equipped with live wells, trolling motors, anchors and depth finders.
In order to maintain quality, boat fishing is limited to four boats, Thursday - Sunday, 6:30 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. Due to deed restrictions, these loaner boats are the only way the public can legally fish Turkey Lake from a watercraft. The City's boat concession area also has some loaner fishing poles equipped with a limited selection of bait and tackle.
While fishing the relatively clear, shallow grassy natural lake is certainly better from a boat, five fishing piers (one fixed, four floating) help improve the bank fisherman's odds.
Shoreline fishing is available anytime the park is open or 24 hours/day for those camping. The fixed pier has lights and a fish cleaning station. The three primitive floating piers in the primitive camping area have one fish attractor (marked by a yellow FWC buoy) within casting distance.
Three additional fish attractors (also marked by yellow FWC buoys) and 2 aquatic habitat enhancement projects that improved two-thirds of the lake's fisheries habitat round off the list of angler amenities.
Bill Frederick Park at Turkey Lake offers RV hookups, campsites, primitive cabins (with AC), a swimming pool, numerous picnic pavilions and bathrooms, a kid's playground area, a Frisbee golf course and a "mock-up" of an old historic Florida farm. For boat loaner reservations or information on the park call Bill Frederick Park at 407-246-4486.
Fishery: The bass population covers the full range of opportunities from smaller fish to an occasional fish in the 10 lb range.
However, it primarily is known as a numbers lake for bass less than 16 inches. By continuing the management strategy of developing and protecting good fisheries habitat and limiting harvest and pressure, the bass population should remain strong for years to come.
The black crappie (speck) population offers the angler a great shot at fish over 12 inches. A few "specks" even make it to 14 - 16 inches! Anglers are encouraged not to keep anymore than they can use, as this low to moderately dense population could be susceptible to over fishing. For now, maintaining quality will be accomplished by limiting pressure with the boats. Further regulations, however, may be necessary if a few anglers get "greedy".
Even though largemouth bass and black crappie are the management focus for the lake, there are times when 8-inch plus bluegill are caught off the fishing piers or by black crappie fishermen. Other fish available at Turkey Lake but not caught as frequently, include redear sunfish (shellcracker), warmouth, brown bullhead catfish and channel catfish.
General Fishing Tips: December through April soft jerk baits and top water plugs tossed in the Kissimmee grass, pads and other aquatic vegetation will usually provide good action on largemouth bass. As the water warms, try fishing lipless crank baits, Carolina-rigged and Texas rigged plastics on main lake points, bottlenecks and the fish attractors.
Speck fishing is usually best October - February. Missouri minnows (also known as fathead or crappie minnows) drifted at various depths under a float and split shot in the south lobe of the lake is one "time-tested" method of catching Turkey Lake "slabs". If no bites are had with this method try slow trolling or drifting without the floats. Don't give up until you've tried different depths and speeds.
Regulations: Catch-and-release for largemouth bass, 25 fish bag for black crappie (no minimum size), 20 fish bag for bluegill (no size limit) and 6 fish bag for channel catfish (no size limit); possession of cast nets is prohibited. For convenience, lake regulations have been posted in informational kiosks at three locations (boat concession, fixed fishing pier and primitive camping area).