April - June 2016
The following is a generalized quarterly fishing forecast for the Fish Orlando! program. For even more up-to-date information, we suggest you call or visit a local bait-and-tackle shop or guide service. At times we will provide information for some local contacts, which indicated they were willing to be listed herein.
Fish Orlando!'s mission is to create and promote convenient, quality fishing opportunities in the greater Orlando area. Initiated by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) in 1998, the program is supported by the City of Orlando, City of Ocoee, City of Winter Park, Orange County, BASS PRO SHOPS and a variety of other businesses and volunteer/civic groups.
For a complete listing of directions to public fishing opportunities in Orange County, contact our office for a free copy of the Fish Orlando! Fishing Map (1601 Scotty's Road, Kissimmee, Florida 34744; phone: 352-732-1225; email: fishorlando@MyFWC.com).
Click here to see upcoming fishing events in the "Fish Orlando!" area.
New "Fish Orlando!" iPhone App now available!
This app will give you key information about the "Fish Orlando!" sites, where they are, their amenities, what the target species are at each location, and even a map to show you the way. More information is available at the iTunes store or by searching "Fish Orlando" in the App Store on your iPhone.
TrophyCatch is FWC's citizen-science program that rewards anglers for documenting and releasing trophy bass 8 pounds or larger. The following TrophyCatch bass have been submitted from the Fish Orlando lakes:
Lunker Club (8 – 9.9 pounds): 1
Starke Lake: Last year’s forecast for this quarter stated that “according to our 2015 electrofishing survey, the recovery of the eelgrass and peppergrass in the last couple years has returned the largemouth bass population to its former excellent levels.” While the peppergrass and eelgrass do look better, further sampling following last year’s spring forecast indicated this recovery was limited to the northern part of the lake. The southern portion and the Prima Vista lobe have excessive blue green algae which has limited the fishery recovery following the crash of submersed vegetation several years back. With this said, the bass fishing is slightly better than it has been in recent history, although still not to its former glory. Try the edges of the submerged vegetation with flukes, lipless crank baits or Texas rigged seinko. A small four inch Tequila Sunrise worm inserted with nail weights is another trick to try if the bite is slow. This quarter bass fishing should also be good on the 3 fish attractors (marked with a FWC buoy). Crankbaits (fire tiger colors) that run approx. 6-12 feet will catch their share when the bass are active. A 1/4oz Texas-rigged plastic worm or shaky-head jig/worm combo will work when they are less active. The fish attractors are listed on a topographical map, which can be obtained by emailing or calling the Fish Orlando office (see contact information above). Lastly, look for schooling activity first thing in the morning as the bass in the open water chase shad. Soft jerk baits such as a flukes will work, as will small jigs with shad bodies.
Turkey Lake: Largemouth bass should be done with spawning. Try the deeper pads, grassy bottlenecks and main lake points with lipless crankbaits, Carolina-rigged plastics (French fries, seinkos, etc.) and soft jerk baits (flukes). Also try casting a zara spook or devil’s horse on the fish attractors (marked with a FWC buoy). The fish attractors are listed on a topographical map, which can be obtained by emailing or calling the Fish Orlando office (see contact information above). If water levels are up and water temperatures are still at or below 80o F look for the fish to stay inside the emergent grass and be susceptible to soft jerk baits and topwaters. Due to deed restrictions there is no public boat access on Turkey Lake, but the FWC, the City of Orlando and Bass Pro Shops have teamed together to provide a Boat Loaner Program where four Bass Tracker Boats can be rented for only $32 a morning (7 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.; Fri - Sun). Call the City of Orlando’s Bill Frederick Park at 407-299-5581 to reserve a boat Friday – Sunday or a guided fishing trip on Thursdays for $125 (maximum of 2 people).
Lake Underhill: Bass fishing has never been better in this lake thanks to cooperation by the FWC Invasive Plant Section and the City of Orlando maintaining good coverages of submersed vegetation. The edges of the hydrilla and peppergrass with a weightless seinko, fluke, pegged 4 inch worm or wacky rigged plastic should produce a bass or two greater than 4 lbs. If there is any cloud cover try crank baits, hard jerk baits or top waters that walk the dog (i.e. Zara spook, Sammy, etc.). On bright sunny days with little to no wind, pick up the flipping rod and try “punching” a craw in the deeper topped out edges of the emergent and submersed vegetation.
Ivanhoe: Try fishing for bass on the numerous drop-offs around the lake with wacky rigged plastics or a Carolina rigged finesse worm. In the first part of the quarter most of the fish should still be relatively shallow (6 – 8 feet) with a movement deeper (8 – 12 feet) as the weather turns warmer in May and June. Some schooling activity may occur in this quarter as well. A rattletrap fished quickly or another shad imitating crankbait or lure will usually catch the schoolers.
Clear Lake: Hybrid striped bass fishing is at its peak this quarter. However, no fish were stocked this April due to personnel transitions at the hatchery. What this means is that two year old fish (i.e. 12-16 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 are put-and-take channel catfish fisheries and channel catfish are a warm water species, this quarter can be very good. All four ponds are scheduled for spring 2015 stockings of channel catfish thanks to Orange County and the city of Winter Park promising to purchase fish from a private vendor. Try fishing chicken liver rigged on a #6 or # 8 hook around the “Baited Fishing Area” signs. Night crawlers, hot dogs, bacon and wigglers are good second choices for bait. Although channel catfish are the management focus of these small ponds, some decent largemouth bass fishing can be had in Bear Creek and Santiago using wacky rigged finesse plastics and top water plugs thrown first thing in the morning. Because of their abundant small bluegill, the URBAN PONDS are also a good place to take a kid to catch their first fish. A small piece of worm or biscuit dough fished under a small float is usually all that’s needed. Once again focus your efforts around the “Baited Fishing Area” signs.
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