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).
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.
New Weekly Freshwater Fishing Guide Reports brought to you by the Wildlife Foundation of Florida.
Starke Lake: The bass fishing this quarter requires flexibility. In the early part of the quarter most of the largemouth bass will still be in deeper water (> 10 feet). Fish attractors (marked with a yellow FWC buoy) and the edges of deep (5 – 10 feet) submerged eelgrass and peppergrass will hold their share of fish. The fish attractors are scheduled to get more brush this fall and are listed on a topographical map, which can be obtained by emailing or calling the Fish Orlando office (see contact information above). By December there is a good chance that a significant number of largemouths will have moved shallow into a pre-spawn/spawn pattern. The shorelines along Lakeshore Drive and from the boat ramp to Silver Star road are both places to start. Effective baits on the attractors include Texas-rigged and Carolina-rigged plastic worms. Lipless crankbaits, spinnerbaits, soft jerk baits and finesse worms have all produced in the past when the fish move shallow.
Turkey Lake: This quarter has historically been tough for largemouth bass fishing. As the first fronts of the season blow through, the bass in this shallow basin lake can get a serious case of “lock jaw”. However, during stable weather the bass will be active, most likely along the grass edges or schooling out in the open water. Soft jerk baits, lipless crankbaits and topwaters will all work well under these stable conditions. This quarter marks the start of the black crappie (speck) season. Troll or drift jigs or jig/minnow combinations in the south lobe for best success. The schools of speck are fairly concentrated so don’t give up if the first hour or so produces nothing. When trolling vary the depth and speed until a successful combination is found. When drifting make sure the baits are presented at all depths. 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.; Thurs - Sun). Call the City of Orlando’s Bill Frederick Park at 407-246-4486 to reserve a boat.
Lake Underhill: Like last quarter, the edges of the submerged vegetation in 8-15 feet of water will most likely hold the fish. Try Texas-rigged worms, wacky rigged seinkos or zara spooks along these edges. In December, if the hydrilla is not topped out around them, try casting to some of the emergent vegetation such as the Kissimmee grass and bulrush (buggy whips) with a small 4 inch worm or flipping this vegetation with a creature bait or small craw.
Ivanhoe: The bass in this FAB FIVE will most likely be relatively deep (8 – 15 foot) for most of the quarter. Find this depth range next to submerged vegetation and you double your chances. Texas-rigged worms or a wacky rigged seinko (with rattles inserted) are good baits to start with. A four inch plastic worm (tequila sunrise) with a small 1/8 oz – 1/32 oz weight pinched or pegged a foot or two in front of the worm can also be the key to unlocking bass action on Ivanhoe. If the fish are active a deep diving crankbait is also a possibility, especially around the aeration diffusers and the deeper dredge holes.
Clear Lake: As the water cools this quarter, the hybrid striped bass fishery that this lake is known for begins to heat up. Crappie minnows or a small domestic shiner fished under a slip bobber at various depths (including right off the bottom) is one of the most effective methods for catching these fish. Drifting the open water or trolling with rattle-traps, shad raps and shad-type jigs also works at times. For starters try the areas around the fish attractors and the numerous dredge holes. The fish attractors and dredge areas are listed on a topographical map, which can be obtained by emailing or calling the Fish Orlando office (see contact information above). If the dredge holes don’t work try the deeper areas in the south and east shorelines where shallow water connects up quickly to the deeper water. Use of the depth finder is essential to success and look for shad on the structure (i.e. changes in depth) to find where the hybrids are located.
Urban Ponds (Barnett Park Frog Pond, Bear Creek, Lake Island Park, and Santiago): The URBAN PONDS are managed as put, grow and take channel catfish fisheries. With the weather cooling the fishing should be good for longer periods of time. Try fishing chicken liver rigged on a #6 or # 8 hook around the “Baited Fishing Area” signs or aeration diffusers (where you see bubbles coming to the surface). Night crawlers and wigglers are a good second choice for bait. Bear Creek and Lake Island Park will be stocked in September/October 2013 with smaller catfish (6 – 10 inches) at 3 times the normal rate (i.e. 3,000 catfish/acre instead of 1,000 catfish/acre) in an attempt to overcome cormorant predation. Barnett Park will be stocked in September 2013 with grow-out channel catfish (10 – 13 inches). Lake Santiago was stocked in June 2012 with larger grow-out catfish and continues to provide good fishing action. Although channel catfish are the management focus, some decent largemouth bass fishing can be had in Bear Creek and Santiago using small plastic worms and soft jerk baits thrown first thing in the morning. Because of their abundant small bream, 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 efforts around the “Baited Fishing Area” signs.
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